Improvements to Employee Relations

24 Aug 2009

The talks aimed at improving members' terms and conditions included discussions on improvements to the ER Framework. As a result of those talks PCS has secured a number of improvements to the way DWP will deal with Employee Relations.

We believe that these improvements will be welcomed by PCS representatives as a first step in improving the ER climate, establishing with managers at every level that PCS representatives carry out an essential role in representing members’ views and protecting their interests.

The improvements include -

  • A commitment to early engagement with the union
  • A commitment to engage constructively
  • Each side to respect the need of the other to represent their constituencies.
  • Recognising the right for PCS to represent members robustly
  • Sharing honest candid information freely
  • Commitment to seeking to resolve issues.

Working towards an agreed ER framework

However the changes whilst welcome do not mean that the ER Framework as a whole has been agreed by PCS. Instead we have agreed that talks will resume within the next six months with a view to building on the improvements and hopefully moving towards an agreement on a new ER Framework in the future.

Gathering information

Both DWP and PCS are keen to have reliable information on the usage of Facility Time to inform the discussion on a revised ER Framework. DWP want PCS reps to use the RM system to ensure that the data that is held is as accurate as possible. However DWP accepts the case put forward by PCS that the main reason PCS reps and managers do not use RM for dealing with FT is because of the problems associated with it. We are therefore meeting with management to discuss how these problems can be resolved so that PCS reps can feel confident in using the RM system in the future and we can have reliable data on which to base future discussions.

Details of improvements

National Consultation

  • Early engagement with the union
  • Consultation by the most appropriate method
  • To maintain correspondence between meetings
  • That managers and TU representatives will engage constructively

Principles of Employee Relations Engagement

The management and PCS in DWP agree the following principles of engagement which all managers and union representatives will endeavour to honour:

Recognition of positions:


  • Each side will understand and appreciate the legitimate difference in interests and priorities of the other
  • Each side will respect the need of the other to represent their respective constituencies

Both parties will:


  • Engage constructively to resolve issues and reach agreement wherever possible at the most appropriate level
  • Present their viewpoint in a professional and reasonable and honest manner
  • Share honest candid information freely
  • Be mindful of their shared interest in not damaging the reputation of either the Civil Service or of DWP

Managers will:


  • Discuss plans and initiatives for the future prior to any detailed planning stage and at the earliest possible time
  • Be committed to genuine negotiation and meaningful consultation

PCS will:


  • Use the unions democratic structures to ensure it represents the views of the majority of its members
  • Respect agreed conditions of confidentiality
  • Need to represent members robustly and that will be respected by management

Management and PCS are committed to:


  • The future success of DWP
  • Improving services to the public
  • The promotion of equality of opportunity


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