Shortly before Christmas the Agency announced that with the closure of the Spring Gardens site in 2025, the London Hub for the National Crime Agency will be located at Stratford, East London, where it will co-locate with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Whilst the decision taken by the Agency is in line with HM Government protocols and its own long-term strategic vision. The NCOA has not shirked from advising the Agency that the Spring Gardens closure and the move to Stratford will have considerable impact on many officers. It is assessed that approximately 60% of those currently based at Spring Gardens will have additional travel time and expense.
During our on-going dialogue with senior leaders, the NCOA has sought that:
- A thorough impact assessment is undertaken.
- NCOA members who are outside reasonable travel time are automatically offered alternative locations - thereby eliminating any threat of redundancy.
- The Agency expedites hybrid working protocols. We have been challenging the Agency for additional flexibility in the current 2-day model used in the pilot.
- Excess fares/travel package to be improved.
- Advance payments of excess fares to reduce the impact of financial hardship on our members because of the move.
With the inevitable closure of the Spring Gardens site, the NCOA has been consistent in a pressing need to review London Weighting Allowance (LWA). In July 2020, the NCA Remuneration Review Body (NCARRB) in agreeing with the NCOA, made the following recommendation:
‘The LWA remains an important part of the remuneration package for NCA officers. We recommended a review of LWA six years ago and it has still not taken place. This time we sensed the mounting frustration of the trade unions at the continued delay. In the circumstances, we suggest that the NCA conducts this review as quickly as possible'
Rather than accepting this recommendation and working with the NCOA in reviewing LWA, the Agency has dithered and allowed the differential between its allowance, and the equivalent allowances available to Police officers, to grow -exacerbating the pressures on recruitment and retention of staff.
The NCOA proposals provide security to those who currently receive LWA, as well as those considering a career in the NCA but facing uncertainty on where they will work in the future.
There is now no time to be lost and the Agency should support the NCOA proposed ‘Bullseye’ zonal model for the payment of Geographical Allowance in the London and Southeast, to be implemented as part of the 2023/24 pay award.
The NCOA will continue to support its members affected by the Spring Gardens closure and will keep members updated on our engagement with the Agency.