FOI release

DBS FOI: Trade union payments and activities

Request for information about trade union payments and activities in the Disclosure and Barring Service.


DBS FOI: Trade union payments and activities

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I am writing to obtain information about the total amount of money paid to trade unions by your organisation, the amount of staff time spent on trade union duties and/or activities and the payment of subscriptions.

To outline my query as clearly as possible, I am requesting:

  1. A list of trade unions which received payments from your organisation and the total amounts paid to each union for financial years a) 2011-12 and b) 2012-13. If it is not possible to list the amount paid to each union, please provide a total amount paid to all unions. Please do not include membership dues or salary costs. Please only include direct payments.

  2. Please state:

a) Which trade unions your organisation provide staff time to work on trade union duties and / or activities (sometimes called ‘Trade Union facility time’) in i) 2011-12 and ii) 2012-13.

b) The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff that were provided for each trade union in i) 2011-12 and ii) 2012-13. For example, if a member of staff spends 2 days per week on union business, this is equal to 0.4 FTE.


a) Does your organisation provide the facility to deduct trade union subscriptions from staff salaries in the payroll process?

b) If so, for each union please state what your organisation charged for this service (whether as a fixed amount per employee or a percentage), and the total amount collected in:

i) 2011-12

ii) 2012-13

Please note that the guidelines issued by ACAS state that: “An employee who is a member of an independent trade union recognised by the employer in respect of that description of employee is to be permitted reasonable time off during working hours to take part in any trade union activity. An employee who is a member of an independent and recognised trade union is also permitted to take reasonable time off during working hours for the purposes of accessing the services of a Union Learning Representative (provided those services are services for which the Union Learning Representative is entitled to time off).”

If the information is not recorded, there is no way of ascertaining whether the time off provided is reasonable. I therefore do not expect the response that the organisation does not hold this information. If a formal record is not kept then I will accept a reasonable estimate.

If the response to any of the questions is ‘nil’ or you are unable to answer any of them, please continue to respond to the other questions

My preferred format to receive this information is electronically, but if that is not possible I will gladly accept letters at the address below.

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this request as soon as possible.

Published 22 August 2013