Good afternoon everyone.
Well, here we are again, another year has gone by and we welcome you all to the Prison Service Charity Fund’s Annual General Meeting, in what has been a landmark achievement for the PSCF, in reaching our 30th anniversary year as a registered charity. Again, we would like to thank Linda, Jane and Dennis for inviting us back to the Springbridge Carriage Driving School for the Disabled and it’s beautiful surroundings. This is now our twelfth year (how time flies ), that our AGM has been held here and so long as we keep being invited back to Springbridge, we think it is almost with certainty, we will continue to utilise this facility, one, because of the fantastic warm reception we always get, not forgetting the buffet of course and two, the location is central to the membership of the PSCF, albeit we would welcome more members from the south of the country, to attend. Before we proceed onto the events and achievements of 2019, we have some sad news to inform you of and that is the passing of Hilda Joseph, the wife of our recently retired chairman Nevill. On behalf of all present here today, our thoughts and prayers are with Nevill and his family and we send our sincere condolences. With regards to our investment portfolio that Nevill controlled over the years, this has now been passed onto Bob. Again this year, we have been able to administer the fund from the interest accrued from the investments, thus not using any of the donations from staff pay, a claim that we continue to be very proud of. And so onto the events of what’s been happening with your Fund in 2019. For the first time in 2019, we were given the opportunity to submit jottings in each issue of the Gatelodge, which we did and would imagine that some of you here today, had the opportunity to read them, if not, they are all on show here today. However, please forgive us for repeating some of those topics covered in the Gatelodge, but unfortunately, it forms part of our committees report. That said, we would like to take this opportunity to put on record, our thanks to Helen Whittaker from the Gatelodge team, for giving us the time and space in the magazine, which has hopefully raised the profile of the PSCF. As we have over the last few years, we invite all present this afternoon, to ask the Chair, to give way, if you have a reasonable question to ask, on any topic being discussed. For quite a few years now, we have been fortunate to have a very stable committee, taking care of your Fund, but we are always seeking to bring in any member, who feels has something to offer and is able to attend our monthly meetings in the North West of England. So when Mick suggested recently retired ex Governor Phil Boardman, our Secretary Bob, invited Phil to attend our meeting in August 2019 and his opening comment was, “I have been fortunate throughout my working life and now I have a little time on my hands, so I would like to be given the opportunity to give something back”. Hopefully, this will be the start of a long relationship and a great asset to the PSCF, as a committee member and this will be discussed later, when we come to the re-election of the committee. That said, it would be great if we could have a committee member serving the south East/West of the country. Modern technology has been discussed, FaceTime, WhatsApp, watch this space in 2020. Moving on, As part of our Anniversary celebrations, we commissioned new posters, tie pins and other stationary, depicting our 30th Anniversary slogan and some of them are here today, for you to take away, to further raise the profile of the PSCF, within your Establishments. January 2019 started off fairly slow, as it normally does for this time of the year. However, we did receive one slightly unusual appeal, from HMP Hewell. It was to assist a young boy suffering from type 1 Diabetes and the staff were raising money for an Assistance Dog, to warn the young man of Hyper Attacks. This obviously fitted our criteria and a donation was made to assist Hewell staff in reaching their target. In 2018 our Treasurers report contained a lengthy explanation about a fraud your Fund endured. In February 2019, Bob was approached by a film producer, who was working for a company commissioned by the BBC, in making a TV programme called “Britain’s Secret Charity Cheats”, and they wanted to know if we would take part in it. Like all matters involving your Fund, it was discussed at length, at our February meeting and we decided to take part in it. In March 2019, the film producer came to Bob’s home, to film the first interview about the fraud itself and the appeal, which was made all in good faith and that the final outcome was, we received a full reimbursement, though this only came about because of the actions we took on behalf of the fund. It was vital that we got these points over in the programme. The Charity Commission were also informed and they were more than pleased with our procedures. Committee’s Report PSCF 2019 Annual Report_p3_sw.indd 5 15/04/2020 16:49 6 Then in April 2019, the film producer visited Tanya and Grace Carson’s home. This was to highlight what good work can be achieved between the fund raiser, several establishment’s and your fund. The final interview was filmed at John’s house, who gave a short insight of the PSCF involvement with its membership, throughout the Prison Estate. The actual programme went out on the 30th May 2019, at 0915 hours on BBC 1. However, on viewing the programme, it has to be said, important information was omitted, thus leaving a distorted point of view, that probably only your committee would realise. In 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), came into effect. However, a new regulation came into force on the 1st April 2019 and Ken will explain in more detail a little later. May 2019, as in previous years, your Committee were invited to the POA Conference, again held at Southport. Over the three days, our stand proved very popular and when there were one