PCS challenged the Insolvency Service managers alleging that planned recruitment practices were unlawful. As a result ORS managers have suspended all recruitment campaigns and will now be offering all fixed term appointment staff permanent posts in the near future, including those still on probation.
ORS managers have also given an assurance that L1 and other staff non-examiner staff within ORS will also be given imminent opportunity for career advancement in examiner roles.
For the last few years Insolvency Service management have been using fixed term appointments as a sticking plaster to mask the deficit in permanent staffing in the department relying on the spurious justification that there was uncertainty over long term insolvency numbers.
Therefore, when management informed PCS that they planned to move away from relying on FTA posts in favour of permanent posts PCS welcomed this. However, despite repeated concerns being raised by PCS and our sister unions that any recruitment campaign risked discriminatory outcomes (what management have referred to as “anomalies” in their recent update to staff) and that those who had been recruited in fair and open competition in FTA roles should be converted to permanency management persisted in requiring that FTA staff in particular would be treated less favourably than other workers and would be required to apply and interview for the role when other staff did not need to do so.
On 21 May PCS objected to the Insolvency Service's continued reliance on unfair recruitment practices and put management on notice that any continuation of this practice risked PCS pursuing legal action to challenge this practice. In response to that challenge management reviewed its position and on 22 May all official receivers were instructed to suspend all examiner recruitment exercises after a decision was taken.
Although it should have happened much sooner this is a good result that ensures all current FTA staff will now have security of employment going forward thanks to PCS' intervention.
What this means for current FTA staff
All FTA staff currently working as an examiner in ORS will now be offered a permanent contract. PCS have been advised this will be happening imminently, this will apply to all FTA staff irrespective of when they began their employment with the Insolvency Service.
The only exception to this is for any FTA staff who are currently subject to formal poor performance proceedings; if any members are affected by this they are strongly encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can provide individual assistance.
What this means for other staff
Unfortunately, the employer's mishandling of this recruitment exercise will mean some members had applied for an examiner post and now been informed that there application has been withdrawn.
ORS managers have assured PCS that they expect that new examiner opportunities which will be available to all staff will be advertised imminently.
PCS is continuing to monitor this situation. In particular, we will be consulting with the employer to try to ensure that the whole process is completed quickly, that the new posts do not result in any degradation of terms and conditions (such as pay levels involved in the conversion of B grade employees to L grade posts) or other unfair treatment arising from previous FTA work.
We encourage any member with any concerns about this to get in touch with us.
Ask a Colleague to Join PCS
The more members PCS have in the Insolvency Service the better we can represent your interests. If you have a colleague who is not a PCS member please ask them to consider joining.
Any FTA or Agency worker who joins PCS and is not a former PCS member can join with the first six months membership free.