Our message to you is quite simple: If you hear attempts to fix the distribution of ratings or set targets for managed exits we need you to call it out. You can do that by phoning our Helpdesk on 020 8971 6060 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We have had a series of intense discussions with BT. Our approach has been driven by one overriding principle: that all marks should be justified on the basis of the evidence and, above all, there must be an absolute end to forced distribution of marks. Those talks have produced two documents: A new escalation process for either individual cases or more systemic issues and the second setting out guidance on Settlement Agreements (previously known as Compromise Agreements). Both documents have now been published by BT and are on the intranet. The documents are also on our website together with general advice for members on performance management.
Discussions are on-going and we are continuing to press for improvements in every aspect of policy and practice. The key test will be the experience of members as individuals and line managers on the ground. Rebuilding trust and confidence is challenging and will take time but we remain determined to deliver real, sustained improvement. We are already seeing some progress in some situations. So we would also welcome feedback from members who are seeing either a positive approach or improvements in their area.
Remember if you need individual advice, contact our Helpdesk on 020 8971 6060.
The escalation process clearly states that “performance markings must be fully justified against job standards, objectives and behaviours and that any practice which undermines this eg forced distribution would be appropriate for escalation”. It also confirms that labour turnover ‘forecasts’ in BT will not be translated into specific ‘managed exit’ targets for individual line managers; any practice which could result in targets for ‘managed exits’ or ‘unregretted leaver’ targets would be escalated using this procedure.
At national level Prospect can escalate both case and systemic issues under this process. We can raise systemic issues on an anonymous basis ensuring that the identity of the person will not be revealed. We will need to satisfy ourselves that there is validity in the concerns being raised – usually involving a conversation between the individual and an officer of the union. From that we will work out how best to raise whilst ensuring complete confidentiality. We are raising reports of abuses through Employee Relations channels. Each escalation will be tracked and a quarterly report provided to Group. We will also report back to members as appropriate on the outcomes of escalation.
The document on settlement agreements sets out how and when these can be used in performance or sick absence cases. It seeks to deal with the worst abuses of these agreements. If you are offered a settlement agreement contact Prospect immediately for advice.
BT has also agreed to an independent review of management practices and wellbeing. Focussing initially on the engineering environment, the review will be led by Dr Nita Clarke from the Involvement and Participation Association and has been commissioned under the auspices of Paul Litchfield, BT Group Chief Medical Officer. This is starting immediately and due to report back to him by the end of November. Prospect will meet Dr Clarke at the beginning of her review and the outcomes of the review will be shared with us.