Venue: The Civic Suite 0.1A, Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TN
Contact: Melanie Stimpson, Democratic Services, Tel: 01480 388169 / email Melanie.Stimpson@huntingdonshire.gov.uk
To approve as correct records the Minutes of the meetings of the Committee held on 7th February and 23rd May 2018.
Contact: A Roberts 388015
The Minutes of the meetings of the Employment Committee held on 7th February and 23rd May 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
The Chairman paid tribute to former Councillors, Mrs L A Duffy, C E Bober and L R Swain who, following the elections were no longer Members and had previously served on the Employment Committee, including the former Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Mrs R E Mathews. The Chairman stated that they had made an excellent contribution to the work of the Committee and had always demonstrated a keen interest in the staff and the transformation agenda.
The Chairman also paid tribute to the former Executive Councillor for Transformation and Customers, Councillor S Cawley. Having been the Vice-Chairman when Mr Cawley had been the Chairman of the Employment Committee, prior to his Cabinet appointment, the Chairman noted how keen he had been to continue the momentum with the transformation agenda and had been instrumental in developing the icare values.
The Chairman expressed his appreciation to the former Members and stated how much he had enjoyed working with them.
Following which the Chairman welcomed new Members to the Committee and invited those in attendance to introduce themselves.
To receive from Members declarations as to disclosable pecuniary and other interests in relation to any Agenda Item.
No declarations of interest were received.
To consider an update on HR matters impacting on the performance of the organisation.
Contact: D Buckridge 388065
The Committee received a report by the Policy, Performance and Transformation Manager (Scrutiny) (a copy of which is appended in the Minute Book) on Human Resources matters impacting on the performance of the organisation during the period January to March 2018. The report included the latest position and trends relating to employee numbers, salary costs and sickness absence.
It was explained that the Committee received the report every quarter and the one being presented related to quarter four which was the year-end report.
In discussing the headcount and full-time equivalent posts it was explained that the report accounted for those employed on a full-time and part-time basis, not those employed on a variable or a casual hours basis.
Regarding the Paybill it was explained that the outturn actual total cost for 2017/18 was £23.5m, which was £1.6m more than was spent on pay in 2016/17 but over £1m less than that in the budget. The majority of the increase in spend was offset by savings elsewhere or additional income received, which included the extra ICT staff when Cambridge City’s contract with Northgate for ICT support ended, as well as HR/Payroll returning in-house following the end of the LGSS contract. In response to a question the reasons for HR/Payroll returning in-house were explained to the Committee.
The Chairman was of the understanding that staff had not received the 1% pay award as included within the budget and enquired of progress. It was explained that no decision had been made as to when staff would receive a pay award and that discussions between Staff Council and Management Team were ongoing.
Employers with 250 or more employees were required to publish figures comparing men and women’s average pay across the organisation, which was different to equal pay, and the figures published included variable staff. At the Council women’s mean hourly rate was 3.5% lower than men’s, and women’s median hourly rate was 0.8% higher than men’s.
The Council’s pay gap data as at 31 March 2017 was published in March 2018 and work to prepare data on the pay gap as at 31 March 2018 would soon commence. The Council was keen to provide this information to the Employment Committee prior to publishing it, as required, on the Council’s website. The Council was amongst the 22% of companies that paid women more than men based on median pay.
Of the 25 full-time/part-time employees on permanent or fixed-term contracts that had ceased employment with the organisation, six of those employees had retired from the District Council during Quarter Four. On behalf of the Committee the Chairman expressed his appreciation and recorded the Committee’s recognition for the contributions made by those employees who had a combined length of service in local government of over 110 years.
It was noted that sickness absence over the previous 12 months was unchanged from the 10 days per full-time employee reported at the end of the previous Quarter. The Council’s sickness absence data had previously been compared to sickness ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To consider a report noting progress made on the Employee Survey 2017 Action Plan.
Contact: E Charter 388013
The Policy and Performance Manager updated the Committee on the progress of the Employee Survey 2017 Action Plan (a copy of which is appended in the Minute Book).
The Committee was advised that this would be the final update on the current 2017 Action Plan. Currently 24 of the 26 actions were rated as a green status and had either been delivered or on track to be delivered by the planned delivery date. The two Amber actions had commenced with some progress made and were due to be completed over the summer 2018.
As a background, the Policy and Performance Manager explained that questions in the survey were asked around specific themes.
Areas where there had been the most improvement since the survey in 2016 related to questions about working for Huntingdonshire District Council, Leadership and taking action on survey results. Areas where there was a minor decline related to skills and resources and work stress.
The full results from the survey were presented to the Employment Committee in September 2017 and an Action Plan was subsequently devised in November 2017, which was endorsed by the Employment Committee with updates about the Action Plan being presented at regular intervals.
Regarding the commentary in the report Managers had been requested to provide examples of actions taken in their service to achieve the intended goal.
The Committee were provided with details of the amber actions and a variety of actions implemented were highlighted.
In response to questions regarding Staff Council the Committee was informed that there were currently seven serving Members of Staff Council who represented a wide selection of service areas throughout the Council. However, Staff Council was able to comprise a maximum of thirteen Members.
