- 2013 Police & Justice Conference
- 12 June 2013
Conference is extremely concerned at the lack of Home Office guidance for the Stage 2 transfers of police staff from the employment of police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to chief constables or local authorities. Conference notes that:
1)UNISON wrote to the Police Minister on 11 January 2013 to ask about plans to reconvene the Home Office transition board which had overseen the previous stage 1 transfers from police authorities to PCCs.
2)On 14 February 2013, the Police Minister responded by confirming that there was no intention to reconvene the transition board, and that: ‘…it is the view of the Government that negotiations and decisions relating to stage two transfers should take place between PCCs and their respective chief constables.’
3)Both the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and ACPO are working on their own individual guides to the Stage 2 transfers.
4)The Home Secretary wrote to PCCs on 27 March 2013 directing them to make a stage 2 police staff transfer scheme and to submit this to her for her approval by 16 September 2013, as required under Schedule 15 of the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.
5)The Home Secretary’s letter refers only to transfer schemes covering transfers between PCCs and chief constables and fails to mention the statutory powers available to the Home Secretary to also approve transfer schemes relating to transfers from the PCC to a local authority.
6)On 8 April 2013, UNISON wrote to the Home Secretary to ask that she exercise her powers to scrutinise the transfer of police staff from PCCs to local authorities.
7)On 7 May 2013, the Police Minister responded on behalf of the Home Secretary to confirm that the Home Secretary would not issue direction in relation to police staff transfers to local authorities and that these transfers could proceed without a transfer scheme, or Home Office scrutiny.
8)In May 2013 it became clear that some PCCs were seeking to jump the gun on stage 2 transfers by changing the contracts of police staff to wrest direction and control from chief constables for certain groups of police staff in advance of the stage 2 transfer process proper.
9)It remains very unclear how pension liabilities will be split between PCCs and chief constables as part of the settlement between the parties post the stage 2 transfer.
10)On 13 May 2013, the Trade Union Side of the Police Staff Council submitted a draft PSC Stage 2 Transfer Guide to the Police Staff Council Employers to protect the interests of police staff in the stage 2 process.
11)On 4 June 2013, a working party was established comprising the Home Office, ACPO, APCC, PCC Chief Executives and Finance Officers and Police Staff Council Trade Union Side hopefully to provide much needed guidance on the stage 2 transfer process.
Conference believes that this chain of events shows conclusively the need for centrally agreed guidance, approved by all relevant stakeholders, to ensure that the stage 2 transfer process goes ahead in a consistent way in every force and that all police staff are afforded the same protections whether they are due to transfer to the chief constable, or local authority. Conference hopes that the working party established on 4 June provides the basis for this work.
Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to:
a)Seek to ensure that the Police Staff Council produces definitive guidance for PCCs, chief constables, unions and police staff covering all important aspects of the stage 2 transfer process.
b)Seek to ensure that this guidance is provided in a timely manner.
c)Seek to persuade the Home Secretary that she should take oversight of the stage 2 transfer of police staff from PCCs to local authorities, as provided for in Schedule 15 of the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.
d)Provide on-going advice and guidance on the stage 2 transfer process to UNISON police staff branches.