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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

464.

Membership

To receive details of any changes in membership of this Committee notified since the agenda was printed.

Minutes:

Noted that, since the publication of the agenda, there had been no changes to the membership of the Committee.

 

465.

Communications and apologies

(a)            Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b)            Apologies for absence.

 

(c)        To receive presentations (if any) made in pursuance of a petition in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

 

No presentation shall exceed five minutes and consideration of the subject matter will normally take place at the next ordinary scheduled meeting of the Committee and not at this meeting.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to this first meeting in 2018.

 

The Chairman reminded Members that all questions and comments should be directed through himself and that they should seek his permission before speaking.  He advised that no person should speak while another Member of the Committee or Officer was speaking or giving a presentation.

 

 

466.

Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other pecuniary interest or non‑pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows;

 

Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

 

 

Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

 

Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

 

Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

 

Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

 

Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where - (a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and (b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of disclosable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

 

 

Minutes:

No Members had an interest to declare in any of the items of business on the agenda.

467.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 December 2017.

 

Minutes:

 

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 December 2017 were approved and signed as a correct record.

 

468.

Quarter 3 Health and Safety pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Committee is asked to note the Health and Safety report for Quarter 3.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report PER/18/08 provided the Committee with a health and safety report for Quarter 3 (October to December 2017).

         

Members noted the presentation of this report to the Local Joint Committee and its discussion as set out below:

 

“The Head of HR and Customer Services presented the report and provided further detail on the undertakings and reporting of incidents   for the Quarter.  Referring the Committee to the incident reports in section 4, she pointed out that, regrettably, these were dominated by abusive behaviour with 7 incidents of threatening or abusive behaviour reported in Quarter 3, as detailed in paragraph 4.3.

 

In response to a Councillor’s question, the Head of HR and Customer Services confirmed that there were panic buttons in the Council’s interviewing rooms.  Referring to the findings of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding working at height at Elstree Studios (paragraph 5.2 refers), another Member asked whether the Studios’ standards were in line with the Council’s standards.  The Head of HR and Customer Services replied that the Council was not responsible for direct control of health and safety at the Studios but required assurance from the Studios that appropriate systems and procedures were in place for its effective management.  She confirmed that Elstree Studios had its own health and safety advice and that the issues were often highly technical.  The Member asked how the Council ensured that proper processes were being followed and was informed that the Council instructed its own health and safety officers to look into the Studios’ procedures.”

 

RESOLVED that the Quarter 3 Health and Safety Report be noted.

 

 

469.

Abusive Behaviour Policy pdf icon PDF 57 KB

The Committee is asked to approve the revised Abusive Behaviour Policy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report PER/18/09 notified the Committee of the outcomes of the recent staff survey on abuse at work and enclosed the public information poster that had been developed in response.  The revised Abusive Behaviour Policy was also provided for the Committee’s approval.

 

Members noted the presentation of this report to the Local Joint Committee and its discussion as set out below:

 

“The Head of HR and Customer Services reported that the draft revised policy and the public information poster had been discussed very recently by the Health and Safety who considered that the poster, as presented, failed to convey the message adequately in pictures.  During discussion, staff were of the view that the poster needed to be strengthened in graphic form and fewer words used in order to give it more impact.  A Councillor suggested that increasing the size of the poster would give more impact.  The Head of HR and Customer Services undertook to report this feedback to the Corporate Communications section.  The Chairman suggested, and it was agreed, that, in view of the date of the next meeting, members of the Committee should be sent the revised poster within the following six weeks.

 

Referring to the staff survey undertaken in 2017, the Head of HR and Customer Services drew members’ attention to the low frequency of staff reporting incidents and explained that this was not helpful as the scores for abusive behaviour were aggregative and lack of reporting impeded the effective management of risks of abuse to staff. 

 

In discussion, a Councillor pointed out that this matter had been discussed before with the conclusion reached that staff were sometimes afraid to come forward.  The Chairman commented that an important aspect of the Policy was in raising staff’s awareness that such behaviour was not acceptable.  He said that the level of the problem had crept up and it was important to bring it down again by encouraging staff to report incidents.  A staff representative concurred with this view. 

 

Another Councillor asked for further clarification of the points system and was directed to paragraph 5.1 of the Policy which set out the calculations for the severity and likelihood of risk.  Referring to the length of time that details of abusive customers and related incidents remained on the register, the Councillor pointed out that the Council needed to ensure that the cumulative scoring system was not constrained by the General Data Protection Regulations.  It was accordingly agreed that this matter should be referred to the Head of Legal and Democratic Services.  In response to a question from another Councillor, the Head of HR and Customer Services confirmed that staff in Customer Services, when confronted with unacceptable behaviour, were indeed able to terminate an interview or telephone call and could seek assistance from a manager.” 

