Wendy Wilson: Why I really recommend becoming a Federation Representative

So what is so good about being a Civil Nuclear Police Federation Representative?

I've been in the CNC for 19 years since I left the Royal Air Force and this is my second time around as a Fed Rep, writes Wendy Wilson.

I did the job 12 years ago at Dounreay, but that ended when I transferred to Hunterston.

Being a Fed Rep all started for me when it came to introducing the maternity policy at the CNC.

That came about because I had three children, I was at quite a remote location and to maintain my AFO status I had to catch up with the training and do everything I'd missed.

At the time, there wasn't a sufficient policy in place to accommodate that at the location I was in with very limited childcare.

So I helped produce a maternity policy for the CNC which is still in use now. I thought if I could do that for myself, I would be able to help other people as during that process I'd gained a really good understanding of policies and procedures.

I lost my position of Fed Rep because they were already in place at Hunterston unit so when the opportunity came up, I thought I would have another go at it!

I've gained a further seven years' experience, so I thought, why not? The good part of it is that I get to work hand in hand with the management team. We support each other to get the best result for officers no matter what the case is.

As I've been here quite a long time, I know quite a lot of the officers.I can understand their personal needs and help to address their concerns to get the best results.

That, in turn, has rolled out to having quite a close relationship with HR and the Occupational Health Team. It's not them and us. It's working in partnership to get the best results. There are lots of discussions taking place; we're always trying to mediate and negotiate so we all feel our knowledge and opinions are being shared just so we can get that best result.

It's a rewarding job when you've seen somebody get the best result and treatment that they can get. For example; if it was somebody with an injured knee. That's kind of a common thing within the CNC because of the weight of the body armour.

We work together to help them go through the necessary process, help them to understand what process they would come under and what that process is all about so they get the correct support for them as an individual.

It's about getting the best Occupational Health support, and they're brilliant! They provide the best medical support. We do all that together; it's very rewarding. For a long time, I was the only woman at the unit but I have always felt like part of the team!

I hope all the Officers feel comfortable enough to approach me as a Fed Rep even if it includes something quite personal or emotional. Maintaining confidentiality is essential for any Fed Rep.

Some of them may be happier opening up to a woman. It would be like talking to their sister or their wife, as opposed to another bloke, that they sit and work with every day.

Again, for female officers, certainly with regards to pregnancy, maternity or any female issues at all, it's helpful for that because you've been through it or you've got a good knowledge about it, and it takes a lot of any embarrassment away.

I would really recommend becoming a Fed Rep. It's satisfying to know you've helped somebody. It's all about communication and being open and transparent. As long as officers understand what is happening, why it's happening and what to expect then that's what it's all about.

It's about having good links and having a great partnership with the management team, HR and Occupational Health because you're all working together to get the best result for officers.

I think that's the most important message for anybody wanting to be a Fed Rep. And sometimes it can be an advantage being a woman. Not always, but sometimes!