Venue: Kennet Room, County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN
Contact: Ellen Ghey - Democratic Services Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.
Apologies for absence have been received from:
· Cllr Helen Belcher OBE
· Cllr Tamara Reay
Minutes of Previous Meeting
To approve and sign as a true and correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 May 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 May 2023 were considered.
Members queried when an update would be provided with regard to Minute 27. In response, officers stated that further information needed to be gathered and as such, Members would be contacted outside of the meeting.
Following which, it was:
The Committee approved and signed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 May 2023 as a true and correct record.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive any announcements through the Chair.
There were no Chairman’s announcements.
The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.
If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.
To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.
Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Wednesday 5 July 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response, questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 7 July 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.
Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.
There were no questions or statements submitted.
Unwanted Behaviour Policy
To consider a report on the Unwanted Behaviours from Members of the Public Policy.
Paul Collyer, Head of Occupational Health & Safety, introduced the item and provided a brief summary on the aims of the policy. It was explained that the policy was developed due to the increased frequency in which public facing Council staff were experiencing episodes of unwanted behaviour from members of the public. Officers had identified that existing health and safety policies focussing on the prevention and management of risks to staff did not adequately cover this topic. Therefore, after further investigation into the level of inconsistent reporting of episodes and requests from managers for increased support, the new policy sought to provide a clear and concise framework for reporting and managing unwanted behaviour from members of the public to further safeguard staff.
It was confirmed that the policy had been developed and reviewed following consultation with managers from relevant departments, Heads of Services Forum, Joint Consultative Committee, Legal Services, and the Corporate Leadership Team. Officers explained that upon approval, high levels of bespoke training would be delivered to staff and volunteers on risk assessments, proportional reporting of incidents, and the escalation processes. It was emphasised that staff should be supported as much as possible post experiencing episodes of unwanted behaviour. Furthermore, the Council has a duty to comply with health and safety regulations by providing sufficient training and preventative measures to protect staff.
In response to a query, officers confirmed that the existing systems and policies in place for public facing departments were audited by Occupational Health and Safety officers, however it was emphasised that this new policy sought to bring attention to the issue and to mitigate the likelihood of different approaches by providing clear guidance on the application of remedial or responsive action. Furthermore, Members were informed that the Council utilised an intelligence network of nominated officers within each relevant department to share knowledge of particular perpetrators. Members discussed the intelligence network and highlighted that they were not privy to said information and emphasised the importance of communication and cross-sharing between departments to help draw attention to any particular situations and to inform further preventative work. Members were reassured that discussions between officers in the Occupational Health & Safety, Legal and Information Governance Teams were being undertaken with regard to the recording, retaining and reviewing of intelligence information and an internal governance document clarifying these processes was being developed. It was further stressed that in certain circumstances statutory services could not be withdrawn or restrictions put in place despite members of staff experiencing unwanted behaviour, social care being used as an example.
Officers noted that Councillors had access to the internal Employee Safety Database and could also utilise the corporate reporting route and its automatic escalation processes that flag incidents for further investigation and scrutiny. Members further queried the inclusion of Councillors within the policy and officers noted that they would review this alongside other similar policies employed by neighbouring local authorities and could revisit it with Members outside of the meeting.
It was suggested that formally reported incidents could ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
Changes to the Pay Policy Statement
To receive a verbal update on minor changes to the Pay Policy Statement following statutory guidance on severance payments, which includes the use of settlement agreements.
Tamsin Kielb, Director of HR & OD, provided an update on the upcoming changes to the Pay Policy Statement.
It was explained that in May 2022, statutory guidance on the making and disclosure of Special Severance Payments by local authorities in England was issued by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The guidance stated that paying public sector workers additional, discretionary sums on top of other redundancy entitlements should only be considered in exceptional circumstances and where there was a clear justification for doing so, while ensuring all relevant internal policies and procedures and all alternative actions were fully followed, explored, and documented. Consequently, it set out the accountability and disclosure requirements of local authorities to ensure clear and transparent agreements and reporting on exit payments.
As such, officers highlighted to Members that Wiltshire Council’s Pay Policy Statement had been updated accordingly. Additionally, it was noted that a further internal HR guidance document would be drafted to ensure that the provisions set out in the statutory guidance were being followed, and the Finance Team were making changes to the disclosure and reporting of such payments in the Statement of Accounts.
Update on Tusker
To receive a verbal update on the progression and implementation of the Tusker green car salary sacrifice scheme.
Tamsin Kielb, Director of HR & OD, notified Members that the Tusker scheme would be implemented from 1 August 2023 following further scrutiny and discussions being undertaken post approval by the Committee in January 2023.
Members queried whether the scheme would be extended to include Councillors, however it was highlighted that at a meeting of the Committee on 6 November 2013, Committee Members had agreed that Councillors should not be eligible for any Council staff benefits. At the end of the discussion, Members reaffirmed this sentiment.
Update on Provision of Workforce Analytics
To receive a verbal update regarding the provision of workforce analytics.
Tamsin Kielb, Director of HR & OD, informed Members that the officer responsible for analysing workforce data had left the Council. Therefore, as their replacement was not due to start until the end of September 2023, an update on the provision of workforce analytics could not given at the next meeting of the Committee. However, officers reassured Members that this resourcing issue had been identified, would be rectified, and an update would be provided as soon as possible.
Any other items of business which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered as a matter of urgency.
Urgent items of a confidential nature may be considered under Part II of this agenda.
There were no urgent items.