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the outcomes of the staff survey on abuse at work and the public information poster developed as a response, as set out in Appendix A, be noted; the poster to be further developed/strengthened and a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 469.

470.

Workforce Plan 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

The report reflects on the outcomes of the Workforce Plan 2017/2018 and proposes actions to be incorporated into the Workforce Plan 2018/2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report PER/18/01 discussed the outcomes of the Workforce Plan for 2017/18 as well as the key results of the Staff Equality Survey 2017 and proposed some revisions (as shown in bold italics in Appendix A) for incorporation into the new Workforce Plan 2018/19. 

 

Members noted the presentation of this report to the Local Joint Committee and its discussion as set out below:

 

“The Head of HR and Customer Services presented the report and took the Committee through the proposed updated Workforce Plan 2018/19.  She drew members’ attention to the need to replace or refresh the overarching Workforce Strategy as this was due to expire in 2018 and that this would involve work over most of the year to allow for consultation and strategy development but that this would need to be completed by December 2018.  She then identified some key points to be considered in the Workforce Plan 2018/19, including some recommendations from an EELGA consultant to strengthen specific HR policies; whether to continue with Investors in People accreditation now that the IiP Standards had been replaced with a wholly different framework; and potential changes to the Management of Change Policy to allow for the external advertising of senior posts at Chief Officers’ discretion, providing no displaced employee was entitled to be ring fenced to the posts in question. 

 

She drew the Committee’s particular attention to the excellent sickness absence figures at HR11 and asked the Committee to consider whether they might wish to reduce the current target of 3.5 days or less per employee.  She suggested that a decision could be made under item 6 (Sickness Absence Management) later on this agenda.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services also highlighted action HR19 which showed a pleasing increase in the number of apprenticeships and said that this was reflected in the increase by 62.5% in the number of employees in the workforce aged 16 to 24 years, as set out in the information at Appendix B.  She also highlighted the proposed pay award of 2% to be implemented from 1 April 2018 which the Committee was asked to approve.

 

The Committee was then referred to Appendix B which gave a profile of the workforce in relation to religion, sexuality, marital status and also included information on the gender pay gap, an updated copy of which was circulated at the meeting.

 

During discussion, it was agreed that the age group of 15 years or under, which appeared to serve no purpose, should be removed from Appendix B.  The proposed pay award was also approved.

 

The Vice-Chair (of the LJC) read out an explanation of UNISON’s proposals in response to the National Joint Council’s proposed 2% offer over two years.  The union had already rejected the 2% offer and made proposals for increases according to the spinal point system used by many local authorities and schools, as explained by the Vice-Chair.  He pointed out that none of the proposals were relevant to Hertsmere staff.  The Head of HR and Customer Services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 470.

471.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 2 May 2018 at the conclusion of the Local Joint Committee meeting.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of the Committee was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 2 May 2018 at the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

 

472.

Exclusion of public

Recommendation that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                                          Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.     Minutes of the LJC meeting held on                                   1, 2 and 4 

     6 December 2017

 

2.     Change Management                                                        1, 2 and 4

 

3.     Flexible Retirement Case                                                   1, 2 and 4

 

4.     Organisational Change in Housing                                      1, 2 and 4

 

5.     Sickness Absence Management                                        1, 2 and 4

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                               Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.      Minutes of the LJC Meeting held on                      1, 2 and 4

6 December 2017                                               

 

2.       Update on the Planning and Economic                  1, 2 and 4

      Development Restructure

 

3.      Flexible Retirement Case                                      1, 2 and 4

 

4.      Organisational Change in Housing                        1, 2 and 4

                                                                          

5.       Sickness Absence Management                           1, 2 and 4               

 

473.

Minutes of Local Joint Committee - 6 December 2017

To note the minutes of the meeting of the Local Joint Committee held on 6 December 2017.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Local Joint Committee meeting held on 6 December 2017 were noted.

 

The Chairman announced that he intended to bring forward consideration of part II agenda item 14, Organisational Change in Housing, to allow the Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement to leave the meeting on its conclusion.

 

474.

Organisational Change in Housing

Report of Officers.

Minutes:

Report PER/18/04 was presented to the Committee to provide background information and to seek approval for the proposed restructuring of management for the housing services team, subject to the financial implications being agreed by the Executive.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the proposals for the restructuring of the housing services team be approved, subject to the outcome of formal consultation with staff affected and subject to the financial implications being agreed by the Executive; and

 

2.     the costs of redundancy set out in paragraph 6.4 of the report be noted.

 

(Action:  Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement/Head of HR and Customer Services)

 

475.

