Agenda and minutes

Employment Committee - Wednesday, 5th June, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Belton Room - Jubilee Church Life Centre, 1-5 London Road, Grantham. NG31 6EY. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

No. Item



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    The Committee to be notified of any substitute members.


    Councillor Adam Stokes attended as substitute for Councillor Matthew Lee and Councillor Sarah Trotter attended as substitute for Councillor Annie Mason.

The Chairman advised that agenda item 5, which contained exempt information, would be taken after agenda item 9.


Disclosure of interests

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    Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    No interests were disclosed.


Minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 184 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2019 were agreed as a correct record and there were no matters arising.


Sickness absence pdf icon PDF 200 KB

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    Members will discuss the sickness rate, categorisation of sickness, trends and turnover.


    Neil Moverley presented the report on sickness absence statistics and analysis and explained that the Council measured sickness absence using a standard calculation utilised by local authorities which resulted in an average absence of 10 days per SKDC employee for 2018/19.  Overall short term absences (classified as under 4 weeks) had decreased but long term absences (classified as over 4 weeks) had increased.  It was worth note that the Council’s workforce included both office and operational services (such as refuse collection and street scene) and it continued to hold social housing stock and repairs services whereas a number of the comparison local authorities had transferred these services. Human Resources had a range of pro-active measures in place to manage sickness absences.  


    Councillor Wood requested clarification on the reasons for the 8.8 days per employee as an average for absence. 


    Neil Moverley explained the pro-active measures in place should have the effect of reducing long term absences from the Council’s current position.  Whilst the Council was slightly higher on average than the national average for long term absences, its short term absence position was lower than the national average.  By reducing the impact of long term absences, it would reduce the overall sickness absence average locally.


    It was also noted that the measures introduced by Human Resources to reduce long term absences included early referrals to Occupational Health and liaison with individuals to find the right solution to assist them.


    Councillor Kelly asked whether account was taken of both full and part time staff when compiling the statistics.


    Neil Moverley explained that the statistics were compiled on the basis of full time equivalents.  However, it would be possible to provide figures in the future for both part time and full time employees.


    The Chairman asked what actions were taken in respect of those cases where incidents might be caused whilst at work.


    Neil Moverley explained that work related incidents involved accident investigations under health and safety and discussions with line managers on steps to be taken including additional training. 


    Aidan Rave added that one of the top three reasons for long term absences which was stress and depression and the Council had taken robust measures to ensure options were in place to identify and support the mental health and well-being of its staff.   Looking after the mental health and well-being of staff had economic and reputational benefits for the Council as well as staff themselves.


    Councillor Goral asked whether the costs of absences had been identified. 


    Neil Moverley confirmed that the average cost of absences could be provided.


    Councillor Kelly asked whether the Council conducted exit surveys after staff had left the Council.


    Neil Moverley confirmed that exit surveys were carried out as part of the leaving process but they were not conducted after employees had left.  However, Human Resources were always looking to improve their practices.


    The Chairman asked how often training and refresher training occurred.


    Neil Moverley explained that training was provided on induction of new employees and refresher  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Staff survey action plan pdf icon PDF 238 KB

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    Discussion on those areas targeted for improvement as part of the next staff survey.


    Neil Moverley presented the report and explained that 11 measures, as set out in table 1 in the report, had been identified from the staff survey and the Committee’s views were requested on the proposed targets for 2019/20.


    The proposed targets had been suggested taking account of actions taken or in place.  Under career development, job shadowing had been introduced.  There were a number of apprenticeships in place with staff working towards professional qualifications.  Human Resources and Communications Teams were working to continue to improve internal communications across all teams with different channels being introduced to suit the ways that individual teams worked.  Change management and working environment areas had received attention as outlined in the report.


    Councillor Goral acknowledged that the Council had come a long way over the last 2 years and sought reassurance that the proposed targets were sufficiently ambitious.


    Lee Sirdifield explained that the targets reflected where the organisation was going in the next 12 months.  It was under-going significant changes and in turn these would impact across the organisation and its staff.  Targets had been proposed which stretch notwithstanding the significant change situation.


    The Chairman advised that close working arrangements would be necessary with the University and that she would like to see graduate apprenticeships offered. 


    Neil Moverley confirmed that discussions were in hand.


    Councillor Cooke explained that in conjunction with the Leader of the Council, they wanted to be informed of staff views and the staff survey would continue year on year.  He acknowledged that the changes taking place within the Council and the working environment would inevitably impact on staff until things settled down.  He continued to chair and meet with the Chameleon group consisting of staff representatives from across the Council.


    Councillor Kelly commented that she considered the proposed targets to be predictions rather than ambitions and her view was that the targets should be set at 3.5.  Councillor Wood agreed with this.


    Aidan Rave re-emphasised the significant changes that were taking place in the Council which would inevitably impact on staff satisfaction and moral during the period of implementation.  The targets needed to recognise the landscape and priced in to the targets set.  The targets proposed do that.


    Councillor Cooke clarified that these are the minimum targets to be achieved and we hope we will exceed them.




    The themes and minimum targets for 2019/20 to measure the impact of the Human Resources action plan be set as follows:


    Return rate: 72%

    Organisational engagement: Disengaged 6%, Passive 52%, Engage 42%

    Career development: 3.4

    Leadership at senior and departmental level: Senior level 3.5, Departmental 3.5

    Working environment: 3.4

    Change management: 3.2

    Feeling valued: 3.4

    Reward and recognition: Recognition 3.0, Fair Pay 3.15

    Cross team working/communication: 3.0

    Consistency: Process 3.0, Performance Management 3.4, Regular 121s 3.5

    Overall employee satisfaction: 3.75


Work programme pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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    The Committee will consider its work programme.


    This was noted.

Exclusion of the press and public

The following motion was moved, duly seconded and AGREED by the Committee:


That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the following item of business because of the likelihood that information that is exempt under Paragraphs 1 and 2 (information relating to an individual or likely to reveal the identity of the individual) of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) would be disclosed to them.


Section 151 Officer - structural implications

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    Consideration of the Section 151 Officer post and structural implications.


    An exempt minute which is not for publication records the debate that took place on this item of business.


    It was AGREED that:


    ·         The Resources Directorate be amended to the Finance Directorate to exclude ICT and Customer Services but to include Revenues and Benefits and Legal Services.  The salary for the Chief Finance Officer to be set at £85,000 per annum in line with Assistant Chief Executive posts.

    ·         Richard Wyles be offered the post of Interim Chief Finance Officer for a period of 15 months with a review at month 12 at the above salary and to recommend to Council that he be appointed as the Council’s S.151 Officer.

    ·         The post of Assistant Chief Executive – Transformation be deleted from the structure and Lee Sirdifield be appointed to the post of Strategic Director – Transformation to include his current areas of responsibility, Digital and Customer Services but excluding the role of Monitoring Officer at a salary equivalent to other Strategic Directors.

    ·         To recommend to Council that the Interim Head of Legal Services be appointed to the role of Monitoring Officer which is cost neutral.

    ·         ICT be re-branded as Digital with a clear brief to facilitate the corporate transformation programme with Customer Services having a similar brief under the Strategic Director – Transformation.

    ·         The current Head of Finance be offered an enhanced role to support the Interim Chief Finance Officer/S.151 Officer with the S.151 Officer to determine his choice as Deputy S.151 Officer.


Close of meeting

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    The meeting closed at 11.42am.