Further to LTB 069/17 published under the name of Dave Ward, General Secretary.
I am writing to advise Branches that an interim review has been carried out and a number of changes to the NDC Byelaws have been agreed by the NEC at its meeting held on the 25th May 2017.
In determining my approach to the review I have taken an overview of all the cases referred to the NDC since 2010. These total 97 cases, of which 37 involve two reps from the same branch, 9 resulted in a sanction and 4 were currently ongoing, with the remainder either withdrawn or there was no prima facie case to answer. 
I was convinced that a large percentage of the cases that were raised under National Rule 14, were not serious breaches of National Rules, but were, indeed, a breakdown of relationships with individuals at branch level. I, therefore, took the view that we needed to put in place a procedure which allows for a swift intervention at local level, thus avoiding the need to progress every case to a full NDC hearing.
I, therefore, proposed and the NEC agreed that we put in place a system which allows for an initial vetting of the complaint, which can then be classified as either a dispute or a disciplinary issue, depending on the nature of the complaint. There was enough evidence to suggest that there was no need to elevate the vast majority of these complaints to a full NDC hearing and that there was an opportunity to resolve these issues at local level via an informal resolution procedure. The aim of the new procedure is to create an environment where a quick and equitable solution can be found, with only the more serious breaches of the National Rules being processed to a full NDC hearing.
These initial changes to the byelaws do not alter the formal NDC process that is contained within National Rule 14. What they provide is a process which will allow for an informal resolution to commence prior to any charge being considered by the full NDC and in the event a solution cannot be reached then the informal resolution process will cease and the case will revert to the full NDC for consideration.
The NEC have also agreed a change to the make-up of the NDC which will provide greater flexibility and also ensure we have the correct gender balance within the NDC panel members.
New Byelaws
Byelaw 2
At its first meeting after their election the NEC will appoint six of its members, two of which must be female, who will serve as NDC Panel Members. Any three members will constitute a Disciplinary Committee with the full authority to deal with and determine on all matters calling for disciplinary action under the rules.
Delete existing Byelaw 2 (a) and renumber the existing paragraphs accordingly.
Byelaw 3
Within seven days of notification from the General Secretary’s Department details of the charge will be considered by the National President or Vice President and the NDC Officer who will determine if the nature of the charge is classified as either a dispute or a disciplinary issue.
Disciplinary issues should, in the main, be incidents of a serious breach of national rules.
If it is determined that the charge is a dispute then it will be dealt with via informal resolution at local level with the assistance of an appropriate CWU representative appointed by the NDC Officer. The aim will be to conduct a meeting with all parties concerned within 14 days.
Informal resolution will only take place when both parties have confirmed that there are no outstanding employers’ procedures contemplated or in progress against either of the parties.
In the event a resolution is achieved at local level the matter will conclude at this point.
In the event a resolution is not achieved the charge will revert to the NDC Officer, who along with the National President or Vice President, will consider the details of the informal resolution and will decide one of the following actions.
Revert case back to local level for further discussions

Make an assessment of the charge and in light of the attempted informal resolution make a recommendation for a solution

Forward charge to General Secretary’s Department to be dealt with under current NDC byelaws.

The information contained within the informal resolution report shall remain confidential on a without prejudice basis and must not be used as part of the NDC process.
All existing paragraphs under Byelaw 3 are to be renumbered accordingly.
It is our intention to trial the new informal resolution process whilst at the same time continuing to review all aspects of National Rule 14, with the aim of submitting a proposed rule change to Annual Conference 2018.
NDC Byelaws affected by the change, are shown below for your information:

These byelaws are made by the National Executive Council (NEC) pursuant to Rule 14, Section 3, paragraph 3 of the Union’s Rules and may be amended or rescinded at any time by resolution of the NEC.

At its first meeting after their election, the NEC shall appoint three of its members to constitute a Disciplinary Committee, with full authority to deal with and determine all matters calling for disciplinary action under the rules.

There shall be named substitutes to replace any or all members of the National Discipline Committee if they are not available.

A member of the NEC who has any direct personal interest in the outcome of the proceedings shall not be permitted to participate in any such case.

It shall not be necessary for the NDC members deciding the prima facie case to be the same members as those who subsequently hear the case in full.

No member of the NDC hearing a case shall participate in the decision on that case unless they have been present throughout the hearing.

Upon receipt of the notification of a charge against a member, the General Secretary shall ensure that the charge is put to the individual and their Branch without delay.

If you have any queries regarding the above, please contact Tony Rupa, Assistant Secretary/NDC Officer, Communication Workers Union, 150 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1RX. Telephone 0208 971 7444 or via email
Yours sincerely
Tony Rupa
Assistant Secretary
NDC Officer
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