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Openreach: Field Support Structure

14 December 2011

The level of coaching support for our members has been the subject of debate between the CWU and Openreach for a number of years. In essence, the structure put in place did not deliver the volume of coaching it was originally designed for.

This information relates to Openreach Field Support Structure Volume - excluding Frames, excluding Network Investment.

Openreach have set out that position with data which shows:

  • On a weekly basis less than 100 coaches are delivering coaching;
  • Of those coaching only 43% of their time is spent coaching;
  • The remainder of the time is spent on administration analytical tasks;
  • The Monday to Friday attendance pattern prevents the efficient use of the coach’s time.

Coaching Support Team

The coaches will be ring-fenced in an organisation outside the mainstream volume teams. The coaching support available to team members will be both face-to-face and on-line. The on-line function will exist in every GM patch and will be populated by the coaches in that patch on a rotational basis. The practicalities of this function are currently being worked through and will be the subject of further discussion with the CWU National Team.

The coach’s time will be organised in the following manner (including annual leave etc.):

  • Face to face coaching of around 30 weeks per year;
  • Up to 12 weeks delivering `on-line’ coaching support;
  • Four weeks scheduled working on the tools for skills refreshment;
  • Two weeks contingency working, with any additional being subject to the ongoing resourcing discussions but no more than 10 weeks in total (4+2+4).

The CWU National Team expressed concern at the possible 6 week contingency working, arguing that it detracts form the central point of the argument to have coaches ring-fenced. This aspect will, as well as the concept itself, be the subject of an ongoing review with the CWU during the first six months of implementation. Should the level of contingency use of coaches be excessive in the CWU’s view, then we will pursue additional Coach positions to fill the coaching time gap.

The attendance patterns for coaches will be dealt with in each GM patch under the auspices of the SDT agreement and with no fixed answer being driven centrally. This will give Branches the opportunity to deliver an alternative to the five-day week currently in place.

Reduction in Coaching Roles

There are currently 665 individuals in coaching roles, however the number of coaches required will be 365 leaving a shortfall of roles for 217. Some opportunities exist in new OM roles, Coaching Manager roles, C graded vacancies in some GM patches and 66 coaches who are accredited trainers will be given the ability to apply for the new Trainer role in L&D. Where opportunities do not exist, individuals will be moved into the B2 field role and Pay and Pension Protection applied.

All C2 graded coaches will be asked to take part in a preference exercise and to select from two options:

  • I want to be considered for a Technical Coach role, or
  • I want to be considered for alternative engineering roles.

Those who are accredited trainers will have a third option relating to the new permanent Trainer role in L&D.

Preference Exercise

The new structure will be in place by 1 April 2012. The preference exercise began on 14 December 2011 and be completed by Friday 23 December 2011. Any individuals who are on annual/sick leave, etc. who are unable to complete the preference exercise will be given additional time to do so.