Date: 27th February 2015
Postal Branches with RMSS Members
Royal Mail Specialist Services (RMSS) – Joint Statement and Code Of Practice for Personal Security Checks
Branches and representatives are informed that the department has been involved in discussions with the business in respect of a Group wide review of security agreements to ensure that they remain fit for purpose.
During those discussions it was recognised that no specific Security Checks Code of Practice existed for RMSS and therefore discussions took place to rectify this situation and have culminated in the attached Joint Statement and Security Checks Code of Practice being agreed, which are in line with the procedures used in other parts of the business.
Branches and representatives are requested to ensure that our members are made aware of the contents of this LTB.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Terry Pullinger, Assistant Secretary, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org reference number: 218.09
Royal Mail Specialist Services (RMSS) Code Of Practice For Security Checks
During the Business Transformation Agreement 2010 (BT2010) discussions it was decided that Royal Mail Specialist Services (RMSS) would become a separate business unit under the umbrella of Royal Mail Group.
Since that time and in line with the commitments contained both in the BT2010 and the Agenda for Growth Stability and Long Term Success Agreements, work has continued between RMSS and the CWU to forge positive and constructive working relationships going forward and discussions have continued in regard to a progressive agenda.
Part of this activity has entailed RMSS and the CWU working together to strengthen our security approaches. Recently some work has been undertaken by Royal Mail and the CWU in respect of a Group wide review of security agreements to ensure that they remain fit for purpose. During this process it was recognised that no specific Security Checks Code of Practice existed for RMSS. Discussions therefore took place between RMSS and the CWU to rectify this situation and the attached agreement has been agreed.
The agreement is in line with that used within other business units and its purpose is to create a secure culture in RMSS, one in which everyone understands and takes responsibility for security. We need to do this to protect our employees and our customer’s property and the business from crime. In turn, this will enable RMSS to grow particularly within the high value secure market. If we don’t do this we will lose the opportunities that the secure market presents.
We hold the honesty and integrity of our employees and members in the highest esteem and the wording and commitments in these procedures reflect that fact and ensure that there are not unnecessary levels of security or stress as a result of their application.
Against that backdrop we are confident therefore that these agreed procedures are designed to allay all apprehension surrounding security checks and procedures, to eradicate opportunities for abuse, increase awareness and define the roles and responsibilities of all involved.
A copy of the attached Codes of Practice will be available in every unit so if you have any questions regarding these please speak to your Unit Manager or CWU Representative.
Alex WarnerTerry Pullinger
Managing DirectorAssistant Secretary
Date: 27th February 2015
The purpose for this Code of Practice is to draw to everybody’s attention to the agreed laid down procedures for personal security checks within Royal Mail Specialist Services (RMSS). The CWU have made their position clear in that they neither condone nor defend dishonesty. However, it is necessary to be aware of their concerns regarding such procedures and both Royal Mail Specialist Services (RMSS) and the CWU agree that this Code of Practice is designed to ensure there are not unnecessary levels of security and to avoid stress on individuals as a result of its application.
The following Code of Practice is therefore designed to allay all apprehension surrounding personal security checks and procedures to eradicate opportunities for abuse, increase awareness and define the roles and responsibilities of all involved.
CODE OF PRACTICE
RMSS and the CWU recognise the necessity to maintain high security within the operation in order to protect the property of customers and employees, raise customer confidence and enhance financial prosperity and ultimately protect job security of employees.
This code of practice is designed to deter and detect such occurrences where employees have access to items/property belonging to RMSS, the customer or other employees and remove these without the correct authority or permission of the owner.
When doing so it is agreed that the principles and procedures set out in this ‘Code of Practice’ will maintain the dignity and respect of those subject to a random ‘Personal Security Check’.
CIRCUMSTANCES FOR SECURITY CHECKS
It is impossible to define precisely every circumstance that would warrant security check activity but the following examples bullet pointed below, would act as a guide as to what would be acceptable circumstances.
SECURITY PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES
It is accepted that there is a mutual obligation of confidence and trust applied to every contract of employment and that all parties should act in a way so as not to destroy that relationship.
It is agreed that no employee should be subject to humiliating or degrading treatment in connection with security procedures. If any such incident is reported, these will be investigated thoroughly and where applicable the Conduct Code will be instigated. Depending on the severity of the incident this could ultimately result in dismissal. RMSS recognises the need to maintain the dignity of all employees within this procedure and will not detain or search any individual against their will. All of the above will be covered during the appropriate training course, which all checking managers must attend and be deemed competent, before they can take part in any personal security checks.
RMSS agree to obtain the consent of an employee before beginning any personal security check relating to them. Equally, RMSS accepts that they may not forcibly detain an employee on suspicion in order to question or search them.
It is agreed that personal security check procedures will involve the need for a consent form, which must be signed by an employee before a check commences. This form will also contain a section to be completed by the person conducting the personal security check, giving the reasons for the check, the result of the check and their signature. All forms should be kept confidentially by the employer as a record of the event.
A manager will undertake the personal security check ensuring there is a witness available which where practicable would be another manager or another person e.g. a member of Security, a CWU representative or a colleague. Employees will have the right to be accompanied by a CWU representative or a friend who must be an RMG employee from within the Depot/Hub. Unreasonable delays to the availability of a CWU representative will not stop the personal security check taking place.
