18 October 2010
To: All members of the South Yorkshire Police
Joint Branch Board.
A meeting of the Joint Branch Board was held on Thursday, 14 October 2010 at Castle Park, Doncaster, commencing at 1.00pm.
In the absence of the Chairman, Bob Pitt the meeting was presided over by the Vice Chairman, Neil Vaughan.
The meeting commenced with a presentation from Supt. Jason Harwin on recent information from Operation Diamond.
The minutes of that meeting are set out hereunder for your information and retention.
Z. Smith J. Hart T. Mitchell
R. Sharman D. Hague N. Bowles
D.Laverick G. Pashley R. Pitt* M. Hone A. Hunt C. Jackson*
C. McCready S. Dixon* A. Smith
T. Brookes A. Jarvis R. Usher
D. Chadwick* P. Kealey* B. Huckstepp*
W. Ventour D. Baines P. Shaw
R. Mangham N. Vaughan D. Pickett*
L. Batham S. Robinson* A. Jones*
J. Nesbit M. Gill* D. Pratt*
N. Marsh D. Lock J. Brook
2. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
The minutes of the last meeting were proposed and seconded as a true record.
3. MATTERS ARISING
A) Federation Website
The Secretary urged representatives to continue to promote the Federation website. He asked that the website details be added to the signature block on the SYP email system. www.southyorks.polfed.org
User name – sypfofficer
Password – kojak999
B) Triennial Elections
The Secretary confirmed that the details of the Triennial Elections would be placed on General Orders week commencing Monday, 18 October 2010. Nominations need to be returned to the deputy returning officer by 10.00am on Friday, 5 November 2010.
C) Hillsborough Archives
The Vice Chairman is to attend the next meeting of the Hillsborough Archive Steering Group and will update the Board at the next JBB meeting.
4. TREASURERS UPDATE
The Treasurer confirmed that a Trustees meeting had taken place where the SYPF accounts had been examined and were operating within Federation fund rules satisfactorily.
He wished to make the Board aware that it is anticipated that another deficit budget will be expected by the end of this financial year (December 2011). The current financial position was highlighted followed by a projection to the year end thus resulting in an overspend. Other reserves would be made available to offset the deficit and decisions would be made in respect of the movement of funds once a more definite situation was known.
Neil Bowles, Deputy Treasurer commented that in view of the Treasurer’s comments it would prudent to re-visit the subject of spending cuts when the new Board is formed following the Triennial Elections.
Neil Vaughan advised the Board that this was the Treasurer, Dave Laverick’s last JBB meeting following his decision not to stand at the Triennial Elections due to his pending retirement. Thanks and gratitude were conveyed for his hard work and commitment as Treasurer to the Board.
The Secretary added that due to the Treasurer’s retirement an election for his replacement would be required. He proposed that nominations open for the position shortly and should there be more than one candidate a ballot would take place at the next JBB meeting on Thursday, 25 November 2010. This was agreed. The same scenario would also apply for the position of Professional Development Leader.
5. TRUSTEES UPDATE
Neil Bowles, Deputy Treasurer advised the Board that at the recent Trustees meeting the invoices, statements, expense claims etc were examined and found to be accurate.
Glen Pashley queried whether it was necessary to have more than one trustee present at the meeting. This point of order is to be researched and confirmed.
6. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAD
Dealt with under agenda item 4, Treasurer’s update.
7. POLICE OVERTIME BUDGET
Neil Marsh outlined some of the work he was currently involved with in the discipline area that had led to some officers being dismissed/required to resign and subsequently been unable to attend at police stations for appointments in relation to their cases. As a result a substantial amount of hours have been worked in his own time dealing with his Federation workload. Having previously been able to claim overtime from the Discipline Overtime Budget, his concern is, that as this fund is now seriously depleted would funding be available from other sources. He felt the Board should be aware of the situation and asked that thought and consideration be given to resolve the matter. He suggested that in these circumstances reserves from the main fund should be made available for representatives working overtime.
