Joint circular no. 111 – PCS handbook FAQs

This FAQ document seeks to clarify some questions which have arisen over the Police Staff Council Pay and Conditions of Service Handbook which was revised and published in April 2017.


Employers’ Secretary, Sarah Ward
e-mail: sarah.ward@local.gov.uk
Trade Union Side Secretary, Ben Priestley
e-mail: b.priestley@unison.co.uk


To:    Police and Crime Commissioner (copy Chief Exec &Treasurer)
Chief Constables (copy Force Personnel/HR Manager/Payroll Manager)

cc:    PSC Members
Scotland and MPS (for information only)

21 February 2021


JOINT CIRCULAR 111 – PSC HANDBOOK FAQs

The following advice has been agreed by the Police Staff Council to assist police forces, trade union branches, managers and staff to implement the Handbook in line with the changes to the Handbook which were agreed in 2017.

Section 1: Working Time

1. Question: If start and finish times have to be notified at least three months in advance, what are the circumstances in which start/finish times can be changed?

Answer: Changes can be made to scheduled working times more than three months in advance. Start/finish times for shift workers can only be changed at less than three months’ notice under the following circumstances:
a. If mutually agreed between the employer and employee or
b. As a result of a collective agreement or
c. As a result of an ‘exigency of duty’ which falls with three months’ notice or less from the start/finish time in question;
d. When moving to a different shift within a published work pattern, or as a consequence of a change to a published working pattern in a department or unit which has been the subject of full consultation with the recognised trade unions in the force.

2. Question: What is the process which should be used by forces which would like an employee to vary their individual working pattern by working on a day not originally published/scheduled at less than 12 months’ notice (i.e. a rest day)?

Answer: The following process applies:
a. The force requests that the employee works on a rest day;
b. The employee decides whether to agree or not;
c. If the request is agreed, then the employee is entitled to payment and other arrangements for working on a day not originally published/scheduled;
d. If the employee does not agree, then volunteers may be sought elsewhere.

3. Question: Is it possible to declare an ‘exigency of duty’ to change a rest day, or start/finish times, with more than three months’ notice?

Answer: No. An ‘exigency of duty’ can only arise with three months’ notice or less. This is because the Handbook defines an ‘exigency of duty’ as ‘...situations of exceptional organisational demand, where a pressing staff requirement arises which could not reasonably be anticipated...’ It is expected that such situations known about more than three months in advance could reasonably be anticipated. The Handbook makes explicit that repeating events, such as New Year’s Eve, or major sporting events known about well in advance do not qualify as ‘exigencies of duty’.

4. Question: Under what circumstances is it possible for a force to stand down (not then required to work) an employee from a published working pattern.

Answer: The published working pattern of an employee may only be changed:
a. If mutually agreed between the employer and employee, or
b. As a result of a collective agreement.

Section 2: Pay

5. Question: If additional hours are offered to an employee which involves the employee working on a day not originally published/scheduled, what compensation is payable?

Answer: Under these circumstances, the employee is entitled to the compensation set out in section 2 - pay, paragraph 10: Payment and other arrangements for an employee who works on a day not originally published/scheduled. This applies to both shift workers and non-shift workers.

6. Question: Does the bar on the entitlement to additional hours payment which normally applies to part time employees, who have not worked 37 hours in any given week, apply in respect of compensation for working on a day not originally published/scheduled?

Answer: No, because the compensation for working on a day not originally published/scheduled is for working on a rest day, not for working additional hours. Therefore, part time employees qualify, regardless of how many hours they have worked during the reference week in question. Moreover, section 2, paragraph 14.4 of the Handbook states that ‘Allowances set out in paragraph 10 shall apply to a re-rostered rest day or free day’.

Yours sincerely

Ben Priestley, Trade Union Side Secretary
David Algie, Employers’ Side Secretariat