It is agreed that all personal security checks will only be carried out by properly trained managers and at all times working to the agreed guidelines detailed in this Code of Practice.
Whilst the procedure for carrying out personal security checks is detailed in Annex A to this Code of Practice it is appreciated that the check may involve opening bags, emptying pockets, opening car boots, glove compartments, lockers and desks. It is agreed that there will be no need to examine private papers or open small purses and wallets. There will be no physical contact, frisking or body searches as part of these agreed procedures. In all situations of checks detailed above it is agreed that the employee must be present before the check is commenced. Due to the personal nature of items which may be contained in such places as private bags etc. an employee may express a wish for the search to be carried out by someone of the same sex and wherever possible this request will be met. However unreasonable delays to the availability of a same sex manager will not stop the personal security check taking place. Accepting that an individual has the right to decline a search in these circumstances.
Any check will normally be carried out in the RMSS work area and out of view of other members of staff. Equally, all searches should ensure minimal delay to employees leaving work and be sympathetic to individual’s travel arrangements.
RMSS appreciate that employees may not like to be asked to participate in a personal security check even though they may understand why it occasionally is necessary. It is therefore essential that all employees who are asked to agree to a security check are told either immediately, prior to or at the time of the check, why the check is being made, what the check entails and their rights and safeguards as detailed in this Code of Practice.
Personal Security Checks can only be conducted with the consent of the person concerned. Any employee has the right to refuse a check and in such circumstances the matter shall be dealt with via the line manager obtaining an explanation from the individual. If there is particular reason to suspect dishonesty the matter should be dealt with in line with existing procedures.
It is agreed that these procedures should not be used to victimise or discriminate against an employee and that the right to check should not be exercised against particular employees only. All RMSS employees including Managers, agency staff, casuals, visitors and third parties on RMSS sites will be liable to be checked when a personal security check is deemed necessary. Equally, management must monitor and ensure that the same individuals are not being selected a disproportionate number of times in the course of RMSS applying random or standard security checks. This process will be agreed locally between the CWU and RMSS Management.
During all personal security checks confidential material, Legal privilege, confidential personal information, spiritual counselling, confidential journalistic material and communications between a Member of Parliament and another person on constituency matters private papers and personal items will not be examined.
Both RMSS and CWU believe it is essential that all employees are fully aware of the procedures detailed in this Code of Practice. To achieve this it is agreed that this Code of Practice Agreement will be placed on local notice boards and posted onto the RMSS intranet site. New staff will be informed of the policy during their induction to RMSS.
All employees will have access to the grievance procedure if they believe they have been treated unfairly or unreasonably.
To minimise the opportunity of people being in unauthorised possession of either personal or official property, RMSS intends wherever possible to operate a ‘sterile working area’ with all bags, holdalls and coats etc, having to be secured in personal lockers or areas provided before a member of staff enters the operational work area.
It is recognised that ‘sterile working areas’ will not be possible in all operational locations but RMSS will focus resources in high risk areas.
Any questions of interpretation, implementation or application of this agreement shall be referred to the national signatories of this agreement as a matter of urgency and will be dealt with inside the provisions of the appropriate industrial relations agreement.
Alex Warner Terry Pullinger
Managing DirectorAssistant Secretary
Royal Mail Specialist ServicesCWU
Date: 27th February 2015
Conducting a Personal Security Check
In some cases it may be appropriate to check all staff, in others it may be necessary to check only a random sample of staff or all staff from a particular work area. The need to carry out a personal security check does not imply any suspicion on any employee.
Arrangements for the check must be conducted in line with the full terms of the agreed Code of Practice.
After being selected for a personal security check and before the check is conducted, the employee will be reminded of their rights to have a representative or friend present if they so wish.
The employee will be asked if they consent to the check taking place, if they do not then reference should be made to the terms detailed in the Code of Practice. If they accept then the consent form must be completed.
Before being checked the employee will be asked if they are in possession of any items for which they do not have authority or is not rightfully theirs.
Employees will then be invited to show they are not in possession of any suspicious items in their outer wear, bags, lockers or vehicle, depending on what is appropriate.
The person carrying out the check may then ask to check pockets and bags. In respect of pockets this is restricted to outer garments which must be removed for the checker to inspect the pockets. In respect of trouser and shirt pockets the person being checked will be asked to turn their pockets inside out. The checking manager will not touch the person being checked as part of this or any other part of the check.
There will be no physical contact, frisking or body searches as part of this procedure.
Should the electronic metal detector (WAND) be used and indicates an employee/visitor/manager/agency or casual worker has a metal object on their person that cannot be seen they will be asked to demonstrate or prove that object is not RMSS or customer property.
Private vehicles could be subject to random searches should there be specific grounds to do so. The driver will be asked to open the glove compartment, boot, bonnet, any other storage areas and to move rugs/ mats etc, before being asked to step back to allow a check of the property visible in these areas.
When the checker is satisfied that the check is completed and has proven negative they should record the fact on the consent form and provide a copy of the form to the employee. The employee should then be allowed to leave and thanked for their co- operation.
Where it is identified that an employee is in unauthorised possession of company, customer or another employee’s property then the appropriate action should be taken in accordance with the Conduct Code.