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PATHFINDER - THE OFFER

DRAFT

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

1. This agreement provides the basis on which Jobcentre Plus will be taken forward in both the Pathfinder areas and nationally. The arrangements contained within it detail the manner in which Jobcentre Plus will see clients in a safe environment and the way in which these arrangements will be kept under review. They are also the basis of the agreement which resolves the current dispute over safety between management and PCS.

2. In recognition of an end to the dispute it is:

(a) agreed that within each Pathfinder cluster there will be a separate screened area or building (listed at Annex 1) for handling transactions that cannot safely be delivered in an unscreened environment Such transactions are outlined in the attached Annex 2. Management also confirms that, an individual member of staff will have the discretion not to see a particular customer in an unscreened area where he or she has good reason to believe that this could compromise their safety. Our expectation is that this discretion will be used infrequently and its exercise will be subject to review as part of the review process set out later in this agreement.

(b) agreed to start again the Risk Assessment process in the Brent Pathfinder, from first principles, as part of the forthcoming full national and local review of Risk Assessments. A revised start date for the Brent Pathfinder will be agreed with PCS as part of that review. In addition, management agrees to use the Pathfinder sites in Brent as a testing ground for trialling alternative furniture for Reception areas including, for example, "pop up" screening.

(c) agreed that the start of the Streatham pathfinder will be put back to 19 November. In the interim a further risk assessment will be carried out locally in consultation with PCS. Management will implement the recommendations which arise.

(d) agreed that the Generic Risk Assessment for Pathfinders is a living document and will be developed to reflect changes to design and delivery methods and in the light of experience of early live running. The Generic Risk Assessment will be revised during November 2001 to reflect any emerging issues following Pathfinders going live on 22 October. This version will also reflect recent decisions on the handling of Social Fund decisions, and the agreements set out in Annex 2 about the handling of work to be undertaken behind security screens, and on the availability and specification for security guards. The revised Generic Risk Assessment, which will be undertaken in partnership with PCS, will form the basis of a briefing for Risk Assessors early in November who are scheduled to undertake specific site Risk Assessments in November (except for South West Birmingham).

(e) agreed that the arrangements for identifying and handling potentially violent customers will be those currently existing in BA and ES and will ensure benefit delivery work for these customers can take place in a screened environment;

(f) agreed that management will increase the previously proposed level of security offered by security guards where appropriate through the provision of an enhanced service as shown at Annex 3. The specification for this service has been sent to Trade Unions and is also being discussed with our Service Providers (WS Atkins/Drivers Jonas/Trillium). This is being used by service providers to draw up requirements for each office and will be incorporated into the assignment instructions issued to security guards. Instructions will spell out their role and how they interface with Jobcentre Plus staff and will be incorporated into the health and safety documentation of each office. Discussions with TUs will be held as soon as possible to ensure that any immediate comments can be taken into account. Further discussions and comments will be undertaken as part of the review of the generic Risk Assessment in November. Our aim will be to introduce the enhanced service by the end of November,


(g) agreed to enter into negotiations in good faith about the framework for national and local industrial relations arrangements in Jobcentre Plus. For the immediate future, the arrangements for consultation put in place for implementing the Jobcentre Plus Pathfinders will continue, pending agreement of arrangements with PCS for consultation locally and nationally on Pathfinder issues. In the longer term, the employee relations arrangements for Jobcentre Plus from 1 April 2002 will also need to be agreed, within the wider context of the Department for Work and Pensions and its constituent businesses.

