Minutes of Learning Partnership Steering Group Meeting Held in Beaulieu Room, Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, LONDON

Tuesday 30th March 2010, 1100 – 1400hrs

Present:

Tony Shipley, Management Development Manager, SWT (TS) - Chairman Alan Martin, Union Learning Rep, Island Line (AM) - Secretary Clive Chown, Lead Union Learning Rep, ASLEF (CC) Peter Connolly, Lead Union Learning Rep, TSSA (PC) Rickey Goodman, Company Council Rep, RMT (RG) Mark Manwaring, Lead Union Learning Rep, RMT (MM) Nick Child, Organiser, TSSA (NC) Graham Morris, District Organiser, ASLEF (GM) Mel Taylor, Learning Organiser, TSSA (MT) John Walsh, Company Council Rep, TSSA (JW) Ivor Riddell, Learner Project Worker, RMT (IR) Shaun Seymour, Company Council ASLEF (SS) Emma Ramsay, Learning Project Worker, ASLEF (ER) Marc Sellis, Head of Training & Development Manager, SWT (MS) Mark Bratt, Union Learning Rep, ASLEF (MB) Iain Anderson, Regional Organiser, TSSA (IA) Peter Skelly, District Organiser, RMT (PS)

Apologies:

The meeting was opened at 1104hrs by Tony Shipley, who gave an overview of his intentions on the way of progressing forward items for the ensuing year of this committee. Graham Morris - Question of the Full Time Officials (FTO) and clarification on when they need to attend, as well as the fact that Fail To Agrees from these meetings should take place at FTO level & the areas of concern from the Reps. Clive Chown – raised the point that Open Learning & Steering Partnership meetings should always be a 75/25 split as elements in some issues overlap both meetings. Mel Taylor – Supported CC and referred to previous incumbent of TS position/post and the fact it had been minuted some 2 years ago. Tony Shipley – Agreed that an element of 75/25 overlap at these meetings wasn’t unreasonable.

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Item 1 Minutes of Previous meeting

Discussion The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed as a true and accurate record TS proposed an Action Log for future meetings would provide invaluable to expedite meetings. This was agreed by the group as a good idea and carried. 1 – Learning Mentor Terms of Reference TS has now completed this and provided a copy for all those present at the meeting and invited feedback at the earliest opportunity. GM asked the meeting if this role had been to the detriment of the Union Learner Reps roles. CC commented that no noticeable change had occurred to ULR’s role. 2 – Learning Agreement Review TS reported that the HR Director SWT had written to the unions detailing that changes to the Learning Agreement cannot be conducted at LPSC level.

Action(s) Proposed: TS Seconded: JW

2 Review of Actions

3 – Open Learning Statistics TS apologised that these had not been sent and this was going to be discussed as an agenda item later in the meeting. 4 – Skills For Life Training for ULRs CC Details had been provided and that release had been granted on that occasion. TS commented that he should be the point of contact for any managers in case of a dispute over release. Also that 21 days timescale was not set in stone and local managers could use their discretion. CC said that the 3-4 day response was still not happening in most cases. GM Proposed that Lead Reps should go via TS in clarification of point 7.2 of the Learning Agreement. Discussion took place and agreement was reached that the regular release of reps was not an issue, but the issue of training was and it was proposed that Lead ULR Page - 2

TS – 21 days notice to employer & then 4 days to reply instead of the 12 hr sheets.

or Project Workers of each union should representations for release.

MM pointed out a scenario that proved in the most cases to be very bureaucratic and unworkable in the timescales. MT voiced concern over the volume of the work this would create and the unnecessary delay this would cause in applications for release. JW proposed person on course to approach Local Manager in first instance & TS to be the authority. NC Suggested that some kind of pro-forma be used to aid the process. TS suggested that the Lead ULR’s should be main point of contact for Training with FTO’s being “copied in” and TS would deal with these, in the absence of the Lead ULR’s this can be done via a Company Council Rep or deputy. 5 – Meeting for release Has yet to be arranged. 6 – Outstanding IT issues Is to be mentioned later on in the main agenda. 7 – Invitation to Head of IT to attend meeting TS Dave Brougham could not meet this meeting and that any questions would be dealt with and feedback given as soon as possible. 8 – Forward details of 6 Book Challenge MM apologised to the committee that due to personal circumstance had not been done but a brief overview was given on how this was meant to reinvigorate a person’s interest in reading Banner MM raised the question of suitable wording for a multipurpose banner to use at events in future. 3 Learning Partnership Successes TS suggested that this should be a regular item on the agenda in the future. He then referred to lady who had been displaced and assistance was provided to her in order to help her in interviews and assessments this showed clearly how the steering committee has worked Page - 3 TS – As soon as Employee Relations have agreed the process will inform committee members’ process in place & PC to produce a flow chart for distribution with these minutes.

