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Staffing of Planning Department

Meeting: 03/10/2017 - Personnel Committee (Item 258)

Planning and Economic Development Restructure Proposals

Report of Officers.

 

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Minutes:

As for the previous item, Report PER/17/13 outlined the proposals for the restructure of the Planning and Economic Development department and set out the implications for staff within the service.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services presented the report.  She advised that the primary business case for change was the Council’s difficulties in recruiting and retaining planning professionals combined with changes in legislation that placed further performance demands on the planning service and had substantial financial implications.  She said that the new structure was aimed at providing further career opportunities for staff, particularly at the senior professional levels, and that the Head of Planning and Economic Development had also been very active in taking on apprentices so there would be a complete career structure from entry level apprenticeships to principal officers.  She added that the proposals affected some senior roles. 

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services advised that the proposals were also designed to secure efficiencies from new ways of working wherever possible.  In particular, the implementation of the new Exacom software would automate certain processes and diminish the need for these to be carried out manually as at present.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services reported that initial consultation with staff had started on 18 September with the formal consultation process due to begin after the Executive meeting on 18 October.  She further advised that the Council would carry out a minimum of 30 days’ formal consultation and allow for the appeals process in due course in accordance with its Management of Change Policy.

 

Initial feedback from staff was presented verbally to the meeting.  The Head of HR and Customer Services advised that the feedback was anonymised for reasons of confidentiality.  The main points were as follows:

 

1.     A number of Officers had enquired about how the new senior and principal roles would be filled ie. whether they would be ring-fenced and, if so, to whom, or whether they would be subject to external advertising.  The answer given was as follows:

 

Posts that could potentially be considered as suitable alternative employment for anyone whose role was redundant under the proposals would be ring-fenced to those people and would only be open to wider competition if they were not filled through the management of change process.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services advised that ring-fencing and recruitment processes had not yet been finalised pending the agreement of the new job descriptions and evaluation for the grade which was fundamental to any decision about the  appropriate method of selection.  The Management of Change Policy would be applied and this might include open competition where new posts were more senior than the jobs that were being deleted.

2.     Two UNISON representatives had been involved in consultation meetings to date and both had made arguments for staff affected being given first consideration for all roles available before they were externally advertised, including roles that were at a higher grade than the substantive post being deleted.  Other points raised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 258