(h) noted that Management have been able to staff all of the new public facing posts in Jobcentre Plus Pathfinders on a voluntary basis;

(i) agreed that, for the longer term, management wish to staff any new posts requiring face to face contact with the public in Jobcentre Plus offices on a voluntary basis. Management will enter into discussions with Trade Unions about the voluntary staffing of these posts within the context of discussions about HR manpower planning for DWP as a whole;

(j) agreed that there will be a review of the Jobcentre Plus Pathfinders as part of the process of assessing their actual operation. Health and safety arrangements for the Pathfinders will be an important part of that review. Management and PCS will agree arrangements for the fullest possible involvement of PCS as partners in the review of Jobcentre Plus Pathfinders:
specifically in the review of Operational Effectiveness (including health and safety) including agreement to its terms of reference and timetable. All reviews will be fully evaluated and discussed with PCS. The reviews in question are:

Policy/operational review

Operational effectiveness (including health and safety)

Project reviews

Resources

(k) agreed that there will be a shared commitment to the delivery of Jobcentre Plus services in a safe environment which carries the confidence of staff and will encourage an open climate within which individuals can make choices between options for employment within DWP, including Jobcentre Plus.

3. In the event that any problems in respect of matters covered by this agreement cannot be resolved at local level after full consultation has taken place local management and local PCS representatives will refer the matter to Departmental management/PCS Group level for urgent resolution. This includes issues arising as a result of local risk assessments which raise matters of wider national importance.

ANNEX 1

screened environments in Pathfinder clusters updated 5.10.2001

Cluster
Location
Site
Number of screens
Comment
Aberdeen Aberdeen Greyfriars House BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Aberdeen Chapel Street ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Aberdeen Greyfriars House
  Aberdeen Ebury House ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Aberdeen Greyfriars House
         
Birmingham South West Northfield BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Ravenhurst BA
Unscreened
No change to existing screened provision.
  South West Birmingham (a new office) ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Northfield (not badged as a Pathfinder site)
         
Blackburn Blackburn Cardwell ES
4
The open plan area will not be used by Jobcentre Plus.
The screened area will have its own entrance and exit.
  Blackburn Orchard House BA
Unscreened
Refer to: Blackburn Cardwell.
  Darwen ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Blackburn Cardwell.
         
Brent Neasden
(co-located site)
BA
ES
8
Separate screened area. There is no direct access to or from the public area. This area will have its own entrance and exit.
  Harlesden
(co-located site)
BA
ES
6
Separate screened area. Access allowed from the public area or street but clients leave the building via a separate exit to the street.
  Wembley ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Harlesden or Neasden.
  Kilburn ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Harlesden or Neasden.
         
Bridgend Bridgend Crown Building BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Bridgend Market Street ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Bridgend Crown Building
  Maesteg ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Bridgend Crown Building
  Pyle ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Bridgend Crown Building
  Porthcawl ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Bridgend Crown Building
         
Calderdale & Kirklees Halifax Crossfield House BA
5
ONE site
Separate screened area. Access is allowed from the public area but there is also a separate entrance available and clients leave the building via a separate exit to the street.
  Huddersfield Crown House BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Halifax Horton Street ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Halifax Crossfield House.
  Huddersfield Castle ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Huddersfield Crown House.
  Brighouse ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Halifax Crossfield House.
  Todmorden ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Halifax Crossfield House.
  Dean Clough ONE
N/A
Existing ONE Call Centre
         
Derby Derby London Road (not a Pathfinder site) BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing arrangemnts for Social Fund.
  Derby Becket Street (Pathfinder site) BA
Unscreened
Will deliver the end to end JC Plus process excluding SF.
  Derby St.Peters ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Derby London Road (not a Pathfinder site).
  Derby Wardwick ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Derby London Road (not a Pathfinder site).
  Derby Normanton ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Derby London Road (not a Pathfinder site).
         
East Devon Exmouth ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Exeter (not a Pathfinder site).
  Axminster ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Exeter (not a Pathfinder site).
  Honiton ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Exeter (not a Pathfinder site).
  Sidmouth ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Exeter (not a Pathfinder site).
  Tiverton ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Exeter (not a Pathfinder site).
         
Essex Chelmsford Gov't Building BA
5
This is a ONE site. Separate screened area. There is no direct access to or from the public area. This area will have its own entrance and exit.
  Chelmsford ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Chelmsford - Beeches Road
  Rayleigh ES
Unscreened
Refer to Southend BA (not a Pathfinder site)
  Southend ES
Unscreened
Refer to Southend BA (not a Pathfinder site)
         
Gateshead Gateshead Bede House BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Gateshead Shildon House ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Gateshead Bede House.
  Felling ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Gateshead Bede House.
  Blaydon ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Gateshead Bede House.
  Birtley ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Gateshead Bede House.
         
