A report of the Strategic Director of Corporate Services, Governance and Procurement to provide the Commission with more detail on the approach to organisational recovery post Covid-19.
A report of the Strategic Director of Corporate Services to provide the Commission with more detail on the approach to organisational recovery was considered (item 6 on the agenda filed with these minutes).
The Strategic Director or Corporate Services attended the meeting, provided a presentation and assisted with the consideration of this item. The Leader of the Council, the Chief Executive, the Head of Regulatory Services and the Information Technology Delivery Manager also attended the meeting to assist with the consideration of this item. The following summarises the discussion:
i. The Council had worked closely with the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) throughout the pandemic and had participated in multi-agency meetings at various levels, such as the Strategic Recovery Group, the Tactical Recovery Group and a number of recovery cells. There was also a Nominated Contact Officer whose role was to regularly liaise between the Council and the LRF. The pandemic was included within the LRF’s risk register and so the Council was able to act quickly at the outbreak with support from the LRF.
ii. The pandemic had enabled the Council to develop a more appropriate and agile work culture and the Leader acknowledged that all Officers across the Council had successfully adapted to new working practices and had embraced the challenge. He recognised and gave thanks to the Chief Executive, Directors and Officers at all levels for enabling the transition.
iii. It was recognised that Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments were relatively easy to undertake in an office environment and were more difficult when colleagues were working from home. The Council had developed an interim solution at the start of the pandemic, which included a training module on self-assessment. A more comprehensive risk assessment had been developed following the extension in home working. This referred to working environments, work equipment, the organisation of work and the physical and mental wellbeing of staff, amongst other things. Members of staff were provided with training materials, demonstration videos and guidance documents. There had been consultation with Trade Unions and employees regarding the process of developing a long-term health and safety solution and it was acknowledged that policies and procedures developed change as working practices develop. There was confidence in the approach and Members were assured that all issues were being considered carefully and that all actions were being closed.
iv. It was recognised that some members of staff preferred to work in an office environment, and some were not able to work from home. The agile working policy would refer to this and would give staff more choice in their working environments, providing this reflected the business needs of the relevant service within the Council. The preferred working practice of the Council was that staff that were able to should continue to work from home at present. The Council was monitoring infection rates in the community closely and ensuring appropriate controls were in place to help prevent infection in offices and this enabled some staff to work in the office environment if there was a requirement.
v. The Council was conscious of the potential implications of home working on the mental and physical wellbeing of staff and had taken action to prevent negative impacts. In addition, the Council would continue to consider this and would develop further solutions.
RESOLVED that the Commission noted the report.
To ensure the Commission was kept informed of the Council’s recovery efforts.
Alan Twells and Aymen Khan left the meeting at approximately 6:50pm.