hundred and twenty cup cakes on the stand, made by our resident cook, Denise, you’ll understand the reason for the interest. With May being the official month that we became a registered charity in 1989, it was an ideal time to advertise this. That apart, the Tuesday and Wednesday were very busy, with many enquiries about the Fund, but most encouraging was the increase in Representatives. We started the year having 51 Reps. and ended the year with 68, an increase of 17, with quite a few of those, coming from follow up enquiries at Conference, including a contact from the Isle of Man. Our continued thanks go out to the POA executive, for their support throughout our anniversary year. Following on from the conference, the POA Executive submitted an appeal, in support of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Association (DMDA). Over the three days, delegates raised £2500 and your fund further assisted the appeal with a donation of £1000. As one would expect, July and August proved to be very busy months, having received forty two appeals to discuss. In July 2019, it was good to receive an appeal from one of our London establishments, Pentonville. Noah’s Arc Hospice was the beneficiary of a massive £3200, led by our Rep. there, Jason Brown and his colleagues, taking part in the Wye 100 challenge. Your fund again supported this well worthwhile cause with a further donation of £1000. Our next topic is something we have raised for several years now, but it is still worthy of bringing to your attention again. An appeal was received for our August meeting, from a member of staff at The Verne, who was on Detached Duty at HMP Bristol. There was a fire at the hotel and all the belongings had been destroyed. A letter Prison Service Charity Fund - Annual Report 2019 PSCF 2019 Annual Report_p3_sw.indd 6 15/04/2020 16:49 7 was sent to say that we could not help, as we are not an insurance company and that a claim should be made to the hotel. Likewise, Although your committee are sympathetic to such cases, we cannot assist staff with funeral costs or financial hardship, which we get several requests each year. We cannot, indeed will not utilise members monthly donations, in this way. However, we do point them in the direction of the “Charity for Civil Servants” and the POA Welfare Fund, who deal more with the benevolent side of matters. When it comes to reminders, here’s another one. Where possible, we request that any appeal comes to us via the representative, that said, we do appreciate not every establishment has a Rep. However, We would kindly ask the Rep. to check that the member of staff submitting the appeal, is actually a member of the PSCF. We continue to get staff who are adamant they are members, but on checking, we find out that they are actually members of the PSSA or the Charity for Civil Servants, as was such a case at HMP/YOI Low Newton. If you have any doubts, all it takes is a quick email or phone call to Bob, to get it checked. When it comes to submitting appeals by a Non member of the PSCF, we wish to remind you today, that the maximum assistance is £250. We feel it is not fair that members donations should be used to support non members, so a limit applies. Again, another problem that has increased over this reporting year, is the completing of the appeal form itself. To help and assist in this area, it was decided at our August meeting, that Mick and John would create a guide, in the form of an appeal, highlighting the information required, for the committee to decide on the amount of donation we can make, hopefully with reliable information. It should also contain confirmation of the funds raised and any further informed comments by the establishments Rep. This guide was sent to all Reps. by Mick, but there are copies here today, if you wish to take one. For a good few years now, John has utilised the facilities at Deerbolt and Frankland’s print shops, to print the “freebies” and we thank Maureen at Frankland and Beryl at Deerbolt for producing these for us, which we hope you will take away with you today. Added to the two Prisons above, John then received offers from Holme House and Durham, which was great news, because this may well enable the fund to maintain the statement, “that only the interest received is used for administration costs”. However, the use of us using these facilities, may well change in 2020. John attended a photo shoot at Frankland Prison, when the Charity, Northumbria Blood Bikes, took delivery of a new Bike. After all present, taking turns sitting on the bike, Alan Johnson, the NBB rider, announced that because of the assistance we have given to Frankland staff, he is arranging to have our key and logo printed on the bike. Great and unexpected news, thanks very much. September 2019, bought more good news, with HMP Birmingham returning to the public sector. When Birmingham transferred to the private sector, the PSCF lost 101 members overnight. John, being an ex member of Staff at Birmingham, along with the help from Ash at Hewell, who gave John the name of the POA chairman at Birmingham. Contact was made, with a view of trying to regain back some of those members and appoint a new Rep. Having received no reply for a couple of months, we thought the worst. Then in November 2019, our prospective committee member Phil Boardman, made contact with one of his Governor friends at Birmingham, who in turn raised our prospectus with the Governing Governor. John received an email from him, confirming that he was more than willing to give us the opportunity to visit Birmingham and give a presentation to his staff and hopefully sign a fair few members back up. This is still to happen, so watch this space in 2020! Also in September 2019, our busy Rep. at Hewell, informed your committee of a new initiative being set up by the Senior Management Team within the West Midlands Region, who will dictate which charitable cause staff and prisoners can support. Our initial thoughts were a little worrying, as