Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Meeting will be held in accordance with provisions of SI 2020/392. Link to live stream will be available at https://www.tendringdc.gov.uk/livemeetings

Contact: Keith Durran Email:  democraticservices@tendringdc.gov.uk or Telephone  01255686585

Items
No. Item

25.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor G Calver (with Councillor Fowler substituting) and Councillor Clifton (with Councillor Knowles substituting).

26.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 24 February 2020.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee, held on 24 February 2020, be approved as a correct record.

27.

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.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Griffiths declared that he was a member of the GMB Union.

28.

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.

Minutes:

There were none on this occasion.

29.

Apprenticeships and Career Track - Verbal Update

The Committee will receive a verbal update regarding Apprenticeships and Career Track.

Minutes:

The Committee received a verbal update from Debianne Messenger (Work Based Learning Manager) in regards to apprenticeships in Tendring.

 

The Committee heard that at the time the Council had 48 apprentices in a variety of programmes from level 2 to level 6, they were in a wide range of services including human resources, arboriculture, customer service, property maintenance, internal audit and a planning technician. Many of the Councils apprentices were part of the Councils success planning programme.

 

The Committee also heard that the Council had 2 members of staff undertaking a level 6 chartered surveyor apprenticeship and well as another training to be a leading executive at level 6, 3 managers had just started the operations departmental managerial apprenticeship at level 5. All the Tendring apprentices had been supported by their training providers as well as their individual departments and managers despite the current COVID situation.

 

It was reported to Members that the majority continue to work from home. With virtual meetings and supported assessment activities. Every apprentice has been able to continue their programme, regardless of the circumstances.

 

Members heard that Career Track was a training provider and they had been established since 1983 and they held a direct contract with central government under the ESFA (Education Skills Funding Agency) and that they provide apprenticeships in business administration, Customer Service, Team Leading and Public Service Operational Delivery. Career track had 39 apprentices on the programme, with 9 due to start. Half of their apprentices were working with in Tendring District Council with other apprentices in Colchester, Braintree, Maldon and Epping Forest. They had also started to work with small employers in the area.

 

The Committee was informed that for large employers, apprentices were funded by the apprenticeship levee, Tendring had been successful in using up all of its levee funds and was then being 95% co-funded by the Government. Large employers used their levee to fund their apprentices, small employers used their digital account to access their funds that came from the Government. The Government had also just released additional incentives to support apprenticeship employers till January 2021.

 

The Committee was also informed that since March, Career Track had continued working virtually without any negative impact on their apprentices. All of their apprentices had progressed as normal some had even finished their apprenticeships during the COVID pandemic and had secured employment, they had even had a starter at university prior to the meeting.

As of August 2020 Career Track had started recruiting again.

 

·         90% of apprentices stay on in their place of employment after they have finished their apprenticeships.

·         92% of apprentices successfully achieve their apprenticeship.

·         100% are satisfied with the report they receive from Career Track.

Following discussion it was RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

30.

Report of Corporate Director (Operations & Delivery) - A.1 - Workforce and Contract Documentation Update Report pdf icon PDF 864 KB

To provide Members of the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee with an update on current staffing statistics and inform them of the recently agreed changes to the Council’s Employment Contract Documentation, in line with an update to employment legislation.

Minutes:

Members of the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee were provided with an update on the then current staffing statistics and were informed of the agreed changes to the Council’s Employment Contract Documentation, in line with an update to employment legislation.

 

Staffing Statistics

The Committee was presented with the analysis of workforce data with statistics relating to the staff employed within the Council and how that compared to the Tendring district and national averages. It was a standard report that was provided to the Human Resources Committee as part of each meeting.

 

Tendring District Council currently has 484 FTE (full time equivalent) employees. The FTE figure equates to 777 employees in total (including casual workers and Career Track learners) this is made up of 366 full time, and 411 part time staff.

 

Update to Council’s Employment Contract Documentation

Members heard that as a result of the Independent Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices in 2017, the Government produced its ‘Good Work Plan’. The plan set out several proposed changes to Employment Legislation intended to improve the rights of both employees and workers. The first of those Employment Legislation changes (Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019) came into effect as of 6th April 2020.

 

 From that date, the right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment extends to casual workers as well as employees. There were also two other important changes (as outlined in the Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018) to written statements as follows:

 

1.    Employees and casual workers must be provided with their written statement on or before their first day of employment (previously, an employer had two months from the date an employee/casual worker starts work to provide them with a written statement of their terms and conditions).

 

2.    Written statements must now include the following additional information:

 

·         How long a job is expected to last (or end date of a fixed term contract);

·         How much notice is required;

·         Details of eligibility for sick leave and pay;

·         Details of other types of paid leave (e.g. maternity/paternity leave);

·         Duration and conditions of any probationary period; Page 11 Agenda Item 6     Remuneration and benefits (not just pay);

·         Which specific days of the week the worker is required to work, and whether or not such hours or days may be variable, and if they may be how they vary or how that variation is to be determine; and

·         Details of training entitlements, training requirements and details of any training that will not be paid for by the employer.

