The Group Executive Committee (GEC) were recently made aware by reps that Work Coaches in Jobcentres have been asked to issue sanctions without any consultation with PCS
This development has understandably been met with anger by those members involved. The Work Coaches have been asked to impose a sanction on customers who fail to contact DWP within 5 working days. This process includes uploading a notification letter to the customer’s journal which includes the member of staff having to provide their full name. The GEC immediately wrote to management to express our disappointment that this had been introduced with no consultation. Furthermore, we requested that the new UCFS Failed to Attend Process is suspended pending the appropriate consultation and that a copy of the Risk Assessment is shared with PCS.
Work Coaches names on FTA Sanction
Management responded stating that the new process was discussed at a Senior Leaders’ Network call on 28 August 2018 and that they expressed a view on potential improvements. Jobcentres have sought the ability to make these decisions locally and are keen to retain the facility and to make the process better. Management have advised that they recognise that a number of Work Coaches have concerns about their names appearing on the FTA sanction decision. Management have clarified that Work Coaches will not be required to have their names on the decision itself.
PCS Respond to Management
PCS met with management on 4 September 2018 and expressed our disappointment that some of the points we raised with them have not been addressed. Management did not acknowledge our requests to see the Risk Assessment and to suspend the new UCFS Failed to Attend Process pending appropriate consultation. PCS have once again reiterated that the new process is suspended and that the decision by UCFS management in Scotland, that Work Coaches do not have to carry out the process if they have Health and Safety concerns, is applied across the country. Management confirmed that sanctions would not be stockpiled as a result of staff not issuing sanctions. The GEC also have concerns that Jobcentres will have the ability to make decisions locally as this will circumvent consultation which should be at a national level. Management agreed to take away our concerns raised at the meeting and will respond in due course.
Guidance for Members
The view of the GEC is that until management have engaged in appropriate consultation that no Work Coach should issue a sanction if they have Health and Safety concerns. The GEC share the concerns of our Work Coach members and have notified management that we will be issuing this guidance. As there has been no meaningful consultation, the view of the GEC is that asking Work Coaches to issue a sanction is not a reasonable management request. If any member has any concerns regarding this situation then they should speak with their local rep in the first place. The GEC will provide an update when management respond.