Use this as a guide to help you think about your role and the sorts of information you need to collect to help members with problems and issues that arise.
- be professional
- be empathetic – but don’t raise false hopes or promise anything you can’t deliver
- make the member feel at ease
- check on union membership
- explain why you are interviewing the member
- make notes – and complete the PC1 form
- ask open questions – questions that do not have simply a yes/no answer
- avoid ‘leading’ questions – those which lead the member to give a certain answer
- ask the member what they want to have happen
- if necessary, explain that you need to take advice and will get back to the member with an assessment of the issue / problem / case
- maintain confidentiality - but explain to the member that you may need to discuss the issue with a branch officer or full time official
- agree actions with the member - even if it is just to arrange to meet again or get a bit more background information. Check again with the member how they want to progress
- check the main points at the end of the interview
- make arrangements for the next meeting
- If you’ve said you will, get back to the member with the assessment and explain it
Getting all the facts
Asking five key questions will help you get to the root of the issues:
- when? - what was the date and time of the incident(s)
- who? - who was involved
- where? - the place where the incident happened
- what? - what is the nature of the problem
- why? - the member’s explanation of what happened
Taking problems forward
- Based on your interview with the member, think about:
- What is the problem?
- What information or kinds of information might help you?
- What would your plan be? (What does the member want?)
- What would you do next?
- What would your objectives be?
- Where can you get help and advice? (See Problem/Information/Plan checklist in appendix Y)
Remember that you do not have to find out all the information yourself – you might agree that the member will find some of the information that you need.