Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

26/19

Apologies for absence and substitutions

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence or substitutions.

27/19

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

28/19

Urgent matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent matters.

 

29/19

Minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2020 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The Chair will move that the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2020 were confirmed by the Committee as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

30/19

Health and Safety Guidelines For Members pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Contact Officer:   Dave Burn

 

To provide an update following the issuing of LGA health and safety guidance documentation to Members

 

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources (HR) and Organisational Development (OD) introduced the report and advised that the Interim Democratic Services Manager had reviewed the information produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) on health and safety guidelines for Members and a copy of the report had been distributed to all Councillors.

 

She confirmed that work was currently ongoing to improve access and content on the member information pages and a link to the LGA guidance would be included.  In addition officers were currently in the process of putting together the induction and member development programme for 2020/21, with a focus on the induction session scheduled for 12 May 2020.   As part of that process, officers were reviewing the content of the member induction pack as well as the sessions offered.  It was proposed to include information on personal safety for members, using the LGA guide as a source document. 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development highlighted that the key message from the report was if any Member experienced intimidation or harassment in the first instance report the matter to the police and then advise the Interim Democratic Services Manager or the Monitoring Officer.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Welcomed training on social media in particular dealing with potential harassment online.

 

  • Suggested that Councillors take notes when meeting with the public.

 

  • Would like health and safety guidance for home working.

 

  • Councillors need to have a common sense approach towards their own health and safety.

 

  • Important that when Members contact officers with specific health and safety issues they receive a response back.

 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development confirmed that the current social media session as part of the members’ induction was being reviewed to ensure that it covered the key issues related to social media and that guidance on health and safety for home working could be included within the induction pack.

 

Resolved that: The Committee is asked to consider the report and to comment accordingly.

 

31/19

Pay Policy Statement 2020/2021 pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

The report proposes a pay policy statement for 2020/21 for HR Committee to recommend to the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which proposed the pay policy statement for 2020/21 for the Human Resources Committee to recommend to the Council.  It was based on the statement for 2019/20 and included two minor updates which were an update on the job evaluation system to reflect the current system being used and the Head of HR and OD had authorisation to appoint above the bottom point of an incremental scale, in cases where a prospective new employee was already earning above the bottom of an incremental scale.  The authority would now move from Head of HR and OD to the Executive Director, taking account of advice from Head of HR and OD and Chief Finance Officer if required.

She confirmed that the pay policy statement would be updated to reflect forthcoming legislation which would apply a cap to public sector exit payments and impact on recovery of exit payments.   It was still not clear when the legislation would come in to force and further, the details of the specific data requirements relating to each element of legislation had still not been published. 

In addition she highlighted that the national pay award had yet to be agreed and confirmed that the Head of HR and OD had delegated authority to make any changes required to the pay policy statement as a result of the statutory changes and any national pay awards which the council is contractually bound to agree.

 

The Head of HR and OD advised the Committee that on final review of the pay policy statement there were a couple of sections that in certain specific scenarios could potentially contradict each other in relation to incremental progressionwhich was section 6.2 and 8.1.  She suggested that section 8.1 was deleted and the other sections of 8 move to section 6 of the statement.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

·           Clarification was sought on lease car scheme which was open to employees who undertake business travel and whether any consideration had been given to climate change and it being limited to electric vehicles.

 

·           Concern was expressed as to whether the Union had been consulted on the pay policy statement.

 

·           Clarification on the period of time when employees could be re-engaged due to voluntary redundancy or settlement agreements which was confirmed as 12 months.  However, the restriction would not apply where an employee was dismissed on the grounds of voluntary redundancy but without an entitlement to a redundancy payment and/or pension benefits, or where an employee was made compulsorily redundant.

 

The Head of HR and OD confirmed that car allowances would be picked up in the pay and benefits review which would have due consideration to the climate change.  She also advised that the Union would also be engaged in the pay and benefits project and would form a key part of the review going forward.

