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Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Broderick (with Councillor King substituting), Chittock (with no substitute) and S Honeywood (with Councillor Amos substituting).
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Wednesday 20 February 2019.
It was moved by Councillor Griffiths, seconded by Councillor Amos and:-
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee, held on Wednesday 20 February 2019, be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.
For the record and as a point of information, Councillor Griffiths reminded the Committee that he was a member of the GMB union and a Shop Steward but not at Tendring District Council.
Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38
Subject to providing two working days’ notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.
There were none on this occasion.
Apprenticeships and Career Track
The Committee will receive a verbal update to the Committee regarding Career Track. The information presented to the Committee will also include apprenticeship statistics, learning programmes and details of apprentices that secure permanent employment or go onto university following the completion of their learning programme.
The Committee received a verbal update from the Organisational Development Manager (Carol Magnus) regarding Apprenticeships and Career Track. The information presented to the Committee included apprenticeship statistics, learning programmes, marketing and promotional activities, recent external appraisals and detail of apprentices that had secured permanent employment or had gone on to university following the completion of their learning programme.
Members raised questions which were responded to by the Organisational Development Manager, as appropriate.
The Committee noted the foregoing.
To provide an update on Learning and Development activity during 2018/19 and Investors In People Gold Assessment.
There was submitted a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) (A.1) presented to the Committee by the Organisational Development Manager (Carol Magnus) which provided it with an update on Learning and Development activity during 2018/19 and the Investors in People Gold Assessment.
Learning and Development Activity
It was reported that throughout the financial year 2018/19 a number of new courses had been centrally organised as part of the Organisation Development function. One of the main areas for attention had been that of giving more junior or less experienced staff skills training on note-taking, report writing and handling conflict.
Priorities during this period had included increasing the Authority’s understanding of, and support for, mental health related issues which had culminated in the organisation signing the Time To Change Pledge in January 2019. A significant focus had been on preparing staff to work more flexibly and with greater autonomy. Two programmes had been key to this: InDependence and Managing Remote Teams. All courses had been delivered by external providers working very closely with the Organisational Development Manager and the HR Operations Manager on design, development and content. The InDependence programme had been designed and developed by the Organisational Development Manager with input from an organisation psychologist. The workshops had then been delivered by a team of six internal managers who had been trained in how to deliver the programme. Initial feedback reaction to this programme had been positive and a further evaluation was being developed to assess how the learning had enhanced practice within the workplace.
The Committee was also made aware that the staff sponsorship programme continued to be well-used and the principle of ‘grow our own’ was well-established. Currently there were two staff studying a degree to become planners, one was undertaking a degree in IT. All staff in receipt of sponsorships were meeting or exceeding the minimum requirements of their course and a number were on target to achieve distinctions. Recently three staff had completed degrees and all had gained a First. Those subjects were Environmental Health, Planning and Building Surveying.
In addition, via the new Apprenticeship route five staff were currently undertaking degrees - one in Management, two in Building Surveying and two in IT.
Members noted that additional development of staff for their specific technical areas of expertise as part of ongoing continuous professional development was identified and organised by their respective departmental managers.
In addition, the organisation’s e-learning platform had been completely re-designed and updated. A ‘soft’ roll out was currently underway.
Investors in People
Members recalled that in December 2015 the Council had been assessed against the Investor in People Gold standard and had achieved IIP Gold accreditation. Since that time the Council had had to undertake a process of moving across from the Generation 5 to Generation 6 IIP standards. That process had included a review of the benchmarking evidence and the new standards and award process were substantially different.
In summary the new standard was as follows:
(1) High Performing;
To provide a useful framework for new members of the Committee in order to see an overview of the Council as an ‘employer’.
There was submitted a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) (A.2), presented to the Committee by the Head of People, Performance and Projects (Anastasia Simpson) which informed it that a number of minor amendments had been made to the Staff Handbook in order to reflect structural changes within the organisation and to incorporate updates to other key corporate policies and legislation.
Members were informed that the purpose of the Staff Handbook was to provide an employee with a guide to both the Council and the terms and conditions affecting their contract of employment. It comprised five main parts:
• Terms and Conditions
• Remuneration and Benefits
• Core Policies and Procedures
• Policies and Guidelines
• Career Development
It was felt that the updated Staff Handbook would ensure that the Council maintained its high standard of employment practices and remains an employer of choice.
The Committee was advised that though the production and upkeep of the Staff Handbook was delegated to the Head of People, Performance & Projects in conjunction with the Deputy Chief Executive it had been considered that the new Members of the Committee might find the presentation of this document useful, in terms of their introduction to staffing matters within the Council. A copy of the Staff Handbook was before Members as an Appendix to the Officer’s report.
Members raised questions which were responded by the Deputy Chief Executive (Martyn Knappett) and the Head of People, Performance and Projects (Anastasia Simpson).
Having considered the contents of both the report and the Staff Handbook:-
It was moved by Councillor Griffiths, seconded by Councillor M Stephenson and:-
RESOLVED, that -
(a) the contents of both the report and the Staff Handbook be noted; and
(b) in view of the concerns expressed as to hours potentially worked the Head of People, Performance and Projects be requested to review Section 36 (Election Duties) of the Staff Handbook.
To present for the Committee’s approval the revised ‘Safeguarding Policy and Procedures’.
There was submitted a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) (A.3) presented to the Committee by the Community Safety Manager (Leanne Thornton) which submitted to the Committee the revised ‘Safeguarding Policy and Procedures’.
The Committee was informed that the existing Safeguarding Policy had last been reviewed in November 2017. Since then there had been significant changes across the safeguarding agenda and the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures had therefore been significantly updated in line with the Southend, Essex & Thurrock (SET) Safeguarding Guidelines for both Children and Adults.
