Thank you to many of you who took the time to complete our recent COVID-19 survey which ran between the 6th and 13th May. It posed a number of questions targeted at the NCA’s response to the pandemic whilst also gathering information about the 24/7 impact on you as an individual at this time. We also hoped that the timing of the survey would enable the inevitable teething problems to have been ironed out and deliver the most accurate picture possible.
We have now downloaded the results and the following snapshot should give you a better understanding of how you and your peers are coping with the pressures of working as an NCA officer with competing but important pressures relating to your family and home life. Responses were received from all Grades, G6 to G1 and across all commands.
Approximately two thirds of respondents were satisfied with both the Agency’s communication and guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment and, the separate guidance for officers (and/or those in their households) with COVID-19 symptoms. However, more than half were not satisfied with HR Guidance on vulnerable and extremely vulnerable officers and the circumstances around their return to work.
Almost 70% of respondents were satisfied that the Agency provided sufficient support in relation to ensuring that officers’ good physical health is maintained. This dropped to 55% amongst those who were satisfied with Agency support to ensure that good mental health is maintained at this time.
Recognising over 3500 officers have been working at home for a considerable time, we were astonished that over 70% of respondents reported that the Agency had failed to even ask them if they had any additional caring responsibilities at this time. Approximately 14% have been looking after children below school age, 31% reported looking after children of school age. By far the largest group with additional commitments were those looking after or providing support for the elderly – almost 45%.
One would anticipate that such increased responsibilities would inevitably affect the work of our members in the NCA but, although 40% agreed or strongly agreed this was the case, over 36% disagreed or strongly disagreed that this was not the case.
When considering if this was reflected in the Agency’s expectations of you as an employee, a neutral stance was adopted by almost half the respondents. However, slightly more people disagreed or strongly disagreed that their personal COVID-19 domestic situation was being reflected in the Agency’s expectations of them. More than half of the respondents went on to conclude that they agreed that the Agency’s expectations were realistic.
It was great to hear that two thirds reported that they were happy with the level of support provided by their local management, but this dipped to below 50% when assessing the sufficiency of support provided at Agency level.
When it came to workload, the majority reported an increase during the COVID-19 operating environment with 24% letting us know that it had greatly increased in their particular role. Whilst this demonstrates the fantastic commitment and attitude by our members in times of crisis, it is not lost on us that many are working with intense family pressures bubbling in the background.
Of course, simple tick box answers never tell the whole story and hundreds of you took the opportunity to expand on your answers through the additional comments box. Many of these comments had a familiar thread.
Top 10 Themes by volume.
- The benefits of working from home and concerns they will be disregarded by the Agency
when COVID-19 is no longer a business as usual operating hurdle.
- The pressures of increased workloads particularly for those with added caring responsibilities.
- Personal safety concerns regarding returning to the workplace.
- The unreasonable expectations of the employer particularly for those with additional
- The NCA being ‘behind the curve’.
- Unnecessary micro-management by bosses.
- Concerns and pressures created by the introduction of the less serious but underlying
health issues ‘Waiver’.
- Concerns re poor adherence to and the management of, social distancing at work.
- PPE related concerns.
- Lack of recognition by the Agency with regards to the impact on mental health.
We will be relying on some of the information gleaned from the comments box as part our ongoing engagement with the Agency through the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a closer look at the results of the survey please click link
Simon Boon – NCOA General Secretary