police community support officer speaking into a radio

UNISON is recommending you vote YES to the changes to your terms and conditions

>Vote online now

 

UNISON, together with Unite and GMB, has negotiated a series of changes to the Police Staff Council Handbook of Pay and Conditions.

If you are a trade union member working for a force which follows the Police Staff Council Handbook in England and Wales, you now have the chance to vote on this package.

All three recognised unions are recommending that members vote YES in the ballot to accept these changes.

Read about the changes to terms and conditions

Vote yes in the police ballot

 

> Vote online now

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police community support officer speaking into a radio

Police staff agree to terms and conditions changes

Members in England and Wales vote in favour of changes to the Police Staff Handbook, which will come into effect on 1 April

Policing is changing

We caught up with police and justice service group chair Caryl Nobbs to talk about the changes to policing and why she hopes police members vote in the terms and conditions ballot taking place in England and Wales

Police staff members voting on changes to terms and conditions

Ballot papers are on their way to police staff in England and Wales

Changes to terms

Improvements

    • New right to know rest days 12 months in advance
    • New right to know start and finish times with three months notice
    • Changes to planned working patterns inside three months in future only permitted as a result of ‘exigencies of duty’
    • New definition of ‘exigencies of duty’ to protect staff interests
    • Reduction in the qualifying period for staff to be paid for temporary higher responsibilities
    • Lower threshold for the minimum period of overtime that can be reckoned for payment: from 30 minutes down to 15 minutes
    • Removal of ability of forces to ‘require’ staff at short notice to:
      ○ alter start time by three hours or more
      ○ work on a day not originally planned
    • Improved time off in lieu (TOIL) for working
      on a day not originally published
    • TOIL not taken within three months to be automatically paid in next available payroll
    • Improved TOIL for working on a public holiday
    • New overnight allowance for mutual aidwork etc
    • Minimum annual leave increased from 22 days on appointment and 27 days after 5 years to 23 days on appointment and 28 days after 5 years. (N.b. if you already enjoy more annual leave than 22/27 days this will be unaffected and will continue)
    • Maternity leave increased from 12 months to 15 months (all employees)
    • Maternity pay increased from the equivalent of 12 weeks full pay to 18 weeks full pay (for employees with one years service)
    • Adoption pay increased from 6 weeks at 9/10ths of full pay to 18 weeks at full pay (for employees with one years service)
    • Minimum compensation payments in the event of death or permanent disablement arising from assault increased from £35,000 to £60,000
Reductions
    • Overtime rate for working Monday to Friday 07.00 to 19.00 reduced from time and a half to plain time
    • Overtime rate for working Sundays reduced from double time to time and a half
    • All other overtime rates to remain unchanged
    • Abolition of existing casual car user mileage allowances and replacement with single rates of:
      ○ 45p/mile for first 10,000 miles
      ○ 25p/mile thereafter

 

 

 

FAQs

FAQs

  • Why am I being balloted?

    You are being invited to vote on proposals to change the terms and conditions in the Police Staff Council Handbook which apply to you.

  • Can I join UNISON to take part in the ballot?

    Yes. You can join by speaking to your local UNISON branch. Every effort will be made to ensure that new members registered on the UNISON Membership system by 12 noon on Friday 3 February will receive a ballot paper. Only trade union members will get a vote in this ballot.

  • What is the Police Staff Council?

    The Police Staff Council is the negotiating body which sets the terms and conditions for police staff working for most forces in England and Wales.

    These terms and conditions are set out in the Police Staff Council Handbook.

    Most police forces incorporate these terms and conditions into the contracts of employment of their police staff, although it is possible to change the Handbook by agreement with unions at force level (see answer to Question 7 for more detail).

  • What information will I have in order to be able to decide how to vote?

    You can download these materials:

    These are also available on the ‘Resources’ tab on this page or from your local UNISON branch in your force.

    At force level, your UNISON branch will be making available a guide to the local collective agreements in your force with information on the impact (if any) of these local agreements on the proposals to change the Police Staff Council Handbook

  • How can I ask questions on the proposals?

    Your local UNISON branch will be holding briefing sessions in force to allow members to hear in more detail about the proposals and to respond to any questions you may have. Contact your branch in force to find out more details.

  • How will the ballot take place?

    If you work for a force which follows the Police Staff Council Handbook, you will receive a ballot paper at your home address on, or around 23 January.

    UNISON has commissioned the independent ballot scrutineer Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to run the ballot for us.

    Please look out for a white A5 envelope with the following on the cover: ‘VOTE YES FOR CHANGES TO YOUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS: BALLOT PAPER ENCLOSED’

    You can vote one of two ways:

    • By post, by returning your completed ballot paper in the pre-paid envelope
    • Online, by visiting the ERS website and entering a unique code which you can find on your ballot paper
  • What if I don’t receive a ballot paper?

    Members who do not receive their ballot pack by Thursday 26 January will be able to request this by ringing UNISON direct on: 0800 0857 857.

    This service will be available from 12 noon on Thursday 26 January until 12 noon on Tuesday 7 February.

  • When does the ballot close?

    The ballot closes at 12 noon on Friday 10 February. Please ensure that you have voted in time for your ballot paper to be registered by ERS by this date/time.

