Civic Centre – your safety comes first! [newsletter]

A serious of major incidents at the new Civic Centre at Lambeth Council are giving staff serious cause for concern.

As you will be aware there have been a series of nasty incidents at the Civic Centre since it opened. This has come about because of a change of working practices, whereas before reception staff would be behind a desk or a screen when dealing with enquiries, the new way of working in the CC is to have staff unprotected standing by podiums to receive enquiries. It would appear that Lambeth Council although having full knowledge of these incidents and assaults have not changed the systems of work, to protect staff which I am very unhappy about! In addition following a very unsatisfactory evacuation of the CC in July following an incident of disorder, a review of the evacuation process/lock was tasked. This new updated procedure has still not been produced, so we are still in limbo. This again is not satisfactory.

Bernard Conmy Unison Health & Safety

What are we calling for?

  1. We need proper Union consultation, we haven’t been involved in some of the important discussions. This has started to change but we need more consistency.
  2. More resources for Corporate H&S team. It is clearly under resourced.
  3. Council to look at redesigning the Civic Centre ground floor.  We urgently need to look again at the podiums – are they effective and how safe are they for staff? We appreciate the effort to make the council more open and approachable, but they are putting staff at risk.
  4. We have been calling for a first aid room on ground floor at CC for months. This has been tentatively agreed but we want it to be dedicated, secure and also private.
  5. Proper recording of incidents by security staff. Reports to FM need to be shared with H&S
  6. Health and safety forum – monthly meeting. We have corporate H&S that meets quarterly. The Council wants directorate safety committees, but we want something that crosses all directorates, properly constituted and able to make corporate decisions. The end of the YNTH meetings that will happen soon means that there is no natural place now for h&S issues to be raised. Management say that we can use the BUGS but UNISON does not agree that these are suitable for serious H&S issues. These meetings should be attended by property services, Corporate health and safety, facilities management and directorate level decision makers meeting and consulting properly with the unions.
  7. The Council has to provide information as part of negotiations and consultation – UNISON had to go for an FOI request to get the necessary information for the major incidents which is a waste of valuable time.

To read more, download our latest Health and Safety Bulletin click the following link
Lambeth UNISON Health and safety bulletin October 2018

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