it did sound a bit threatening. Bob asked Ash to keep us informed of any progress, as we required more information before a decision is made whether to support or not, this SMT initiative. Towards the end of September, we were informed if the nine charities nominated, of which five we possibly could support and four we couldn’t. The cut off date was the 21/10/2019 and in December we were informed of the overall nominated Charity, which was the NSPPC. This is a charity that does not fit our criteria PSCF 2019 Annual Report_p3_sw.indd 7 15/04/2020 16:49 8 and Ash was informed of our decision, but we also reiterated that this decision would not deflect any fund raising done by individuals, which provided it fits our criteria, will still get our full support. Some of you may remember last year we reported on two staff from HMP Humber, who completed a “half century Tri-challenge”, raising money for the Queens Centre near Hull. Well they’ve been at it again and you can hear their story in a bit, as we have made it this year, one of our individual reports, along with three others. As we mentioned a little earlier from the POA Conference in May, October 2019 we had confirmation by the Governing Governor of HMP Isle of Man, inviting us to his prison, where he has offered to shut down the prison, to enable us to give our presentation and sign members up to the fund. Through liaison with the Rep. there Tim Russell, this visit is still to be arranged sometime in 2020. However, the Isle of Man has its own tax system, all members have to sign up by Standing Order, but that’s not a problem, as we have many members paying this way already, but unfortunately we cannot claim the gift Aid, because of this system. We mentioned in last years committee report about the problems we had in gaining regular access to Newbold Revel. We can report this year, thanks to our Vice Chairmans persistence, Ken has made great progress. In July 2019, Ken attended a Wellbeing Day and presented two cheques to Karen and Jo, who are members of staff at a Newbold. In addition for the first time, a charity committee has been set up and we have at last got a Rep. there. Following on from this, Ken was to attend again in October 2019, for another Wellbeing/Freshers Day, but unfortunately was taken ill, so John attended and again the day went well, signing up many new members. We would like to thank the staff at Newbold Revel, for giving us the opportunity to visit there on a regular basis and long may it continue. We would also like to mention our Rep. at Lilleshall, Howard Masters, who throughout 2019, signed up many new members to the fund. Again we are eternally grateful to Howard and long may this contact continue, as we view Lilleshall part of the Newbold setup. Mentioning Wellbeing Day’s, in 2019 your committee visited Holme House, Frankland, Durham, Humber and Newbold Revel. If any Establishment holds one of these days, please let us know and if we can attend then we will, with your permission of course. Prison Service Charity Fund - Annual Report 2019 PSCF 2019 Annual Report_p3_sw.indd 8 15/04/2020 16:49 9 Earlier in the year, we received some concerning news about Andrew Barkess. In the past we have assisted Frankland staff, in raising funds for Andrew, after undergoing several operations for the removal of a tumour on his spine some fourteen years ago. So it was no big surprise that again Frankland staff and Andrews family and friends rallied round again, when they heard the news that Andrew had contracted an infection, caused by the Spinal metal work. Andrews father Graeme explained that Andrew required a new wheelchair, as his old one has worn out. In November 2019, we received an appeal and your Fund again contributed towards assisting Frankland staff in buying Andrews new wheelchair, and it’s great news that Andrew and Graeme are both here today. Andrew Barkess taking delivery of his new Wheelchair Towards the end of November 2019, your committee received an enquiry about us assisting staff, for private IVF treatment, after having a course of treatment on the NHS. At our December meeting, It was decided after quite a long discussion, that this funding for any treatment required at the end of the NHS process would constitute Private Medical Funding. Whilst there was a lot of sympathy for couples requiring Private Medical IVF procedure, it does not follow the PSCF Constitution or Criteria to fund Private Medicine expense. Sadly the fact that this couple have to seek private IVF treatment, takes it out of our criteria for support. Again, our membership has increased and this is mainly due to the signing up of POELTS, but we would like to encourage our Reps. to sign up existing staff, of all grades, within their establishments. Your committee can provide you with up to date membership lists, which you can take away today. Our promotional packs are available again today, please do take one and display them in areas within your establishment , where staff frequent. Last year we mentioned that our website was going through a transformation. We can report today, that through the hard work of Bob’s son, Steve, it is up and running in it’s new format. Thank you Steve. Thanks also go to John’s son, Ian at Potts Print UK, who has for several years now, produced free of charge, our annual report, which you can take away with you later. Throughout this anniversary year, your committee have worked tirelessly to promote your fund, in all areas of England and Wales. Mick and Denise concentrating on the North west and Wales areas. John, mainly North East and Yorkshire areas. Paul and Ken, the Midlands and latterly Phil, a great asset in bringing his contacts over a wide area to the fund and then we have Bob, looking after the finances and Secretarial work and finally our Chairman, Peter working closely with Bob, controlling all of us. We are a very close working family, here to serve you all, long may it continue and as we keep saying, your Fund is in very safe hands.