 

 

The Council’s Statement(s) of Written Particulars of Employment (including the Apprenticeship Programme Agreement) and Agreement for Casual Work had been updated to reflect those legislative requirements.

 

As outlined in the Council’s Constitution, the Corporate Director, Operations & Delivery, in consultation with the Acting Head of People, Performance and Projects had approved those changes for implementation with immediate effect.

 

After a short discussion it was RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

31.

Report of Corporate Director (Operations & Delivery) - A.2 - Sickness Absence Management Policy & Procedures Review pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To update Human Resources & Council Tax Committee on the review of the Council’s Sickness Absence Management Policy & Procedures in line with identified best practice and the Council’s Constitution and the delegated powers within.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was reported to the Committee that the purpose of the review of the Council’s Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedures was principally to reflect changes of procedure in accordance with ACAS, employment legislation and the TDC Constitution (regarding delegated powers).

 

As was outlined in the Workforce Profile Report, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recommend that organisations adopt the following approach when effectively managing sickness absence:-

 

·         Identify and tackle the root causes of ill health;

·         Build a more robust framework to promote good mental health;

·         Strengthen the capability of line managers;

·         Ensure a holistic approach: physical, mental, emotional, lifestyle and financial.

 

 

The revised Sickness Absence Management Policy and associated Procedures provided both employees and managers with a robust framework for managing sickness absence.

 

The Policy set out:-

·         Objectives;

·         Responsibilities – both Managers and Employees;

·         Types of sickness absence;

·         Process for managing sickness absence;

·         Outcomes at each stage.

 

The implementation of the revised Sickness Absence Management Policy and associated Procedures allowed the Council to more effectively manage sickness absence in the workplace, with a view of minimising the effect on service delivery and the impact of associated costs to the staffing establishment.

 

 

There were no questions and was RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

32.

Report of Corporate Director (Operations & Delivery) - A.3 - The Council's Response to COVID-19 for the Workforce pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To update Members of the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee on the various initiatives and policy arrangements introduced to support the workforce in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Minutes:

Councillors heard how in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and resulting containment measures, the Council had been required to move at pace to make significant changes to the way it operated to ensure the delivery of essential services.

 

In March 2020, the Council initiated its GOLD and SILVER command arrangements in line with protocols for the command and control of emergencies under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and other associated legislation. The two-tier command and control structure developed robust plans and processes in line with Government guidance, to protect the most vulnerable residents and ensured that the Councils response aligned with national requirements.

 

The Council’s strategic response continued to be led by the Chief Executive at GOLD level, with senior officers (Corporate Directors and Assistant Directors) taking responsibility for specific elements of the Councils response.

 

The tactical SILVER group focuses on the delivery of three key functions:

·         Response & Recovery

·         Welfare

·         Information & Support

 

 

It was reported to the Committee that Human Resources colleagues led the Welfare Cell at both the strategic (GOLD) and tactical (SILVER) levels throughout the height of the Pandemic and continued to do so. The primary role of the Welfare Cell was to ensure staff welfare was protected throughout our response.

 

Throughout those exceptional circumstances, the Council had worked hard to maintain communication to ensure that staff were informed and key advice was provided to keep them and our residents safe.

 

Members heard how Working with Union colleagues, key policies and procedures had been updated in line with Government guidance and measures had been put in place to ensure staff safety and well-being. That included ensuring sufficient levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), appropriate risk assessments for safe working, a suite of online well-being initiatives and a timetable of online fitness classes (via Zoom), delivered by the Council’s Fitness Instructors, to support both physical and mental well-being.

 

Managers continued to be supported with key people related issues; attendance at work, pay, time off work to care for dependents, enhanced flexible working arrangements and the significant shift to managing remote teams.

 

As the Council prepared to reopen its buildings, albeit on a revised and reduced basis, a working party had been brought together to lead on these preparations, with their agenda informed by the findings of the recent staff survey.

 

After some discussion the Committed noted the report.

 

Councillor Mark Stephenson requested that the Committee draft a formal letter or gratitude and support to the Human Resources team for all their amazing work during the COVID 19 crisis. This was agreed with by Councillor Jayne Chapman (Chairman).

33.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Committee is asked to consider passing 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 10 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.”

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following and RESOLVED:

 

 

 

“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 10 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 2 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.”

34.

Report of Corporate Director (Operations & Delivery) - B.1 - A Market Forces Report for the Planning Service

To put forward proposals for the continuation of the Market Forces Supplement, previously agreed by Human Resources Committee, to support the recruitment and retention of qualified Planning staff pending a full service review (anticipated in the next six months).

Minutes:

After some discussion the Committee AGREED that the Market Forces Supplement applied for all qualified (first degree in Planning or the Postgraduate degree in Planning) Planning Officers be continued until the anticipated service review is completed (up to a maximum of 6 months from the date of agreement).