  • Why is the ballot taking place now?

    In 2010 the new government had a plan to reduce your pay and conditions, as they did for your police officer colleagues. These were called the Winsor proposals and for police staff they would have led to:

    • Abolition of weekend working allowance
    • Reduction in public holiday working rate
    • Plain time working on Sundays
    • A two year increment freeze
    • The halving of standby allowance to £15
    • Police staff in low wage parts of England and Wales to have their pay reduced to market rates
    • The ‘least effective’ 10% of the workforce to be subject to unsatisfactory performance measures
    • Performance related pay to be introduced
    • The replacement of all the current shift allowances with a single unsocial hours payment of double time for any work between 20.00 and 06.00

    UNISON successfully fought off these proposals, because they were not fair. But the threat didn’t go away and the police employers came back with new proposals in 2014.

    UNISON agreed to get involved in talks to see if we could negotiate a fair package of reforms. We think we have achieved this, which is why we are recommending the changes to you now.

  • Why is UNISON recommending that members vote YES to accept the changes?

    As a result of two years of negotiations, we now have a balanced and fair package of proposals which UNISON, and the other police staff trade unions UNITE and GMB, are recommending, because they will:

    • protect the most important shift allowances, which remain unchanged
    • improve the work life balance of police staff, particularly shift workers
    • increase some key benefits for police staff (see answer to Question 10 below for more detail)
    • protect national collective bargaining
  • Did the employers want to reduce shift pay?

    Yes, when we started the negotiations over these proposals back in 2014, the employers wanted to:

    • Reduce payments for working shifts
    • Reduce payments for working unsocial hours

    We looked at alternative shift pay arrangements as part of the negotiations, but it was not possible to come up with proposals which UNISON was prepared to recommend to members. So we are sticking with the existing shift pay allowances. We have also protected standby allowance.

  • What are the improvements in the proposals?

    A better work-life balance

    • New right to know rest days 12 months in advance
    • New right to know start and finish times with three months notice
    • Changes to planned working patterns inside three months in future only permitted as a result of ‘exigencies of duty’
    • New tighter definition of ‘exigencies of duty’ to protect staff interests
    • Removal of ability of forces to ‘require’ staff at short notice to: o alter start time by three hours or more o work on a day not originally planned Easier Access to Premium Payments
    • Reduction in the qualifying period for staff to be paid for temporary higher responsibilities
    • Lower threshold for the minimum period of overtime that can be reckoned for payment: from 30 minutes down to 15 minutes
    • Allowing part-timers equal access to irregular hours allowance
    • Improved time off in lieu (TOIL) for working on a day not originally published
    • TOIL not taken within three months to be automatically paid in next available payroll
    • Improved TOIL for working on a public holiday
    • New overnight allowance for mutual aid work etc
    • Allowing 9-5 workers access to premium payments which were previously available only to shift workers Better Leave/Maternity/Adoption Benefits
    • Minimum annual leave increased 23 days on appointment and 28 days after 5 years. (N.b. if you are already entitled to 23 days or more on appointment this will not change.)
    • Maternity leave increased from 12 months to 15 months (for all employees)
    • Maternity pay increased from 12 weeks full pay to 18 weeks full pay (for employees with one year’s service)
    • Adoption pay increased from 6 weeks at 9/10th of full pay to 18 weeks at full pay (for employees with one year’s service)
    • Minimum compensation payments in the event of death or permanent disablement arising from assault increased from £35,000 to £60,000
  • What are the reductions in the proposals?

    In return for the improvements in the package, the employers have proposed the following reductions in terms and conditions:

    • Overtime rate for working Monday to Friday 07.00 to 19.00 reduced from time and a half to plain time
    • Overtime rate for working Sundays reduced from double time to time and a half
    • All other overtime rates to remain unchanged
    • Abolition of existing casual car user allowances and replacement with single rates of: o 45p/mile for first 10,000 miles o 25p/mile thereafter
  • How will the proposals protect national collective bargaining?

    Some police forces have threatened that they might leave the Police Staff Council in order to make it easier for them to change police staff pay and conditions locally.

    At present, UNISON can rely on the strength of our 27,500 police staff members to protect the most important terms and conditions nationally at the Police Staff Council.

    The proposals on which we are consulting you now will help to secure the future for the Police Staff Council.

    If the proposals are rejected, it runs the risk of forces pulling out of the Council in order to try to reform pay and conditions locally.

    Members in those forces will lose the protection of national collective bargaining if this happens.

    UNISON does not believe that this would be in the interests of members, which is another key reason we are recommending the proposed changes to you.

    This is part of the bigger picture of the future of police staff pay and conditions and is an important consideration to take into account when you are voting on the proposals.

  • What about local agreements on terms and conditions in my force?

    Some forces have agreed changes to the Police Staff Council Handbook of Terms and Conditions with UNISON locally.

    Where this has happened, your UNISON branch will be able to confirm to you what impact, if any, the local agreements in your force will have on the national proposals.

  • Have the proposals been equality-proofed?

    Yes. Before UNISON could put these proposals to you, we commissioned an independent equalities expert to look at final proposals and give them the all clear from an equality point of view.