Suffolk Blog

Darren Jones  Suffolk County Lead   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  07508 111364

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

 

These are the results of a relief working survey undertaken by me in June 2015. The results of the survey have been shared with EEAST management, and are currently being reviewed at JWAG. The data has also been shared at the Norfolk,Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Local Partnership Forum which I currently chair. This information clearly shows the need for an urgent review of relief terms and conditions.  As this work progresses  I will provide staff with updates.

Kind Regards

 

Darren Jones

Suffolk County Lead

 

 

Q1 Are you a relief member of staff:

Answered: 290     Skipped: 0

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Yes

73.10%

212

No

26.90%

78

Total

 

290 

 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

 

Q2 What is your current staff grade?

Answered: 146     Skipped: 144

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

CCP

0.00%

0

ECP

0.00%

0

Paramedic

10.27%

15

Technician

7.53%

11

ECA

5.48%

8

Student Paramedic

71.23%

104

Student Technician

2.05%

3

HCRT

3.42%

5

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q3 Where is your work base?

Answered: 147     Skipped: 143

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Bedfordshire

7.48%

11

Cambridgeshire

12.24%

18

Essex

19.05%

28

Hertfordshire

8.16%

12

Norfolk

32.65%

48

Suffolk

20.41%

30

Total

 

147 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q4 Are you “shadowing a line”?

Answered: 147     Skipped: 143

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Yes

4.08%

6

No

95.92%

141

Total

 

147 

 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q5 In the last 13 week rolling period have you had a shift changed?

Answered: 147     Skipped: 143

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Yes

85.71%

126

No

14.29%

21

Total

 

147 

 

 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q6 How many of your shifts have been changed after allocation in the last 13 week rolling period?

Answered: 146     Skipped: 144

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

0

12.33%

18

1-3

43.84%

64

4-5

21.23%

31

6+

22.60%

33

Total

 

146 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q7 As a relief staff member do you get informed of your rest days in advance during the 13 week rolling period?

Answered: 146     Skipped: 144

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Yes

55.48%

81

No

44.52%

65

Total

 

146 

 

 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q8 If you do get informed of your rest days in advance during the 13 week period, how much notice are you given?

Answered: 139     Skipped: 151

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

7 days or less

7.19%

10

8-14 days

28.78%

40

15 days or more

33.81%

47

Not Applicable

30.22%

42

Total

 

139 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q9 During your last 13 week rolling period have you ever had your rest days moved or cancelled to meet service demand?

Answered: 146     Skipped: 144

 

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

Yes

39.73%

58

No

60.27%

88

Total

 

146 

 

 

 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

Q10 How many times has your rest day been cancelled or moved in the last 13 week rolling period?

Answered: 90     Skipped: 200

 

 

 

 

Answer Choices

Responses

1.3

77.78%

70

4-6

15.56%

14

7+

6.67%

6

Total

 

90 

 

 

East of England Ambulance Shift Allocation, Rest Day and Weekend Working Survey

 

Q11 How many weekends have you worked in the last 13 week rolling period?

Answered: 121     Skipped: 169

 

Number of weekends worked

Responses

1

0.83%

1

2

1.65%

2

3

2.48%

3

4

2.48%

3

5

8.26%

10

6

12.40%

15

7

8.26%

10

8 *

17.36%

21

9

14.05%

17

10

23.97%

29

11

3.30%

4

12

3.30%

4

13

1.65%

2

Total

 

121 

* NB. Total number of weekends worked = 965 between 121 respondents which if distributed equally would be an average of 7.97 weekends per person per 13 week period.

 

I would like thank all the staff who supported me during the recent Branch Chair election.  I am moved by the amount of staff who took the time to support me by posting their ballot papers. Despite not achieving my goal, I do not see the outcome as a defeat, and will build on the result for next year’s elections.

 In the meantime I will continue to work for staff this year as Suffolk County, and do all I can to support you, regardless of geographical location, and continue to work with your Branch Secretary to make the changes required to improve the terms and conditions you work under.

Best Wishes

 

Darren Jones 

Flexible Working the Facts

During our working lives our personal circumstances change which sometimes leads to us having to review the way we work and having to explore the possibilities of flexible working with our employers. With this in mind I write this article to bring you all up to date with your rights as an employee and the responsibilities of the Trust if you should apply for a flexible working contract.

What is the right to request flexible working?

Under provisions set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and regulations made under it, all employees have a statutory right to ask their employer for a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment to work flexibly provided they have worked for their employer for 26 weeks continuously at the date the application is made. An employee can only make one statutory request in any 12 month period. Employees who have been employed for less than 26 weeks, agency workers and office holders do not have a statutory right to request flexible working. Nevertheless, employers may still wish to consider a request from these groups as flexible working can bring business benefits as well as benefits to the employee.

Prior to 30 June 2014, the right to flexible working only applied to parents of children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain carers. On the 30th June 2014 a change to employment law took place increasing the possibility of flexible working to more employees in the UK.

