The NEC has agreed that each multi-departmental building/site in the UK civil service should have an overarching Health and Safety committee as per the relevant H&S regulations. The DWP group will be part of this work
The health and safety structures in DWP will not be affected. There will still be site specific meetings arranged after inspections whether they are virtual or not. There should be district meetings that cover all parts of DWP, then the same at regional or DWP group level. Then there are national meetings that cover the whole of DWP as well as some specific parts of the business. The premise of the DWP structure is that issues should be sorted at the lowest possible level and that escalations go through the stages listed.
Many of the DWP offices share sites with other organisations. If they are different DWP parts of the business, then they should already be part of the health and safety committee structure already. If they are not that needs to be addressed.
Where the occupiers of the building DWP staff work in is another organisation or another part of the civil service there needs to be a health and safety meetings. This should be the case whether we are a major or minor occupants. Therefore, this will include co-locations. Some offices have these and some of them are called house committees.
The covid crisis has demonstrated where these are set up as they should be and where they work and where they don’t. It’s important that there is joint understanding around the common areas especially regarding the cleaning regime and notifying other occupants around covid cases.
The national union is putting together a model terms of reference and letter to manager but prior to that we have some actions that we would like branches to do.
What we want branch reps to do
Make a list of the sites in your branch, tell us who is on your site and if your site safety committee covers all occupants. Please send us one list per branch. To make it easier we have attached a table for you to use