Policy changes offer more staff support

RRV with blurred paramedic

A range of new, supportive policy changes have been agreed by the Trust and UNISON. 

The grievance, disciplinary, dignity at work and mediation policies have all been changed, and the Trust is also introducing a new disability policy - they can all be found in the document library on East24.

These will be jointly launched by Chief Executive Anthony Marsh, HR and UNISON Branch Secretary Fraer Stevenson at a managers briefing next week to explain the changes and enable managers to start applying them for the benefit of their staff. 

Anthony Marsh said: “These policy changes and the new disability policy are all part of the transformation of the organisation to make EEAST a better place to work and are the result of some excellent joint working with UNISON.” 

Fraer added: “This is the first phase of policy changes to better support staff. They are the result of months of work to address some of the casework we have seen from some areas of the Trust. 

“Having them signed off with the CEO’s support is really appreciated. It is important that managers have clear and supportive policies to follow, and having a separate disability policy is a giant step forwards in supporting staff.” 

Disability policy

The new disability policy will give staff genuine support when they need it most, and goes beyond statutory guidance to align with NHS Employers’ advice over best practice. This is a comprehensive new policy which addresses areas such as temporary or permanent redeployment, to enable staff to stay in the workplace. 

If a member of staff has a long-term condition, either physical or mental, that affects their ability to carry out everyday tasks, they may have protection under the Equality Act and be able to get additional support under this new policy. The policy also offers support for staff who may be developing a disability. 

Disciplinary, grievance, and dignity at work policies 

The timescales involved in cases under the disciplinary, grievance, and dignity at work policies have been redefined, with a process for reporting delays. 

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) code of practice and guide to discipline and grievances has been clarified in some areas of policy to ensure consistent application across the Trust. Lessons learnt from previous cases have also been taken on board. 

There have been changes to the disciplinary policy to address areas of concern over suspensions, appeals, suspension of proceedings to address dignity at work/grievance concerns, and a reduction in the ‘gross misconduct’ list. 

Across all policies, staff now have a right to be accompanied at all stages. 

The Trust and UNISON are working on more supportive policy changes, including changes to the sickness, annual leave and end of shift policies.

Published 19th February 2015 

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