UNISON has reported previously on our concerns about how WSCC conducts its formal HR processes.
Our concerns coincided with the arrival of a new HR director from Croydon. Sickness and discipline processes became more erratic and arbitrary changes were often introduced. Lengthy delays to discipline processes were causing mental health problems for staff.
UNISON’s requested changes were not introduced, but rather we were approached with the bizarre idea of merging three of the key employment policies into a single formal action policy (sickness absence, discipline and capability). UNISON engaged in a complex discussion with the employer over the best part of a year. We pointed out where the proposals would be unhelpful in practice, corrected mistakes, and helped to smooth the worst edges of what would have been too complex a policy for managers to use effectively. But we had reached the end of that discussion.
Then, due to the change of leadership at the council, we were approached by the acting chief executive at the time who asked UNISON to write a paper on the proposals. We did so, and called for them not to be implemented. This request from UNISON was ‘listened to and acted upon’, and the single formal action policy cancelled. Instead, WSCC now intends to keep and work to improve its individual policies. UNISON looks forward to supporting this in 2020.
There is still much to be done to improve HR processes at WSCC and UNISON does not underestimate the size of the task ahead. But we are pleased we will not have an unnecessary and unworkable policy layered on top of an already difficult situation.
If you need support with a formal employment procedure, contact your local rep.