Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Service Conditions Officer Report

Bullying and Harassment Survey

75% of the 137 responses were female and 50% approx reported serious or very serious bullying at work.

The main sources of this bullying are from above i.e. managers and this mainly comes in the form of excessive workload, excessive criticism and excluding staff from what is going on.

Thank you to all who took part in the survey. The Branch will use the data as a basis for discussion with the various HR Business Partners, starting with Social Care & Wellbeing where the greatest response was.

Disability Leave Policy

UNISON’s Model Agreement on this is being considered as a basis for a new ACC Policy as it is recognized that the Maximising Attendance Policy doesn’t cater for staff with a disability recognized by the Disability discrimination Act in the most supportive way.

What is disability?

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

The intention is that this will provide additional support to those affected and Disability Leave will be granted for related appointments etc.

IVF Policy

This was also raised by UNISON and was already being looked at by HR to produce a Policy which best supports staff undergoing this treatment. It is recognized that none of the current absence provisions adequately provide that support.

Fruit and Flowers

When the Branch is alerted that a member is off sick for a significant period they are sent either a basket of fruit or a bunch of flowers. This small act can really cheer them up so please let your Steward or the Branch know if a colleague or friend is in that situation.

Member Support

I was approached this year by a member looking for support after he had been suspended and after allegations against him had been investigated, Disciplinary Hearing held, dismissed and Appeal lodged. This member like all others is entitled to support and representation from this Branch and it hadn’t occurred to him to contact the Branch.

Please let your Steward or the Branch office know if you need support at the earliest opportunity as the sooner you get in touch, the better support we can give!


UNISON is continuously raising the issue of Timescales re the Disciplinary process not being adhered to. This year members are waiting, suspended on full pay for many months while allegations are being investigated. This is not only hugely stressful no matter how untrue the allegations are, but hugely expensive to the Council who are having to cover these absences.

Trade Union / HR Meetings

The fortnightly meetings between the unions and HR have been expended to include regular meetings with the HR Business Partners for each service. This is useful to have direct access to these staff on a regular basis and enable early dialogue re general issues and specific cases. It is hoped this will prevent some issues escalating where early intervention can help find resolution.

Deirdre Macdonald
Service Conditions Officer