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Tuesday 15 September 2020

Unions call for ‘commitment to collaborate’ on NIHP transition

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11 organisations that represent staff in Public Health England (PHE), including the FDA, have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, calling for “an open and transparent consultation process on the transition to NIHP [National Institute for Health Protection] marked by a commitment to collaborate with trades unions and professional associations”.

The letter, signed by FDA National Officer Simon Hardcastle, seeks a commitment for an outcome that will “minimise disruption to staff moving to the Institute or other bodies” alongside reassurances that there will be “no compulsory redundancies as a result”.

It reads: “We urge you to enhance the crucial ability for staff to move between organisations and systems with an assurance that all NIHP staff should be on consistent, national terms and conditions of service relevant to their area of activity and specialism, such as equivalent to those in the NHS or civil service as appropriate, and which are recognised across the public service sector. Staff mobility between allied sectors is essential for acquiring knowledge, skills and experience as well as retention of skilled staff at all levels to maintain a world class public health system.

“We ask for an undertaking that there will be an open and transparent consultation process on the transition to NIHP marked by a commitment to collaborate with trades unions and professional associations and that the outcomes will minimise disruption to staff moving to the Institute or other bodies with reassurance that there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result.”

Elsewhere in the letter, the unions seek a “binding commitment to the independence” of the NIHP and raise concerns that the new public health body was created “without properly consulting expert staff”.

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