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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online Meeting - link below

Contact: Kevin Fielding 


No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Phillip Whitehead – Cllr Peter Evans subbing for him, Cllr Mike Hewitt, Cllr John Smale & Cllr Tony Jackson.




Minutes of Previous Meeting

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on the 3 June 2020 (Copy attached)

Supporting documents:




To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting held on the 3 June 2020.



Declarations of Interest

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



There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.



Chairman's Announcements


There were no Chairman’s Announcements made at the meeting.



Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.


Questions & Statements

To receive any questions & statements 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 19 August in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm onFriday 21 August. 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.



No statements or questions were received.


Organisation Recovery Programme Overview


Jo Pitt - Director – HR & OD, Wiltshire Council gave a brief presentation, points made included:


Organisational recovery


The Aim - to learn from the response to the pandemic and recover to emerge leaner and stronger

The Objective - to undertake organisational wide transformation of the Councils governance, policy and business processes, our systems and use of digital technology, the structure, flexibility, culture and behaviour of our workforce in delivering services and the assets we own in which to deliver those services, and to identify opportunities to maximise all of these.


Programme Principles


         To learn from and embed the positive lessons from COVID-19


         To utilise digital solutions to support recovery and ensure we have a sustainable way of working


         That all decisions would consider the economic, financial, environmental and workforce impact 


         That Wiltshire Council would prioritise ways to protect employment


         Employment policies, procedures and practices would be refocused to support recovery and ensure agility of our workforce


         Wiltshire Council would explore opportunities to share resources/systems and processes


         Service redesign would be a catalyst for delivering improvement and efficiencies focused on a new operating model


         Communications would be timely, frequent and consistent


         Wiltshire Council would balance financial imperatives, ensuring that it had a capable workforce


         Wiltshire Council would promote workplace diversity and inclusion.


         Wiltshire Council would work in a way which delivered our employee promise to empower our people to innovate and collaborate


         Opportunities to share resources/systems/processes internally and with stakeholders /partners




Programme Structure – three themes


Workforce who would we need in our workforce and how do we ensure that we have the capacity & capability to deliver recovery and beyond


Workplace where would we engage and deliver services going forward


Work how would we deliver services and what would we deliver


Priorities identified so far include:


         Further development of plans for return to the workplace


         Future workplace - where services/staff work, utilisation of current workplaces


         Developing options to reduce staff costs, including reducing the cost and application of some terms and conditions, recruitment freeze, agile redeployment


         Optimising digital solutions to maintain and embed new ways of working


         Refocusing recruitment and retention strategies


         Developing options for co-location and commercial return on our assets


         Green workplace and carbon neutral promise


         New models for delivery/customer access e.g. 24/7, 7 days a week, online only

       Opportunities to share resources/systems/processes internally and with stakeholders /partners



Points made by the Committee included:


·         Did staff want new ways of working?


·         The important that the hubs were adequately utilised.


·         That a more balanced approach to home/hub working was needed – the need to pick out the good practices of the last months.


·         Concerns that staff were missing working in the hubs and seeing their peers.






·         That the Committee noted the program and looked forward to future updates.


The Chairman thanked Jo Pitt for her presentation.


Covid Response Update




Paula Marsh - HR & OD Strategic Delivery Manager, Wiltshire Council gave a verbal Covid Response update.


Points made included:


Policies and guidance


·         That the COVID19 policy remained in place which allowed the council to alter working arrangements; allocation of staff to roles; attendance at work, temporary working arrangements, holidays and some pay arrangements.


·         The policy remained whilst staff were working in temporary ways, for example working from home, and would also enable Wiltshire Council to make changes should they be required in the event of a local outbreak and lockdown.


