Napo reps on the NPS national safety committee are continuing to plug away in pressing NOMS for meaningful sickness stats to discuss at this meeting – we have been trying to get this information for nearly a year now. At the last meeting NOMS agreed to give us very basic stats (the divisional NPS safety committee meetings are being given similarly restricted information) – but we are not allowed to share these with anyone outside of the committee – and the information does not give details on why staff were off sick. So we are unable to engage constructively with the employers on addressing the issues that lead to staff sickness absence.
In July NOMS published their yearly stats on sickness 2014/15 as part of their annual report. This showed that the highest sickness absence levels were in the Midlands on 13.4 and lowest was in the North West on 10.1 days (average working days lost per full time equivalent staff). This information needs to be considered alongside number of staff in each division. The average working days lost was reported at 11.9 for the year but again this information doesn’t give any detail as why people were off sick and it isn’t broken down by quarter.
Earlier this year the Ministry of Justice provided an answer to a Napo initiated written parliamentary question that showed there seemed to be an uplift in the number of days lost to sickness since May 2014, compared to the same months in previous years.
It is standard practice that such complete sickness absence data is share with the trade union side at safety committees. And it is even standard practice in the MoJ. For instance it is shared with our Family Court safety reps at their quarterly h&s steering group meeting. NPS Managers must be given this information to help manage staff sickness.
We are particularly interested to obtain complete sickness stats so that we can fulfil our role as outlined in safety legislation of working in partnership with the employers to resolve safety and health problems in the workplace – with incomplete information we are unable to do this. We also want to see if the increase in stress levels caused by TR has been reflected in reasons given for sickness absence.
National Official (health and safety)