MM & TS to meet and look at materials to facilitate the challenge in Open Learning Centres – Feedback next meeting MM to arrange suitable wording

well. Also a JW commented that a CO4 is showing signs of improved confidence in response to employers’ assistance to identifiable needs. MM told the committee that he was about to undertake a City & Guilds 9297 Learner Support course. TS Stated that there had been considerable successes in NVQ’s achievement which had been facilitatedby ULR’s, specifically PC. Congratulations were offered. TS stated that NVQ’s at Level 2 in IAG being arranged in conjunction with PC MT pointed out that there was a great deal more that could be done in the coming year for ESOL & Skills for Life. Points noted. NC said a future success would be the new U-Net Centre that Southampton City College is involved in which opens shortly. CC Taster sessions are hard work to set up but they do work and it pays off in the end the results of a recent event in Salisbury has produced 3 Courses being put on the first being French in which 11 members are taking part, which is followed by Spanish with 9 members signed up and finally IT & Photoshop also with 9 members signed up there are 3 outstanding members who are currently waiting to be placed on a course. TS said he had seen a ULR Job Description it may have been TSSA or RMT and was personally asking if ALL the unions had such a document. GM stated that The Learning Agreement has the role of a ULR in it. 4 Union Learning Reps Terms of Reference MM Pointed out Learning Outcomes are always submitted to Project Workers. MT ULR activities are answerable to the branch as they are elected members similar that of Employee to Employer. TS After discussion will peruse the TUC model and should he have any questions will refer them to Lead ULR’s. 5 TS This was a temporary closure in order to facilitate Page - 4 TS to liaise with the ULR’s on the most desirable outcomes

NC to update the committee in due course on any future developments in this area.

Basingstoke Open Learning Centre

the IT/Retail training previously in White Rose Court, Woking. The Open Learning centre PC’s have been relocated to Centre Stage upstairs and although they have no Internet access this can be gained from a standalone PC in the Trainers Office. It was envisaged that in May 2010 that the Open Learning Centre would be set up in a different room and reinstated or 4 PC’s would be left downstairs with internet access.

MT raised her concern and displeasure that none of the committee members had been consulted in advance of this temporary closure and planned reinstatement at a later date and that the committee should be further consulted TS acknowledged that the LPSC should have been informed of the closure. TS stated that there are a number of discrepancies in the current system data regarding Directed Learning. He would be contacting past learners to ascertain if the training had been completed and request the return of resources to enable the figures to be re-adjusted and for the resources to be reused. TS requested ULR assistance in calling back material if resources were not available to do so. GM stated that he was disappointed at SWT’s shift in attitude towards the Learning agenda. TS noted GMs comments. TS stated that lowered demand for Open Learning was not the fault of the business, rather it was due to low footfall and a potential perception for many that Open Learning was no longer active when in fact it still was. TS asked if any ULRs had had reports of any employees being turned away or not being facilitated with no negative reply being given. It was also suggested that ULRs proactively act as OL advocates. PC highlighted the issue that the Isle of Wight had no data and that they should have a small resource library. This was agreed in principle by TS. MT asked if SWT had a continual commitment to both the Southampton & Waterloo Open Learning Centres, TS confirmed that there was a still a commitment to these centres. MT Asked how the funding is being spent. TS stated Page - 5 TS happy to provide with assistance of the ULR (AM) TS to request assistance through Lead ULRs if required.

6 Review of Open Learning Statistics

PC to act as liaison for Island Line needs and inform TS of requirements

TS – Review Open

that every request was taken on its merits and with financial limitations reviewed on each application. Where possible, requests were facilitated. It was also noted that no one learner had been refused so far. MM Are NEC courses still being funded? TS confirmed this to be the case. SS Multi Lingual signs had still not been produced and management had not contacted RG with the wording so he could source suitable staff to translate. IR highlighted that providing Multi Lingual signs was a positive step provided they were accurate. GM Target group aimed at is Skills for Life ESOL MT Asked if any support would be given to ULR’s and Staff who deal with Multi Lingual issues. The group discussed that if there was a need it would be looked at. GM Suggested using Adult Learners Week to kick off the language issue. SS suggested that at the very least Urdu, Hindu, Cantonese, French & Spanish were ideal starting points. SS has sent to Marc Sellis a list as per previous meeting minutes. TS The Southampton IT issues have now been resolved, although the Waterloo issue is down to misuse as an internet cafe as a result all passwords for Internet access are now to go through TS, all ULR’s will have internet access and again forms to be submitted to TS ASLEF members to report through CC in respect of any areas that have difficulty with accessing PDF’s etc IR Asked if information could be passed on to Unions. A discussion took place and TS agreed to amend the Open Learning Application. CC suggested a list be produced of sites that ULR’s likely to visit to enable firewalls to be amended.

