PPO COVID-19 – May 4 Update May 4, 2020 Following the latest Government advice about the COVID-19 emergency, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) will continue to work remotely during the lockdown. In March the PPO’s office building was closed until further notice and all staff were instructed to work from home. However, we are working hard to ensure we can support prisoners and continue the work of the PPO. Fatal Incidents We are still investigating all deaths in prisons. We are following Government advice on social distancing and have temporarily suspended our visits to prisons. We are conducting interviews by video or phone and documents are being sent to our investigators electronically. We have asked prisons to preserve evidence we need for our investigations if they cannot send it to us immediately. We are being informed of all deaths and will open new investigations as usual, although it is likely that we will need to extend our timescales in some cases until we are able to gather information and investigate safely. We are keeping families informed where this is the case. Complaints People in prison who want to complain to the PPO can phone us on 020 7633 4100 or lo-call 0845 010 7938 and raise urgent issues. We will listen to all voicemails and respond to these calls where appropriate. Unfortunately, as our offices are closed we are currently unable to access post to deal with letters from people in prison but are working to find a way to be able to receive letters and write back to them, mindful of the need for confidentiality. We have sent information notices to all prisons and we have used prison radio and in-cell TV where it is available to explain the position to prisoners and assure them we will return to normal working as soon as we can. Family members or anyone with a concern can email us on behalf of someone in prison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Complainants in Immigration Removal Centres and those on probation can still send their eligible complaints to our complaints email address. These changes are temporary and we will review them regularly in line with Government advice. We will ensure that all stakeholders receive the most accurate and up to date information.