After a two-year hiatus, the CSP’s Rep of the Year awards have returned. The annual prize-giving showcases what the CSP’s elected representatives do to make the workplace safer, more equitable, healthier and happier
The awards were sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors and presented by CSP president Ilora Finlay at this year’s Annual Representative Conference, in Manchester. Claire Sullivan, CSP director of employment relations and union services said: ‘I have been blown away by the number of nominations and the work our stewards and safety reps have been doing.
‘We have never needed our brilliant volunteers more than we do at this particularly difficult time.’
Indeed, two new award categories were introduced this year – ‘rep team of the year’ and ‘outstanding award for equality in the workplace’ – to recognise the breadth of work our reps do for other members.
Meet the winners
CSP steward of the year Josh Meadows, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust (NHFT)
Josh faced stiff competition from other stewards and it proved to be the hardest category to judge. Ultimately, his multiple examples of tangible results led him to taking the prize.
Josh developed a communication strategy within NHFT (where the CSP stewards already have their own webpage), that included a communications link, a video and leaflets; as well as a slot at corporate inductions to promote all trade unions equally in the trust, to aid recruitment, retention and the profile of health unions.
A quote from one of his nominations exclaimed: ‘I never thought we would see the day that we had certain directors singing our praises in this trust video and this push from Josh is a big part of why we have better representation than we ever have done.’
Josh has been active in influencing other health unions and the trust’s management, challenging the legality of charging apprentices for study leave and travel. This led to the trust dropping its stance and offering a ‘golden hello’ and supporting staff side calls for apprentices to be paid the national living wage. Josh has also improved the trust’s plans for representation on equality, LGBQTIA+, disability and BAME networks. He has taken a lead role in supporting physiotherapy staff through multiple consultations and ensured best outcomes for them, challenging management on multiple occasions.
Outstanding contribution to equality in the workplace
Manessa Faal, Swansea Bay University Health Board
Manessawas nominated across several categories of the awards but the judges were delighted to choose her for this new category.
Manessa arranged for the CSP’s Lets Tackle Racism training to be delivered as part of all the health board’s physiotherapy departments in-service training, after completing the training herself as a steward. After a workplace incident around unconscious bias and race equality, she challenged the leadership team regarding their lack of understanding around this topic and around the NHS. Manessa raised the importance of going beyond allyship and the importance of anti-racism behaviour and calling people out in challenging situations. Manessa has since taken an active role in the Welsh race equality working group and is working with the CSP to further this agenda in Wales. Manessa has become active in both the CSP BAME network, the Swansea Bay University Health Board BAME network and has also become a BAME rep for CSP Welsh board. She also helped the CSP create a recruitment video for stewards to encourage CSP members from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background to step up and take on a steward role to increase the diversity of our steward network.
Manessa explains how she feels about being recognised: ‘Winning this award has been a massive privilege. I’ve been a steward since 2014 and it means a lot to have the work that I and the steward team do recognised. I have been working hard alongside a dynamic group of members, CSP stewards, safety reps, CSP staff, and HEI leaders in order to improve the equality and equity within the Welsh health service and the communities we serve, and this award is a testament to the hard work and achievements we have made so far.’
Safety rep of the year
Paula Wheeler, Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital NHS Trust
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic Paula was key to maintaining safe working practices not only for CSP members but for all staff throughout the trust.
In the words of a member: ‘Paula has helping me significantly whilst starting my degree apprenticeship in physiotherapy, she is always on hand to guide me and offer a word of wisdom when needed.’
Paula supported a member who was pregnant early on during the pandemic. The member reports: ‘Paula was a support to me through difficult meetings with managers and always went above and beyond to keep me safe but also feeling secure in work.’
In response to CSP members reporting increased levels of work related stress, Paula proactively engaged with members by conducting three separate stress workshops to enable team discussion, reflection and potential solutions for issues raised. Paula then used the results to collate robust evaluation reports and worked in partnership with senior management to implement positive actions and change. The judges were delighted to award safety rep of the year to Paula for her outstanding achievements, and the support and kindness she has shown her members.
Rep team of the year
Queen Elizabeth Hospital workplace team, Birmingham
A sudden loss of rehab space led to this rep team, who had only been in post for around two years, to come together and organise to support their members. Their nomination referred to them being the team behind inspirational and influential initiatives in the workplace to improve staff morale and wellbeing and working relationships with managers.
Rebecca Lamb described how they had had challenges due to loss of space. The team felt there was an under representation of allied health professionals and physiotherapists within organisations which had led to a lack of recognition for this vital staff group when planning and organising services.
‘At the Queen Elizabeth we ensured that the correct consultation process was followed and allowed CSP members to have a voice.’ An example of this is when they lost the majority of their physiotherapy space. The team gathered all the appropriate information and engaged members to gather supporting evidence and submitted a collective grievance signed by 131 members.
The judges commended the team for their organising skills and member engagement and unanimously agreed to recognise their work with the new ‘rep team of the year’ award.
How the awards were judged
Jill Taylor, chair of the CSP employment committee and a regional steward herself was one of the panel of judges.
She describes the difficulty in selecting from the 62 incredible nominations sent in by members.
‘It was an honour to judge rep of the year and I was blown away by the calibre and number of nominations this year. ‘As a steward I know how tough the last few years have been and reps have been stretched and challenged to their limits.
‘Acknowledgment by those we represent is a wonderful testament to the often unseen work stewards do for their members.
‘Thank you to members and staff who took the time to nominate their reps for rep of the year. Without your nominations the awards would not have been possible.’
Could you be a CSP rep?
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