Personal Independence Payments Dispute Resolution Team Update:

14 May 2019

 Employee Deal 6 , Annual Leave and Targets

ED Rotation 6: move to 8pm opening in PIP DRT

The percentage of staff required to work past 5pm in PIP DRT has been reduced from 9% to 6%. Whilst the late tentpole is now moved to 8pm, overall there will be a reduction in the number of staff working after 5pm. This is part of a “test and learn” that PCS hopes will show how lower percentages won’t impact claimants, allowing the percentages to be reduced in other parts of DWP.

Some sites have reported that the number of late finishes being required from staff has actually gone up. There are reasons why an individual member of staff might do more this time around (e.g. the pool of staff who can reasonably work until 8pm might be smaller than the pool of those who can work until 6.30pm) but overall there will be a reduction.

Managers will have figures for how many lates are needed by site, how many people have opted out and will have a rough idea about how many people have reasons which prevent them working until 8pm, or which reduce the number of late finishes they can reasonably do. Reps have every right to ask for this information and to discuss with site managers how best to ensure no one feels pressured to do more lates than is reasonable. The gather of preferences should be done properly without coercion to establish the baseline and there should be team meetings to discuss collectively where the gaps are and how these can be covered and if it is possible.

Reps for PIP DRT sites should ask for a review of end-of-day arrangements for their site and to check the arrangements for G4S presence, to let members know.

Annual Leave

At the last discussion with Richard West, his view was exceedingly clear that he expects all DRT sites to be working to leave limits of 25% of all staff. However some reps have been told it is 18%. This is not true. Management has been reorganised into Work and Health, and Service Design and Transformation, with individual managers changing their responsibilities, but TUS have not been notified of a change and we expect sites to adhere to 25%. Senior managers from both Disability Services and DRT at our recent meeting with them were astounded to hear that local managers were attempting to restrict annual leave especially after the schedule has been locked down. PCS had raised that local managers were attempting to restrict annual leave even when leave is available and use the short notice annual leave policy incorrectly where the restriction of only 3 days per quarter only applies to in-day leave applications. Senior managers were clear that WFM is only a planning tool and should not be used to make decisions, and access to annual leave should be maximised and certainly not restricted artificially. They agreed that whilst there is widespread use of the term short notice annual leave that this is very different to the very specific use of the term in the Annual Leave policy which is about in-day leave and that the restrictions of 3 days per quarter do not apply outside of the in-day applications.

PIP Appeal Writing: Annual Leave and Targets

Last week a message went out to all sites which informed staff of a restriction to all leave, and which implied or openly stated that staff were being measured by a target of 1.6 appeals per day, under a new PIP appeal recovery plan. PCS negotiators immediately raised this with the responsible senior manager.

There are no individual targets in PIP DRT, no one will be accountable for an individual target. The message that has reached staff has been truncated; the 1.6 figure is what emerges if you divide the needed number of appeals across the total number of appeal writers, but this is not something individual appeal writers need to worry about. If there are any instances of this being used as a target in conversations with staff, it should be vigorously challenged with the manager responsible, with site management and then sent up to the GEC.

There is no restriction to annual leave. The message which went out from senior managers emphasised the need for managers to ensure that enough staff were present to help deliver the recovery plan, but the view of senior leaders is that this is a business-as-usual practice. With that in mind, our view is that the 25% leave level continues to apply, as per discussions with DSDRD national management, and instances of refusal should be challenged by grievance in the first instance.

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