In addition at the back of the revised policy there were procedures so staff knew when there was an immediate Safeguarding risk and when the risk was not immediate and also a procedure for allegations against staff. Also included was a new Safeguarding Reporting Form so staff could download the form and send it through for triage if they had a concern but did not want to raise an incident to Essex County Council direct without it being noted internally first.
Members were advised that in reviewing and updating the Policy, it was important that the Council could demonstrate a commitment to how it thought and acted in relation to safeguarding concerns and incidents in the workplace but also ensure that employees were supported when they raised a Safeguarding Concern. By adding in the new reporting form and quick guide all staff and Members should know how and when to raise a concern.
Members raised questions which were responded to by Officers.
Having considered the contents of both the report and the revised Safeguarding Policy and Procedures attached as an appendix to the Officer’s report:-
It was moved by Councillor Griffiths, seconded by Councillor M Stephenson and:-
RESOLVED that the Deputy Chief Executive be requested to investigate the appropriateness and practicalities of introducing DBS checks for all Members of Tendring District Council (such as the budgetary and legal ramifications) and that the outcome of such investigations be reported to a future meeting of the Council for its consideration and determination.(I am not sure if this is a matter for Council or the Standards Committee , please can we take advice from Lisa?)
It was then moved by Councillor Griffiths, seconded by Councillor Clifton and:-
RESOLVED that –
(a) the updated Safeguarding Policy and Procedures be formally adopted; and
(b) the Head of People, Performance and Projects be authorised to amend the Policy in order to incorporate legislative changes or best practice updates.
To provide the Committee with updated and current staffing statistics including staff numbers, gender, age, ethnicity and disability profiles.
There was submitted a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) (A.4) presented to the Committee by the Human Resources and Business Manager (Katie Wilkins), which provided the Committee with updated and current staffing statistics including:
(1) Number of Staff Employed – Full-Time and Part-Time;
(2) Gender Profile (including Gender Pay Gap figures);
(3) Age Profile;
(4) Disability Profile;
(5) Ethnicity Profile; and
(6) Sickness Absence (information was included on the management procedures and preventative action taken together with the sources of support available for staff).
Officers responded to questions raised by Members on various topics and where an answer was not immediately available, the Human Resources and Business Manager undertook to respond to Members as soon as possible after the meeting.
Following discussion it was RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) - A.5 - Human Resources Sub-Committee Panel: Appointment of the Named Sub-Committee Member and the Named Substitute Sub-Committee Member from an Opposition Group PDF 213 KB
To enable the Committee to appoint a named member and a named substitute member from an opposition group to serve on the Human Resources Sub-Committee Panel.
There was submitted a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Resources) (A.5) presented to the Committee by the Deputy Chief Executive (Martyn Knappett) which sought to enable the Committee to appoint a named member and a named substitute member from an opposition group to serve on the Human Resources Sub-Committee Panel.
Members were informed that the former Human Resources Committee, at its meeting held on 15 November 2016 (Minute 14 referred), had considered a joint report by the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer, which provided that Committee with details of changes to the Officer Employment Procedure Rules.
The Officers’ report had recommended that a Sub-Committee Panel of the Committee be constituted to form part of the recruitment, dismissal and disciplinary process for the appointment of Senior Officers. This included the Chief Executive and other Statutory Chief Officers (Section 151 and Monitoring Officer posts), Chief Officer posts (Corporate Directors) and all Deputy Chief Officers (Heads of Service).
That report had also recommended that the Panel would undertake the final interview of those applicants for Senior Officer posts who had successfully been shortlisted and had undertaken the necessary technical interviews and assessments. The Panel would be a formally constituted sub-committee of the Committee, established by the Council. It was proposed that the Panel should comprise of three members. At least one was required by legislation to be a member of the Cabinet, (to be appointed by the Leader of the Council at the appropriate time) however, it was suggested that this could be the relevant Portfolio Holder for the service concerned. The Panel should also include the Chairman (or failing him/her the Vice-Chairman) of the Committee and a named Committee member from an opposition group (full Council would appoint the named individual).
After due consideration of the whole report the Committee had, inter alia,:-
“RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL that:
(a) a sub-committee of Human Resources Committee be formed to act as a Panel and to discharge the functions as set out in the report;
(b) the terms of reference of the Human Resources Committee be amended to include the function of the sub-committee Panel;
(c) the requirements of political balance be dispensed with for the sub-committee Panel;
(d) a named committee member (and a named substitute committee member) from an opposition group be appointed;”
Full Council had considered the Committee’s recommendations at its meeting held on 29 November 2016 (Minute 101 refers) and had, inter alia, RESOLVED:-
“(b) that the recommendations to Council, as contained in Minute 14 of the Human Resources Committee of 15 November 2016, be approved, subject to Councillor Calver and Councillor Bray being appointed as the named committee member and the named substitute committee member from an opposition group respectively.”
The Committee was advised that, following the District Council Elections held in May this year it was now required to re-appoint the named committee member and the named substitute committee member from an opposition group.
Members were made aware that in making those appointments the Committee ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Exclusion of Press and Public
The Cabinet is asked to consider the following resolution:
“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda Item 12 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.”
It was moved by Councillor Griffiths, seconded by Councillor Chapman and:-
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of Agenda Item 12 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) - B.1 - A Market Forces Report for a post within Legal Services
The Committee will consider whether to introduce a market forces supplement for a post within Legal Services.
RESOLVED that the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee agrees that the Market Forces Supplement be applied to the specified post within Legal Services, for a period of two years, in line with the Council’s approved Market Forces Policy, at which point a further review will be undertaken.