Prospect news for members in public services

Prospect news for members in public services

Prospect news for members in public services February 2017


Valuing your performance

Prospect has compiled a handbook covering the performance management review process. It includes explanations, advice and space for you to keep notes to refer back to before your performance review. Applying the guidance and gathering and retaining your evidence will put you in the best position to demonstrate your contribution to your organisation’s goals. Download it here.

Government Commercial Organisation's pay and reward plans under fire

Prospect is warning members in the Government Commercial Organisation to seek financial advice before agreeing to transfer to new terms and conditions.

The GCO released proposals to change pay, terms and conditions for senior staff late last year. They aim to tackle the organisation’s inability to compete with the external market for specialist commercial skills.

Based on Prospect’s initial analysis, the union believes the proposals would leave many staff worse off on a “total reward” basis. It is advising members who are thinking about moving to the proposed terms to take independent financial advice – particularly about pension provision.

New apprenticeships framework

A new agreement on employing apprentices across the civil service provides positive safeguards and opens up opportunities for Prospect to recruit across wider areas and occupations. The civil service unions agreed the new protocol, which improves the previous agreement, with the Cabinet Office in January 2017.

Civil service sector conference

Prospect’s civil service sector conference will be held on Tuesday 6 June in Nottingham. Speakers include the minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer and Rupert McNeil, chief people officer at the Cabinet Office

The deadline for motions, nominations etc is Tuesday 7 March, 12 noon. Branch, section, and sub-section secretaries can download a circular with links to all the relevant paperwork.

Changes to national vacancy filling scheme

Civil service unions and the Cabinet Office are discussing changes to the national scheme for filling vacancies. The move was triggered by revisions to the national redundancy protocol; the Cabinet Office’s desire for a simpler system of advertising vacancies; and to remove the “surplus” stage of recruitment.

Prospect negotiator Dave Allen said: “The suggested approach sits with the revised redundancy protocol and its much greater emphasis on early and meaningful workforce planning discussions with staff and trade unions.”

Relying on contract workers hits pay for permanent staff

“Over-reliance on agency staff in some departments is forcing down the funding available to keep pay for permanent staff competitive, hampering departments’ ability to maintain the right calibre of full-time talent,” Prospect has told Civil Service World.

Prospect analysis of government figures showed there were five departments or agencies in which full-time equivalent, non-salaried workers accounted for at least 20% of staffing costs. Some departments were routinely found to be spending more than a third of their staffing costs on contractors and temporary staff.

Feeling the pinch

Prospect analysis of Cabinet Office pay data revealed a real-terms pay cut of 16% across grades represented by the union since 2010. Maximum salaries for each grade saw very little movement and total increases over the period were less than 5% – equating to significant real-terms losses in annual gross income. View Prospect’s presentation to the civil service seminar and read the full story published in Civil Service World.

Prospect’s autumn statement briefing also outlined the implications of the government’s inflation forecasts for civil service and public sector pay.

I’m worth more than 1%

Prospect has produced a new poster for members in public services to reinforce the message to employers that pay restraint is hitting people hard. You can download “I’m worth more than 1%” from our library or order printed copies by contacting [email protected]. Please put ‘1% poster’ in the subject line.

Submission to PACAC inquiry on work of civil service

Prospect was only union to submit evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s inquiry into the work of the civil service. It covers the structure, organisation and identity of the civil service; the attitudes and behaviours that determine its effectiveness in delivering government policy and how well it learns from successes and failures; the civil service’s collective capabilities and individual skills; and the risks to impartiality and accountability. Download it here.

Bullying, harassment and discrimination guidance

Good practice guidance on bullying, harassment and discrimination for leaders and managers in the civil service is being reviewed. Civil Service Employee Policy issued the “Gateway guidance” in 2016. It told the civil service unions in January that it was reviewing the product after extensive user testing.

Public sector pay restraint

A new TUC report has called on the government to work with public service employers and unions to lift the public sector pay cap and allow public service wages to be determined according to the needs of each sector. The report also calls on government to develop fair pay structures that are easy to explain, understand and operate, with shorter pay bands that guarantee progression based on transparent and objective appraisal systems, agreed in partnership between employers and unions. Although the report focuses on England, its recommendations are applicable across all nations and regions.


Prospect will launch a new booklet on what Brexit will mean for UK science and engineering in the House of Commons on 7 March. Keep an eye on our website for links and updates.

Prospect has also talked to the Cabinet Office about the uncertainty for EU nationals currently working in the UK and is awaiting a formal response.

Recruit a colleague

Don’t forget – for every member you recruit to Prospect, you can claim a £10 voucher or ask Prospect to donate to a charity. All the details, and links to forms, are on our webpage

Interested in getting involved?

Prospect reps can make a difference in the workplace and most employers value their contribution. Without them, Prospect would not be able to provide the service it does. We can provide all the training and support you need to be effective in a role that interests you. If you would like to find out more, please email [email protected] or download our new leaflet.

Recent blogs

Dig deeper to find the truth about robots replacing public servants

Recent media reports suggested that robots could replace thousands of public service workers. Our blog outlined reasons to be cautious about Reform’s claims for the headcount reductions that could be achieved, even in theory.

Government’s industrial strategy – a step forward but not yet a step-change?

A government Green Paper, Building Our Industrial Strategy, was published on 23 January. Our blog argues that the biggest question is whether the government is ready to commit the resources, devolve the powers and exercise the leadership on a scale needed to deliver the economic rebalancing and real improvements in productivity and opportunities that everybody recognises the need for.

Tell us if your details have changed

If your email address and other contact details are changing, please email Prospect's membership department – [email protected]. Members who have registered on our website can amend their details via their website member welcome page.