Agenda and minutes

Employment Matters Committee
Wednesday, 1 February 2017 7.00pm

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

Contact: Michael Turner, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

694.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Avey and Khan.

695.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 30 November 2016.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 30 November 2016 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct. 

696.

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. 

697.

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 Maple declared an interest as he was a member of GMB.

698.

Pay Negotiations 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 360 KB

This report presents Members with an update on the pay negotiation process and provide a recommendation on the pay award for the financial year 2017/2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chief People Officer introduced the report which updated the Members on the pay negotiations process and provided a recommendation on the pay award for the financial year 2017/18.   The report included an analysis of the MedPay PDR outcomes at April 2016 and also detailed one joint pay claim that had been made by Unison and GMB and the associated costs were included at sections 6 and 7 of the report.  An alternative claim had been made by Unison in January 2017 and the detail of this and the associated estimated costs were set out at sections 8 and 9 of the report.

 

A Member then spoke in support of the alternative claim made by Unison (set out at section 8 of the report) and acknowledged the additional estimated cost of £78,000 that would be required to fund the two parts of this claim but felt that this should be delivered and was substantially less than the cost of the original joint claim.  The member also referred to the request that had been raised by the trade unions at the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) held earlier that evening, regarding the extension to the freeze of terms and conditions up to 2020.  He supported this although suggested that the freeze be until April 2019 which would then coincide with the next local elections. 

 

At the JCC meeting, there had been a discussion about the effectiveness of MedPay and performance related pay schemes generally.  Some had the view that the scheme was not effective and did not generate positive morale amongst staff while others believed the scheme to be a motivational tool for staff.  In reference to this, it was suggested by a Member that a review of the MedPay scheme should be held in time to inform the 2018/19 pay negotiations.

 

The Chief People Officer confirmed that in relation to the part 1 of the alternative claim (applying a 1% cost of living allowance (COLA) pay increase to all staff and not have any performance related pay), this would require a move away from the MedPay scheme which was used to determine performance related pay (PRP).  In relation to part 2 of the alternative claim (giving an additional one day leave for staff at the top of their pay range), she explained that this would affect 342 individuals, would be for one year only and would be relatively easy to administer but could cause additional pressure to service.

 

In relation to the request about extending the freeze to changes to the terms and conditions (as detailed in the Green Book) the Chief People Officer confirmed this was possible should the Committee wish to accept this, however, she explained that this was an area she, as Chief People Officer, wanted to revisit as some of the allowances within the Green Book terms and conditions did not provide pay parity.  She added that the freezing of these terms and conditions could be done at a later stage, after budget Council on 23  ...  view the full minutes text for item 698.

699.

Pay Policy Statement 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

 

This report sets out the Pay Policy Statement for the financial year 2017/2018 in accordance with the Localism Act 2011 for referral to Full Council for agreement.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Head of HR introduced the report which provided the Pay Policy Statement for the financial year 2017/2018 in accordance with the Localism Act 2011.

 

A Member suggested that the correct job titles for the statutory posts of Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer should be included in the statement, which officers undertook to include.

 

Another member asked how the pay multiplier for the Council and the Hutton report measure (detailed at 3.5.1 (iv) of the report) compared to other local authorities.  Officers undertook to bring the comparisons to the next meeting of the Committee, once all local authorities had published their pay policy statements.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the Pay Policy Statement 2017/18, as set out in Appendix One to the report and referred it to full Council for agreement.

700.

Staff Survey pdf icon PDF 364 KB

 

This report provides the committee with the requested breakdown of the 2016 staff survey as a summary of the results at Appendix 1.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chief People Officer introduced the report which provided the Committee with a breakdown of the 2016 staff survey as a summary of results which were set out at Appendix 1 to the report.  She explained that the response rate had increased by 3% compared with the previous year’s figures.  She added that engagement forums had been set up within Adult Social Care and Finance Teams which were to encourage open dialogue with staff and there was an intention to set up more engagement forums around the Council.  In addition it was explained that the survey had been altered to enable benchmarking comparisons to take place in the future.

 

Members then raised a number of points and questions, which included: -

 

·         Differences in response rates by directorate – The Chief People Officer explained that one aspect of the large variance across the directorates was due to the quantum of staff within each directorate.  Another factor had been engagement with satellite locations and although there had been some work in engaging with staff that were not within Gun Wharf, more of this was needed in the future.

 

·         Percentage of people feeling they were able to access the right learning and development opportunities when they need to – disappointment was raised by Members on this percentage which had been reported as 64%.  The Chief People Officer also expressed her concern regarding this result.  She explained that had there been a higher response rate from staff within the Children and Adult Directorate then she would have expected this figure to rise, particular in relation to Social Workers as there is now a high level of support for Social Workers, aided by the Social Work Academy which was now in place at the Council.

 

·         No data relating to relationships with trade unions – commenting on the data obtained from the survey in relation to Medway Makers, it was asked whether there should be similar data obtained about trade unions, which the Chief People Officer undertook to consider.

 

·         Percentage of people reported to have experienced harassment or bullying – concern was raised that 12% of respondents reported to have experienced bullying or harassment at work in the past year.  This concern was again shared with the Chief People Officer who explained that this had been an area of concern for the Corporate Management Team who were looking carefully at this issue and how it can be addressed through improved communication and training courses for managers and staff.  It was confirmed that the data received could be assessed in more detail to identify specific directorates and teams within the Council where this was a particular issue so that targeted work in those areas could take place.

 

·         Discrepancy of declarations by staff about disability – a Member asked if there was any analysis with regard to the number of staff that had reported to have a disability via the survey, which was much higher than the number of staff that had formally declared their disability via  ...  view the full minutes text for item 700.

701.

Apprenticeship Data pdf icon PDF 84 KB

 

At the November 2016 meeting of the Employment Matters Committee, Members requested a breakdown of the numbers, ages and gender profile of the current cohort of Apprentices employed by the council on its Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship programmes.

 

This report provides the committee with the requested detail at Appendix 1.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Head of HR introduced the report which provided a breakdown of the numbers, age and gender profile of the current cohort of apprentices employed by the Council, as requested by the Committee at its previous meeting.

 

In response to a question about whether mature apprentices had been employed previously and would be employed in the future, officers explained that historically there had been a perception that apprenticeship programmes were for younger people and therefore there had not been any older people employed under the apprenticeship scheme previously.  However, it was added that the Apprenticeship Academy had been launched the previous week, which would help increase the number of apprentices employed by the Council and would also widen the opportunities to people of various ages and levels of experience.

 

In response to a question about funding for apprenticeships, officers explained that there was an Apprenticeship Levy which was held by Central Government for the local authority to access to support the apprenticeship workforce.  The Apprenticeship Levy for Medway Council was still to be finalised.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report and agreed that an updated report be provided to the Committee in October 2017 which would provide details of the annual review of the Apprenticeship Training Allowance.

702.

Early Retirement and Severance Payments pdf icon PDF 82 KB

 

To present Members with a report of all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016.

 

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Chief People Officer introduced the report which report to Members decisions taken in relation to early retirement and severance payments for the period 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2016.  

 

Decision:

 

The Committee noted the report.