'Holiday homes' part of Fed's duty of care
20 May 2016
‘Holiday homes’ owned by local federations are part of our duty of care to ensure the well-being of officers.
That was the message following comments made by the Home Secretary at our Annual Conference in Bournemouth this week.
Set against a backdrop of falling support services within Forces, local Federations are providing vital welfare support to officers in need, including homes where they can get respite.
The issue was highlighted in the Home Secretary’s speech and while a number of the local branch board federations have purchased properties to be used by officers in need, they will not have been bought using member subscriptions, rather, through business ventures such as Group Insurance Schemes, which is permitted within the funding rules.
The ‘homes’ themselves are, in most instances, for the sole use of subscribing Federation members who have a need. How they operate depends from area to area, but they:
- Are offered to members free of charge, usually where there is a particular need, such as officers who require recuperation following injuries at work, other illnesses such as cancer and stroke, work-related PTSD and mental health issues. They are used for respite and recuperation. This is particularly important with falling welfare support programmes in Forces, such as declining occupational health services.
- Some are offered at discounted rates to officers simply wanting to take time off. With a real time fall in pay and pensions of officers this allows affordable accommodation which they may not otherwise be able to afford.
- In a small number of cases, the properties may be available for hire by the public, but this is not as a profit making exercise, rather to generate income to cover running costs, site fees and regular maintenance.
One of the Federation’s key priorities is the welfare of our members. Our most recent survey shows that more and more police officers are facing stress and mental health issues. The nature of policing is changing, and with falling officer numbers our members are forced to do more demanding work, with fewer resources. These stresses take their toll, and it is the duty of the Federation to properly look after our staff. We believe that one way of doing this is to offer affordable accommodation where officers can relax, spending time with loved ones, and recuperate after trauma, so that they can return to work ready and able to continue protecting the public.
As a staff association, the PFEW does not receive any public money, and is funded by member subscriptions.