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Contact: Sharon Turner: Democratic Services Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any member (which includes councillors and staff representatives) who is substituting for another member should so indicate, together with the name of the relevant absent member.
The following substitution was declared:
Councillor Jools Savage substituting for Councillor Victor Lukaniuk (Employer’s Side).
To receive the Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel, as contained within the Council’s Constitution.
The Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel, as contained within the Council’s Constitution, were received and noted.
Election of Chair: 2023 to 2024
The approved Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel requires that the Chair of the Panel shall be rotated between the Employer’s Side and the Employees’ Side. When the Chair is a Member of one side of the Panel, the Vice Chair shall be a Member of the other side.
For 2023 to 2024, the Chair is required to be elected from the Employees’ Side.
Therefore, the Panel is requested to ELECT a Chair in accordance with this arrangement.
The approved Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel required that the Chair of the Panel be rotated between the Employer’s and Employees’ Sides. When the Chair was a Member of one side of the Panel, the Vice Chair shall be a Member of the other side.
In 2023/2024, the Chair is required to be elected from the Employees’ Side.
That Paul Davison be elected as Chair of the Staff Consultative Panel for the year 2023/2024.
Election of Vice Chair: 2023 to 2024
The approved Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel requires that the Vice Chair shall alternate between the Employer’s Side and the Employees’ Side.
As the Chair of the Panel shall be drawn from the Employees’ Side for 2023 to 2024, the Vice Chair is required to be elected from the Employer’s Side.
The Panel is requested to ELECT a Vice Chair in accordance with this arrangement.
The approved Terms of Reference for the Staff Consultative Panel required that the Vice Chair shall alternate between the Employer’s and Employees’ Sides.
As the Chair of the Panel was from the Employees’ Side in 2023/2024, the Vice Chair was required to be elected from the Employer’s Side. Therefore, it was proposed, seconded and
That Councillor David Smith be elected as Vice Chair of the Staff Consultative Panel for the year 2023/2024.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Victor Lukaniuk (Employer’s Side) and from Carys Frost (Employees’ Side).
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 27 March 2023 (attached).
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 March 2023 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of interest
Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest, other registerable or non-registrable interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda, no later than when that item is reached and, when appropriate, to leave the meeting prior to discussion and voting on the item.
Members’ declarations of interest are recorded under the item to which the declaration relates.
This data is a snap-shot in time and is collated every quarter, looking at the previous twelve months.
The Service Manager (Human Resources and Organisational Development) presented this item which provided a ‘snapshot’ of the West Suffolk Workforce Data as at 31 March 2023.
The Panel discussed the data presented which had shown that:
- within the last quarter there had been a rise in the headcount/FTE.
- the approval of the 2022 Pay Award had positively assisted with recruitment within the lower scale jobs.
- turnover levels had also reduced, along with short-term absence. However, long-term absence (those absent for over 28 days) had increased.
The Panel also discussed the particular challenges with absence within those service areas which required physical effort (ie the waste/operations service). Officers explained the processes which were in place to identify any particular patterns, along with the ability to be able to offer redeployment support, if this was deemed to be an appropriate course of action.
The purpose of this guidance is that, at present, there is no statutory right for paid time-off for employees who foster a child, except in a foster to adopt situation. This guidance would assist to support the Council’s approach to the well-being of the Council’s employees and to its agile working agenda.
Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory introduced this item and explained that this Guidance set out the Council’s support for employees who were undertaking the case of a child/children under a foster-care/kinship care arrangement with a local authority or an independent fostering provider. The Guidance aimed to offer employees the opportunity to work flexibly where this was compatible with the demands of their job. The Council’s agile working guidance and parental policies also applied to foster carers.
The Panel expressed their support for the implementation of this Guidance, along with the monitoring of its effectiveness amongst foster carers.
The Council’s Workforce Strategy focuses on five key workstreams: Skills and Behaviours; Recruitment and Retention; Pay, Reward and Recognition, Health and Wellbeing and Future Planning. These workstreams are the pillars to the Strategy setting out the Council’s priorities in each area and its approach to delivering on those priorities.
Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory introduced the West Suffolk Workforce Strategy 2022 to 2028. The Panel also received a presentation from the Director (HR, Governance & Regulatory) who explained that the Strategy had five workstreams and priorities which underpinned the ambitions of the Council in becoming an agile employer. The Council would continue to transform the way in which it worked in the coming period, together with its commitment to attract, train and retain a workforce which embraced equality, diversity and inclusion.
The five workstreams and priorities within the Strategy centred around:
1. Skills and behaviours – to continue to provide opportunities for staff to engage and learn new skills. To invest in continuous professional and personal development for all staff by offering in-house and externally commissioned development programmes.
