Agenda and minutes

Employment Committee - Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: River 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.


    The Committee was informed that Councillor Adam Stokes was substituting for Councillor Matthew Lee.


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies had been received from Councillor Matthew Lee.


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 25 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 170 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2019 were agreed.


Organisation statistics pdf icon PDF 242 KB

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    Report of the Deputy Leader of the Council.

    Additional documents:


    The Acting Leader noted that regular updates on Organisation Statistics would be presented to the Committee and he invited the Senior HR Officer to provide the Committee with an overview of the report.


    The Senior HR Officer referred to appendix one of the report which provided graphical data across the categories below that had been considered for this report:


    -      Overall Headcount / Full Time Equivalent (fte)

    -      Starters and Leavers

    -      Retention of staff

    -      Headcount by Gender

    -      Headcount by Full Time / Part Time split

    -      Headcount by Length of Service and

    -      Headcount by Age


    The above categories are standard measures used to monitor the health of an organisation.


    Through Business Partnerships meetings HR regularly meet with managers to review their areas and provide support.  As part of an ongoing programme of work HR was supporting service areas and identifying efficiency savings and service improvement through a range of tools including restructuring, redesigning work and using intelligent automation.  The HR team had also been supporting staff who could potentially be at risk by enabling opportunities for them to redeploy into vacant roles across the Council.  The Change team were utilising a variety of options to train staff for their new roles. 


    The headcount for SKDC as at 1 August 2019 was 594 permanent and fixed term employees which equated to 542 FTE compared to a headcount of 620 and a FTE at 556 in 1 August 2018.  2018/19 saw SKDC recruit 74 employees with 104 employees leaving the organisation.  Following a comparison of Quarter One 2019/20 and Quarter One 2018/19 there had been a significant drop in recruitment.


    It was noted there had also been a drop in the number of leavers (20) in Quarter One of 2019 compared to 28 leavers for the same period last year. Labour turnover at SKDC for 2018/19 was measured at 14%. Following a review of local government workforces by the Local Government Association (LGA) in 2017 the average annual labour turnover rate had been identified at around 13%. This indicated that turnover levels at South Kesteven were broadly in line with the national figures.


    In 2018/19 there had been 74 starters with 14 of these starters leaving prior to the end of 2018/19 which equated to a labour retention rate of 81%. Members were informed that following a retention survey of the public and private sectors undertaken by the Office for National Statistics in 2017 the average public sector retention rate was around 84%.


    It was noted that some full-time roles could provide job share opportunities which would need to be highlighted more.  The gender split between male and female employees remained at 55% male and 45% female. The statistics indicated that the Council was an age positive employer. The Council continued to have a strong mixture of new starters and long serving employees which provided a mixture of fresh ideas and institutional knowledge.  Table One in the report provided a breakdown of length of service for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Apprenticeships update pdf icon PDF 197 KB

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    Report of the Deputy Leader of the Council.


    The Senior HR Officer outlined the four principal benefits and purposes for providing apprenticeships at South Kesteven District Council (SKDC).


    a)  To support Learning and Development and increase the capability of existing staff.

    b)  Provide succession planning for areas where recruiting was difficult.

    c)   Increase the capacity of teams in order to meet the council’s objectives.

    d)  To enhance engagement with residents, local businesses and educational establishments in order to highlight the changing nature of apprenticeships and local government careers in South Kesteven.


    The Committee was informed that the Government had stipulated that public sector organisations with over 250 employees should have a target of around 2.3% of their headcount undertaking apprenticeships. This equated to an annual target of 13.5 apprentices at SKDC.  The Council currently had 10 apprentices in post, 3 of these had completed their apprenticeship training and were awaiting final assessment. 


    As part of regular business partner meetings HR work with managers to put in place succession plans.


    Six apprenticeships were due to start in quarter three in the following areas:


    i)    3 Long Goods Vehicles Driving apprenticeships for developing loader operations in Street Scene

    ii)   2 Town Planning Apprentice Degrees

    iii) 1 Building Control Surveying Degree.


    Over the last few years the Council had taken a more proactive approach to apprenticeships which meant there had been a substantial change in the type of apprenticeships SKDC could now offer to new and existing employees.  Previously, the majority of apprenticeships focussed on Customer Service and Business Administration at level 2 and 3 for Customer Services and Revenues and Benefits sections.  The exception had been 3 trade apprenticeships in Repairs and Improvements for Bricklaying and formal Electrician training. 


    Since 2017 better engagement and relationships had been developed with local education providers such as; Grantham College, Boston College, Lincoln University and Sheffield Hallam University as well as other national training providers. This had enabled a wider offer of apprenticeships and opportunities for job specific development and succession planning, whilst still providing apprenticeships for vacancies in areas such as Customer Services.


    Apprenticeships in ICT, Team Leadership (ILM level3), Chartered Management (degree level) and CIMA Accounting had also been available at degree level over the past two years. The Staff Survey had identified a lack of opportunities in the Street Scene department. Introducing apprenticeships for HGV drivers would provide an opportunity for staff to develop their careers and help the Council recruit to positions that were difficult to fill. The HR team now regularly attended networking sessions arranged by East Midlands Councils where best practices and ideas were shared.


    Members discussed the utilisation of local universities, such as Lincoln and queried whether week long courses could be available which could also provide appropriate training.  The Committee was informed that discussions were being held with Lincoln University about day courses being undertaken in a more local environment such as the Cinema which would provide access to people in Grantham.  A proposal was anticipated over the next couple of weeks. A number of alternative  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 104 KB

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    Discussion took place on how frequently the staff survey should be undertaken and whether a survey around specific issues highlighted in the staff survey would be more appropriate. The Committee was informed that performance measures were linked to the staff survey which in turn linked to the HR Action Plan and then linked back to the next staff survey.


    It was suggested that the Committee could be provided with a newer set of results that provided a specific insight.  The Acting Leader commented that a meeting between September and January was required to look at appropriate topics.


    Further discussion ensued on areas that required consideration for the future, such as ensuring that the Council had staff who were digitally qualified, the importance of engaging with schools and ensuring that future apprenticeships provided a more in-depth approach that would engage and encourage apprentices to stay in the area. It was noted that in order to ensure and encourage new business into the area, the Council would need to look at how they could enhance and encourage people to stay in the District.


    A Member also queried whether a review date for the Interim Chief Executive had been considered and the Committee was informed that this would be considered at the next Employment Committee.



    It was agreed that an Employment Committee would be arranged between September and January 2020.


Close of Meeting

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    The meeting closed at 10:40am.