NIPSA have received a range of queries from members regarding the above competition.  It is clear that as a result of no consultation with NIPSA it is difficult to answer some of the queries being raised.  In addition as members are aware NIPSA is continuing with a legal challenge on the lack of meaningful consultation on the SO/DP competition which is in breach of Central Whitley and that process continues.

Given the range of issues being raised by members it is important if you have concerns you should immediately raise a complaint/grievance and insist you have a meeting to articulate your concerns and have them addressed.

NIPSA has sought details of the EQIA which should have been carried out and other specific queries relating to this competition which remains, in NIPSA's view, a flawed process.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

 

Further to NIPSA Bulletin B-9-19 issued on 16 May 2019 entitled External Deputy Principal and Staff Officer Competition I am writing to update members on the current position.

NIPSA is continuing to legally challenge the lack of meaningful consultation over the whole process regarding the above external competition.  The Judicial Review process is continuing and will be heard before the courts in due course. 

As previously indicated it is NICS Management’s view that the default position for all future recruitment competitions should be external so this is a major concern to NIPSA and to NIPSA members.  Career and promotion opportunities will be severely diminished in the future if Management Side and the NICS Board are allowed to get away with changing members’ terms and conditions without proper and meaningful consultation.  There has been no meaningful consultation on this process and therefore NIPSA believe that this is a fundamental issue and this is why we are continuing with the Judicial Review process.  At this point in time I cannot advise members on whether the current competition will be halted and hence that was the reason we advised from the outset that any member interested in applying should do so.

NIPSA were advised that there were approximately 4300 applications for the Staff Officer post and 3000 for the Deputy Principal post.  As members will be aware from the outset of these two competitions there have been many problems with IT failures, changes to process (I understand additional tests have been added into the process – again without consultation with NIPSA).  It is a disgrace given the amount of problems that have beset these competitions that Management Side supported by the NICS Board have continued with the current discredited process.

Members can be assured that NIPSA continue to challenge the process both through the registered disagreement and the courts. 

For these reasons it is important that when members receive their ballot papers next week they vote “Yes” for Strike Action and “Yes” for Action Short of Strike Action.  The ballot is two-fold – both pay and attacks on terms and conditions.

Alison Millar

General Secretary

Following the Branch consultation exercise for the various increases in Fixed Rate Allowances agreement was reached as set in our previous article posted on Fixed Rate Allowances.

Management Side have been advised that NIPSA have accepted the final offer as outlined in the Bulletin and have sought to have the new rates and arrears to 1 August 2018 paid as soon as possible.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

NIPSA are currently aware of members experiencing a series of IT difficulties in relation to submitting their applications for both Deputy Principal and Staff Officer posts.  As a result NIPSA have contacted Management Side urgently seeking clarification and Management Side are working to resolve these IT issues with their provider.

NIPSA have pressed Management Side to allow an extension to the deadline for receipt of completed applications for these competitions.  Management Side have indicated they are likely to concede to this request.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to NIPSA Branch Secretary Circulars issued last week I am writing to provide an update to members on the current situation.  Members will be aware that NIPSA sought urgent legal advice with a view to issuing legal proceedings against the NICS on Thursday of last week initially seeking to halt the process and stop the competitions proceeding.  The pre-action protocol letter was issued last Thursday afternoon and the NICS had until 12 noon to respond.  They sought an extension to 2 pm (which was granted) and it then transpired that they argued that they could not withdraw from the significant media and other costs they had already incurred.  This argument would have been made before the Judge and it was likely the Judge would have ruled that in the event of the Judge ruling against NIPSA that NIPSA would have to bear the costs incurred by the NICS.  Following an urgent legal consultation it was decided that given the very significant costs being indicated that we could not risk members' money on this.

However, NIPSA's legal team have responded to the NICS lawyers advising that they have until 9 May to respond to the further issues we have raised.  NIPSA, via our legal team, are reserving our position until then.  Once a more detailed response is received from the NICS lawyers more detailed consideration will be given as to whether to proceed further with a Judicial Review on the lack of consultation.

I want to assure you that we are actively working to protect your interests.  However, notwithstanding the current potential legal action members should apply for the advertised posts.  NIPSA does not wish to put any member at a potential disadvantage by advising you not to apply.

A further bulletin will be issued later in the week.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to Branch Secretary circular issued yesterday I am advising that NIPSA has lodged legal proceedings with the NICS seeking to halt the process due to lack of consultation as required under the Central Whitley provisions.

The NICS Management Side have until 12 noon today to agree to halting the above external competitions.  If this is not agreed to then NIPSA will be seeking an injunction to halt the process.

A further communication will be issued later today.

It is regrettable that NIPSA has been forced to take this unprecedented step. However given the intransigence of Management Side we have been left with no alternative.

Alison Millar
General Secretary