2. Recruitment and retention– to focus on flexible and timely approaches to recruitment, embedding career pathways for succession planning, and continue to seek flexible opportunities in the way people want to work with a focus on service delivery.
3. Health and wellbeing – to continue to offer a range of health and wellbeing initiatives made available to staff and online health and wellbeing resources that can be accessed at any time. Wellbeing levels across the organisation continue to be positive and the results from the wellbeing pulse surveys have consistently shown that there was great team support and positive working relationships across the organisation and high confidence that people can get help when they need it, as well as high levels of interest in work.
The warning signs that need to continue to consider were personal resilience, workloads, stress management, opening communication or connectivity with others to support these risk areas and physical health while working at home.
4. Pay, reward and recognition – Continue to find creative ways to support the employer offer, with the introduction of additional non-financial rewards such as staff recognition awards.
5. Future planning - With the continued commitment to apprenticeships, career pathways and promotion opportunities, now need to move forward into an exciting new phase of the Council’s journey, capturing learning from its previous achievements, the pandemic and post COVID-19, to transform the way it delivers services in a new agile way.
The Strategy had also captured the learning from the Council’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognised the opportunities that this had provided to move towards an agile organisation, valuing new ways of working and enabling its staff to deliver their best work in different ways, with a strong focus on supporting health and wellbeing.
The Strategy also focused on how the Council would continue to reform the way that it worked to enhance the capabilities of its staff, development of an inclusive culture where leaders, at all levels, promoted a culture of personal responsibility and accountability and empowered an engaged workforce, where its staff could be creative, flexible and had the right skills to respond positively to any challenges ahead.
The Director also explained that ... view the full minutes text for item 93.
The Action Plan sets out the priority actions in each of the five workstreams and monitors and records the progress of outcomes against those. It is a working document and is adaptable to change and review of how those actions are delivered.
Following on from the above item, Councillor Gerald Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Governance and Regulatory introduced the Action Plan for the Workforce Strategy Priorities for 2022 to 2028. The Plan set out the priority actions in each of the five workstreams and monitored and recorded the progress of outcomes against those. This was a working document and was adaptable to change and review of how those actions were delivered.
The Service Manager (Human Resources and Organisational Development) further explained that this Action Plan was ambitious and would be presented to the Staff Consultative Panel for regular review.
The following key challenges within the Action Plan were particularly highlighted:
Skills and Behaviours
- Support and facilitate regular peer managers networking sessions, which brought the group of employees together and supported the training programme. Enable the learning from the training programme to blend with practical and best practice.
- Continue to maximise the opportunities the apprenticeship levy could offer to upskill the Council’s staff in related subject that would offer movement across the Council’s services.
- Deliver a yearly programme of interventions to support the development of Band 7/8 employees for future aspiring leaders, identified through the PDR process and to training and development.
Recruitment and Retention
- Creative recruiting to include effective use of recruitment methods to target specific applicants for ‘hard to recruit’ positions. Reduce advertising costs by using social media and other advertising methods.
Pay, reward and recognition
- Promote the range of non-financial benefits which make up the total employee offer, including agile working and work life balance policies. The Council’s investment in learning and development and apprentice opportunities to upskill and retain staff. The Council’s commitment to health and wellbeing of its staff being the utmost importance. Staff recognition through the Staff Awards.
Health and Wellbeing
- Support the health and wellbeing of the Council’s staff. Work with the Service Manager (Operations) and UNISON to develop a varied wellbeing plan for the Depots, to include Men’s Health Week and other events.
- Support and encourage staff to engage with staff network opportunities such as surveys, focus groups and encourage a culture where staff have confidence to have a voice and a safe space to share issues, concerns, ideas and take responsibility and ownership with regards to health and wellbeing of themselves, others and the organisation.
- Prepare an employee friendly Workforce Strategy and ensure that such documents were reproduced to provide information and engagement.
Dates of future meetings
The following dates for future meetings of the Panel are listed below. All dates are Mondays starting at 3pm and the venue will be indicated nearer the time:
· Monday 20 November 2023
· Monday 12 February 2024
The Panel noted the dates for future meetings, as listed below. All dates were Mondays starting at 3pm:
· Monday 20 November 2023
· Monday 12 February 2024
The Panel also discussed whether to continue to hold these meetings ‘virtually’ or whether they would prefer to meet ‘in-person’. The general consensus was to continue to meet ‘virtually’. However, it was proposed that perhaps one meeting per year could be held ‘in-person’.
Therefore, it was agreed for this to be discussed further at the next meeting of the Panel.