Agenda and minutes

Employment Matters Committee
Wednesday, 3 February 2016 7.00pm

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

Contact: Michael Turner, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

730.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Fearn, Godwin and Murray.

731.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 2 December 2015.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 2 December 2015 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct. 

732.

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. 

733.

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

 

Councillor Saroy declared an interest in relation to item 5 (Pay Negotiations 2016/17) and item 6 (Review of Pay Progression Scheme) as she had family members who were employed by Medway Council.  She withdrew from the meeting for the discussion and decision on these items.

734.

Pay Negotiations 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 359 KB

This report covers the progress on the annual pay negotiations with

the trade unions and makes recommendations to full Council for the

payment of an annual cost of living award and performance related

payments.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services introduced the report which updated the Committee on the progress of the annual pay negotiations with the Trade Unions.  The report put forward a recommended proposal in relation to the allocation of pay increases for consideration by the Committee to forward to full Council for determination.  It was clarified that the amount of budget allocated for this purpose was also a matter for Full Council when it sets the 2016/17 budget at its meeting on 25 February 2016. 

 

She explained that at the meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee in January 2016 there had been discussion around the level of increase being recommended in relation to the cost of living allowance (COLA), and it was confirmed that the Council’s proposal had been amended to apply a 0.60% pay award increase to COLA and a 0.40% increase to performance, as opposed to the original proposal which reversed the split.

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services also referred to the pay claims from the Trade Unions relating to increasing the salaries of the lowest paid staff.  She confirmed the Council’s commitment to pay the statutory living wage of £7.20 per hour and that the costs of meeting this and other contractual obligations was c£200K.  Revised payscales had been circulated, which reflected an increase to the top of salary Range 1 and the entry salary at Range 2 to £15,241 per annum (equivalent to £7.90 per hour).  This represented an increase in salary for approximately 230 members of staff.

 

It was added that the Trade Unions wished to ballot their members on the proposals.  Timescales had been discussed with the Trade Unions, who had been made aware that the outcome of the ballots needed to be concluded in order to report to Full Council on 25 February 2016.

 

Furthermore, the Assistant Director, Organisational Services added that at the Joint Consultative Committee meeting, held earlier in the evening, officers had agreed to add to their recommendation to the Committee that as part of the 2016/17 proposed pay award, the terms and conditions relating to Part 2 of the NJC Green Book would remain unchanged.

 

Decision:

 

(1)          The Committee recommended Full Council that money is allocated from the budget to implement the following: -

·         0.60% paid as a general cost of living increase (COLA);

·         0.40% paid in accordance with the performance arrangements as detailed under MedPay;

(In accordance with MedPay, colleagues who were at the top of their current pay range would receive the COLA increase only);

 

·         To increase the top of salary Range 1 to £15,241per annum (equivalent to £7.90 per hour).  The entry salary at Range 2 would be similarly matched.

 

(2)          That currently no alterations be made to the terms and conditions set out in Part 2 of the NJC Green Book.

735.

Review of Pay Progression Scheme pdf icon PDF 162 KB

This report updates the Committee on the implementation arrangements of the proposed change to the MedPay policy relating to colleagues who had been absent for a period of greater than six months.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services introduced the report which updated the Committee on the implementation arrangements of the proposed change to the MedPay policy relating to staff members who had been absent for a period greater than six months.  The Trade Unions had requested that current arrangements be retained, where staff absent for sickness reasons are automatically assessed at a Level 2 and would therefore (subject to other qualifying factors) be entitled to receive any performance related pay increase.

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services explained that it was accepted that this proposal only affected a very small number of staff and therefore the Council had agreed to recommend retention of the current arrangements.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee: -

 

(1)          noted the proposal made by the Trade Unions and agreed in principle by Officers;

 

(2)          agreed to retain the existing arrangements in place to award a Level 2 performance rating for employees who are absent for a period not less than six months in any performance review period (including absence due to long term sickness) and noted that this aspect of the policy will be reviewed as part of any future review of the MedPay arrangements.

736.

Pay Policy Statement 2016/2017 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

This report deals with the Pay Policy Statement for the financial year 2016/2017 in accordance with the Localism Act 2011.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services introduced the report which provided the Pay Policy Statement for 2016/17, ahead of its consideration at Full Council.  She referred to the relationship between remuneration of Assistant Directors and above and other officers and confirmed the ratio of the pay of the highest and lowest paid member of staff was 11.12, which was a reduction from the 12.3 ratio of 2015/16 and was well below the recommendation from the Will Hutton Review of Fair Pay in the Public Sector, which suggested this ratio should be no more than 20.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the Pay Policy Statement 2016/17, as set out at Appendix 1 to the report, and referred the statement to Full Council for agreement.

737.

Benchmarking of Apprenticeship Training Allowances pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The report provides information on the training allowances for apprenticeships paid across local authorities in Kent and the workforce age profiling for current apprentices.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Head of HR and Organisational Change introduced the report which provided the Committee with information on the training allowances for apprenticeships paid across local authorities in Kent and the workforce age profiling for Medway’s current apprentices.  It was added that apprenticeship allowances are reviewed nationally every October and the Council would look at any recommendations from the annual reviews and report back to the Committee with any proposed changes.

 

Members then raised a number of comments and questions, including:

 

·           Varying allowances with age – in response to a question about whether Medway would consider adopting Gravesham Borough Council’s approach of varying allowances according to age ranges, (which was demonstrated on page 79 of the agenda) the Head of HR and Organisational Change confirmed that as a unitary authority, Medway Council was able to provide more opportunities for apprenticeships and was therefore able to attract more candidates.  However, this would be kept under review and could be introduced in the future if further incentives were needed to increase interest.

 

·           Services where apprenticeships schemes were being implemented – in response to a question about within which services most apprenticeship schemes were based, it was confirmed there were currently 54 apprentices within Medway Council, the majority of which were based in business administration roles or within Leisure Services.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report and agreed that the allowances be reviewed in October 2016 and reported back to this Committee with any recommended changes.

738.

Proposed Reorganisations pdf icon PDF 313 KB

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Head of HR and Organisational Change introduced the report which provided the Committee with an update on current and new organisational reviews and transfers, since the previous report in December 2015.  It was confirmed that the Council made every effort to support staff during reorganisations through strong communication and the provision of Care First (a counselling and information service) and redeployment opportunities were provided to affected staff wherever possible.

 

The level of support provided to affected staff in relation to reorganisations was welcomed by Members.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the present position and support arrangements for staff in relation to proposed reorganisations. 

739.

Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies: Report on Instances September 2014 – September 2015 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

This report advises Members about the nature of concerns raised, between September 2014 and September 2015, under the Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director, Organisational Services introduced the report which advised the Committee about the nature of concerns raised, between September 2014 and September 2015, under the Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies.  This report had also been considered by the Audit Committee on 12 January 2016.

 

In response to a question about whether there was enough awareness of how to whistleblow due to the small number of cases reported, the Assistant Director explained that there was regular communication campaigns across the organisation via emails, leaflets and posters to highlight the opportunity to raise concerns and whistleblowing officers were available to assist individuals when raising concerns.  She added that the number of recorded incidents in Medway, in relation to whistleblowing, were similar when compared with other organisations.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.

740.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 74 KB

This report summarises the content of agenda item 12, 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:

 

That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the exempt material relating to agenda items 12because consideration of these matters in public would disclose information falling within Paragraph 1of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 as specified in agenda item 11, and, in all the circumstances of the case, the Committee considers that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

741.

Early Retirements and Severance Payments

This report presents Members with a report of all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee considered a report which set out all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.