Update on Planning and Economic Development Restructure

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Report PER/18/02 provided the Committee with an update on progress made with the restructuring of the Planning and Economic Development service.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services drew members’ attention to the written feedback from staff affected and a Unison representative which was set out in the appendix to the report.  She explained that a small number of the staff affected had obtained alternative employment and offers of suitable alternative employment had been made to remaining staff affected.  Suitable alternative employment was subject to a statutory trial period of four weeks and there was therefore still an opportunity under the Change Management Policy for individuals to appeal against the handling of the change management process but the risk of this was much diminished by the availability of suitable alternative employment.  She  recommended that some minor amendments be made to accommodate the requests of staff affected in respect of the precise timing of trial periods, the clarification of the criteria for review of suitable alternative employment and consideration of an employee’s final salary at the end of the pay protection period being pegged at the upper end rather than the mid point of the lower grade.  A Councillor suggested that the criteria for the review should be agreed at the outset and made known to the employee at the beginning of the trial period. 

 

The comments of the Unison representative focused on whether the decision to advertise a senior post externally had breached the Management of Change Policy.  As requested, the matter had been discussed with the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in his capacity as Monitoring Officer.  It was proposed that the wording of this section of the Management of Change Policy be amended to provide for the external advertisement of senior roles (above Grade 6) where there was no displaced employee eligible to be ring fenced for the role.  The Head of HR and Customer Services also clarified that there had not been a written equality impact assessment but there had been a verbal discussion of relevant issues in the part II consideration of the item at the Personnel Committee meeting in October 2017.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.     the update on progress with the restructure of the Planning and Economic Development service, as set out in the report, be noted;

 

2.     feedback from the formal consultation with staff affected, as set out in Appendix A, be noted and consideration be given to any points that can be resolved by way of minor amendments to the proposals for change, as recommended by the Head of HR and Customer Services in her presentation of the item;

 

3.     the decisions made by the Committee in 2017 in respect of the deletion of posts in the Planning and Economic Development restructure be confirmed following consideration of the feedback from the formal consultation, as set out in Appendix A, and the incorporation of any minor amendments arising from (2) above;

 

4.     the decision set out in report paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 be confirmed;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 475.

476.

Flexible Retirement Case

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Members received a report regarding an application for flexible retirement which had been discussed with Chief Officers and approved.

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services, in presenting the report, confirmed that there were no costs to the authority, that current projects cited in report paragraph 2.6 would be pursued to conclusion and that the report had come to the Committee due to the seniority of the post.

 

A Member commented that the team concerned was clearly very well co‑ordinated and that the arrangements being made to cover the service showed commendable succession planning.

 

RESOLVED that the details of a flexible retirement case approved by the Chief Executive, as set out in Report PER/18/05, be noted.

 

(Action:  Head of HR and Customer Services)

477.

Sickness Absence Management

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Report PER/18/03 provided Members with details of sickness absence levels in the Council for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2017. 

 

Members noted the presentation of this report to the Local Joint Committee and its discussion as set out below:

 

“The Head of HR and Customer Services highlighted in particular the cumulative figure for short term sickness absence in the 12‑month period ending 31 December 2017 which stood at 2.81 days per full time equivalent.  She said that this was very good taking into account that the Council had employees working outside in all weather conditions and that it compared well with other local authorities.  She advised that the Council had already made plans to hold a Health and Wellbeing Day in October this year but ideally she wished to hold another similar event in July 2018.

 

With regard to the short term sickness absence target of no more than 3.5 days per employee for the rolling year, a Councillor proposed, and it was agreed by the Committee, that this figure be retained to maintain staff morale and reviewed at a later date as applicable.

 

Responding to a question from a staff representative on how the Council’s figures compared across Hertfordshire authorities, the Head of HR and Customer Services replied that benchmarking was not possible as authorities recorded sickness absence differently.  She added that this Council included all employees in its recording of sickness absence figures.  The Chairman pointed out that, whilst direct benchmarking was not possible, the general information indicated that the Council was doing very well and that the Personnel Committee had congratulated staff on previous occasions.”

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services referred the Committee to the further case information provided in Appendix A of the Personnel Committee report in respect of the reasons for long term sickness absence.  She confirmed that, of the eight cases cited, some of these had now been resolved or closed off.

 

        RESOLVED that:

 

1.       the out-turn for sickness absence levels in the 12-month period ended 31 December 2017, as set out in Appendices A and B, along with the related analysis set out in the report, be noted; and

 

2.       the current target for short term sickness absence of no more than 3.5 days per employee for the rolling year be retained.

 

 (Action:  Head of HR and Customer Services)

 

The Head of HR and Customer Services reported that the HR Operations Manager had now retired and that the team had pulled together to cover the service.

 

A Member expressed his thanks, on behalf of the Personnel Committee, to the Head of HR and Customer Services and her team.