Inverclyde Greenock
(co-located site)
BA
ES
7
Separate screened area. There is no direct access to or from the public area. This area will have its own entrance and exit.
  Port Glasgow
(co-located site)
BA
ES
4
Separate screened area. Access allowed from the public area or street but clients leave the building via a separate exit to the street.
         
Livingston Livingston Ochil House BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Livingston ES
Unscreened
Refer to : Livingston - Ochil House
         
Manchester Openshaw Manchester Old Lane BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Openshaw Cromwell Street ES
2
Screened area available.
         
Shropshire Telford New Town House BA
Fully Screened
No change to existing screened provision.
  Telford House ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Telford New Town House.
  Madeley ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Telford New Town House.
  Wellington ES
Unscreened
Refer to: Telford New Town House.
         
Streatham Streatham
(co-located site)
BA
ES
6
Separate screened area. There is no direct access to or from the public area. This area will have its own entrance and exit.
         
Wallasey Wallasey
(co-located site)
BA
ES
4
Separate screened area. Access allowed from the public area or street but clients leave the building via a separate exit to the street.
  Hoylake ES
1
Separate screened area. This is located on the ground floor, the open plan area is on the first floor. Once customers have been dealt with in the screened area they will be asked to leave the building.
         
Winchester Winchester
(co-located site)
BA
ES
4
Separate screened area. There is no direct access to or from the public area. This area will have its own entrance and exit.

ANNEX 2

JOBCENTRE PLUS PROCESS AND OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

The following table has been created for the purpose of clarity in negotiations between TUS and Management side.

The standards in this table do not replace the recommendations of local risk assessments, where they go further in defining the use of screened environments. Jobcentre Plus remains firmly committed to ensuring all recommendations of all local risk assessments are implemented before go-live.

PROCESS
-Activity
PATHFINDER -
CHOICE OF CHANNEL
SCREENED
(Reasons)
UNSCREENED
(Reasons)
FIRST CONTACT
     
New/repeat claim registration
Telephone or face to face.
 
When face to face, establishes welcoming atmosphere of office, in which we need to start to develop new relationship with customer, building rapport and trust.
Jobsearch/submission
Telephone or face to face.
 
Requires one to one interaction with customer and personal discussion of job goals and barriers to work.
Issue claim forms
Telephone or face to face.
 
Responsive to customer's circumstances; may be part of more in depth discussion of customer needs.
INITIAL INTERVIEW
     
Arrival at office
Face to face
 
Establishes welcoming and professional atmosphere of office.
New service offering meet and greet service, where customer's needs are rapidly identified.

our policy is to treat all customers with respect/setting the right tone for a productive interview.
Financial Assessor meeting
Face to face
 
Personal one to one meeting to discuss customer's circumstances which requires engagement with customers for up to 20 mins. The level of interaction also sets the scene for the next meeting with the PA. This is a new role (other than benefit experts in ONE) and we need to test how they work and their teamworking alongside PAs.
Personal Advisor meeting
Face to face or home visit (under existing arrangements)
 
Personal one to one meeting to discuss customer's circumstances which requires engagement with customers for up to 60 mins. Interaction required to establish a trusting relationship with customer and advisor that will be built up over time that will eventually help customers' achieve their goals. Evidence shows this relationship is key to the effectiveness of our policies.
ONGOING CONTACT
     
Changes of circumstances
Telephone or face to face or post
 
These can be raised at any time - at FJR (for JSA customers), with PA at caseload/trigger meeting, at Reception. Many changes will result in further action - either new claim, jobsearch or submission or further discussion of customer's ability to work. We need flexibility to use the reported change to open wider discussions on a personal level with customers.
Benefit enquiries (incl lost/missing IOPs for first 48 hours)
Telephone or face to face or post
 

It is hard to isolate enquiries from new/repeat claims and changes of circumstances as they are all interlinked. Dealing with enquiries should form part of the overall service we aspire to offer, including individualised advice in an environment, where we are seen to build rapport with customer and treating them with dignity and respect. While many of these activities will use the telephone, the Floor Manager is likely to deal with a large number of the face to face traffic.

