FACILITY TIME AGREEMENT
The Audit Commission recognises the importance of working in partnership with its staff. It
supports the activities of its recognised Trade Unions and recognises the need to make a
significant contribution to the time and facilities needed by the Union representatives to
discharge their function.
This agreement sets out the guidelines to be used by Trade Union representatives with regard
to reasonable time off for union duties, activities and training. These guidelines are based on
the ACAS code of practice and were produced after discussions between the partnership
members and were agreed on 11 October 2001.
a) The Commission should make a significant contribution to the time and facilities
needed for Trade Union representatives to discharge their duties and activities.
b) The Commission recognises two registered independent Trade Unions and this will
mean the total amount of time allowed will, in total, be greater than that which would
have been granted to a single body. However, the Unions recognise the need to work
together to accurately reflect the views of staff and will seek for the two Unions to
c) The amount of time allowed for internal meetings is based on an assumption that joint
partnership meetings (informal and formal) will take place 16 times a year. Any
increase or decrease in joint meetings should result in a corresponding change in the
amount of time allowed.
d) The Commission and Trade Unions recognise the need to represent all areas of the
e) The partnership recognises that in the application of this agreement a balance needs to
be struck. The Commission accepts the need for staff representatives to have
sufficient time to carry out their duties and activities thoroughly and properly. The
Unions recognise the need to balance union and non-union duties to maintain a high
level of productivity.
The Audit Commission will provide reasonable paid time off to Trade Union representatives
to carry out the duties and activities listed below. More detail of the expected time required is
provided in Appendix A.
a) Formal and informal negotiation meetings
Time for each delegate (usual maximum 4 plus 2 professional advisors) as per the
partnership constitution. One day per person per meeting. Union professional
advisors will also be able to attend.
b) Working Groups
Time for nominated representatives to attend agreed working groups and other agreed
Meetings with Regional Directors/ Directors, attendance at Regional Conferences and
Audit Commission Conferences.
Attendance at induction days and other agreed recruitment activity.
e) Annual Union conferences
Time for Union members to attend an annual delegates conference (maximum 1 day
for 20 delegates for each Union) and time for elected delegates to attend the IPMS
national conferences (up to a maximum of 3 days for 2 delegates).
f) Committee meetings
Time for elected representatives to attend Union Committee meetings. The number of
meetings will reflect the number of formal negotiating meetings required by the
partnership. (Max 15 representatives including elected officers for each Union). It is
expected that meetings will be held in locations which will maximise productive time
and minimise travel. Any meeting beyond the above limits will be agreed with the
Employer Partner. The Employee Partner will inform the Employer Partner of any
additional meetings they require. The Employer Partner will not unreasonably refuse
to grant time for these meetings.
g) Special meetings
Meeting of representatives and employees in particular parts of the Commission such
as Inspectorate or MSBU where specifically agreed with the employer partner.
h) Preparation for meetings. Secretary and Chairs.
Reasonable time to prepare for meetings and negotiation and to respond to papers
i) Officers and Committee
Reasonable time for other members of the Committees for specific duties such as
Treasurer, Health and Safety representative, and preparation/distribution of
j) Education and Training
Trade Union officials are more likely to carry out their duties effectively if they
possess the necessary skills and knowledge. The Commission recognises the need for
training relevant to union duties to be treated as paid facility time. The Commission
also recognises the need for rotation of the development of existing and new
representatives and for there to be representation from all parts of the business.
Therefore, it will view sympathetically any application for support appropriate
training wherever possible.
k) Dealing with problems raised by individual members
Time for attending formal disciplinary, capability and grievance meetings plus
informal meetings where requested by the individual. and agreed with management.
Reasonable preparation time will be allowed. This would normally be face-to-face
immediately before the meeting with telephone contact beforehand. Exceptions to be
agreed in advance discussed with management. The Unions will arrange for
sufficient national coverage so that travelling time for such meetings is minimised.
The maximum time is not expected to exceed 100 days in any one year. The amount
of time will be regularly reviewed during the year. If the Unions decide a higher level
of support is necessary, this will be funded by the Unions unless specifically agreed
with the Employer Partner. Unions will make use of professional advisers as
appropriate and necessary. If further time is required, this will be discussed by the
Partners to determine whether additional time should be granted. Additional time will
not be unreasonably refused.
The Audit Commission will provide or allow use of office equipment, notice boards,
telephones, computer equipment and other office facilities to enable Trade Union
representatives to carry out their functions.
APPLICATION OF THE GUIDELINES
a) Both the Commission and the Unions accept the need to interpret the guidelines
flexibly. However, all partners to this agreement will wish to keep its application
under review and to agree changes as necessary. Any issue that may arise will be
dealt with jointly by the partners.
b) Staff seeking time for union duties should inform their line manager well in advance
wherever possible. They should be mindful of operational commitments and be
prepared to account for the time taken.
c) The Unions should provide the relevant HR manager with a list of all elected officers
and should update this information whenever changes occur.
d) The Commission will meet the travelling and accommodation expenses arising from
partnership meetings and other meetings called by management. The Unions will
meet all other travelling and accommodation expenses.
d) The overall total of paid facility time is not expected to exceed 600 days.
e) The breakdown of the 600 days is attached in Annex A. Each figure is an expectation
regardless of the overall total. There will be regular reviews during the year. Any
additional time will be specifically agreed with the Employer Partner. Union
officers/representatives will record and report time spent according to the coding
structure agreed at the Partnership forum.
f) In addition to the overall limit, Chairs and Secretaries will should not spend more than
50% of their time on Union duties and Secretaries not more than 25% of their time.