POVB bulletin: COVID-19

POVB COVID-19 - March 2020 (PDF version)

Members would be aware that daily the situation with COVID-19 is evolving and changing rapidly.

Please take the time to see videos from POVB Chairperson Nicole Jess HERE and PSA Industrial Manager Julie Bond HERE. Don’t forget to Like and Follow the PSA’s Facebook page for regular updates.

CSNSW has now had a Command Hub for two days, to manage all issues that centres and court locations have in regards to COVID-19.

The PSA/POVB have representatives working seven days a week at the Command Hub to get the best possible outcomes and answers to issues as they arise. At present, Amanda Cotter has been at the hub and some information that we have received is:

Centre/CESU issues

If there is a concern in your location do not immediately put in a sub branch motion.

We have the command hub to address our concerns and give us answers to them and to maintain a consistent approach throughout the state.

The process prior to doing a motion is as follows:

  • Speak to your local managers;
  • Get the issue placed on the issues register;
  • If it cannot be resolved locally, then forward the issue to the Command Hub;
  • The Command Hub will then respond to the issue and the outcome can be placed on the issues register for everyone to see on the shared drive.
  • If the outcome is not to the sub branches liking then the delegate is to contact a member of the state executive, preferably Amanda as she in the Hub, Nicole or Jason and we will liaise with the Directors or Assistant Commissioners.

All questions will be put in a FAQ and will be put on the intranet.

If all members can look at the intranet first for information, or ask local management prior to emailing the Command Hub it would be appreciated. The Hub received more than 500 emails today. Most could have been answered locally.

Police – new inmates

Police are now doing a two-page screening form. If an inmate is a Police Bail Refused and answers yes to any of the screening questions they will remain in Police Custody until cleared.

If a remand inmate answers yes to any of the screening forms they will be sent to a correctional centre.

These forms will go with the inmate so staff can see that the inmate has been screened by police. This does not mean that we do not do CSNSW screening when we receive them.

If an inmate does not have the Police screening form, do not receive the inmate. Contact your local manager for direction.

Then contact a member of the state executive for guidance if you have further concerns.


There are worldwide shortages of PPE equipment. CSNSW is doing everything to get the equipment we need. We have sought confirmation from CESU that it will be coming, if not there already there. CSNSW is also working on sourcing large amounts in general for all locations.

We need to remember that the white suits that we use for incidents like blood spills when dealing with inmates are actually more effective than what nurses are using in hospitals. The spit masks that we have can be used to cover the eyes. Nurses use a mask that does not cover the eyes.

Only use the PPE gear if it is determined to be needed. Members are to remember that the health protocols are the infected person wears a mask to prevent further infection. People wearing a mask that are not in direct contact with an infected person is not necessary.


It is essential individuals maintain a high level of self-hygiene, washing hands regularly as stated by health protocols. Wash down benches and surfaces on an increased level. Get inmates to increase their personal hygiene and wing cleanliness.

Section 23s

Section 23s cannot stop, as this is our core business and we have to continue making vacancies in the front end of Corrective Services. This is so the MRRC, SWCC and other reception centres can take fresh custodies.

The Command Hub has agreed today to do screening on inmates prior to being placed on a truck.

It is up to each centre to devise in their contingency plan if they want to screen the inmate again when they are received into the centre.

Contingency plans

Every location should have started on their contingency plans and have clear direction on what is to happen in the case of a positive result for an inmate/s or officer/s.

If this has not happened, please let us know.

Staff need to be encouraged to read these plans.

When communicating on this matter we need to remember to remain calm, if you are not high risk, live with someone who is high risk getting the virus is minimal.

The concern worldwide is for the vulnerable and high-risk.

We understand that lack of information can cause anxiety and the feeling out in the community with the lack of cleaning products, toiletries, food and panic does not help. We are attempting to get the information and assist with communication through bulletins PSA and CSNSW, FAQs on the intrant, updated contingency plans as things change, and each centre location should be briefed daily on any events that may have happened the day/night before.


PSA is working with CSNSW on the matter of casuals being paid if they get COVID 19 and hopefully something will be decided in the coming days in favour of this.

Works release/day release

The Command Hub is looking at this issue and will have an answer on this for centres that carry our works release and day release in the coming days.

Contact visits

Amanda has confirmed that this was discussed today and a decision on whether the restrictions continue will be decided on in the coming days.


If you are feeling unwell with flu like symptoms you are to stay home. Seek advice from your Doctor. If you cannot get into your doctor you can ring an assistance number, is on the intranet, called Health Direct 1800 022 222.

When we met with Department Communities and Justice they stated staff can call that number, get triaged, advice and can get a certificate.

We know that many members have concerns about taking leave and then being cautioned or not get permanency or increments.

These are exceptional circumstances and the Health advice is if you have flu like symptoms stay home until cleared by a medical professional.

PSA/POVB will support members if they find themselves in a situation later that they do not get permanency or an increment based on the leave they have taken during this time. Make sure you have a certificate and that you seek advice from a medical professional.

Contact details

Nicole Jess Chairperson 
0427 609 199

Jason Charlton Vice Chairperson 
0401 500 976

Amanda Cotter Secretary
0404 042 600

Thor Sutherland Assistant Secretary            
0447 633 476

Darren King Country Vice Chair     
0407 935 039

Natalie Howes Country Vice Chair 
0407 011 441

David McCauley POVB Industrial Officer     
0419 022 767

David Bartle POVB Industrial Officer             
0418 425 976

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