To ask the Attorney General, whether his Department complies with the requirement set out in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code that time off with pay for safety representatives will not be set against facility time allowed under existing arrangements.
29 January 2020
This part of the response is in relation to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), the Government Legal Department (GLD), and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).
The three organisations above, and Government more widely, recognise that there are significant benefits to both employers and employees when organisations and unions work together effectively to deliver high quality public services. Whilst facility time within the public sector must be accountable and represent value for money, departments have an obligation to provide reasonable paid time off to recognised trade union representatives to undertake trade union duties. This includes paid time off for safety representatives as set out in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code.
In line with the legislative obligation, set out in the Trade Union Act (2016), information relating to facility time for relevant union officials is published annually by GLD, with facility time defined by that Act as including time off taken by a relevant union official that is permitted by the official’s employer, including where this arises under “regulations made under section 2(4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The Serious Fraud Office (whose HR service is independent of the other Law Officer’s Departments) Facility Time Agreement allows for paid time off for health and safety representatives but that time off is set against the overall level of facility time agreed between the employer and the 3 recognised trade unions.