 

The Chair advised that the Union were always welcome to attend and participate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/19

32/19

Pay Project Update pdf icon PDF 318 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

To provide an update on the progress of the project

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which provided an outline of the pay project, summarised the current issues and detailed the key workstreams identified to address those and ensure that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) had a pay and reward system which was fit for the future.

She said that pay remained one of the key elements in attracting and retaining staff. BDBC has experienced significant difficulty in securing staff in skills shortage areas compounded by a number of those areas suffering a higher level of turnover than the BDBC average.

 

Equal pay challenges were one of the most common and costly for public sector organisations with claims often incorporating large numbers of employees and awards backdated for up to 6 years. A robust job evaluation system provided defence in the event of challenge as well as internal transparency, the lack of which could lead to significant dissatisfaction and potentially increased turnover.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Confirmation was requested on the length of time to complete the project which was indicated as between 18 months to 2 years in its entity.

 

  • As the report highlighted that the job evaluation system was outdated and not consistently used, Members expressed concern and asked for clarification on how that could be remedied.

 

The Head of HR and OD advised that the new job evaluation system would have updated factors and a new system for training.  There would also be more trained evaluators and a consistency stage as part of the process to ensure that the outcomes were consistent across the organisation.

 

Resolved that:  The HR Committee notes the report.

33/19

HR Operations and Workforce Update Report pdf icon PDF 388 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

To provide an update on key people indicators and management information to the end of the third quarter 2019/20

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which set out key people indicators and management information to the end of the third quarter 2019/20 and made comparisons with the previous years’ performance.   She advised that the headcount figures were similar to the previous year with a very slight decrease of 3 and although the turnover rates were not particularly high on overall comparison, the pattern of leavers indicated that 15% (7) of all leavers had less than 1 year service.

 

She confirmed that all leavers were invited to complete an exit interview and of the 46 leavers so far this year 14 completed an exit questionnaire which cited various reasons for leaving.

 

She referred to sickness absence which increased year on year up to 2017/18, but reduced by 9% in 2018/19.  A more stringent target of 6.5 average days lost had been set for the year, and the sickness rates were slightly above target with mental ill health still being the highest reason at 28%.

 

The equality, diversity and inclusion in relation to the council’s current and potential future workforce was a key focus with one of the priorities in the 2020 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan being focused on increasing diversity in the workforce.

 

The Council promoted a variety of health based initiatives which were organised by the Wellbeing Group.  A planned promotion of health campaigns had taken place in the second half of 2019 and covered a mixture of physical and mental wellbeing initiatives such as suicide awareness workshops, training session for Councillors on managing mental health, financial wellbeing workshops and Council funded health checks.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Requested that reasons for leaving were also captured by grades in future reports.

 

  • The large figures of absence in the environmental services area was highlighted and the Committee wanted to ensure that employees were given appropriate support for the manual work they undertook.

 

  • Concern was expressed on whether there were enough staff employed to carry out the work due to savings.

 

  • It was felt that the potential impact to the employees and the Council due to the increased retirement age should be investigated.

 

  • Concern was expressed for the frontline staff that deal with the public and whether there had been contingency plans for Covid-19.

 

  • Highlighted the Borough Development and Implementation service area which had significant resignation and sickness levels.  Clarification was sought on the accumulative impact on delivery and effectiveness and whether any lessons had been learnt as to the why the service area did not appear to be stable.   The Head of HR and OD confirmed that she would investigate and report back.

 

In relation to Covid-19 the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development confirmed that the Council were following the guidance from central government which had been communicated to staff regularly and in addition a group had been convened internally to look at the issue and would be prepared to take action if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33/19

34/19

Gender Pay Gap Report pdf icon PDF 345 KB

Contact Officer; Sarah Cragg

 

To share the gender pay gap information for 2019 prior to external publication

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report and confirmed that the requirement for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) to publish information relating to the relative pay gap between male and female employees was within The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 and Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017.

 

She advised that overall the Council was in a good position. The vast majority of organisations had a larger gender pay gap, with a mean gender pay gap for the whole economy of 17.3%.  The Council’s mean gender pay gap for 2019 was

-3.23%.  The median gender pay gap for the whole economy was 16.2% and the council’s median gender pay gap for 2019 was -12.99%.  The figures indicated that both were in favour of women which compared favourably with that of other organisations.

