Agenda and minutes

Employment Matters Committee
Wednesday, 9 September 2015 7.00pm

Venue: Meeting Room 2 - Level 3, Gun Wharf. View directions

Contact: Michael Turner, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

287.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 17 June 2015.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 17 June 2015 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

288.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Saroy and Fearn.

289.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none. 

290.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and other interests

A member need only disclose at any meeting the existence of a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) in a matter to be considered at that meeting if that DPI has not been entered on the disclosable pecuniary interests register maintained by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A member disclosing a DPI at a meeting must thereafter notify the Monitoring Officer in writing of that interest within 28 days from the date of disclosure at the meeting.

 

A member may not participate in a discussion of or vote on any matter in which he or she has a DPI (both those already registered and those disclosed at the meeting) and must withdraw from the room during such discussion/vote.

 

Members may choose to voluntarily disclose a DPI at a meeting even if it is registered on the council’s register of disclosable pecuniary interests but there is no legal requirement to do so.

 

Members should also ensure they disclose any other interests which may give rise to a conflict under the council’s code of conduct.

 

In line with the training provided to members by the Monitoring Officer members will also need to consider bias and pre-determination in certain circumstances and whether they have a conflict of interest or should otherwise leave the room for Code reasons. 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

There were none.

291.

Gender Reassignment Policy pdf icon PDF 948 KB

This report seeks agreement to the introduction of a Gender Reassignment Policy

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report seeking agreement to the introduction of a Gender Reassignment policy.  The policy and supporting guidance had been produced to support employees making the transition to a new gender identity.

 

Members were advised that transgender treatment was not viewed by the Council as cosmetic or elective and employees would not be disadvantaged for taking time off for gender reassignment. In response to a question, the Committee was assured that time taken off for gender reassignment treatment would be recorded separately from sickness absence and would not be used for absence management or monitoring purposes.

 

In response to a question about the number of named contacts who would act as a first point of information for employees and line managers on transgender issues, Members were advised that there would be one named contact per Directorate, who would be carefully selected.

 

A Member asked for an assurance that an employee who started the process of transition and took time off work as a result but then chose not to pursue transition would not be discriminated against in any way. The Assistant Director gave this assurance and emphasised that Managers would be encouraged to be supportive and act sensitively in such circumstances and employees would not be discriminated against regardless of what decision they took.

 

A Member referred to the statement in the Policy that the Council would take steps to eliminate bias when making recruitment decisions and asked for clarification about what these steps might be. The Assistant Director replied that gender reassignment issues would not normally be mentioned in a job application but nevertheless she expected the recruitment process to be thorough and in accordance with policies and for there to be no discrimination on any grounds.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

(a)          approved the Policy, as set out in Appendix A to the report, and;

 

(b)          agreed to review the Policy in two years time and that any proposed changes are referred to this Committee.

292.

Review of Pay Progression Scheme pdf icon PDF 156 KB

This report updates the Committee on the implementation of the MedPay pay progression scheme.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report on the implementation of the MedPay pay progression scheme. The MedPay Policy set out how staff were to be remunerated using a form of pay progression that was directly linked to the achievement of personal targets and reaching a specific level of competence. The annual Performance Development Review (PDR) process was the vehicle used by managers to discuss an individual’s performance and also agree any areas of development.

 

Following a review of the Scheme a number of suggestions had been received about possible changes, which would be shared with all employees and trade unions for comment, after which any proposed changes to the scheme would be brought to the Committee for agreement.

 

A Member referred to the moderation that took place whereby some people had been moderated down from Level 1 (excellence)  to Level 2 (performance to required standard) and asked what numbers were involved; who did the moderating and whether cases were looked at on their merits without budgetary constraints taken into account.  The Assistant Director replied that moderation happened at several levels. All cases were considered by HR so that an overview could be obtained. Level 1 recommendations were considered by the relevant Assistant Director, Directorate Management Team and finally the Corporate Management Team. Whilst funding was inevitably a consideration more Level 1 awards had been made than originally anticipated and the process had been robust. Where appropriate, managers were advised of the existence of other forms of reward for staff who had been moderated down to Level 2.

 

A Member noted that 100% of employees had been assessed under the scheme and asked how staff on long term sickness had been dealt with. The Committee was advised that such staff had been automatically assessed as Level 2.

 

Referring to the risk assessment section of the report a Member commented that this did not take into account an obvious risk which was not all employees carried out a role which afforded them opportunities to achieve Level 1. The Assistant Director acknowledged this was a difficult issue to resolve but pointed out all staff were on a level playing field when it came to a Level 2 assessment and HR did try to help managers identify alternative forms of reward for staff where Level 1 was not possible but nevertheless some recognition was appropriate.

 

In response to a question Members were advised the size of the sample group referred to was 700 which Members considered a good size.

 

A Member asked what had happened to the 39 staff at Level 3 (performance improvement required) and officers replied that a variety of actions and outcomes applied depending on the reasons in each case. Some employees had been given additional training; some were subject to capability procedures and some had concluded they were not suitable to continue in their role.

 

In terms of the 23 staff who had achieved Level 1 a Member asked if an analysis had been carried out to see which Directorates  ...  view the full minutes text for item 292.

293.

Proposed Reorganisations pdf icon PDF 508 KB

This report covers new reviews and transfers since the last report.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which covered new reviews and transfers since the last report.

 

A Member referred to the issue of schools with children’s centres who were preparing to transfer to academy status and what appeared to be varying practices amongst governing bodies about whether children’s centres staff would transfer under TUPE regulations. Whether guidance could be issued to primary schools on this issue was referred to. The Assistant Director undertook to discuss this with colleagues in the Children and Adults’ Services Directorate but the role of HR would be to advise on the TUPE implications for the Council as an employer.

 

Referring to the recent appointment of the Director of Regeneration, Community and Culture a Member asked when the details of any subsequent reorganisations would be reported to the Committee. The Assistant Director replied that the appointment has only recently been made and she had no information at this stage about any reorganisations.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the present position and the support arrangements for staff.

294.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 74 KB

This report summarises the content agenda item 9, which, in the opinion of the proper officer, contains exempt information within one of the categories in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. It is a matter for the Committee to determine whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of this document.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the exempt material contained within agenda item 9 (Early Retirements and Severance Payments) because consideration of this matter in public would disclose information falling within paragraph1 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 as specified in agenda item 12 (Exclusion of Press and Public) and, in all the circumstances of the case, the Committee considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information. 

295.

Early Retirement and Severance Payments

To present Members with a report of all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which set out all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the report.