Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 2 and 3, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford, M32 0TH

Contact: Alexander Murray  Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

14.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To receive and if so determined, to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2019.

 

Minutes:

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

15.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

A maximum of 15 minutes will be allocated to public questions submitted in writing to Democratic Services (democratic.services@trafford.gov.uk) by 4p.m. on the working day prior to the meeting. Questions must be within the remit of the Committee or be relevant to items appearing on the agenda and will be submitted in the order in which they were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

16.

WORKFORCE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 713 KB

To receive an update from the Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Employee Recognition Awards had been a highlight of the year for both staff and the Council. This year had seen a record number of nominations being made and the Defence Employer Gold Standard showed that Trafford was a good employer that people wanted to come and work for.

 

A lot of work had been done to engage with the workforce with a staff survey conducted for the first time in years which had a 51% response rate from staff. The results of the survey were being analysed and some high level feedback sessions being held the following week, which would be followed by more in depth work in the New Year.

 

The Council had held a number of “Let’s Talk” events which had been well attended. These sessions were part of the Council’s efforts to improve the flow of information to the workforce so they had a better understanding of what their efforts went towards. The Council were also focused upon improving the wellbeing of staff. This involved starting conversations with staff members and showing that the Council recognised them as individuals and was committed helping them to meet their potential.

 

The Mental Health First aid network had been launched. The network was made up of staff members who were there to help other staff members who were stressed and had low level mental health issues. The idea was that this would provide early support and stop people’s issues from escalating.

 

Following the overview of the update Committee Members were given the opportunity to ask questions. One Member asked whether the results would be made available for staff to see. The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy responded that the results would be made available to staff and that they would ensure the information was accessible, that the document is not too long, and that it holds all the information that staff needed.

 

Another Member asked about feedback from the survey and whether the results were going to be discussed with any staff groups. The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy answered that the Council’s engagement strategy was about getting staff involved and listening to their views and letting them have input in the development and running of the Council’s services. The E in Epic was about empowering the workforce and encouraging staff to be involved and take control of their own areas. A Member asked what the other letters of EPIC meant. The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy responded that the other letters stood for People centred, Inclusive, and Collaborate and explained to the Committee that these values were to be at the core of the Council’s culture.

 

A Committee Member asked whether the staff groups were active and it were not just box ticking exercise. The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy assured the Committee Member that the groups had been very active especially the Council’s disabled staff group. All of the groups had been consulted when HR made changes to any policies or when directorates  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

AGENCY SPEND Q2 pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To receive a report from the Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence went through the report that had been circulated with the agenda. There had been an increase in the amount of money spent on agency staff since the last quarter however, when compared to the same quarter in the previous year all areas were down apart from children’s services.

 

The Council had historically had issues when it came to the recruitment of social workers for children and young people. Trafford were currently looking at the Council’s offer and how it could be made more attractive to potential staff. This included the Council running a recruitment campaign in early 2020. The new Corporate Director of Children’s services were due to start in January 2020 and it was hoped that they would add their expertise to the issue. The Chair noted that this was a national issue as there were less and less qualified social workers available to draw from. A Committee Member stated that while it was a national issue they felt it was important to find areas of good/best practice to ensure that the Council were doing all they could to maximise employment.

 

Another Committee Member asked what employee’s age demographic was and whether there were going to be a lot of retirements. The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence told the Committee Member that they did not have that data to hand but that it could be provided to the Committee.

 

The Opposition Spokesperson noted that while it was good for the Council to train their own staff up to these positions this was only true if they did not leave once they were qualified. The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence responded that this was why it was important for the Council to have a good offer in place for social workers to ensure that they wanted to stay and work at the Council.

 

The Opposition Spokesperson added that there had previously been agreements between Councils and agencies which set a limit on price of agency staff and they asked if that agreement was still in place. The Chair responded that many of the councils in the North West were no longer adhering to the agreement due to the severe lack of social workers. The Chair pointed out that the Council’s package had to be more than just a financial offer, as there were a number of considerations, such as case load, which had a much greater impact on job satisfaction.

 

The Chair asked for clarification on point 2.2.3 of the report in relation to the staff bank and the flexibility being offered to the staff that joined the bank. The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence responded that the bank was new and she did not have enough knowledge of it to answer the Councillors question in full but they were aware that the bank was performing well and that there had been good feedback from staff. The Chair requested that more information be brought to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

UNSOCIAL ALLOWANCES pdf icon PDF 527 KB

To receive a report from the Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence informed the Committee that the report followed on from another paper that had been submitted to them. Since the other paper was viewed by the Committee officers had worked on other areas of the unsociable hours policy and a full comprehensive review had been completed.

 

The Strategic HR Lead Policy, Reward and Intelligence went through the changes to the policy listed within the report. It was explained to the Committee that there were two options that the Council could employ for unsociable hours. The first was where you looked at when people worked unsociable hours, which was what the Council did, and the second was where you look at the percentage of an employee’s hours that were unsociable hours. Following a comprehensive benchmarking exercise Officers had concluded that the Council’s current scheme was fit for purpose. Further reviews would be conducted by HR whenever work patterns changed to ensure the policy remained fit for purpose. The Chair asked for exit interview data to be provided to assure the Committee that unsocial hours were not a reason that people were leaving the Council.

 

RESOLVED:

1)    That the Committee note the report and agree its contents.

2)    That exit interview data is to be provided to the Committee to provide assurance that unsociable hours are not a reason for staff leaving.

 

 

 

19.

PEOPLE STRATEGY 2020-22 pdf icon PDF 479 KB

To receive a report from the Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy introduced the people strategy to the Committee and explained that the strategy would define the Council’s HR offer. It was important that the council as an employer had a strategy in place which encompassed how they were to support the current workforce to excel, attract quality applicants for positions, and have a nurturing environment for all.

 

Within the strategy there were four key pillars which, if the Council delivered all four, would ensure that staff were looked after and enabled to reach their potential. The Council wanted to ensure that there was a supportive culture throughout the workforce. To build and maintain this culture it was important that the right people were recruited who had an inclusive mind-set. The people strategy included a comprehensive rewards package, good pension, work life balance, and linked into the Greater Manchester employment charter.  It was designed to encourage staff to develop careers within the Council rather than seeing work as just the job they were currently doing.

 

A number of EPIC pioneers had been recruited within each directorate who acted as ambassadors for change and embodied the EPIC values within the workforce. A new PDR process had been launched and a suite of training had been provided for managers to ensure that they would get the most from it. HR would continue to work as enablers in partnership with colleagues across GM to ensure that Trafford were on the forefront of what was going on across the area to provide the best support for the workforce. The Committee were informed that the strategy would be launched in early 2020.

 

20.

QUARTERLY REPORT ON EXEMPTIONS TO THE SICKNESS POLICY

To consider verbal report of the Corporate Director of People.

Minutes:

The Head of Workforce and Core Strategy informed the Committee that there were five cases with improved sickness arrangements in place and 1 had been rejected due to them having exhausted their sick pay through industrial accidents.

 

RESOLVED: That the update be noted.