Policy changes at WSCC

WSCC is currently consulting with UNISON on changes to its discipline, performance improvement and sickness policies. This would only affect non-schools staff.

‘Formal action’ policy

WSCC wants to convert all three policies into a single ‘formal action’ document. All three policies are lengthy and complex, and we remain to be convinced that the council will be better served by a single, stripped down policy, particularly when their purposes are so different. Our feedback so far has seen a number of changes made to the proposals. We are awaiting to see what the council wants to do next.

Discipline policy

In March we inputted to changes to the discipline policy to help make that fit for purpose.

We are however very concerned about how this policy has recently worked in practice and the harm it is doing to staff.

We will report back soon to members if we cannot reach agreement with the council.

Standards of conduct

UNISON has also been working hard for over a year on the county council’s ‘standards of conduct’ policy. This draws together all the council’s expectations and standards of behaviour for staff into a single document e.g. IT use, acceptance of gifts. The starting intention was to make this document a new, variation of contract that staff would be expected to sign. This will not now be the case and we await the final published document imminently.

Sexual harassment

UNISON also noticed a lack of reference to, or definition of, sexual harassment in the council’s policies. We are working with the council to ensure that this is brought up-to-date, to help protect council staff – and women in particular – from sexual harassment in the workplace.