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Pay Offer what does it mean?

As you are all aware, industrial action was called off in January to allow negotiations with the DOH of the pay dispute. After negotiation between the Unions and the DOH and government headed by Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne, an offer was made that is going out to members to vote for or against on. The offer in brief is as follows:

  • 1% consolidated pay rise for all staff up to point 42(top of Band 8b) from the 1st April 2015
  • No one in the NHS would earn less than £15,100 per year (FTE)
  • Deletion of pay point 1 (bottom of band 1)
  • Increase in pay point 2 to £15,100 per annum (new lowest pay point in band 1)
  • £200 additional consolidated pay rise for staff on pay points 3-8 (Top of band 1, all of band 2 and some of band 3)
  • A one year increment freeze (2015-2016) for staff on pay point 34 (band 8a) and above
  • Talks on changing the redundancy scheme including introduction of a new minimum and maximum for calculation of redundancy payments and ending the facility for employer top-ups for early retirement on the grounds of redundancy
  • Additional concessions for staff employed by Ambulance Trusts in England

Check UNISON’s main web site for detailed briefing for more specific information. All members will receive ballot papers, and these need to be returned by 2nd March.

Put the Heart Back Survey Monkey.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to complete the “Put the heart back” survey monkey. So far across the service there has been over 1500 responses. There has been a good response from the Essex area, so thank you to everyone that took the time to give us this evidence. The survey is designed to help us, as your representatives, to prioritise the issues that are causing you the most concern, and evidence the need for positive change. I will keep you all informed of the results of the survey in future blogs. The results of the survey will give us the focus of work streams we will concentrate on over the next 12 months for you.

Roster and DAP points.

There have been some members that have raised the issue of Roster changes and DAP points. This follows an inaccurate letter that was sent out to some members of staff, that the roster changes and DAP points had been done and agreed in consultation with UNISON representatives. This was not the case and the letters were withdrawn. Any changes to rosters must be carried out with full consultation with staff and their representatives. The rationale for the changes must be evidence based and shared with staff. The DAP points again need the rationale for where there are to be located and an accredited Health and Safety representative must inspect the proposed DAP point to risk assess it and to make sure the appropriate facilities are available. Once this process has been completed, it is brought to the Local Partnership Forum (LPF) for sign off between management and UNISON representatives. All the evidence that staff have been fully consulted, the management rationale for the roster changes and the DAP point locations is presented at this forum for final checking before being signed off. If you have any concerns over this process not being followed in your area, or you know that this process was not adhered to fully please let me know.


Sickness Reviews

This is another area that has raised some concerns from staff over the last few months. The policy should be followed by HR and management. Section 8.3 of the Sickness Absence Management Procedure states that “14 calendar days” notice in writing should be given to the member of staff for a requested to attend a review meeting. In formal review meetings you have the right to be accompanied by a Union representative or Trust worker. “In exceptional circumstances and where there is agreement between all parties the notice for holding a meeting can be reduced.” Do not feel pressurised to attend a meeting at short notice. Recently, letters have been sent out that do not give 14 days notice. In Section 8.5 it states that “Prior to the first formal meeting, the manager will send the employee the following either by standard/recorded post or by hand delivery:

  • A copy of the employee’s absence record
  • Copies of return to work contacts
  • Records of relevant meetings
  • Any other documentation such as medical evidence.

Make sure you are in possession of all the relevant documentation before attending a meeting as you and your representative need to check these for accuracy. If you do not receive the documentation, you can ask for a new date for the meeting as you have not been provided with the relevant documentation as per the procedure.

One other point that is worth looking for is that in Appendix K draft template Formal Sickness Absence Meeting- Invite letter, the paragraph that begins with “Failure to acknowledge receipt of this letter and/or confirm your attendance may result in the meeting being conducted in your absence”, the “may result” has been changed to ”will result”. This change has not been agreed UNISON and is something that some managers or HR business partners have taken upon themselves to change. Is it another case of covert bullying and victimisation.

Branch Chairman Election.

I have been nominated for the Branch Chairman position with two other colleagues from Norfolk and Suffolk. My reason for accepting the nomination was that I am passionate about changing the conditions and organisation culture that staff have been working under. Staff welfare should be at the heart of all the decisions that management make in future policies and procedures. Stress is the number one reason for staff being sick from work. Covert bullying and victimisation of staff has been highlighted in the CQC report, especially in Essex, yet management have done nothing to rectify these two main issues. This is not to say that all managers are bullying and victimising staff, but we do have what appears to be certain problem areas. If elected I will make sure that these two main issues, from the “Put the Heart back” survey are pursued with local, senior management, Executive management and non-Executive boards. Who cares for the carers? Actions speak louder than words. We have had plenty of words and not enough action and now is the time for the actions to take place if this service is serious about dealing with the negative culture. The service needs to make sure that staff are at the heart of all decisions on policies and procedures, to enable them to care for patients. This will not be an overnight solution but a sustained change that will take time. To do this we need a united branch team that will be prepared to work hard over a period of time to be able to change the culture of the service with partnership working with the management team. This should not be about personalities, accusations and counter accusations, but about factual problems that staff have raised that need to be pursued with a team effort focused on making sure that we get a positive outcome for all. We need to work in Unison to achieve these goals. I have worked well with the Branch Convenor and Branch Secretary over the last year. It is vital that we have a strong united team to lead us through the next 12 months. So please support my nomination for the Branch Chairman.


Anyone who would be interested in becoming a Workplace contact or representative please contact myself or one of the representatives listed below. The more workplace contacts and Representatives the greater the strength of the team. UNISON Representatives for the Essex area are as follows and can be contacted for advice via the services email system. Thanks for your support.

John Lee Essex Lead for Health and Safety Saffron Walden

Dawn Dutfield Witham

Elisha Ashdown EOC

Claire Gunn EOC

Mike Hill Chelmsford

Cathy Renew Basildon

Paul Kelly Colchester

Kind regards,


Adrian Clark

Essex County Lead & Branch Education Officer