Agenda item

Annual assurance report in relation to employment policies and employee conduct

The report of the Chief Officer Human Resources is the annual report to the committee concerning the Council’s employment policies and employee conduct.  The report provides assurance to the Committee that, employee conduct is properly managed, policies are regularly reviewed and employee conduct forms part of normal manager/ employee relations. 


The annual report of the Chief Officer Human Resources brought to the committee the Council’s employment policies and employee conduct. The report provided assurance to the Committee that, employee conduct is

properly managed, policies are regularly reviewed and employee conduct forms part of normal manager/ employee relations.


The Chief Officer Human Resources attended for this item and provided the following information to the Committee:

·  The report provides assurance that employment conduct is properly managed and policies in the employment domain are regularly updated and reviewed. The report also showed that activities undertaken to ensure that the employment activities are appropriately aligned with the Organisational Plan, the Council’s Ambitions and the People Strategy.

·  The report provided the Committee with the robust mechanisms in place for reviewing, consulting and engaging with stakeholders on practices and policies. This included engaging with Executive Members, Staff Networks and Trade Unions.

·  A few highlights from the report included:

o  It had been a difficult year in terms of operating within a challenging labour market. Therefore, the focus had been in augmenting and reviewing the recruitment and selection policies, practices and toolkits.

o  A grievance practice review had been undertaken which was independent of the HR Business Partnering Team.

o  There had been refresh of the organisational values and behaviours and work is currently ongoing to embed these across the organisation.

o  A new leadership and development offer has started for 2,500 managers designed to build confidence and capabilities.


Member’s discussions included:

·  Acknowledgement that this was a comprehensive area and it had been noted the work undertaken on policies, grievances and employment.

·  It was recognised that staff welfare was important and were of the view that details of actions to address staff wellbeing was included in reports and reported into either this Committee or Scrutiny Board Strategy and Resources. The Members were advised that staff wellbeing and safety was at the heart of the People Strategy. It was noted that there are increases of ill health including Covid, mental health and musculoskeletal problems. There is a specific action plan and HR are midway through this. Also started this year is a Mental Health Strategy which focusses on three areas of promotion, prevention and support . The Committee were informed that future reports could provide more details. It was the view that this needed to be more proactive work rather than reactive.

·  There is a range of issues which can be benchmarked which could include employment, retention of staff, absence and turnover of staff. The Council engages with the LGA, core cities group and comparisons can be undertaken with neighbouring authorities and the anchor network.

·  There were three Armed Forces Champions present at the Committee and HR were thanked for their work to embed the Silver Covenant through training days etc. for ex-armed forces personnel and the hope that next year the Council can aim for gold. Praise was also given for the staff networks that this Council has and going forward it was hoped a staff network could be established for reservists within the Council.

·  It was acknowledged that there was not always consistency across the organisation in relation to wellbeing etc. It was noted that this is a key issue for an organisation this size and it was important to have robust policies and frameworks. It was the view that the organisation has a robust mechanism in place such as support for supervisors, appraisals, mediation, trade unions and interventions through informal routes. The leadership and management development training ‘Be Your Best’ started this year is to assist managers to address hard conversations with staff.  In terms of numbers on the formal capability process this was between 7-10 with similar numbers accessing a different procedure due to ill health and/or conduct issues, it was noted that there are 3-4 times more being addressed through informal procedures. It is a managerial decision when informal procedures are progressed to formal procedures and HR provide procedural support and guidance with this. Members were advised that the organisation had got better at identifying skills gaps and flexibly deploying staff into different roles within the Council. The Chair said he was not assured by the information provided in the report or at the Committee in relation to how staff are performance managed and advised the Chief Officer he would be invited back to the Committee before the next Annual Report.


RESOLVED – To receive and note this report and the attached Appendix 1 as together providing key forms of assurance on the robustness of the Council’s employment policies and employee conduct.


Cllr Flynn left the meeting during this item at 11:45.

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