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Decision details

Approval for furlough of Wiltshire Council staff under the Coronavirus job retention scheme

Decision Maker: Alistair Cunningham (Chief Executive Officer - Place), Terence Herbert (Chief Executive)

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

To approve:
- phase 1 services and posts in which staff will be furloughed and that evidence shows this meets the criteria for the scheme
- payment at 100% contractual pay for all furloughed staff
- approach to communication and training for staff on furlough
- approach to allowing staff on furlough to volunteer
- approach to consultation with unions and informing staff of furlough

Reasons for the decision:

This is an unprecedented decision, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually decision of this nature would in other circumstances be taken to Cabinet for informal consultation. However, to expedite its functions in a timely manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, this decision is being taken in accordance with the power referred to in paragraph 1 above. This decision will be reported to Cabinet as part of the “response to COVID-19” updates presented at each Cabinet meeting.

The decision has been made to ensure that the Council uses the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme appropriately and in line with guidance to mitigate the financial impact on Wiltshire Council of closing or reducing services funded through income, fee, grants or charges (i.e. not through public monies) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I confirm that in making this decision I have considered the following in line with Wiltshire Council’s Constitution:

Key decision requirements: Yes

Views of relevant cabinet member(s), committee chairman, area board(s): NA


Consideration of the area boards and delegated decision checklist for officers on the issue of when and how to involve local councillors and area boards in decisions about local services: NA

Implication of any council policy, initiative, strategy or procedure: Yes

Consultation in accordance with requirements and expectations of consultation with the public: NA

Range of options available: Yes

Staffing, financial and legal implications: Yes

Risk assessment: Yes

Involvement of statutory officers and/or directors: Yes

Regional or national guidance from other bodies: Yes

The council’s constitution: Yes

This contract is suitable for execution under the e-signature process: NA

Alternative options considered:

Not making use of the CJRS was considered – however the closure of income funded services has had a significant financial impact on the Council, and it is vital to mitigate this wherever possible through all available scheme and grants.

The Council considered reducing the pay of those staff furloughed to 80% but due to the fact that only staff in specific income funded services can be furloughed through the CJRS, despite staff across the council being unable to undertake work, the view was that the Council should treat staff equally and consistently and pay 100% of contracted pay to any staff unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making wider use of the scheme was considered, i.e. furloughing of staff in a wider range of services who were unable to work due to shielding or requirement to self-isolate. Following a number of attempts to get clarity and guidance on the scheme the council took the approach to only furlough staff in those services where it could be clearly evidenced that they met the criteria provided on behalf of MHCLG in an email from Victoria Bendle dated 27 April 2020.

Conflict of Interest: Not applicable

Background: Pursuant to paragraph 4 of Part 3 Section D, the Directors of Wiltshire Council are empowered to take all necessary decisions in cases of emergency. This decision is being taken by Terence Herbert and Alistair Cunningham (Chief Executive Officers) using these powers in circumstances where the Director(s) concerned believe that there is a risk of damage to property, a threat to the health or wellbeing of an individual and/or that the interests of the Council may be compromised if this decision is not otherwise taken. The decision paper (attached) outlines that the Council reviewed all available scheme guidance and took legal advice in relation to all aspects of furlough, including our approach to communications, training and approach to volunteering for staff on furlough. Following this decision, the approach to furloughing of staff together with the communication and confirmation of this to employees will be agreed with the recognised unions at a meeting on 7 May 2020. Th

Contact: Alistair Cunningham OBE, Chief Executive Officer - Place Email: alistair.cunningham@wiltshire.gov.uk Tel: 01225 713203, Terence Herbert, Chief Executive Email: terence.herbert@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Publication date: 28/07/2020

Date of decision: 05/05/2020

Accompanying Documents:

 

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