·         CLT made the decision that the temporary arrangements which were put in place in March 2020 to maintain normal pay for casual workers and staff on variable hours contracts who were unable to work where services were closed due to lockdown restrictions, would cease on 31 August 2020. These arrangements meant staff were paid based on an assessment by the manager of either: Planned working time – the hours of work they would have been expected to undertake over the next 12 weeks; Previous working patterns (e.g. an average of the last 12 weeks or the same period in a previous year) or a sensible estimate of hours (advice could be sought from payroll or HR if required).


·         Initially the arrangement were put in place for 12 weeks but was extended as services remained closed due to national lockdown measures. 


·         However due to the fact that lockdown measures had now been lifted and services are starting to remobilise the council would revert to paying staff for hours worked with effect from 1 September 2020.


·         Wiltshire Council had briefed unions and ensure their agreement to this approach and services have written to impacted staff to confirm this to them.


·         For permanent variable hours staff contracted on zero hours they would revert to normal pay arrangements, i.e. they would be paid only for the hours that they actually worked.


·         If these staff did not work any hours in September, because the location or part of the service they work in was not re-opened, they would not receive any pay in October 2020 or beyond for as long as the service was closed.


·         For permanent variable hours staff with guaranteed hours specified in their contract they would be paid only for these minimum hours from October 2020 onwards, unless they actually worked any additional hours.


·         As variable hours staff were paid monthly in arrears their September pay reflects August, and therefore would be based on the expected / average hours approach. 


·         For casual workers where there was no anticipated work they should have their working arrangements ended on 31 August 2020. They would receive a final payment that month based on expected / average hours.


·         Where services retain casual workers beyond 31 August they would revert to being paid for hours actually worked during the previous month.  Services would only retain casual workers where there was an expectation that work would be available.





·         As outlined at the last SPC in June Wiltshire  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Quarterly Workforce Report April - June 2020

Supporting documents:


Stuart Honeyball – HR Systems & Insight Manager, Wiltshire Council outlined the Quarterly Workforce Report April - June 2020 (contained in the agenda pack).


Points made included:


·         That the last three months covered by the report had seen exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There had been significant changes to the way that staff now work with staff working from home, being redeployed or furloughed. Through the many challenges there had been a willingness from staff, both frontline and back office, to be flexible and able to adapt to new ways of working which had resulted in the council being able to continue providing services and guidance to the community over this period.


·         In line with government guidance Wiltshire Council had been required to cease a number of services. To support these areas the council had used the Corona Virus Job Retention scheme (CJRS) to claim back up to 80% of salary costs (including employers National Insurance and pension contributions) for staff who were furloughed, i.e. unable to undertake their normal work duties or could not be redeployed. Use of the scheme had allowed the council to claim back approximately £1m for the period March to June 2020; the council’s claim to HMRC made in June under the CJRS included 631 individuals split across a number of services. Given the financial impact of COVID on the council, the money reclaimed through CJRS was a significant factor in supporting the budgets of the affected service areas. 


·         As part of the furloughing process under CJRS the council had been monitoring remaining staff capacity levels within services through daily ‘sit reps’, to identify and understand all of the different circumstances which may be affecting its ability to provide those services still permitted or able to operate. Areas of concern were highlighted to the HR business partners and the services to investigate if this was a significant risk to service delivery and how they could be supported.


·         The Council had been fortunate that it had only 37 people recorded by managers in SAP as having taken sickness absence due to suspected/confirmed cases of COVID-19, which amounted to 252.5 FTE days. This equated to just 4.2% of all sickness taken in this quarter. The low number of cases confirmed in the council workforce had meant that capacity to deliver services was not significantly affected as a direct result of COVID related absences.


·         Staffing capacity monitoring confirmed this, identifying that in mid April (during the height of lockdown) the council was running at around 86% workforce capacity (FTE), once those services that were closed and in which the majority of staff were furloughed were discounted. Further analysis as of the week ending 30th June, showed very little change, with the council’s non-furloughed workforce still working at around 86% capacity.



·         Around 135 staff had been redeployed between services to help deliver additional capacity within those services responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes staffing critical services to help those most vulnerable in the community, including the wellbeing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.




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