Neil Vaughan stated that it is his intention to arrange a Discipline Team meeting mid November 2010 to fully discuss the whole arena of discipline workloads and the impact of these on personal time. The outcome of that meeting will be reported back to the JBB on 25 November 2010.
Julie Nesbit commented that duty time should be made available for all discipline work to be undertaken and felt that perhaps representatives be more robust with their supervisors when requesting time out for Federation duties.
She also added that it was apparent there was a work/life balance issue that was subject to a neglect of ‘duty of care’. It is therefore necessary that the matter be fully discussed at the Discipline Team meeting with a view to the discipline workload being distributed more equally.
Her concern was also the fact that with the governments pending spending cuts and officer numbers being reduced, there would be further pressure on officers which would inevitably lead to more representation in all areas being required from the Federation. She felt that middle and senior management in SYP should be made aware of the current workloads and projected increase of future workloads over the next few years due to cuts.
Neil Marsh reminded the Board of Regulation 5 and that members have a choice of who they wished to act as representative for them. He stated that once an officer is dismissed/required to resign it is more difficult to allocate duty time to deal with the complex cases that evolve.
Dave Baines felt that the discipline workload should be divided more equally between the Discipline Team and that more responsibility should be embraced in assisting fellow team members with cases. He suggested that all cases be allocated by the Discipline Team Leader.
Glen Pashley reminded the Board of the European Working Time Directive and felt that the organisation and supervisors were required legally to manage the number of hours worked by an officer.
Adrian Smith suggested that facts and figures with regards the Discipline Overtime Budget be made available at the Discipline Team meeting to obtain a wider understanding of the situation for discussion.
8. NATIONAL UPDATE
The national update was delivered by Julie Nesbit and the following items were covered:
The Pay and Conditions Review which has been commissioned by the Home Office is being conducted by Tom Winsor, economic regulatory lawyer and ex Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Sir Edward Crew. The Coalition government have made known that cuts across the public sector will be made to the value of 25% in every organisation. The Federation nationally have aligned themselves with the HMI report which stated any cuts to the police service that were over 12% would be unsustainable and frontline services would be grossly effected.
Julie Nesbit drew the attention of the Board to a questionnaire formulated by Tom Winsor published on www.review.police.uk where the opinions and comments of police officers are invited in respect of a number of questions surrounding the review of pay and conditions for police officers and staff. The deadline for giving your views is 29 October 2010. She urged representatives to encourage their members to make their comments in a professional manner backed by evidence.
The interim finding of the Hutton Review into Public Service Pensions was published on 7 October 2010, with the full review expected to be unveiled alongside the Budget next year. Points of note include the acknowledgement that police officers pay a considerable higher contribution to their pension in comparison to other public sector workers and that the raising of contributions to pensions would be the most effective way of attaining short term savings.
In relation to Regulation A19, the compulsory retirement of a police officer on the grounds of efficiency, forces are awaiting decisions by their chief officers as to whether the regulation will be utilised. So far, SYP have stated that Regulation A19 will not be used unless absolutely necessary.
For those members that opt out of the Pension Scheme once thirty years service has been attained, an insurance policy is available to cover their loss of Death in Service payment. For further information contact Bob Pitt or Clive McCready.
Amendments to the Equalities Act were effective from 1 October 2010 and the act now covers the whole framework of protection. The Equality & Human Rights Commission have published a useful guide to the changes and is available on their website to download for reference.
Concerns for the Federation internally are the positive action provisions within the Act, replacing section 49 of the Sex Discrimination Act which allowed the Police Federation the ‘reserve seat’. Positive action provisions allow wider representation for protected characteristic groups. A working group has been formed to ensure that the Federation has a full understanding of the amendment and its application.
The Police Advisory Board have devised a specialist post fitness test for depts. such as dog handlers, firearms etc. The test has been trialled and is now active, without the guidance of the PNB. Whilst awaiting the launch of the assessment, some forces have adopted their own specialist post fitness test which may vary in criteria. Concerns were then aired in respect of the difficulty of the new test discriminating against women and older candidates compared with a force formulated test.
