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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR. View directions

Contact: Michael Turner, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

577.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Khan and Williams.

578.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 5 September 2018.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting of the Committee held on 5 September 2018 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as correct. 

579.

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. 

580.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillor Maple disclosed that he was a member of the GMB trade union and also, in relation to agenda item 6 (Organisational Change) and the reference to the transfer of the All Saints Nursery to the Medway Anglican Schools Trust (MAST) academy, that he was the Chairman of Governors at a Mast Academy school.

 

The Assistant Director - Transformation declared an interest on behalf of those officers present at the meeting who would be affected by the proposals set out in agenda item 5 (Pay Negotiations 2019/2020).

 

581.

Pay Negotiations 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 252 KB

This report presents Members with details of progress of the pay negotiations for the financial year 2019/2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report regarding the pay negotiations for the financial year 2019/2020.

 

A Member expressed the view that the pay negotiation process was not genuine and referred to the Council budget meeting in February 2018 where a further 0.5% increase in the pay award had been agreed which had not been part of the pay negotiations. Whether any discussions had taken place with the Trade Unions on how this extra funding should be allocated was queried and, if not, whether discussion would take place if the same was to happen this year.

 

Some Members referred to the points made earlier at the Joint Consultative Committee meeting by the Trade Union representatives about the financial difficulties some employees were experiencing, including having to resort to assistance from food banks. A Member expressed a wish to see if the number of employees using food banks could be established.

 

Reference was made to concerns expressed earlier at the Joint Consultative Committee from the Trade Union representatives that the Medpay Scheme could be discriminatory as employees with caring responsibilities in the home found it extremely difficult to qualify for some of the performance elements of the Scheme due to these other responsibilities. A Member commented that the Scheme was bureaucratic, expensive and time consuming and there had been no assessment of its value to the organisation in the five years it had been in place. It was proposed that a review of the Medpay Scheme be commissioned focusing in particular on the issues of fairness and equality, accepting such a review could not be completed by February 2019.

 

.A Member asked if the Medpay Scheme was monitored to ensure all employees received a Performance Development Review (PDR) assessment and also whether managers were carrying out these reviews in accordance with the Scheme.

 

The Assistant Director – Transformation advised Members that the Medpay scheme was very closely monitored to ensure all staff received a PDR. The PDR outcomes were moderated by senior management to ensure consistency and fairness and all Managers were trained in the Scheme and supported. A Member queried whether the scheme was equality proofed and asked for details of that to be included in future reports.

 

A Member commented that pay in Medway had fallen significantly behind that of local authority workers who were subject to the National pay bargaining. It was suggested that officers compare pay in Medway with what it would have been had Medway remained part of the national pay bargaining arrangements. It was accepted a full comparison was not feasible and this should be done through a sampling of a few pay points

 

A Member made the point that if the Council agreed to the Trade Unions’ pay claim then this would take the authority above the Council Tax cap limit, which would trigger a referendum and queried whether the costs of that had been factored in. In response, a Member commented that the costs could be met from efficiency savings and would not automatically have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 581.

582.

Organisational Change pdf icon PDF 208 KB

This report covers new reviews and transfers for the period 1 August to 30 October 2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which covered new reviews and transfers for the period 1 August to 30 October 2018.

 

Referring to the number of significant restructurings in recent years, a Member asked for details of the numbers of staff who had received support over the last 3/4 years from Care First, the Council’s employee assistance provider.

 

A Member asked for details of the amount of time it had taken HR staff to deal with TUPE issues resulting from services coming back to the Council from Medway Norse. Details of this would be sent to the Member.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to:

 

a)     note the present position and also the support arrangements for staff, and;

 

b)        request a briefing note on the numbers of staff who had received support from Care First, the Council’s employee assistance provider, in recent years, including the reasons for the referral.

583.

Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies: Report on Instances September 2017 - September 2018 pdf icon PDF 206 KB

This report advises Members about the nature of concerns raised under the

Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti- Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies

between September 2017 and September 2018.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which detailed the nature of concerns raised under the Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti- Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies between September 2017 and September 2018.

 

Referring to the case of an employee who had secured employment through the submission of a falsified reference, a Member asked if officers were confident references were properly checked; queried who carried out these checks and whether a false reference in the future would be identified at an early stage. The Assistant Director – Transformation commented that she was very confident the checks in place were effective. For posts which entailed working with vulnerable people, two checks on references were carried by the HR team, who were trained to identify any irregularities. It was not possible though to give a commitment to completely prevent all fraud. In response to a query about how long it had taken to identify this fraudulent reference, the Assistant Director – Transformation advised she was not in a position to discuss the specifics of the case in a public meeting.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the report.

 

584.

Early Retirement and Severance Payments pdf icon PDF 88 KB

This report details all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 31 March 2018 to 31 August 2018.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which set out all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 31 March 2018 to 31 August 2018.

 

A Member noted the unusually high number of compulsory redundancies reported in this period.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the report.

 

585.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 11 KB

This report summarises the content of the appendix to 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 the document.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to exclude the press and public during consideration of the exempt appendix to agenda item 8 (Early Retirement and/or Redundancy payments) because consideration of this matter in public would disclose information falling within the descriptions of exempt information contained under paragraphs 1 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, and agreed that, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption, outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.