Health and Safety in the probation service

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2016 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
14 June 2016

Conference notes with concern that the new contracts in the Probation Service agreed by the Ministry of Justice do not take account of many health and safety and data protection issues.

Members working in the service report that:

a)the layout of the workspace leads to interviews with clients being conducted in open-plan offices, with no privacy;

b)reception areas have been removed, consequently unauthorised people can access the work area, creating disturbance and potentially creating dangerous situations for workers and clients;

c)there is no security in the event of an aggressive client, intruder or interviewee;

d)little consideration is given to the safety requirements for lone workers – again potentially increasing the risk to both the staff and client;

e)the introduction of mobile working has not involved appropriate risk assessment and adjustments as necessary, leading to staff suffering shoulder and back injuries from transporting case files.

Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

1)raise these concerns with all appropriate bodies, and to seek to ensure that these health and safety and confidentiality considerations are properly addressed;

2)issue guidance to branches on conducting risk assessments, the rights of workers in the Probation Service and the responsibilities of employers to ensure the safety of their staff.