Agenda and minutes

Employment Committee
Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: River Room, Jubilee Church Life Centre, 5 London Road, Grantham, NG31 6EY

Contact: Jo Toomey 

Items
No. Item

22.

Membership

23.

Apologies for absence

24.

Disclosure of interests

25.

Minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

                                                                                                                      (Enclosure)

    Minutes:

     

    The public minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2018 were agreed as a correct record.

26.

Exempt minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2018

27.

Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

    Report number HR011of the Deputy Leader of the Council.

    (To follow)

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

     

    The Deputy Leader of the Council presented the draft 2019/20 Pay Policy Statement for review by the Committee and recommendation to Council. The annual adoption of the statement was a statutory requirement; the document would be presented to Council for approval on 1 March 2019. The Deputy Leader added that the statement had been based on an assumed pay award of 2%. He reminded Members that the Council had its own scheme but generally followed the national pay award. Members were also advised that the national minimum wage for 18 to 20 year olds needed to be updated and that the same information would also be provided for the 2019 financial year.

     

    Reference was made in the document to termination payments and Members asked about how they related to statutory redundancy payments. The Chief Executive explained that in a majority of instances, statutory redundancy arrangements were used. He stated that there were some circumstances where a termination payment provided better value for the Council, giving examples of where there was a risk of litigation or a prolonged process of negotiation. Judgement as to which option provided the best value for the Council was determined on a case-by case basis.

     

    Committee Members asked how South Kesteven District Council’s Pay Policy Statement compared with other local authorities. Officers responded, advising Members that SKDC’s document had recently been subject to thorough review, during which it was compared to the Pay Policy Statements of other local authorities. Members were advised that the document was produced in accordance with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011, so all local authorities’ statements were similar but with some local variations, including job titles and pay grades.

     

    It was proposed, seconded and AGREED that:

     

    The Committee recommends the adoption of the Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 to Council.

28.

Employee Handbook/Fact Sheets pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    Report number HR012 of the Deputy Leader of the Council.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

     

    The Deputy Leader introduced report HR012 and explained that the Council had a large number of HR policies and that Kealey HR had undertaken a piece of work to bring all of those policies together in a new Employee Handbook.

     

    The Chairman welcomed Mike Kealey and Jane Minns from Kealey HR to the meeting, who explained how they had collated the policies within the handbook and provided samples for Members. The process also involved checking that the policies legally compliant while refining and simplifying them to help ensure all parties held a common understanding and to remove the potential for conflict in the work place.

     

    The handbook was divided into three sections: beginning employment, during employment and ending employment. The handbook brought together all the Council’s HR policies and was supported by topic-specific factsheets. Other elements of the package included ‘how to’ guides for managers and template forms and letters.

     

    Members were advised that while the handbook and factsheets were designed to be stored on the intranet, hardcopies would be available. The new handbook and factsheets, which were scheduled to be launched on 4 February 2019, would be brought to managers’ attention through a series of workshops that would familiarise them with the content and how the guides were designed to work. Managers would then be coached through specific scenarios as they arose. The documents would be promoted to the wider Council staff through Evolve, team meetings and the cascading of information by line managers.

     

    Councillors were interested in how the acceptance of the documents by the wider staff cohort would be evidenced. It was hoped that some evidence would be provided through the next staff survey. One of the concerns highlighted by staff in the 2018 survey was a lack of consistency in the application of policies and procedures. It was hoped that the updated approach would help address some of those concerns.

     

    There was some discussion around who would have access to the different levels of document: the handbook, factsheets and forms would be available to all staff, while the ‘how to’ guides would be supplied to managers by HR when they were needed. It was anticipated that the template letters would sit with the HR team.

     

    Committee members clarified that Councillors were not considered employees but suggested that some of the content in the handbook could form part of an updated Members’ Code of Conduct.

     

    Members of the Committee were interested in how the Trade Unions had been involved in the development of the documents. The Committee was advised that meetings were held with Trade Union representatives who had had the opportunity to review the documents and provide input.

     

    Councillors expressed their support for the handbook, finding it both comprehensive and well-written. Some concern was expressed about the layout of the document, with some Members suggested that adding graphics would help break up the density of the text.

     

    It was proposed, seconded and AGREED that:

     

    The Committee adopts the new Employee Handbook (and associated documents) subject to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Employee Engagement Survey Results 2018 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

    Report number ACEX010 of the Deputy Leader of the Council.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Deputy Leader introduced report number ACEX010 and outlined some of the positive feedback that had been drawn from the 2018 staff survey; he particularly highlighted the way senior managers were working with staff and that staff felt that they could give their views on, and get involved in making changes. It was noted that there were some scores that had dropped, including individuals having regular conversations with their line manager about performance. One of the other lower scoring questions related to the consistency about the application of policy and procedure, which it was hoped would begin to be addressed through the introduction of the Employee Handbook.