9. DISCIPLINE UPDATE
Neil Vaughan, the Discipline Liaison Officer reported that currently the Federation Discipline Team is representing 146 police officers.
At a recent discipline meeting at PSD it was evident that the Chair of the proceedings had already deliberated on the case and had made his decision of the outcome without the consideration of the recommendations made by the Federation or PSD. An appeal has been lodged and concerns voiced with regards to this approach and the lack of working within the legal framework. He added that should any representative be aware of any breach in the procedures they should robustly challenge the matter especially in the area of paperwork.
Neil Marsh felt that the regulatory framework was very fluid and variable in terms of defined structure. With regards to the outcome of meetings, he suggested that legal challenges in the form of judicial reviews, be instigated so that the benchmarks are defined in law as per stated case.
Neil Vaughan promised this issue would be raised nationally and with the Deputy Chief Constable Bob Dyson when he attends at the Federation office next week for a meeting.
10. EQUALITY UPDATE
Zuleika Smith related to a circular previously distributed from HQ in respect of lack of funding issues for the National Disabled Police Association and confirmed that funding has now been made available to support this group.
At a regional ELO seminar the amendments to the Equalities Act effective from 1 October 2010 were discussed at length. One example of how this will impact on members is in the area of sickness leave and its impact on selection processes. Sick leave records will not be used in the initial sifting process and will now only be taken into consideration when the most suitable candidate has been identified.
11. HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE
Glen Pashley, the Health & Safety representative addressed the Board in respect of the information he had submitted to the Force regarding problems surrounding chemical suicide attempts, now increasing in the UK. Potential rescuers are putting themselves in extreme danger dealing with such incidents and information has been entered onto the Force Intranet site for guidance, confirming that all notifications should be dealt with by the Fire Service, who has the appropriate equipment available.
He is to further liaise with Joanne Sampson, Force Health & Safety Advisor to progress and ensure the Force has a service level agreement with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.
Zuleika Smith raised the issue of the research being carried out by Paul Ginger in respect of the Airwaves system. Clive McCready advised that a response had been received and he would circulate accordingly.
12. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
- The Secretary raised the issue of a request for a donation towards the annual conference expenses for the Occupational Health nurses that work within the Force. The function is scheduled to take place in South Yorkshire this year. Mark Hone proposed a donation of £500.00. This was seconded by Neil Marsh. A vote was cast, resulting in 21 in favour, 3 against and 0 abstentions.
- Julie Nesbit reported that she had recently attended the National Black Police Associations Conference. Information will be circulated with regards to the event in due course.
- Andy Hunt raised the subject of some of the support structures currently operating within SYP that deal with welfare such as, fairness at work, diversity interventions’, 1st contact officers etc, and was concerned that only limited analysis of the trends and problems was conducted by the Force.
In view of the pending cuts to the police service and the effects these will have on the welfare and efficiency of officers he was keen to suggest that it would be useful to have an independent oversight on how effective our systems are. He suggested that a piece of independent research be carried out with the Board’s approval. The Board were in agreement but raised concern over the ownership of the report once completed and data protection issues. Andy Hunt to progress and update at the next JBB meeting.
- Dave Baines has received a number of complaints from officers with regards to supervisors’ actively encouraging staff to work overtime for time-off. Clive McCready re-iterated that it is the officer’s choice in respect of remuneration according to Police Regulations. An advisory email is to be cascaded to representatives and the Chief Constable will be briefed.
- Tony Brookes expressed his concern over comments made by officers with regards to the closure of Attercliffe Custody Suite and problems now arising from having to use other suites around the Force.
13. DATE & TIME OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Joint Branch Board will be held at Castle Park, Doncaster and will take place on Thursday, 25 November 2010 commencing at 1.00pm.
Neil Vaughan, Vice Chairman Clive J McCready, Secretary< Back