President’s Blog no.14

Colleagues

It’s not been long since my last blog but wanted to bring you all up to speed with ASPS activity before the festive period takes over.

Promotion Process

Members will be aware that the position regarding the ‘open process’ has been amended lately. I have been in dialogue with the executive regarding this and agreement has been reached that the process will be ‘temporarily closed’ to allow the executive to progress to a postings panel early February.

After some discussions, it has also been agreed that the process will ‘re-open’ after the posting panel with future interview dates being set according to need.

I trust this will provide members with some confidence that there will be further interviews taking place throughout the year as there are a number of projected vacancies at Chief Superintendent rank.

 

Executive Committee

Since my last update, the following members have been proposed to be co-opted onto the executive committee which will take place at the January executive meeting.

Supt Thom McLoughlin

Ch Supt Ciorstan Shearer

Both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the committee.

There is another vacant post that we will look to fill in the new year.

 

Strategic Plan

Brendan has circulated the draft strategic themes along with his circular re Police Oracle membership (see later in Blog).  The themes are what, we as an association, believe are the key issues we need to influence on your behalf.

I would very much value your feedback on the key themes as this will help shape the future of the Association’s activities.

 

Critical Illness Insurance

Due to a recent illness within the membership it became apparent that some of our members are not fully au-fait with the critical illness insurance cover provided through the Scottish Police Federation.

To raise awareness to the level of cover I asked our General Secretary, Mr Craig Suttie, to pen a few words to provide some informative guidance on this. If you still have any concerns or confusion, please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss this policy.

Q:  I have been asked why ASPS do not provide Insurance to cover salaries when colleagues are absent from work due to sickness and why the cover that many have is limited to cover at the level of a Chief Inspectors salary.

A:  ASPS have never provided Group Insurance with the significant exception of our Legal Protection Insurance. In respect of Salary Protection Insurance for Illness, with about 150 members, we are too small to consider such a policy. Indeed, our sister organisation PSEAW which represents Superintending Ranks in England and Wales who are 10 times our size are in the same position.

Under current arrangements, the service provides full salary for the first 6 months of illness in any given year. After that half salary is provided for the next 6 months and then no regular salary. These arrangements reflect the onerous role police officers perform and are generous in relation to other similar schemes. In addition, any Ill Health Retiral Pension is enhanced from what would otherwise be the case for other leavers.

In common with colleagues in England and Wales, many colleagues take advantage of Police Federation Schemes which they maintain on promotion to Superintendent. Indeed, we point out to all Temporary Superintendents that they should maintain SPF cover and point out to newly promoted Superintendents that we do not provide insurance cover that may be available through the SPF.

The SPF are over 100 times the size of ASPS and have a very high uptake of their Salary Protection Insurance. They do provide cover for all Federated Salaries albeit the vast majority of those in the Scheme are Constables.

Any Superintendent or Chief Superintendent or indeed Chief Officer would in effect get full pay for the first 6 months of absence, half pay and half the take home pay of a Chief Inspector for the next 6 months and then a Chief Inspector’s take home pay for the next 6 months.  Details of the SPF cover are helpfully provided at www.spf.org.uk

 

Joint Superintendent Survey

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the survey to date.  As of this week PSoS return rate was sitting at 92% which is a fantastic commitment from you all. These figures include any surveys that have been started but not yet complete however the administrators cannot provide exact details until the survey closes.

If you have part completed the survey, can I please ask you to complete it as the closing date has been extended to midnight 2nd January to allow colleagues from other regions to increase their uptake. It takes 15 minutes to complete the survey and provide us with your views of where we are at present.  The survey will be anonymous.

It is my intention to use the survey to help inform key themes around wellbeing, leadership and learning.

 

Justice Committee

We are regularly invited to provide evidence to the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing on a range of matters.

On 15 November, I provided evidence regarding the efficiency of COPFS and thank all who took time to provide me with evidence from their locality which was all very positive at senior management level, with the long standing front line issues around wasted court time.

On 24 November, I provided evidence regarding ‘Police Scotland’s and the SPA’s preparations for the 2017-18 budget and their resource plans for the coming year’. Much of the Committee’s attention was clearly focussed upon the projected overspend for PSoS and the plan to ‘fill the gap’ in the year ahead.

