A report of the Strategic Director of Environmental and Corporate Services to seek approval of the Council’s new People Strategy.
A Cabinet report of the Strategic Director of Environmental and Corporate Services to seek approval of the Council’s new People Strategy was considered for pre-decision scrutiny (8a on the agenda filed with these minutes).
The Lead Member for Strategic Support, the Strategic Director of Environmental and Corporate Services and the Improvement and Organisational Development Co-ordinator attended the meeting to assist with the consideration of this item. The following summarises the discussion:
i. The Council had carefully considered the needs of staff members and would ensure flexible arrangements were in place, allowing for working patterns that would suit the circumstances of each individual. It was acknowledged that home working was not always practical, although generally improved the work-life balance of the workforce. The Covid-19 pandemic had meant that agile working practices had been employed quickly and had allowed the Council to develop an idea of how best to undertake modern ways of working.
ii. The Council had considered the effect of home working on mental health and had devised a number of initiatives to help alleviate any negative impact, including the encouragement of regular virtual meetings. The Council would work proactively in order to ensure the needs of staff members were considered as a priority and the practices detailed in the People Strategy 202-24 would ensure employees were able to highlight concerns where appropriate.
iii. An individual Equality Impact Assessment was not suitable for the People Strategy 2021-24 in its entirety as the scope was too broad. However, Equality Impact Assessments would be undertaken to actions in the People Development Plan where appropriate.
iv. The increase in home working had meant a reduction in sickness levels amongst staff and this was due to the previous office culture and the open plan nature of the office environment.
v. There were no risks identified which were associated with the implementation of the People Strategy 2021-24 in its entirety, although a risk management matrix would be utilised in order to assess the risks of individual actions in the People Development Plan where appropriate.
vi. The Council would review the recruitment process and this included the potential use of CVs, as opposed to online application forms in order to assess candidates. It was acknowledged that recruitment across various sectors was changing and that many organisations were now using CVs as a means of identifying suitability of candidates.
vii. The Covid-19 Pandemic had had a significant impact on the development of the People Strategy 2021-24 and would likely continue to impact it following the implementation of the strategy. The apprenticeship opportunities that had previously been available had been affected, in that there was difficulty in meeting the training requirements of new apprentice, given social distancing measures, home working practices and the virtual working environment. The apprenticeship schemes would last for 2-3 years and the current climate was not suitable for the Council to commit to this.
viii. The new behavioural framework developed would reflect the modern working environment and the expectations of Managers associated with this. It would focus on measuring the needs and productivity of staff working remotely and the new Management Charter would enable Managers to develop new skillsets in order to support this.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet be informed that the Commission supports the recommendations as set out in the report of the Strategic Director of Environmental and Corporate Services.
The Commission, having carefully considered the report, felt the Cabinet should approve the recommendations set out.