Letter: Come clean about prison chief's bonus

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The Independent Online
Sir: Whether or not it is right for the Director General of the Prison Service to receive a performance bonus equivalent to twice the annual earnings of most of his staff ("Prison chief defends his £30,000 bonus", 13 December), the process by whic h the bonus is assessed ought to be a more open one.

It has been assumed that the calculation simply reflects the (generally encouraging) performance of the Prison Service against its key performance indicators during 1993/94. However, we do not know if equal weight is given to each of the indicators, nor

what penalty Mr Lewis incurred for the service's failure to meet one of its targets (the percentage of prisoners unlocked for 12 hours on weekdays).

Presumably some qualitative element is also involved, as when Mr Lewis benefited from an earlier bonus for his first three months as Director General at the beginning of 1993.

If public officials are to receive such large additional sums for carrying out their duties, the basis of calculation should be a matter of public record.

Yours faithfully, STEPHEN SHAW Director Prison Reform Trust London, N1

13 December