- 2013 Police & Justice Conference
- 12 June 2013
This Conference approves the report of the Police and Justice Service Group Executive on Pay Consultation Procedures set out below:
Pay Consultation Procedures: Police and Justice Service Group
1. This report sets out the Service Group Executive’s consultation procedure with members and branches on employers’ pay offers. The Police and Justice Service Group Conference is asked to endorse the report.
2. Ensuring maximum participation of members in consultation over pay offers is a top priority for the Service Group. Past consultation exercises have not always yielded a high response rate. This causes some concern. It is important that members are aware of any pay offer and have the maximum opportunity to respond to it.
3. Around 14% of police staff members and 16% of probation staff participated in the 2012 pay consultation exercises. It is suggested that the higher response rate could be achieved by the use of membership ballots.
4. It is therefore proposed that all branches with members in the sector subject to the pay offer undertake a consultation exercise with the relevant members on employers’ offers. The exercise must be undertaken in a consistent way across branches and regions, with members being asked the same questions.
5. Branches need some flexibility over the methods used to consult with members, in order to suit local circumstances. For example, a widely scattered membership may make the holding of workplace meetings impossible and branches may decide to hold a ballot.
6. The Service Group Executive believes that the recommended procedure below, satisfactorily addresses this issue.
Recommended Consultation Procedure
7. The following procedure aims to ensure maximum membership participation in the decision making process at every level of the union:
a)Any recommendation on a pay offer will be made by the relevant sector committee who will determine the consultation question and the timetable to be put to members.
b)Branches with members covered by the negotiations will be urged to hold meetings before the voting process takes place. They will also be encouraged to ensure that members have the chance to discuss the claim itself prior to voting on it. Particular efforts need to be made to ensure that members of dispersed and isolated workplaces are involved in discussion of the claim at workplace meetings. This also applies to those whose working hours fall outside of “core” working patterns.
c)Branches should ensure that all members have the opportunity to take part in the final vote on any pay offer. A ballot of members is likely to produce the highest participation rate, particularly in dispersed branches or where there are few stewards. A combination of branch and workplace meetings is acceptable, where the branch believe it will produce the highest possible response. In any case, branches should record only those members actually voting, not the whole branch membership.
d)Branches will then aggregate the votes for and against the national recommendation and send them to their Regional Police & Justice Secretaries within the specified timetable.
e)Regions should take a leading role in ensuring that branches take part in consultation and balloting on pay offers. Regions shall be encouraged to hold meetings for branches covered by the pay offer, in order to debate the proposals and how to encourage membership participation in the consultation exercise. It will be for regions to determine the arrangements for such meetings. They should take all necessary steps to ensure a high turnout and give assistance to branches including practical support where requested to ensure that ballots are effectively carried out. Regions will be responsible for aggregating branch views into a regional response and transmitting them to national level together with any resolutions or advice. Regions should be responsible for ensuring that every branch responds and their votes are recorded into regional returns, that the correct question is being asked by branches, and that the aggregate totals quoted actually represent those attending and voting at workplace meeting. The timetable should allow time for disputed figures to be queried.
8. The Service Group Executive believes that this consultation procedure provides a sound approach for consulting all members on the acceptability of employers’ pay offers. However, branches have to hold the meetings with members and/or organise ballots and undertake other necessary work. They should receive assistance and support from regions and national level in undertaking this work. These practical suggestions for improving participation will, if followed, help ensure as representative an outcome as possible from the consultation process.