Openreach SD UK Operations – Restricted Duty Engineers

Openreach SD UK Operations – Restricted Duty Engineers

Branches will be aware of discussions that took place with Openreach SD UK Operations (SD UK Ops) regarding the application of the Restricted Duty process.   These discussions have been specifically aimed at improving the way our members are treated if they are in need of restricted duties, as well as ensuring that all steps are taken to avoid our members being subject to the enhanced AJS process.   In short, to retain people in their existing roles with adjustments limiting the need to initiate the AJS process.

The National Team (NT) is pleased to report that significant progress has been made and the details of the new approach are contained within the attached slides.

The new approach ensures the key focus is on the engineer’s capabilities and what they can do rather than their restrictions and medical conditions, whether temporary or permanently restricted.   You can see the details of the process contained within the slides.  This is a brief summary below:

  • Managers have a discussion with restricted engineers on what they can do, based on a defined set of criteria; this is submitted on a data capture tool which maps the identified capabilities across to suitable work types.
  • Engineers are placed into a Resource Pool where, with support from operational and resourcing leads, suitable available work types in their location are identified, in conjunction with the line manager.
  • This is supported by a national Restricted Duties Forum, including operational leads and HR, to ensure a consistent approach across all people and better visibility of potential work available.  The support forum will meet regularly to review cases where the temporary work is ceasing and reallocation is needed, where there is a change in engineer capability or where there is a natural review point, guided by OHS referral.
  • In instances where all internal workstreams have been depleted, and no appropriate avenue is applicable; following meaningful discussions with the local CWU representative and the impacted team member, Openreach will investigate and consider if any third party/contractor workstreams could provide a fitting opportunity. If there is suitable work available, further to the above conversations, Openreach would offer this to accommodate the restricted engineer (with consideration of minimum contractor flexibility).
  • The CWU can offer support through this process and Openreach recommend involvement at the earliest possible stages.
  • Where the engineer has no physical capability on a permanent basis and desk opportunities have been exhausted, the company would initiate support through the enhanced AJS process – there are nochanges to the current AJS process, Openreach SD UK OPS will only move to AJS once this restricted duties process has been exhausted.

As the process embeds, Openreach SD UK Ops will hold review meetings with the CWU to discuss the implementation at a national level and whether there are any opportunities for improvement.   These will take place every 6 weeks for the first 3 months, and then move to quarterly.

The NT recognises that by implementing this new approach to restricted duties, we are providing better visibility to engineers with a more consistent support right across Openreach SD UK Operations.  The steps outlined in this LTB and correspondence from the company provide a welcome platform for resolving both current and potentially new Restricted Duty cases.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Curtis
Acting Assistant Secretary

LTB 060/23 – Openreach SD UK Operations – Restricted Duty Engineers

Att: Restricted Duties

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