     

    The Senior HR Officer was invited to give a presentation, which summarised the results of the 2018 survey and the methodology that was used, on which Members asked questions and made comments:

     

    • Questions were developed through a series of focus groups which provided feedback on the volume and type of questions included in the 2017 survey; this led to a reduction in both the total number of questions and the number of ‘free text’ questions

     

    • The overall response rate for 2018 was 69%, which was 3% lower than 2017; a drop of only 3% was seen as positive given that the high percentage of respondents in 2017 was partially attributed to it being the first staff survey in approximately 8 years

     

    • Managers would be provided with a breakdown of the number of respondents from their team, with both a numerical and a percentage value

     

    • The survey included 6 questions from which employee engagement could be measured and used to compare the Council with other public and private sector organisations

     

    • The Commercial and Operational Directorate had seen the greatest improvement in its level of engagement, this was partly attributed to the transfer of building control to that area, together with work that had been undertaken with the wider team

     

    • The 2018 survey had identified improvements in levels of staff engagement at sites away from the main offices; feedback from the 2017 survey identified a feeling that a lot of activity was centred around St. Peter’s Hill and proactive work had been undertaken to address this

     

    • The presentation highlighted the top ten highest and lowest scoring results in both 2017 and 2018; the two areas where responses scored lower in 2018 were: ‘Hard work and good performance are recognised at the Council’ and ‘I believe that processes and procedures are applied consistently across the Council’

     

    • Many of the responses made by employees in respect of their line managers were positive however it indicated that there were some concerns about employees having regular conversations with their line manager about their performance

     

    • Those areas that had scored highly in 2017 also scored well in 2018 but had become normalised while the lowest scoring results in 2018 had seen some improvement

     

    • Key strengths highlighted by the survey were: understanding aims and objectives; job satisfaction; believing the Council delivers a good standard of service to its customers; the culture  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Designation of Monitoring Officer pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    Report number LDS441 of the Chief Executive.

    Minutes:

     

    The Chief Executive presented report number LDS341 on the designation of a Monitoring Officer for South Kesteven District Council following the departure of the previous Monitoring Officer in December 2018.

     

    It was a statutory requirement for all local authorities to have a Monitoring Officer and he recommended that Lee Sirdifield, the Assistant Chief Executive, be designated in the interim whilst the options for a permanent designation were considered. He explained that the Monitoring Officer, whose role included management and knowledge of the Council’s Constitution, decision-making process, and Members’ conduct, did not have to be a lawyer and added that he believed the Assistant Chief Executive had the necessary attributes to carry out the role. Work was underway to address wider issues of legal capacity within the Council following the departure of the previous Monitoring Officer, who was the Solicitor to the Council.

     

    Members suggested that there should be some form of time limit to the designation; the consensus was 6-months. One Member felt that they could do with further information on the suitability of Mr. Sirdifield to carry out the role, as they did not feel they knew him sufficiently well to judge his skills in the context of the Monitoring Officer role. Other Members felt that the recommendation of the Chief Executive provided sufficient endorsement for them to feel able to recommend to Council the designation of Mr. Sirdifield as Monitoring Officer.

     

    Subject to the recommendation of the Employment Committee, a report asking Council to designate the Assistant Chief Executive as Monitoring Officer would be presented to Council on 31 January 2019.

     

    It was proposed and seconded, and on being put to the vote, AGREED that:

     

    The Employment Committee recommends the designation of the Assistant Chief Executive, Lee Sirdifield as the Monitoring Officer with a long-term solution to be presented to the Employment Committee within 6-months.

31.

Work programme

    Discussion on the Committee’s work programme.

    Minutes:

    Committee Members put forward the following items for inclusion on the agenda for the next meeting of the Committee

     

    Ø  The action plan arising from the staff survey, incorporating results and deliverables

    Ø  Performance appraisal

    Ø  Return to work

Exclusion of the press and public

It was proposed, seconded and on being put to the vote, agreed that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of the proceeding item of business because of the likelihood that information that was exempt under paragraph 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of an individual or organisation) of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) would be disclosed to them.

 

12:20 – The press and public were excluded from the meeting

32.

Any other business, which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, decides is urgent

    Minutes:

     

    The Chief Executive referred to the Committee’s meeting on 13 November 2018 at which Ken Lyon was appointed to the post of Assistant Chief Executive (Housing Delivery). The Chief Executive advised Members of a correction to the advice that the Committee had received at its previous meeting on the fee for which the Council would be liable in respect of the recruitment of the Assistant Chief Executive (Housing Delivery). He informed Members that officers were in discussion with the supplier that had provided recruitment services regarding this appointment and the fee for which the Council would be liable.

12:29 – the meeting was re-opened to the press and public

33.

Close of meeting