PCS is keen to ensure that reps are adequately supported and know where to go for advice to assist them in resolving these queries. Here are some sources of advice that reps may wish to turn to when they are dealing with a query from a member.
1. Advice sources for members
We have prepared a guidance note for members, outlining some key sources of general advice. You may want to use some of the same resources yourself.
2. Your PCS branch officers
Within your branch, you may have access to more experienced representatives, who can assist with queries. Your branch should send out details of who does what, including details of your branch secretary, organiser and if your branch has an equality rep or officer.
3. PCS group structures
The majority of branches within PCS are organised into bargaining groups. These larger groups also have lay structures that can provide support to local representatives.
On the 'Where I work' section of the site you will find details of how your section of PCS is organised and the contact details for group officials. Several areas also have updates on current issues within their areas and guidance on dealing with personal cases.
PCS also operates several occupational associations and other similar structures, which bring together, from across different employers, members who are doing similar work. The officers serving such structures can offer particular insight into the issues affecting these occupations. These include: public sector group, call centre forum, support and related grades, professional and managers association and commercial sector forum.
Every part of PCS should produce a personal case management guide, outlining how your area within PCS deals with personal case issues. This should include the roles and responsibilities of reps and officers, who within your area might have access to our telephone legal advice service and contact details for reps within your group.
4. PCS headquarters
There are several central policy departments within PCS HQ that may be able to offer general advice and guidance on issues that members may bring to you.
It is important to remember that these will usually not know specifics about your employer's policies and procedures but they can offer advice on best practice and on what the law says.
Key departments include:
PCS information service and library
The PCS information service provides a quick and reliable source of information and guidance for branch and workplace representatives on a wide range of employment and industrial relations issues, including pensions, and the civil service compensation and injury benefit schemes.
You can e-mail the information service: email@example.com
or contact the PCS reps' helpline: 020 7801 2650.
The reps' helpline is available Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm.
Legal, equality, education and policy support department
LEEPS brings together several areas of potential advice for reps.
The equality and health and safety unit covers all equality and health and safety issues, including time off for safety reps.
Email on Equality@pcs.org.uk or Healthandsafety@pcs.org.uk
Or phone 020 7801 2683
The education unit handles training issues for members and reps across PCS. Phone 020 7801 2602
Legal and personal case unit, as the name suggests, coordinates guidance and advice on handling personal cases and oversees the PCS employment law advice scheme. It also administers the PCS personal injury scheme.
The unit is also responsible for the production of the PCS Personal Cases Guide, which should be available in every PCS workplace. As well as detailing information on how personal cases can be best handled, it has general guidlines on issues such as ill health retirement, pensions, discrimination, bullying and the employment law scheme.
Campaigns and communications
The campaigns and communications department are responsible for the PCS website, design and production of PCS materials and member magazines and oversee the various campaigns that PCS is involved in.
The best way to prepare yourself to handle members’ queries is by taking advantage of the training opportunities that PCS offers to its representatives.
PCS has identified training pathways for reps.
There are a series of courses on personal case handling as well as more general training for new union representatives.