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The Chairman of the Committee (Councillor Chapman BEM) informed the meeting that she had an ailment affecting her throat/lungs that was affecting her ability to speak. In order not to impede the efficient conduct of the meeting and the dispatch of the Committee’s business she vacated the Chair which was thereupon occupied by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee (Councillor Calver).
Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
There were no apologies for absence on this occasion.
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Thursday, 6 July 2023.
It was moved by Councillor Amos, seconded by Councillor Morrison and:-
RESOLVED that the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Thursday, 6 July 2023, be approved as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Other Registerable Interests of Non-Registerable Interests, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.
Councillor G Stephenson stated for the public record that she was a member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) but that she had no involvement with Tendring District Council in that capacity.
Councillor Morrison stated for the public record that she was a member of Unite but that she had no involvement with Tendring District Council in that capacity.
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.
No Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38 had been submitted on this occasion.
To provide Members of the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee with an update on a number of key Human Resources activities, including the pending Pay Review and Pay Award, the procurement of a new HR & Payroll System and the introduction of a new Employee Benefit – Salary Finance.
The Committee had before it a report from the Assistant Director (Partnerships) (report A.1) which provided Members with an update on a number of Human Resources activities.
Procurement of a new Payroll & HR System
The Committee heard that Tendring District Council (TDC) currently used a Human Resources and Payroll software solution provided by Iris FMP TeamSpirit (version 23.1.2). The current system was due to be retired (no longer supported by the provider) on March 31 2024 and as a result, there was a requirement to purchase a new software solution.
Members were told that the TDC payroll function facilitated payment to approximately 700 staff; at the time of writing that compromised permanent (521) and temporary (16) members of staff; apprentices (10) and casual workers (150).
The Committee was made aware that membership in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) was automatic for most TDC employees; therefore, all elements of employer and staff contributions and management activity, including the production of monthly returns, were required.
The Committee was also told that there was also the need to facilitate a separate Elections Payroll (in order to process data files provided by the Elections Team) to pay those working on behalf of the Returning Officer at any Election.
Officers informed the Committee that the objective of procuring a new system was to deliver an integrated Human Resources and Payroll software solution that sought to automate the administrative functions of each discipline, providing an end-to-end solution that supported the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment to end of employment.
It was reported to the Committee that a detailed specification had been prepared to outline TDC’s requirements in respect of the Human Resources and Payroll software to support TDC’s activities in those areas, including the following requirements:-
The Committee was also informed that the Council’s financial controls would also be embedded within the chosen system to achieve greater efficiency with the use of automated processes and decision-making.
Members were also told that, in line with the expectations set out in the Council’s constitution, a framework agreement had been identified rather than the Council undertaking its own tender process (due to the significant number of suppliers, it was expedient to use a framework approach rather than a full tender process). This framework was available via Crown & Commercial Services (G Cloud 13, lot 2). The framework allowed for a contract period of up to 4 years (3 + 1) and could be awarded directly rather than through any further competition.
Members were made aware that the procurement exercise entailed a long, medium and short list process, whereby the Authority’s requirements were described, and suppliers were narrowed down against those through each list or stage. MHR iTrent had come out as ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
To update the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee on the review of the Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Abuse Policy in line with identified best practice and employment legislation.
The Committee had before it a report of the Assistant Director (Partnerships) (report A.2) which was a review of the Council’s Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Abuse Policy in line with identified best practice and updated legislation.
The Committee heard that Tendring District Council was committed to providing a safe and professional environment for all employees and service users. As part of that commitment, it was important that all employees and anyone working on TDC’s behalf were clear about what was expected when it came to alcohol and drugs at work.
Members also heard that employees who came to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be a risk to both themselves and others. Colleagues, customers of the Council and members of the public could all be adversely affected, and the reputation of the Council might also suffer.
The Committee was told that the Council had a responsibility for preventing and controlling the misuse of alcohol and drugs at work for the benefit of the workplace in general and the community to whom TDC provided a service.
The Committee was reassured that the Council was committed to supporting employees who admitted and sought help for an alcohol or drug problem.
Officers informed the Committee that the policy had been originally developed in 2007 (although it had been subject to review). At that time the Council had been more tolerant of drinking at work, and during working hours. However, over the years the Council, and Society as a whole, had naturally shifted and changed its attitude to drinking at work. As such, there had been a comprehensive review of the Policy, and the rules around what was expected from employees had been expanded and clarified.
Officers reminded Members that the updated Policy applied to all:-
Therefore, the Policy did not apply to Elected Members who had separate policy and guidance in this area.
It was moved by Councillor G Stephenson, seconded by Councillor Guglielmi and unanimously:-
RESOLVED that the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee approves and adopts the Council’s Alcohol and Drugs at Work Policy.
To update the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee on the review of the Council’s Threats and Violence at Work Policy in line with identified best practice and updated legislation.
The Committee had before it a joint report of the Assistant Director (Partnerships) and Assistant Director (Finance & IT) (report A.3) which was a review of the Council’s Threats and Violence at Work Policy in line with identified best practice and updated legislation.
Members heard that the Council undertook a number of statutory duties that brought employees into contact with members of the public. At times, employees were at risk of conflict with the public due to the nature of their responsibilities. The Council was committed to taking positive action to reduce the risk to its employees from acts of violence, or potential violence, and verbal abuse.
The Committee was told that the Council had recently invested in updated Conflict Resolution Training for front-line staff, with the intention of giving staff the skills and knowledge to deal with conflict in the workplace in a more confident way.
Officers informed Members that additional training was planned for later this year; however, the feedback received so far had been very constructive and staff had indicated that they felt more positive when dealing with those difficult situations, should they occur.
Furthermore, in response to feedback from the staff who had undertaken training and a working party of employee and union representatives, the policy had been updated.
Members were told that the revised policy also incorporated the standards outlined in the newly developed ‘Unison – Violence at Work Charter’, including reference to the following:-
The Policy related to the following:-
Members were made aware that the policy update was part of a suite of support mechanisms available to frontline employees and would be subject to regular review in line with legislative changes and best practice.
It was moved by Councillor Skeels Jr, seconded by Councillor Chapman BEM and:-
RESOLVED that the Human Resources & Council Tax Committee:
a) approves and adopts the Council’s updated Threats and Violence at Work Policy; and
notes the delegation afforded to the Assistant Director (Partnerships) to make any future minor amendments to the policy necessary as a result of legislation, national guidance or best practice.
Exclusion of Press and Public
The Committee is requested 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 Items 9 and 10 on the grounds that they involve 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 Guglielmi, seconded by Councillor Morrison 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 Items 9 and 10 on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 and 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A), as amended, of the Act.
Exempt Minutes of the Last Meeting
To confirm and sign as a correct record the exempt minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Thursday, 6 July 2023.
It was moved by Councillor Amos, seconded by Councillor G Stephenson and:-
RESOLVED that the Exempt Minute of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Thursday, 6 July 2023, be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairman.
Report of Corporate Director (Operations & Delivery) - B.1 - Market Forces for Environmental Health Officers
To put forward proposals for the continuation of the Market Forces Supplement to support the recruitment and retention of qualified Environmental Health staff.
RESOLVED that the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee agrees:
a) that a Market Forces Supplement, equivalent to two spinal column points, continues to be applied for all EHORB registered, degree qualified Environmental Health Officers, working in Environmental Health Officer or Environmental Health team manager roles; and
b) that the Supplements be applied for a period of up to two years (in line with the Council’s approved Market Forces Policy) subject to the outcome of the work undertaken by EELGA and its evaluation by the Council.