For and on behalf of the Committee
Following a challenging year in 2018, we hoped that there would be some improvement in the 2019 reporting period. With the ongoing fiasco regarding the UK leaving the EU on March 31st 2019 we hoped that the financial markets would yield a better interest rate on our investments. As we now know this did not happen and a new date of October 31st 2019 was set. This date came and went again without any final agreement and we all had to endure the politics of a general election. The outcome as we all know gave us a new Government with the promise of now leaving the EU on January 31st 2020. This date should not have helped our financial situation but We will now outline the improvements we actually created and received from both our Portfolio and continuing to source the best possible interest from our Building Society investments throughout the financial year. The BS investments saw a significant drop in the returns we received and this prompted us to close a significant investment with “Investec” and re invest with another building society, “The Cambridge Building Society” offering us a slightly higher rate. We will continue to monitor this situation and will again close accounts and reinvest at a higher rate wherever possible if the need arises. The most significant improvement we witnessed was the donations from new members. This was entirely down to the efforts of the committee members travelling throughout the North East and Yorkshire Region and The North West Region, all this effort is in their own time and requires a very high level of commitment on their behalf. We must also thank the extremely pro-active representatives at numerous establishments who continue to support us in promoting the fund and recruiting within their establishments. We must mention and thank our Representative at Lilleshall, Howard Masters who has supported the fund for more than twenty years and continues his support, recruiting from the courses taking place at Lilleshall and also assists the representatives at Newbold Revel. Voluntary donations from staff and retired staff rose from £119,985 to £124,441 in this reporting period an increase of £4456 over the year. This constitutes an increase in donations from pay and a significant increase in the donations by standing order of £ 360 over the year on which we can also claim gift aid. This is an overall increase of £371,33 per month all of which will be available to assist appeals within our criteria from staff throughout the England and Wales estate. In 2018 our investment portfolio saw a severe drop of £24,503 in value, again probably due to the markets uncertainty over the UK leaving the EU. As we pointed out earlier, we hoped this would improve in 2019. I am pleased to be able to tell the membership that during this financial year the portfolio investments rallied and the fall in the 2018 value was wiped out and over the reporting period showed a profit of £32,699. This has an obvious effect on the quarterly interim payments which assists the fund maintain our claim of zero administration cost from our members donations. After all administration cost are met, we still show a profit of £6278 from the interest received. Other income received was from the work carried out by John, putting together the claim for Gift Aid for the donations from members paying by standing order. The Gift Aid claim can be retrospective for four years. With Mikes assistance the donors who had not completed the gift aid form were contacted and asked to sign the form. The outcome of this exercise netted a Gift Aid Payment from HMRC of £1308. This type of claim will now be extended to the retired staff donating from pension and the claim will be submitted when all the relevant forms are returned in 2020. Donations made from the fund in 2019 totalled £100,950. An increase over the previous reporting period of £7884. We must point out that the accounts statement shows a donation total of £98,662, this differs from our donated figure by £2288, the reason for this differential is due to the donated figure being adjusted by the accountants correcting the 2018 donation figure taking into account five donations from the fund in 2018 that were never presented. We do ask all staff to confirm the receipt of the PSCF donation and also request on the letter they receive with our donation that they present it to their chosen cause as soon as possible to try to alleviate this problem and keep our accounts in order The number of appeals during 2019 was less than in 2018, down from 155 to 131. The economic climate may have had this reducing effect but the many of the appeals received were for an increased figure from the appeals in 2018. Again, we try wherever possible to encourage members to contact the fund or submit an appeal for causes they support within our criteria, during this reporting period we received appeals from 49 establishments most of which submit appeals on a regular basis. We also received appeals from establishments, some of whom have either not appealed before or from some establishments who have not appealed for some considerable time. Hopefully this is down to the PSCF being promoted by our representatives and from the allocation of full- or double-page information within the Gatelodge Magazine. Once again, we must thank the POA for their ongoing support. Once again, I feel that we had a good financial year.
For and on behalf of the Committee