The option of using a screened environment is always available in this situation, for example if an enquiry turned into a possible IOP issue or crisis loan application.

Labour market enquiries (incl jobsearch)
Face to face or by telephone
 
These can be raised at any time - at FJR (for jSA customers), with PA at caseload/trigger meeting, at Reception. Many changes will result in further action - either jobsearch or submission or further discussion of customer's ability to work. We need flexibility to use the reported change to open wider discussions on a personal level with customers and to reinforce key messages about rights/responsibilities.
Labour market decisions/sanctions (JSA)
Post
 
Existing JSA labour market decisions are handed off to Decision Maker and customer notified by post.
Labour market decisions/sanctions (new conditionality)
Face to face
 
Where a customer fails to participate in a work focused interview, the PA will make the decision and the customer will be notified at the meeting that their benefit will not be processed or could be reduced (if a deferred meeting). The decision is notified by the decision maker to ensure the customer knows what will happen next. This is also part of the proposals for PA to cover both rights and responsibilities.
Fortnightly jobsearch reviews, Restart etc
Face to face
 
Traditionally delivered unscreened, these interventions for JSA customers follow on from the PA interview and will require personalised discussion with customer about job goals, barriers to work, jobsearch activities, etc.
Enquiries related to benefit decisions
Telephone or face to face or post
 
Decisions are mostly delivered officially by post. Sanctions can be discussed if customers raise queries about their benefit position or the basis of the decision. These cannot always be identified in advance and would be handled by the Floor Manager or Reception. If the customer reacts to the decision with what a member of staff believes is unacceptable behaviour, the Floor Manager or security staff would intervene.
Social Fund (not Crisis Loans) - incl funeral payments, winter fuel, community care grants, maternity grants.
Post
Decisions will be issued by post or referred to screened office.
Forms may be issued face to face.
Social Fund Crisis Loan decisions incl alignment payments.
Face to face
Benefit of last resort is known to cause risks to staff from customers in distress.
Forms may be issued face to face and appointment booked to see Social Fund officer in screened office.
Hardship - 16/17 yr olds (JSA only)
Face to face
 
This forms part of the overall initial interview with the customer by a 16/17 yr old specialist. The discussion of hardship may be raised at the end of an in depth discussion with young person about their job goals and rights/responsibilities.
Hardship (following sanction)
Face to face
Benefit of last resort is known to cause risks to staff from customers in distress.
 
Referrals to specialist provision
Face to face or by telephone
 
Delivered as part of Personal Advisor role, and generally done in agreement with customer after lengthy discussion of barriers to work and individual needs.
Voluntary caseload meetings (incl labour market and benefit discussion).
Face to face
 
Follow up to Personal Advisor meeting, and generally done in agreement with customer after lengthy discussion of barriers to work and individual needs. These meetings are only held with customers who volunteer.
Compulsory trigger meetings (incl labour market and benefit discussion).
Face to face
 
Follow up to Personal Advisor meeting, and will include lengthy discussion of customer's circumstances, opportunities available to help the customer and a check of their benefit position.
Child Support interviews.
Face to face
 
Undertaken as part of the Financial Assessor Manager discussion of customer's circumstances and barriers to work. Sensitivities of a "good cause" interview means that many such interviews would be conducted in private interview pod.
Programme protection reviews (existing rules apply to selection criteria).
Telephone or face to face or post.
Review of customer's circumstances in relation to their benefit, either at start or during claim.
Review of customer's circumstances in relation to their benefit, either at start or during claim.
Lost IOP interviews Face to face Process can be high risk where replacement if refused due to frustration of customer and nature of interview (possibly identifying fraud). The option remains open for an unscreened environment to be used where straightforward replacement action is required or where the risk would be increased from moving a customer to a screened office.  
Payments/IOP issue
Face to face or post
Cash/valuables handling security required.