POA Circulars

92 | 14.10.2016

ATTENDANCE SUPPORT MEETINGS

The Executive have been in dialogue with NOMS over the abuse of the above process by some Governors when calling members to a support meeting, meetings which are supposed to be voluntary.

The policy was developed to be supportive not punitive, assist staff back to work, establish what support is required to aide recovery and ensure phased returns are in place to support members. Unfortunately, some Governors continue to abuse the process while NOMS stand by and do nothing.

The Executive has been made aware that members perceive they are subjected to bullying and threatening behaviour as Governors try to force them back to work or intimidate them with the provisions of PSO 8404. This is not acceptable. The Executive has raised these concerns with NOMS and new guidance has been produced, but still the problems continue to occur, as a result the Executive determined to promulgate the following advice:

If managers use their perceived right to speak to their staff (our members) and force them to attend “support meetings,” members must exercise their right to be accompanied, by a member of the local POA Committee.

If prior to, during or after the support meeting members feel bullied, victimised or intimidated, they should submit a grievance at the earliest opportunity, setting out how they feel and what actions the Governor took to leave them feeling this way.


PRIOR TO SUPPORT MEETING

If members feel bullied, victimised or intimidated before the support meeting takes place. Members must raise a grievance and request the “support meeting” is set aside until such time as the grievance is heard and that allegations are fully investigated.


AT THE SUPPORT MEETING

Where members are attending a “support meeting” and during the meeting they feel bullied, victimised or intimidated they should ask for the meeting to be suspended immediately, inform the Governor that they intend to submit a grievance and call for an investigation, due to their actions. If the Governor insists on continuing (which is highly likely) the member must advise the Governor that their actions could potentially compromise any future investigation, exacerbate the issue and that they are continuing under duress.


POST SUPPORT MEETING

Where members have attended a “support meeting” and feel they were bullied, victimised or intimidated they should enter into a grievance and call for an investigation.

THE GRIEVANCE

These allegations are serious and have the potential for a charge of gross misconduct to be recommended following an investigation and carry the potential for dismissal. Therefore, members should consider that one of their outcomes from the grievance should state that “Due to the nature of the allegations, I request a full investigation under PSO 1300 and PSI 06/2010”.

The Executive are aware that in some cases Governors try to undermine the grievance procedure, by instructing individuals who do not have the authority to resolve the grievance. If the Governor does instruct an individual who does not have the authority to resolve the grievance members should raise a second grievance over that decision, attend the grievance hearing and simply ask for it to be referred to an appropriate Manager who can deal with the issue and resolve the outcomes.

Please ensure that members and representatives retain copies of all correspondence, ask for hearings to be taped if the member wishes, ensure that any grievance is logged with the SSC and advise your NEC Representative of the issues.

Please draw the contents of this Circular to all your members and advise your Governor of the stance your members will be taking should they decide to call them to a support meeting which is of course voluntary.

Yours sincerely

 

MIKE ROLFE
National Chair