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Community Conference 2018 Blog Update – Southport 1st – 4th March

Paul Berrisford and myself (Julie Walker) attended the Community Conference in Southport where we attended workshops prior to the start of conference. The first workshop was on Violence and Aggression where we were informed that 70% of our members within the Housing Association Sector reported violence and aggression at work, this is higher than other sectors where their average is 50%.

Unison has developed a Violence at Work Charter using data collated from previoussurveys conducted with our members. They have also consulted Unison Health and Safety teams and branches to produce a 10 point plan, are contacting employers to request that they sign up to the charter and take on board its recommendations.

The Charter requires

  • The Employer has a written Violence and Aggression at Work Policy
  • Responsibility for Violence and Aggression at Work Policy lies with Senior Managers
  • Isolation of workers is to be reduced
  • Staff actively encouraged to report incidents
  • Data is collected and monitored
  • Union Safety Representatives are able to access this data and consulted
  • There are thorough Risk Assessments produced
  • Support pathways are provided for staff who are victims of violence
  • Training is provided to ensure staff are aware of the appropriate way in which to deal with threatening situations
  • Independent counselling provided for employees

The Charter has been advertised in the media and now 15 employers have signed up to it already. These employers include

  • Coverage Care
  • Aspire
  • Dimensions
  • Mencap
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)
  • Creative Support
  • Federation of Jewish Services (Heathlands)
  • Places for People Group
  • Apex Housing Association
  • Sandwell Community Caring Trust
  • WM Housing Group
  • Wakefield and District Housing
  • Incommunities
  • The Wrekin Housing Trust

All of these employers have been sent two letters requesting that they look at their policies and the Charter has been press released twice. Unison have arranged for a Parliamentary event to raise the profile of the Charter and to put more pressure on employers to sign up. This will take place in June 2018 and will include Unison Activists from Community with particular interest in this issue.

There were 16 motions discussed on Saturday afternoon and all were carried, an Emergency Motion was introduced by Greater London Region regarding London Housing Crisis. This emergency motion was fully debated, and the consensus was that although Greater London Region had brought this to conference it was in fact a motion that affected all regions. The motion was duly carried.

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