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PCS DWP group news

03 Apr 2020 - A third of government departments still not observing social distancing measures, a 2nd PCS members' survey finds

PCS members are still encountering multiple problems at work around the coronavirus, including no clear policies on handwashing, sickness policies and general dissatisfaction within the civil service. In the second survey from 31 March there were 9,651 responses. This was a repeat of the survey sent out on 18 March which received 15,000 responses.

37% of members said their employer doesn’t have social distancing for all staff. This compares to 67% in the previous survey.
14.5% don’t have clear polices on handwashing at work whereas it was 16% in the first survey.
And dissatisfaction with employers is at 20% - down from 28% previously.

The full list of opinions employer policies is as follows:
· 14.5% (16%) do not have clear policies on handwashing
· 10.8% (20%) do not have social distancing policies for those with underlying health problems
· 3.7% (6%) do not have self-isolation policies for staff with flu-like symptoms
· 16% (38%) do not have social distancing policies for all but essential staff
· 37% (67%) do not have social distancing for all staff (building closures)
· 16% (24%) have not issued guidance the implementation of sickness policies
· 8% (13%) are very dissatisfied and 12% (15%) are dissatisfied with their employers’ approach to the coronavirus outbreak

When asked how important the following issues are to PCS members on a scale 1-5 with 5 being most important) the list below shows the % of members who chose ‘5.’ The bracketed number represents the first survey.
· 72% (75%) Prevention of infection (social distancing an home working)
· 78% (81%) prevention of infection for those in public facing roles
· 79% (82%) procedures if there is an outbreak at work
· 76% (81%) rights to sick pay
· 74% (80%) special arrangements for staff with pre-existing conditions
· 72% (79%) procedures for members with caring responsibilities
· 69% (73%) same procedures for contractors

20 Mar 2020 | PCS welcomes conversion of FTAs to Permanency
PCS has been continuing to push DWP to recruit more staff and to make all FTAs permanent.

Today DWP announced that they have been given formal approval to convert all FTAs recruited via fair and open competition to permanency, as long as they are not on a live warning. This will also include social inclusion apprentices, who were not recruited through fair and open competition, upon successful completion of twelve months service, which is allowable under CS commissioner rules. Those FTAs on any kind of warning will be offered permanency at the same time as others, subject to successfully serving the warning period. 

PCS welcomes DWP’s decision to make FTAs permanent. Any other decision at this point in time, with the critical nature of the work our members do being at the forefront of debate, would have been a travesty to our FTA members and a real blow for the department.

We will continue our campaign for more staff, and for those staff to be recruited on a permanent basis.

12th March 2020 | Going abroad? Been abroad? CoronaVirus advice here.

Our membership department has had many phone calls this morning from members concerned about emails they have received asking them to reset their password for the PCS website.
Do not act upon these emails.
Do not follow the links to reset your password.

This link is correct if you need to reset a password: www.pcs.org.uk/pwreset


One of the most distressing types of personal case that we may have to represent a member on is that of computer misuse.

It is vitally important that every member of staff realises that every key entry on a DWP system is recorded for security purposes and if you misbehave, it can all be checked back on and will be used against you. Certain computer records are marked up as having a relationship to staff and if you access one that you shouldn't, then you WILL get caught. There are also very strict rules about email and Skype use.

If you are given a relative or friend's claim to work on, DO NOT ACCESS IT.
Let your line manager know that you know the person and that you have not gone into the claim.

You should be told this by trainers at your induction and when you are first shown a Departmental computer. Of course it doesn't happen very often and we end up defending a number of staff who look up their best mate's records, their family's records, or sometimes they even look at their own records.

You can legitimately get a copy of your own record via a Freedom of information request, if you need it.

You are not allowed to access ANY benefits records without a valid business reason and supporting tasks or post.

We are trusted with sensitive customer information and the penalties for misusing the system are very severe. Accessing friends computer records and your own records counts as serious misconduct and may lead to dismissal and even to criminal prosection.

There is little or no argument or defence can be made against charges of unauthorised system access.

Help us to help you.

DWP acceptable use policy v2.5

11 Oct 2019: Threat of action leads to dozens of new Universal Credit jobs

Dozens of new jobs have been secured following the threat of strike action by PCS members at Derby Universal Credit Service Centre who expressed anger at high workloads and their inability to provide a quality service for customers.

In August, local reps organised a meeting on the pavements outside the gates of their office to discuss the workload problems at the site after they were forbidden from using the office car park.  

The meeting addressed by PCS Midlands regional secretary, Andrew Lloyd heard members express their anger at the high workloads and not being able to provide a “quality service for the customers”. Faced with no other option members voted by show of hands in high number to support a call for industrial action, like colleagues at other UC sites.

PCS wrote to Derby UC management to request a meeting. At the meeting last month PCS put the case for more staff alongside the anger members had expressed. Management initially offered 40 additional posts to respond to the issue, then following a written request the number was increased to 56 additional posts. Reps held members’ meetings on site to announce the staffing increases.

The jobs, which will initially be fixed-term appointments for 12 months with a view to making them permanent have been advertised and staff are expected to be appointed by the end of the month.