There can have been few times when members have needed the CSP’s support more than during 2020, as they have faced the impact of Covid-19
Whether relating to their professional practice, their employment or their ability to access CSP benefits, members have looked to us for advice, support and guidance. We saw demand for our member advice services grow rapidly, both in volume and complexity.
We responded by temporarily increasing capacity in our member advice teams, including opening for advice over three weekends for the first time in the CSP’s history.
CSP senior negotiating officers made a major contribution to building and maintaining a dedicated Covid-19 FAQ hub. This hub provided almost daily updates in line with rapidly evolving guidance across the UK and to reflect the changing concerns and needs of our members.
Covering 200 separate issues, the site guided reps and members throughout the year.
During the pandemic, our organisers worked alongside members to tackle pressing workplace issues including helping members to challenge employers about losses of physiotherapy space. We also worked together to overcome barriers to the restart of physio services.
On pay, our organisers ran 12 focus groups with over 100 members to sound out members’ views, alongside our largest ever pay survey, which received over 6000 responses. Both were used to inform our submission to the NHS Pay Review Body.
Supporting a digital transition for reps
We also provided support and guidance to members as Covid-19 escalated the development and use of digital tools. To best provide support, we innovated rapidly to train CSP stewards and safety reps through new, entirely virtual induction courses. We also developed a suite of new ways to support reps in their work – from webinars to Zoom meetings to the expansion of eBites.
Senior Negotiating Officers – extra support when needed
Particularly in the early months of the pandemic, CSP senior negotiating officers (SNOs) had to frequently open negotiations with employers to make sure vulnerable members – such as pregnant staff – were adequately protected in the workplace and redeployed away from patient-facing work when necessary.
SNOs also supported members to feel confident in raising their own concerns about PPE and infection control procedures directly with their managers.
Local implementation of the national furlough scheme was also a contested issue. Through negotiations conducted at the national level, the CSP ensured that bank staff working for private providers received furlough pay based on previous hours worked, despite their zero-hour contracts.
Likewise, negotiated settlements saw many members employed by private practitioners receive over-and-above statutory redundancy packages following changes to the furlough scheme in the autumn.
In January 2020, CSP members in Northern Ireland – alongside other health staff – received an offer to bring pay into line with England. It followed work by the CSP to show members were prepared to take industrial action in support of better pay
Following concerns raised by stewards and safety reps, over 80 members participated in a CSP virtual meeting to discuss the issue of loss of physio/rehab space and restarting services. Stewards from England shared their experiences of having successfully defended losses of physio space in their Trusts.
Reps told us that physiotherapy staff were having difficulties in returning to schools, suggesting Scottish government guidance was being applied too harshly. In response, we raised their concerns at a meeting with Scottish government representatives present.
Wales’ CSP team has strengthened its reps network this year. We now have at least two stewards, along with two health and safety reps, elected in each NHS Board.
We have also joined fortnightly trade union meetings with Wales’ minister for Health & Social Services, where we can discuss members’ pay, redeployments, and PPE issues directly with government.
Changes to our services to better support members
Following a complete change to our business model in providing legal services to members internally, we now do more than 80% of our regulatory work (HCPC) in-house, along with 60% of employment tribunal cases, leading to significant financial savings and considerably improved satisfaction ratings from members.
In support of our work on anti-racism and allyship, we delivered training to more than 300 stewards and safety reps, equipping them to notice, support and stand alongside our members at work. In 2020 we also updated our EDB Toolkit – a practical guide for CSP stewards, managers and members – and added new information to our website about members’ rights with respect to discrimination at work.
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