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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Access the meeting online- link below

Contact: Kevin Fielding 01249 706612 

Media

Items
No. Item

15.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

16.

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on the 8 January 2020. (Copy attached)

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting held on 8 January 2020.

 

17.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.

18.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman invited Paula Marsh (HR & OD Strategic Delivery Manager) to provide verbal updates on the following:

 

Salary Finance Employee Benefit

 

This is an employee benefit we have been looking at for some time, but it has now been accelerated due to the current situation and the potential for there to be significant economic impacts which may result in some staff facing financial difficulties.

 

Salary Finance is a company focused on helping middle and lower income earners to become debt-free and to save for their future. Their focus is on employee financial wellbeing.

 

The company have received widespread independent recognition for innovation and social impact including “Responsible Business of the Year 2018 from Prince Charles’ Business in the Community (BITC), for work in financial wellbeing.

 

A large number of private and public sector organisations have already launched Salary Finance to around 1 million employees.  Clients include Tesco and Sainsburys as well as a large number of Local Authorities including Hampshire County Council, North Somerset Council; West Sussex County Council; Newport City Council; Portsmouth City Council; Hackney Council; Haringey Council; Barnet Council; Somerset County Council; Horsham District Council; Milton Keynes Council; Croydon Council and most recently Essex County Council.

 

The Local Government Association has used two of Salary Finance’s clients to highlight best practice in their Workforce Wellbeing data bank.

 

Employees can access the Salary Finance online platform via the council intranet or directly on their personal devices to

 

?           Access a broad range of financial education resources.

 

?           Make regular savings directly from their salary into a bank account provided by partner Yorkshire Building Society.

 

?           Set up a Help to Save account. By saving just £50 a month, employees can earn up to £1,200 in tax-free bonuses from HMRC over four years (this product is provided in partnership with HMRC). 

 

?           Apply for a salary-deducted loan. This can replace/consolidate any existing high cost debt employees have (like payday loans or credit cards) into a single low-cost loan, with repayments collected via salary deduction each month. It can also be used for emergencies.

 

?           Set-up a pay advance for early access to earnings already accrued, if an employee has an unexpected expense mid pay period and no savings to cover it.

 

It has been agreed to implement this employee benefit (Officer decision) which they are looking to roll out in July 2020 to support the current wellbeing offer.

 

Officer decisions undertaken re: COVID-19 – Staffing impacts

 

Policies and guidance

 

A new COVID-19 policy was partially launched on 17 March 2020, and fully implemented on 24 March to support the council in putting in place emergency arrangements to ensure we could provide effective essential services for the residents and communities of Wiltshire during this event.

 

This has temporarily superseded some existing policies, including working arrangements; allocation of staff to roles; attendance at work, temporary working arrangements, holidays and some pay arrangements.

 

This policy was developed with the involvement of Trade Unions representatives, recognising that successful application of this policy would only possible through the goodwill,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Public Participation

During the ongoing Covid-19 situation the Council is operating revised procedures for public participation. Members of the public can view the meeting online and statements and questions will be taken in written form.

View Meeting Online Here

Public Guidance on how to access an online meeting

Statements

Members of the public who wish to submit a statement in relation to an item on this agenda should submit it to the officer named on this agenda no later than 5pm on Friday 29 May 2020.

Those statements should:

·      State whom the statement is from (including if representing another person or organisation)  

·      State clearly the key points  

·      If read aloud, be readable in approximately 3 minutes  

Those statements in accordance with the Constitution will be included in an agenda supplement.

Questions

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 Wednesday 27 May 2020 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm Friday 29 May 2020. 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.

 

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present or statements submitted. 

20.

Quarterly Workforce Report January-March 2020

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a workforce report, for the quarter ended 31 March 2020. 

 

The Committee noted that the report was another new format which had been designed to show the information and data in an easier and more interesting way.  Officers asked for Members to let them know of any feedback or comments or if the wished for any additional metrics or measures to be included in future reports.

 

Key areas to note were that the increase in head count had started to level off as anticipated and numbers were back as they were in 2016.  There had been an increase in demand for some of our services – particularly social care areas and following the targeted and focussed recruitment campaigns the staffing levels in these areas had risen.  In the areas that had shown a reduction in staffing numbers these were areas of recent restructure planned to consolidate teams and align with other services.

 

The new infographics in the report had been included to focus on areas of most value and now included visuals on disability and ethnicity as percentages.  The top 5 reasons for sickness were the usual causes and did not include Covid-19.  The impact of staff being off sick with coronavirus had been very low with an almost negligible impact. The long-term sickness when looked at by directorate level you will see that this comes mainly from the adult care/access and re-enablement teams.  We had previously been asked to look at plans that could be put in place to reduce sickness, particularly in these areas and recent events had overtaken this but these plans would be presented at a future meeting. 

 

Looking at staff turnover, one of the top three reasons was retirement and although not the highest the work on succession planning should smooth this level out a bit.  Whilst there had been 8 new advisory cases in the quarter relating to improving work performance – when we looked further into these we saw that they were spread across directorates and service areas, and so can reassure that there are not significant problems or cause for concern in the same areas.

 

Incidental costs had not been included e.g. business travel, but they could be added to future reports if of interest to the Committee.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the ongoing work on reducing staff absence and wanted to reiterate that the aim is not to punish staff for being sick but providing support to get them back to work.  A Member asked for details of the numbers of people in the long-term absence category as only the percentage was given in the report.  This figure would be passed onto the Member following the meeting.

 

A Member asked about the numbers of leavers who had been in post less than a year, they appeared to be higher– were there any particular reasons for this.  Officers reported that split was even across a number of reasons for leaving and it does depend on the time of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Code of Conduct

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report by the Director, Human Resources & Organisational Development which outlined proposed amendments to the council’s code of conduct policy following the agreed changes to the behaviour framework.

 

The Committee were reminded that EPIC is the Council’s employee brand standing for innovation, collaboration and empowering people and it is the golden thread of the employees’ journey.  A review of the current behaviour’s framework was recommended to ensure that it continued to be an effective tool in promoting a positive culture and to support the council in delivering its priorities and aligned to the employee promise. 

 

Focus groups and staff feedback formed the basis of the development of EPIC values. Staff supported in identifying what values resonated with them. It was felt behaviours held negative connotations and ratings should be removed to ensure the tool was viewed in a positive way also resulting in the removal of what a value does not look like.

 

The Joint Consultative Committee had been updated about the changes to the behaviour’s framework. EPIC Values has also been presented to team EPIC and at the manager forum. All providing positive feedback, specifically highlighting the simplicity of the framework.

 

This was due to come to Staffing Policy Committee in March, but as the meeting was cancelled it was given approval through Officer decisions in order to progress with this and the code of conduct. The Committee were shown a draft version of the document at the meeting for which branding was still being finalised.

 

Committee members were happy with the EPIC values standards and the way it was clearly presented.

 

They reviewed the changes to the Code of Conduct policy which were required to be made alongside the introduction of the new EPIC values document.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Committee approve the changes to the Code of Conduct policy.

 

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