Information held on you
We know that senior managers are involving themselves in decisions on attendance management cases. This is not always made clear by line managers.
The easiest way to find out what information is being used in your case is to submit a Subject Access request under the Data Protection Act. To do this send an email to email@example.com saying you are applying for your records under the Data Protection Act (1998). Ask the DWP to send you, within 40 days, all information held on paper or electronically about you.
If you want you can name the managers you think hold information about you and you can request specific information. For example you may want to ask for all advice provided by a more senior manager to your line manager in relation to attendance management.
Make Your Own Decisions
As a line manager it is your responsibility and your right to make any decisions relating to attendance management for staff on your team. When PCS discusses the involvement of more senior managers we are told that they are only involved to ensure consistency and provide advice.
However, in practice we know there is pressure on line managers to accept the advice as an instruction. We are asking all PCS members who are line managers to stand up to this pressure. If you have various pieces of advice it is your responsibility to give them appropriate weight. For example it would be reasonable to give more weight to medical evidence from the OHS and a person’s own GP, than advice from someone who is not medically trained and who has never met the person concerned.
You cannot be disciplined for using your discretion. Please report any situations where you are being told not to use discretion to your union rep.
Disabled Employees Trigger Points
If you have a disability that affects your attendance you should have an attendance management trigger point which is suitable for you. If you are having difficulties with the attendance management procedures and you think you may reach the usual 8-day trigger point (or the equivalent if you are part time) or you think you may reach four periods of absence, tell your manager you want to be considered for a raised trigger point.
You do not have to prove you are disabled. Your manager should make a decision based on the balance of probability. The DWP guidance tells managers that they should ideally make decisions on DETPs themselves without getting advice from HR or the OHS.