- 2018 Health Care Service Group Conference
- 7 December 2017
Conference is fully aware of the continuous pressures placed upon NHS Organisations to make efficiency savings in both costs and systems. The NHS Employers have highlighted the work undertaken from the Junior Doctor recruitment experience in London, and a National Streamlining Steering Group was established to roll out the collaborative working programme on a regional basis.
In the Northern Region we have received information of the Streamlining Project where collaborative working is taking place between Health Education England and the 11 Trusts in the North East Region. The Project has established three workstreams to reduce duplication in recruitment and induction processes. These investigations claim that mutual benefits will be offered to both employers and staff who choose to move between NHS employers.
The Northern Region project is to improve administrative efficiencies, removing unnecessary tasks associated with the processes used in recruitment, statutory & mandatory training and occupational health. Trusts are working together and Information on the Project Stages has been shared with Staff Side Chairs in the form of regular newsletters and presentations.
The Recruitment Workstream has advised that trusts maximise their use of the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) Programme. This is a cost free service to NHS employers and the work has focused on ‘inter-authority transfers’ of staff.
Conference notes that NHS Improvement guidance to NHS and recent recommendations from CQC inspections have advised a consistent and efficient regional approach to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. In particular, Trusts are being recommended to sign up to the DBS Update Service. Currently, Trusts fund this cost for employees. However, the Streamlining Project Network has moved towards the revised cost for the annual fee of £13 to be passed back to the Employee. This is in addition to the initial DBS check fees, £30 for a Standard DBS check and £49.40 for an Enhanced DBS check.
NHS workers should not pay the cost for public protection. These charges should not be thrust on to staff, in particular, our lowest paid workers who have not had proper pay rises and are already struggling to cope. We know our members are already leaving to take less stressful roles outside the NHS. Extra financial burdens on staff will mean reducing earnings under the living wage.
Research in the Northern NHS Region has revealed Trusts are interpreting this differently and the guidance is not clear. The current NHS Employers guidance reports that as these checks are regarded as an employment requirement, and because of this, a large number of NHS trusts across the country have put in place arrangements to either pay for, or reimburse, fees to staff. The decision should not be for local discretion when the warning is given for ‘the need to be mindful of the impact upon individuals and full consultation within Staff Sides’.
In the Northern Region we have identified this issue to use as one of our Maximisation of Earnings campaign priorities.
Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:
1)Undertake research to establish which employers use the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and electronic DBS update service across health branches.
2)Collate information to identify which employers fund or reimburse staff for these costs, and establish whether there has been proper consultation within Health Branches.
3)Raise this issue within Staff Council and NHS Employer discussions to challenge this emerging practice to impose a further cut in the earnings of staff. Workers in the NHS should not be required to fund any initiative that offers tax relief claims for employers.
4)Develop further guidance for our branches to understand the variations in the DBS systems and provide support to encourage Staff Sides to reject any proposals where the plan is to impose charges.
5)Develop campaigning guidance in accordance with UNISON’s Pay Campaign and Maximisation of Earnings strategy. UNISON’s national policy should be to campaign for this charge to be funded by the NHS and not faced by workers in the NHS.