The main changes to the law

The changes which took effect from June 30 will have the following main implications:

  • All employees will have a statutory right to request flexible working for any reason. The only eligibility criteria are that they must have 26 weeks’ continuous employment at the date they make the request and must not have made another request within the last 12 months.
  • The strict statutory procedure will be abolished and replaced with a requirement that employers consider flexible working requests in a “reasonable manner”. This means that although the right has been greatly extended, the Government have attempted to balance this with a more flexible employer-friendly process.
  •  

How Do I Apply 

Although employees with less than 26 weeks service do not have a statutory right to request flexible working, some employers may allow all staff to make a request.

To make a request for flexible working employees must:

  • make their request in writing, state the date the request is made, the change to working conditions they are seeking, and the date they would like the change to take effect
  • state whether they have made a previous application for flexible work and the date of that application
  • what change to working conditions they are seeking and how they think this may affect the business e.g. cost saving to the business
  • if they are making their request in relation to the Equality Act 2010, for example, as a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee

What must the employer do?

Once a request has been received the employee should arrange a meeting to discuss the request, this should be done as soon as possible, this is not a statutory requirement but is good practice.

This meeting can provide an opportunity to see what changes the employee is asking for and reasons for the change, although the employee may not wish to say why it also allows any compromise to be explored. Although not a statutory requirement, it would be good practice to allow the employee to be accompanied at a meeting by a work colleague or trade union representative.

The law requires the process to be completed within three months of the request being received, this includes any appeals.

Any request that is accepted will make a permanent change to the employment contract, so if the employee wants a temporary change then an agreement may be reached together with any comprise if the original request cannot be accommodated.

However, if the employer is willing to grant a request then a meeting may not be necessary, but it still may be useful to discuss a request to ensure that the proposal made by the employee is the best solution for both employer and employee.

Employers should consider requests in a reasonable manner and can only refuse them if there is a business reasons for doing so, this reason must be from the following list:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • an inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • an inability to recruit additional staff
  • a detrimental impact on quality
  • a detrimental impact on performance
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • a planned structural changes to the business

 

What happens if my request is refused?

If the employer refuses the request, the employee will be advised in writing. This will state on which of the permitted grounds the request was refused. The employee is entitled to appeal against the employer’s decision to refuse a flexible working request. This must be done in writing within 14 calendar days of receipt of the refusal letter using the Appeal Form which can be found within the Trusts Flexible working policy obtainable on the Trust intranet and via human resources. The notice of appeal must be made to the Human Resources Department, setting out the grounds for appeal. It must be signed and dated.

 

Who will hear my appeal?

The appeal would normally be heard by the line managers’ manager, or as determined by the Staff Partnership Forum.

 How is my appeal conducted?

 The manager hearing the appeal will arrange a flexible working request appeal meeting with the employee within 14 calendar days of receipt of the appeal notice. Employees are entitled to bring a trade union representative or work colleague to support them at this meeting, if they wish. It is not permitted to bring someone acting in a legal capacity.

The manager who hears the appeal will give written, dated notice of their decision within 14 calendar days of the appeal meeting. Where the Trust allows the appeal (i.e. the request for flexible working is agreed), the decision notice must specify the contract variation agreed to and the date on which it is to take effect. Section 9 of this policy would then apply.

What if my appeal is also refused?

Where the Trust upholds the decision of the initial meeting (i.e. the request to flexible working continues to be refused), the notice will state the grounds for this refusal and should contain sufficient explanation as to why these grounds apply. Trust policy states “A written notice of the appeal outcome constitutes the Trust’s final decision”.

However should you feel strongly enough about the decision to refuse your flexible working request then this is not the end of the road. ACAS guidance on this matter suggests the following action is available to the employee to resolve a dispute;

 Wherever possible it is better to reach agreement on flexible working within the workplace. However, if the application is refused at the appeal stage you can:  

  • have an informal discussion - there may be some simple misunderstanding which can be resolved in an informal way
  • use the employer's internal grievance procedure (current trust policy does not allow this)
  • seek assistance from a third party such as a trade union representative
  • seek assistance from Acas through the conciliation process.
  • Where agreement cannot be reached you may wish to consider:
  • a referral to The Acas Arbitration Scheme
  • making a claim to an employment tribunal.

 

Those who wish to bring a claim to the tribunal or appeal tribunal will have to pay a fee. An initial fee will be paid to issue a claim and a further fee will be payable if the claim proceeds to hearing. If Unison feels that there is strength to your argument, Unison may pay the tribunal fees.

I hope you have found this information informative

Best Wishes

Darren Jones Suffolk County Lead & branch welfare officer 

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SUCCESS! Magnums return to EoE!

In 2014 I reported on quality issues with the Trust’s issued footwear (Cobra) and how I planned to investigate the options available in an effort to encourage the Trust to move back to the Magnum boot.

It has been a long journey however I’m happy to announce working in partnership with Paul Henry (Non-Executive Director) Magnums will be returning back to the Trust in the near future.

In the next few weeks there will be articles in both Unison and Trust publications which will provide the procedure to obtain a pair of Magnum boots.

I’m sure you will all join me in thanking Paul and everyone who has been involved for working with me on this important issue, which has paved the pathway for the return of Magnums to the Trust

Best Wishes
Darren Jones
Suffolk County Lead

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