News from the GEC

24 Jul 2018

Your GEC met in Leeds on 18 and 19 July to discuss issues and agree actions in respect of the current bargaining agenda.

The following are just some of the issues that were discussed.

Please continue to read Michael Ka-vanagh’s weekly update for further information as these issues progress.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries about the following issues

Dave Lunn HMLR Group Vice President

Privatisation

It was noted that we are still awaiting the government response to the HMLR privatisation consultation, which is now well over a year overdue.

We have asked the Chief to chase this through the LR Board, but are also considering raising the delay in parliament through the PCS Parliamentary Group, to start to ramp up the pressure.

This is vitally important for us, as we are convinced that the responses will clearly show that HMLR is viewed very much as a vital public service. This will be invaluable for future campaigns.

Business Strategy

Your GEC noted that the Business Strategy Agreement which provides important assuranc-es in respect of jobs, offices, recruitment, out-sourcing and the digital agenda, has now been formally been signed by Michael Kavanagh on behalf of the DTUS and Caroline Anderson on behalf of departmental management.

It was reported that we are awaiting consulta-tion on strategic workforce planning, which should provide a clearer picture and hopefully allow us to make further progress on recruit-ment and progression opportunities across all grades. Much of this will be dependent on the Organisational Design Principles being rolled out across Registration Services and more widely.

Model Office

It was noted that the arguments in our Sur-render and re-grant submission were pivotal in influencing the decision not to proceed with changes to the way we process Surrender and Regrant leases at this time.

Following on from the discussion at PCS conference in May, the GEC had a further discussion on POD working. It remains the case that the experiences of POD working differ from office to office, but in several locations there appears to have been an increase in micro management and in some cases the use of individual target setting, which is not only contrary to departmental policy and agreements, but also flies in the face of the new HMLR culture that is being pushed from the top of the organisation.

It was agreed that alongside local representations, the PCS team will take these continuing problems up with departmental management. The GEC will also continue to seek the views of members through their branch reps.

2018 Pay

Your GEC are still waiting to hear from de-partmental management in respect of what HMLR are proposing for 2018 pay.

PCS has made it clear that we expect management to make the case to pay us significantly more than the 1 - 1.5% set out in the Cabinet Office guidance. We are hop-ing to be in a position to lodge a PCS pay claim very shortly, which will not only provide an inflation proofed pay rise but will start to address what has been lost since 2010 and bring us in line with other civil service bodies.

It was recognised that a high turnout from HMLR members in the Pay ballot will pro-vide additional leverage to support our rea-soned arguments in negotiations with de-partmental management.

Time Deregulation

It was reported that Fusion is now likely to be implemented in November.

It was reported that some senior managers appear to have been blaming time de-regulation for a recent dip in organisational performance.

Your GEC recognised that operational performance is affected by a variety of factors in-cluding continuous changes to the way we do our work, constantly changing and com-peting priorities (as a result of there not being enough staff to process the work that we get), ongoing recruitment and training and that the move to time deregulation is u-likely to have had any major impact on per-formance.

Recruitment and Progression

Your GEC noted that there are currently inter-linked reviews taking place looking at HMLR’s processes for recruitment and progression/ promotion.

A set of principles for future selection exercises are currently being worked on and it looks likely that there will be a move away from the flawed competence-based system towards a more experience-based method.

PCS will continue to be consulted as proposals are developed.

RO Casework Training

A review is currently underway, which is looking at the recent RO Casework train-ing paths. PCS continue to be consulted throughout this review and will have an opportunity to influence what is taken forward in respect of future RO casework training.

The GEC remains very clear that the cu-rent training path based on numerical output and accuracy targets within tight time scales is not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced by a more holistic training programme that seeks to embed understanding and support our RO col-leagues rather than setting them up to fail.

We believe that such a change of approach will benefit HMLR as much as the individuals concerned, as it will build a solid base to develop the caseworkers of the future.

Diversity and inclusion

Your GEC noted the progress made on Mental Health with the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders and changes to the sickness ab-sence policy, which allows for line manager judgement to be exercised when dealing with someone who has been absent with a mental health condition.

In line with PCS policy, the GEC has already approached management setting out what PCS wish to achieve (agreed at our conference in May) in respect of Neuro Diverse conditions such as Autism, Asperger’s, Dyspraxia etc, which may not be covered by mental health pro-visions.

We look forward to talks with HR in the coming months and hope to be able to make real pro-gress for our members living with these condi-tions.

We will report back to members as talks progress on all these issues.

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