National Occupational Standards for Union Reps

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

 

NOS are statements of the skills, knowledge and understanding needed for an individual to meet the standards expected of them in employment.  The standards are industry-led and developed by representatives of employment sectors and cover almost every occupation in the UK.  They are also the basis for vocational qualifications and be used for training, appraisal and recruitment.

 

A set of National Occupational Standards for Trade Union Reps was developed in 2001.  To ensure that the NOS for trades Union Voluntary Officers and Learning Representatives remain "fit-for-purpose" for unions, representatives, officers, employers and individuals in the workplace, ENTO, as the responsible standards body, was commissioned by the SSDA (Sector Skills Development Agency) and the UK's qualifications regulatory bodies to undertake a review of the NOS in May 2007. Source: http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/centres/learn-2346-f0.pdf

NOS for Trade Union reps are fully endorsed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and are aimed at Trade Union reps, particularly workplace (stewards), safety reps and learning reps (ULRs).

A full set of NOS can be downloaded here http://www.cfa.uk.com/standards/industrial-relations.html

However, each NOS has been given it's own page on this site showing the appropriateness to role, the activities you are likely to undertake in the role, what the unit covers and the performance criteria.

 

Trade Union representatives

(click on the role title to be taken to a page which gives the job description)

 

Trade Union representatives are elected by members and ratified by their local branch to represent members.  There are three types of trade union representatives: stewards, safety representatives and learning representatives.

Staff representatives support and represent members in the workplace.  Their role is to promote workplace employment rights and ensure that members are treated fairly.

Safety representatives represent the health and safety interests of members at work and work with employers to ensure a safe and healthy working enviroment for staff.

Learning Representatives support the personal learning and career development of staff in the workplace.

 

Union Reps are a part of every workplace.  Most reps undertake appropriate training for their role through either their own Union, TUC Education or the GFTU which means that the available courses attract a huge range of learners and significant numbers of traditional 'non-participants'.  For many, it is the first formal learning since school, for some it builds on university level achievements.

An influential survey of trade union education "Learning that Works: Accredting the TUC Programme" found that:

  • Women make up over a third of TUC participants
  • A wide range of age groups are represented, with 46% aged 40 or over and 14% aged 50 or over
  • 7% of participants have a physical or learning disability that affects work, education or training
  • 36% of representatives have gained no qualifications since leaving school
  • 7% of TUC course participants have high levels of academic qualifications (HNDs, Diplomas and Certificates, degrees and post-grad qualifications)

Source: http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/education/learn-3643-f0.cfm

 

Within Probation and CAFCASS, we also have local Branch/Section Executives made up of Branch Chair, Vice Chair, Branch Secretary, Joint National Consultancy Committee (JNCC) Rep, Membership Secretary, Treasurer, National Executive Committe (NEC) Co-Reps, Anti-Racism Officer (ARO) and Equality Officer (EO). It is also possible for members to become part of the local Branch/Section Executive by holding a "non-portfolio" role, which means that they do not have a specific area of responsibility - many new members to the Executive undertake this role as part of their learning experience of how the Executive works and the responsibilities of the different portfolio roles.

Many potential reps have stated that they are uncertain whether or not they have the skills or the attributes to become a rep in their preferred field.  In an attempt to ameliorate this, the ULF Project Team have undertaken to a mapping exercise crossing the job descriptions for the Reps and the Branch/Section Executive roles across to the NOS for Trade Union Reps.  The NOS are also currently in the process of being mapped across to the courses that are available through Napo, TUC Education and the GFTU.

 

DO NOT BE PUT OFF BY THE NUMBER OF NOS REQUIRED FOR EACH ROLE - YOU WILL FIND THAT EACH COURSE AVAILABLE COVERS A NUMBER OF NOS.  EACH COURSE DESCRIPTION ON THE WEBSITE WILL CLEARLY SHOW WHICH NOS ARE COVERED.

 

(NB - Course linkage to NOS is still work in progress!)

 

If you have any queries, please contact Briony Sutcliffe bsutcliffe@napo.org.uk