In discussing the Action Plan one enquiry made was why One Leisure needed to develop different internal reporting systems to help staff to visualise performance. It was explained that there was a consistent approach to reporting, but for some teams like in One Leisure, as it is not possible for all staff to meet all together, they may rely more on the visual displays and infographics more than the formal reports.
The Employment Committee were invited to contact Officers with any suggestions as to how the information was presented in the future. Whereupon, it was
that the progress made on completing the Action Plan be acknowledged and noted.
To consider the Council’s approach to undertaking Disclosure and Barring Service checks and renewals for existing staff.
Contact: L Gammons 388478
The Committee received a report by the Human Resources Manager (a copy of which is appended in the Minute Book) regarding the Council’s approach to undertaking Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously known as Criminal Records Bureau checks) and the renewals for existing staff.
It was explained that the Council had reviewed job roles within the Council in light of changing advice from the DBS.
The Council had an obligation to ensure that new employees who worked with children or adults at risk were suitable to hold those positions. DBS checks were completed for new employees. However, the Council did not subsequently perform any further checks on its employees. The Council had consulted members of the East of England Local Government Association and the majority renewed DBS checks every 3 years.
The enhanced DBS check cost £44. The DBS also provided an Update Service that an individual was able to subscribe to at a cost of £13 per year, that allowed an individual to provide an immediate DBS number to any employer, who was then able to perform an online check to establish whether there had been any changes to an individual’s DBS certificate. This was individual to the employee and was able to be used by any other employer.
To enable the Council to have a current certificate for all required employees, it was proposed that a DBS checks would be imminently completed. Employees would subsequently be encouraged to subscribe to the DBS Update Service which the Council would reimburse when claimed through the expenses system.
Employees that did not subscribe to the Update Service would be informed that if they ceased employment with the Council within 12 months of the re-check, the cost would be deducted from their wages.
All new employees who required a DBS check would have the cost of the check deducted from their first salary payment and would be encouraged to join the Update Service, which would be reimbursed upon receipt of a completed expense claim.
In response to questions it was explained that the new process had not yet been communicated to staff as it had only been discussed with Senior Management Team and the Employment Committee for comment. Therefore no feedback had been obtained from affected staff. Details of the number of staff that required a DBS check was not available at the meeting. In acknowledging that some employees were on low salaries and that the fee of using the Update Service would be reimbursed, the Committee
that the contents of the report be noted.
At the request of Staff Council representatives to consider a range of issues.
Contact: L Davies 388043
In informing the Committee that Mr Davidson was no longer a Member of Staff Council, the Vice-Chairman, Mrs Carol Wyles, on behalf of the Staff Council expressed appreciation to the former Chairman for his lengthy service. The Staff Council wished to acknowledge his commitment, knowledge and the support he had offered. His professionalism was commended as dividing the voluntary Staff Council duties with the paid employment were challenging. He was a valuable Member of Staff Council and his experience would be missed.
The Chairman, on behalf of the Employment Committee echoed those sentiments, and stated that Mr Davidson had done an excellent job and it was hoped that he might consider returning to the Staff Council in the future.
The Committee were informed that there were currently seven serving Members of Staff Council, excluding one Member that was on long-term sickness absence. A further person had recently expressed an interest in joining the Staff Council in which case there might be an additional Staff Council representative. It was explained that being on Staff Council was a voluntary role in addition to the usual paid employment.
The Committee were provided with a brief summary of the activities of the Staff Council, including:
· The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and one other Staff Council representative attended fortnightly meetings with the Managing Director, a Member of the Senior Management Team and Human Resources;
· The Staff Council held a monthly meeting with its Members;
· In accepting the role on Staff Council it was mandatory for Staff Council representatives to attend training on matters such as employment law and grievance procedures. On-going training was provided which was occasionally combined with training with the First Contact representatives;
· Representation on the People Group who had generated the District Council values known as icare;
· Mrs Becky Abbott, as the Communications Officer for Staff Council, attended the Communications Champion Meetings;
· Regularly contributed to ‘Team Talk’;
· Had collected and delivered over 100 Easter Eggs to the children’s ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital;
· Offered support to affected staff during restructures, grievance hearings, disciplinary hearings;
· Attended Employment Committee meetings and Briefing meets with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman prior to the Employment Committee meeting.
In response to a question it was explained that there were no set hours allocated to Staff Council representatives, any duties had to be accommodated around the usual paid employment, which was difficult as sometimes representatives were called upon with little or no notice.
The icare values were developed by the People Group. The Group was formulated of about 30 people representing services across the Council, who made suggestions, participated in workshops and devised the icare values.
The term ‘icare’ represented ‘Inspiring’ ‘Collaborative’ ‘Accountable’ ‘Respectful’ and ‘Enterprising’. The values had been embedded in the organisation through Service Planning, appraisals and the recruitment and selection process.
The Committee were very keen to learn more about icare and were disappointed that Members had not been offered the opportunity of earlier involvement. It was explained that the Managing Director intended to present the Values ... view the full minutes text for item 9.