Resolved that:  The HR Committee Notes this report and the council’s Gender Pay Gap report in Appendix 1.

35/19

Flexible Working pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

To receive an update on flexible working

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which provided the Committee with an overview of the current flexible working offered to employees and outlined the links between flexible working and the upcoming corporate transformation projects.

 

She confirmed that employees could make one formal request for flexible working every 12 months and had to have a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service.  The options available included a reduction in working hours, changes to the hours or days they work and working from home.

The Council was in the process of implementing significant transformation projects, which included digital transformation, smarter ways of working and the impact of the climate change emergency.  The projects would inevitably have an impact on the way in which staff would be able to undertake their duties as well as the expectations of the organisation.  It was therefore anticipated that there would be further opportunities to work more flexibility which would become the norm rather than the exception.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Would like to see a positive policy approach to allow staff to work one day a week at home where possible.

 

  • Frustrated that you cannot always contact officers by phone when they work from home.

 

  • It was indicated that flexible working should be offered as part of the recruitment package where applicable.

 

  • Health and safety should be considered for home working in relation to display screen equipment.

 

  • Ensure that there alternative contacts available when officers are on non-working days.

 

  • Potential for meetings to be held via skype.

 

  • System in place to establish officer’s whereabouts.

 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development responded to the comments and advised that it was important that the projects would enable staff to work efficiently and seamlessly from any location but would still be required to meet the needs of the organisation In doing so.

 

Cllr Westbrook left the meeting during the item.

 

Resolved that:  The HR Committee notes the report.

36/19

Minor Revisions to HR Policies pdf icon PDF 300 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

This report seeks HR Committee’s approval for 5 HR policies which have all had minor revisions as part of the cyclical review process.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which sought the Committee’s approval for 5 Human Resources policies that had minor revisions to ensure the policies are clear, operationally practical and legally compliant.

 

She confirmed that constitutionally, the Human Resources Committee were responsible for the approval of key Human Resources policies which had a significant impact on staff and/ or on costs to the council.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Clarification was sought as to whether any employee could be accompanied by any other person not specified in 2.6 of the disciplinary policy and procedure which stated “Employees may choose to be accompanied by a trade union representative or a workplace colleague throughout the formal stages of the procedure”. 

 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development responded to the comment and confirmed that the answer was no and it was a standard statement for organisations but it would not stop staff obtaining support or advice external to those meetings.

 

Resolved that:  The HR Committee approves the minor revisions to the 5 HR policies

37/19

Employment Termination Costs Q1-Q3 2019/ 2020 pdf icon PDF 232 KB

Contact Officer:  Sarah Cragg

 

To review the termination costs Q1-Q3 to date 2019/20.

Minutes:

 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development introduced the report which advised Members that following a request at the Committee on the 18 November 2019 for the termination costs for 2019/2020 to date, the report confirmed that the Council incurred termination costs totalling £62,805.09 in Q1-Q3 2019/2020.

 

The Committee discussed the report and made the following comments which included:-

 

  • Members discussed receiving more detail in the termination costs as to how many individuals received the payment.

 

  • Clarification was sought on whether the termination costs included any pension payments.  The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development confirmed that she would look at the payment and respond back.

 

  • Confirmation was requested to where the amount of the £100,000 severance packages that required to be ratified by Council came from.  The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development advised that it was guidance produced for all local authorities.

 

The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development informed the Committee that she would provide a training session to provide more detail on settlement agreements.

 

38/19

Review of Work Programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

The committee is asked to note and review its Work Programme.

 

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the work programme and the Committee agreed to delay the Home and Remote Working Policy, Lone Worker Policy and Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy that was scheduled for September as the policies would be looked at in conjunction with the smarter way of working project. 

 

The Executive Director for Finance and Resources (Section 151 Officer) confirmed that she would give an update at the September Meeting as to the project’s timescale and when the Committee would receive the smarter way of working update report.

 

The meeting ended 15:55 pm.

 

 

 

Chairman