Learning posters; Remove Waterloo phone number, Speak to Steve Denholme IPU, Distribute to ULR’s to feedback & RG for Translation.

TS to find out costing of proper translation of posters and feedback before Adult Learners Week.

7 Information Technology (Update)

TS Amend wording on Open Learning Application to allow information to be passed to unions CC & MT to submit to TS before the next meeting.

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CC Wimbledon Park Manager needed to be reminded that release was not negotiable at his level. 8 Release & Activities

MS to resubmit E-mail and explain Grant or Deny TS Resend learning agreement pointing out 8.3

SS Referral of FTO’s is incorrect and they are required at 2 of the meetings held. 9 Visitors & Guests TS Agreed that project workers may be invited to attend committee meetings but are not part of the committee in accordance with Section 4 of the Agreement. CC Events likely to be held at Bournemouth & Possibly Isle of Wight, with Mark Prenter and other unions putting on event in Waterloo. PC TSSA is looking to do something in the Southampton 10 area. Adult Learners Week MM RMT are currently in discussion with Network rail (Update) over a possibly venue. TS If space required at Basingstoke to liaise directly with him. PC stated that it would be interesting to see regular stats relating to driver and Guard NVQ achievement? MT requested ongoing data from MS on this issue PC When will ALL NVQ’s come with Recognition from Company? TS reminded PC that an event, facilitated by the business had been conducted with publication and pictures through Stagecoach. JW When is it planned that NVQ’s will be accredited to cover all aspects of Customer Service roles too? TS stated that the budget for the coming year was in the region of £6,500. This figure was based on the previous year’s expenditure. TS highlighted that this figure was set by the business and its level was beyond his control. Page - 7 MS – Update and Report to next meeting. MS ¼ly stats to all those previously provided.

11 NVQ’s

12 Open Learning Budget 2010/11

JW requested that the committee be updated at meetings, as to know where expenditure of the budget is. TS stated that this could probably be facilitated. GM stated the opinion that the budget did not show the company’s commitment to learning and by virtue has devalued Open Learning. TS countered this by discussing that the budgetary forecast was made based on requirement taken from the previous year’s requirement and that it reflected previous usage therefore met the needs of Open Learning. CC argued that reduction in budget is driving unions to source alternative funding. TS reminded the group that Section 4 of the Learning Agreement had it that the LPSC had a responsibility to identify funds for education and training regardless of where they came from. PC Due to the committee not being notified until late on in the year of previous budget amount, the opportunity to spend it was lost. TS stated that the committee had been informed in Sep 09 of OL budget and that actual expenditure was based on learner needs not the desire to spend money, especially in the current economic climate. SS & GM Open Learning budget: Any additional funding could be sourced from alternative sources using Project Workers but if this was unsuccessful then a case must be made to management for additional funding. This was noted by TS. SS raised the question as to what the contingency budget at SWT in relation to point 4 of the Learning Agreement was? TS stated that there was no contingency budget per se, however, if there was a need for more funding, then he would represent it to the business. SS Is footfall down same percentage as the reduction in staffing levels. TS stated this data was not available. IR Suggested we use the money then apply pressure on board. TS stated that how the SW Trains manages its budgets is down to the business and whilst requests for expenditure could be discussed, it could not be dictated. GM Suggested that the committee write collectively to the HR Director SWT recording its displeasure at the Page - 8

amount allocated for this year’s budget. TS acknowledged that this was the prerogative of the committee, however, re-stated the business case for the budget allocation. Secretary to write on behalf of the Committee. GM discussed the application of the agreement and historical “Fail To Agree” points. GM requested that FTO’s be given details of major amendments required in the Learning Agreement, i.e. Skills for Life, Lead ULR’s and Review timescale for their representation. 13 Any Other Business PC Discussed that the Committee meeting dates had been set back in December 09 and that realistically they should not be moved as all were present when they were set. TS dismissed this notion by reminding PC that there would always be times when meetings might have to be re-arranged due to business and indeed personal exigencies. The date of the next Steering meeting is Wednesday 9th June 2010 at 1100hrs in the Bournemouth Room. AM to liaise & write to All FTO’s

14 Date of Next Meeting

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