agenda for these minutes
16 January 2009
Mr Franceschini (Chairman), Mrs Andrews, Mr Houghton, Mr King, Mr Ryles and
Councillors Greenslade, Hart, Haywood, Leadbetter, Owen and Smith
Mrs Barnes, Director of Personnel Performance
AGREED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2008 and of the special meeting on 15 September 2008 be signed as a correct record.
PP/86 Budget 2009/10
The Staff Side asked for any updated position from the last few days. Budget consultation meetings had been held with the business community, representatives of older people, the voluntary sector and trade unions, as well as the council s overview scrutiny committees. All these views would be considered by the Executive on 10 February 2009 and finally the Council s budget meeting which was to be held on Thursday 19 February 2009. The Vice-Chairman reported that Council Taxes were likely to need to be set significantly below 5% and it was anticipated that funding throughout Devon would be very tight from the next financial year onwards, with less money coming in, eg District Councils had significant bus pass costs and less car park revenue. At this stage Devon and the eight Devon district councils still did not know the conclusion to the Local Government Review (LGR) in Devon and whether the existing authorities were setting their last budgets under the current structure.
Although central government grant was part way through the three year financial settlement which would help, the current government support being given to banks and public investment would have to be paid for and this was likely to mean a much lower government settlement in the next comprehensive spending review from 2012/13. It would therefore be prudent to kerb spending over the next few years, with planned reductions.
The Staff Side reported that they had not been forewarned about possible cut in Devon Catering and Cleaning Services service provision and staffing nor involved with a meeting to which staff had very recently been called to and the Director of Personnel Performance was to look into this. The Staff Side was concerned that sourcing local food and produce could be at risk given the proposed cuts and consequently increased risk to local businesses also. Whilst a continuing aim of the authority was to use local food and provide a good quality meal to pupils, Management had a real concern that school meals were likely to have around 2.5m - 3m overspend next year which needed to be addressed.
The Director of Personnel Performance reported that in the interests of shared public sector services in Devon, a Partnership Board had now been established including the county council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Torbay and Plymouth unitary authorities. Progress with this would be relayed via the joint secretaries.
The Director of Personnel Performance also reported in response to a letter from the Staff Side that the post of UNISON Branch Secretary would be considered as part of the ongoing discussions at regional officer level in the context of LGR.
AGREED that the Director of Personnel Performance investigate how the Devon Catering and Cleaning Services meeting relating to service and staff cuts had been established, without the usual involvement of the Staff Side and the usual procedures and report back to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
PP/87 Local Government Boundary Review
The Vice-Chairman reported that the final decision on Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) in Devon of the Secretary of State would not be known until 27 March 2009 at the earliest and it was not yet known whether the county council elections in June 2009 would be delayed. The Director of Personnel Performance reported that the interim arrangements were proceeding with all three regional officers and HR managers working together. Both Staff Side and Management Side wanted the position clarified on facility time for union officials in view of the potential workload of LGR work and for working towards tighter budgets.
AGREED that the position on facility time for union officials be clarified as soon as possible.
PP/88 Job Evaluation
The Director of Personnel Performance updated the appeal statistics in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the report and commented that the appeals were proceeding well and had been a good example of joint working. Of the 16,500 appeals lodged, 1,046 appeals were now outstanding, with all non-school appeals almost completed. The Director of Personnel Performance also referred to a meeting held on 14 January and chaired by the Director of Learning Schools when it was considered that school Job Evaluation (JE) appeals were now progressing at a satisfactory speed and issues surrounding JE appeals in schools were now much improved. It was to the benefit of all to finalise all JE work as soon as possible with the outcome of Local Government Review in Devon still unknown.
The Staff Side did report however that there were still a number of staff who had been in contact who were waiting to receive their pay rise and waiting for appeals. The Staff Side referred to a letter they had sent to the Executive Director for Children and Young People s Services (CYPS) regarding Directorate restructuring and had not yet received a reply to. Staff Side were also concerned at how the regrading of Social Workers had been carried out outside the usual process. The Director of Personnel Performance would discuss this with the Staff Side after the meeting.
The JE member champion explained his role in the appeals process and stated that he was happy to take up any particular case referred to him by the Staff Side with the Head of Human Resources.
The Director of Personnel Performance concurred that although the number of appeals outstanding was a small proportion of all those lodged, these were important to individual employees and she wished to work on these and the CYPS Directorate reorganisation expeditiously and accurately.
AGREED that the Director of Personnel Performance investigate the consideration of the social worker post grading and report back.
PP/88 Green Travel Update
The Staff Side welcomed any viable green travel alternatives for the county council and travelling to work particularly for county hall employees. The Management Side welcomed the Staff Side s commitment to green policies and the Director of Personnel Performance updated the Partnership on the car parking situation at county hall and the voluntary second non-car day per week which was currently being piloted and tested with a view to implementation in May 2009. A small minority of staff had caused traffic jams at the county hall barriers when refused entry resulting in action being taken but by far the majority had used the system appropriately. The Staff Side requested an update on the number of staff homeworking and also referred to the huge impact of the parking difficulties and late entry to the car park on staff s flexible working. The Director referred to the recent increase in car sharing spaces which may help this to some extent. The local member referred to comments she had received from local residents and the unfortunate reputation she felt county hall was obtaining from parking and smoking issues by the actions of a small minority of staff, which both the Management and Staff Side wished to avoid. The possibility of using an alternative site for overspill parking was suggested by both the Management and Staff Side and the Director said that this was being looked at by the collective green travel group.
PP/89 Dates of Future Meetings
Friday 17 April 2009 at 10.30am (10am briefing).
The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 12.00
The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-