In our last circular we reported on what we saw as a very positive development for staff welfare; the recognition that long periods of time on the control without a break impair our ability to concentrate and so impact the security of the Border. We welcomed Phil Duffy’s proposal of a brief “brain break” and sought to celebrate such support for staff.
Sadly some Regional Directors took this less well; although none approached the ISU directly with their concerns.
There will always be locations where staff are not physically present on the control for such long periods, or where a natural break might occur within a short space of time. It is right to use common sense; but it must also be right to prioritise the security of the border by allowing staff to remain at peak efficiency.
We will be asking reps to collate data on periods of time spent on the control without a break and will feed that back to senior managers.
As members will no doubt be aware the people survey is currently running. We have previously applauded UKVI and IE for the progress they have been seeking to make to address the issues which have arisen in the staff survey. We have since had several meetings with BF and are satisfied that, although perhaps less well communicated to staff, there are positive initiatives arising out of these findings.
The more people that respond to the survey the greater collective voice we have. The results, whether they are good or bad, cannot be dismissed as that of a vocal minority.
The NEC does recommend that you complete the survey and that you do so carefully and honestly. Where there is something to celebrate then let us do that. Where the results are less good, a convincing majority response is more likely to compel positive action.
Mobile Phones whilst driving.
A previous ISU rep, Liese Bowers – Straw was critically injured in a road accident last year; caused because the other driver was on their mobile phone. She, in conjunction with Leicester Police, have produced a video to raise awareness of the dangers of mobile phone use whilst driving.
You can find this on You Tube here https://youtu.be/csKg9bhm3tY or on the ISU webpage.
Returning to Croydon?
It is said that all things in the civil service go in cycles – or round in circles! IE and UKVI are moving their headquarters function from 2MS back to Croydon. Border Force will join them; but at the moment there is no building available for them. Going alongside this move there will be extensive refurbishment of the Home Office Croydon Buildings and greater availability of more modern technologies. The aim is for UKVI and IE to be moved by summer 2017, and BF as soon as possible thereafter.
Any move is disconcerting for members; and there will be those for whom a move of this nature is particularly problematic. Affected teams should already have been given notification. Open house style events have been held in both Croydon and 2MS to answer queries. There is an FAQ document on Horizon.
The ISU will continue to work closely with the smarter working teams to protect, and if possible improve, the situation for members. If you have particular concerns please do contact your local rep, Nicky Taylor, Mark Gribbin or Lucy Moreton