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2007 Police Staff Service Group Conference
20 June 2007

This Conference is concerned at the increasing prevalence for Police Forces to implement the right to withdraw Self-Certification under Absence Management, Capability and Discipline Policies and Procedures.

Police Forces either withdraw the employee’s right to Self Certify or demand a GP’s certificate during the first seven days of absence to confirm that the employee is or was medically unfit to attend work.

This occurs principally under Absence or Attendance Management Procedures, though often also occurs under Capability and Discipline Procedures.

Conference notes that GP’s are under no obligation to provide a medical certificate for the first seven days of absence (Royal College of GP’s Report ‘Making a Difference: Reducing Burdens on GP’s, minute 6 (c)). Regulation 2(2) of the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985 SI No 1604 states:

‘an employee shall not be required under Section 17(2) of the 1982 Act to provide medical information in respect of the first seven days in any spell of incapacity for work; and for this purpose ‘spell of incapacity’ means a day which the claimant either worked or was not capable of work’.

Police Forces argue that these Regulations only relate to receipt of statutory sick pay and therefore are at liberty to demand a GP’s certificate during the period of self certification to confirm medical incapacity where they do not believe the employee is ill or use this to pressurise employees to return to work and meet the attendance management targets.

Conference believes the withdrawal of self-certification is an insidious practice to the detriment of UNISON members and may well be discriminatory when applied to disabled employees.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive:

1To provide support and information to Branches on how to resist or overturn the withdrawal of self-certification in such circumstances.

2Commence and rigorously pursue discussions through the Police Staff Council seeking to agree joint guidance to be issued to all Police Forces and Branches.