My evidence included detail of the Auditor General’s past critical comments around the service’s financial governance.  I updated members that there has been a significant positive change in governance with the appointment of the Interim Chief Financial Officer Mr James Gray as well as the appointment of The Deputy Chief Officer Mr David Page, who together, have been able to provide an accurate picture of the service’s finances.

If you have note already done so, I would encourage you to read the Auditor General’s report published yesterday.  It outlines the scale of the financial challenges ahead. A link to the report:

www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/the-201516-audit-of-the-scottish-police-authority

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback in preparation for the meetings however I would very much like to get more feedback so I can have confidence that my evidence is representative of our membership.

I am more than happy to receive an email, phone call or meeting to discuss matters.

 

Wellbeing Project

The wellbeing of the people of Police Scotland is fundamental to ASPS’ work.  To this end collaboration with the University of Glasgow’s Social and Public Health Science Unit continues. Initial work is progressing regarding the potential provision of health checks to those who would like them.  The team are also keen to look at organisational stressors and their effect on health and wellbeing outcomes.  The intention is to identify stressors and set up workplace interventions, with our membership used as a pilot study group, before offering services to the wider Police Scotland family.

There are other strands to our wellbeing initiative with the University of Glasgow and we will keep you updated as they come to fruition.

 

ASPS Conference 2017

Date for the diary – next year’s conference will take place at the Police Scotland College on Wednesday 24 May 2017.  We have secured the services of BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie to compere the event, some of which may be broadcast live.

More to follow on this.

 

CIMplexity Training

I attended the newly revamped CIMplexity Course at the Police Scotland College on 29th and 30th November 2016.  Personally, I found the course to be far more relevant to policing in Scotland and a positive step forward from the previous course.

Feedback provided to me by delegates was very positive indeed.  I would encourage you to ensure you attend this training course.

 

Divisional Visits

I am very grateful to everyone for hosting the meetings and providing honest feedback regarding your views around policing and the association. I have visited all Local Policing divisions and have meetings scheduled for some specialist divisions.

Wellbeing of our members and the on-duty pilot were consistent discussion points during the visits. Work is ongoing as to the shape of the on-duty pilot review and I will update you all regarding this in the new year.  Furthermore, we have had discussions around on call resilience across a range of disciplines and will be represented at a meeting in January where Chief Superintendent Nelson Telfer will be looking to address the concerns you have raised.

As we enter the festive period, I am conscious of the additional challenges this brings to our members and those they lead.  At a time where most are at home spending the festive period with friends and family, many of you will be working therefore I would like to wish you all a safe and peaceful time.

 

Police Oracle

Members should all have received an e-mail from Brendan providing a link providing you with a 12 months free subscription to Police Oracle. This is a very informative website and I am very grateful to Brendan for negotiating this deal for us.

If you haven’t received the email or are having registration issues, please contact Brendan for assistance.

 

C3 – Notable Incidents

Members will have read about Ch Supt Roddy Newbigging’s approach to a learning culture across C3 where officers and staff are encouraged to actively ‘self-report’ any near misses regarding service delivery – notable incidents.

The process was subject of FOI requests.  Without wishing to go into any detail around the circumstances, I warmly welcome the Chief Constable’s approach to not only supporting this ‘Black Box Thinking’ approach, but to publicly praising the approach, articulating to media and public that the service is committed to developing a ‘learning culture’.

 

Well Wishes

At a time of year when most of us will be able to enjoy some or all of the festive season, I would like to express my personal well wishes and thoughts to two of our members who are presently unwell and absent from work, Superintendents Liz McAinsh and Jim Coubrough.

Jim and Liz, I am sure I speak for all the members when I wish you both a speedy recovery.

I am delighted to hear that Chief Superintendent Sharon Milton will be returning to work in January after a long period of significant illness, welcome back Sharon.

 

As I sign off my last Blog of 2016 I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful Christmas and prosperous 2017.

‘Lang may yer lum reek’ – Slànte Mhath

Gordon

 

Gordon Crossan

President

23 December 2016

 

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