Meeting documents

Personnel Partnership

Committee Minutes

Wed Apr 27 2011

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

27 April 2011


Ms Roberts (Chairman), Mr Baker (substitute member), Mr King, Mr Ryles and Mr Turner

Councillors Hart (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Boyle, Greenslade, Leadbetter, Moulding and Owen

Non-voting members:-

Mrs Barnett (representing Director of Employment Strategy) and Mrs Rogers (Joint Secretary Management Side)


Mr Bowman and Mr Jones (Director of Employment Strategy)

*PP/20 Minutes

AGREED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2011 be signed as a correct record.

PP/21 Appeals Against Dismissal and Grievances Changing the Decision Makers from Members to Chief Officers

The Partnership considered the report of the County Solicitor recommending that since some staff were willing to choose to have their grievance appeals heard by Chief Officers and that appeals heard by Chief Officers could take place more quickly than appeals heard by elected members, that appeals for both dismissals and grievances should in future be heard by Chief Officers rather than Members and the Constitution be therefore amended to reflect that the Personnel Panel would only hear appeals in relation to the employment of the Head of Paid Service, the Monitoring Officer, the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Officers of Grade D2 and above. Reasons put forward in the report included:-

- as restructuring and rationalisation of the council service increased and managers were required to manage more effectively and address issues of conduct and capability appeals were likely to increase (over the last 12 months there had been 8 dismissal appeals and another 4 pending and expected to be heard over the next couple of months);

- a trial of fixed calendared dates for members had not always proved successful and caused inconvenience to members when appeals were cancelled and postponed;

- dismissed appellants had pleaded at Employment Tribunals that DCC s own disciplinary process had not been completed due to delays in appeals being heard, which could lead to a successful claim and an increase in damages awarded by up to 25%;

- since the amended grievance appeal process trial 50% of appellants had preferred to have their appeal heard by a Chief Officer;

- a benchmarking exercise with other SW authorities and other large authorities showed that 5 authorities had dismissal appeals heard by Chief Officers, 3 were heard by Members and 1 by a panel of both.

The Staff Side however questioned the suggestion in the report that appeals were likely to be increasing since they had not so far noticed this trend although not all cases had involved unions. Staff Side felt that a 100% increase (24) in dismissal appeals would still be a small number compared to the total number of DCC employees. They also felt that given there had been 50% staff from September 2010 whom still wished their individual grievance appeal cases to be heard by members, staff should be given the choice as to whether both these appeals and dismissal appeals should be heard by either a Chief Officer or members - some staff still felt members may offer a more independent review of their case.

The Employers Side were keen to speed up the appeal process for staff and to avoid a situation where there could potentially be an increase in successful claim damages. In view of members only hearing 2 out of 6 grievance appeals since September last year they felt that it was now appropriate for all grievances to be heard by Chief Officers.

Following two adjournments to consider various proposals the Partnership:-


(a) that in respect of dismissal appeals, employees be given the choice of who hears their appeal, a Chief Officer (or their nominated representative) or Members;

(b) that in respect of grievance appeals, the Personnel Partnership s Failure to Agree a position be referred to Cabinet, noting both:-

(A) the position of the Employer s Side ie:-

- to be heard by a Chief Officer (or their nominated representative) only, to be reviewed after 12 months;


(B) the position of the Staff Side ie:-

- employees continue to be given the choice of who hears their grievance appeal, either a Chief Officer (or their nominated representative) or Members;

PP/22 A Report on the Recommendations from the Corporate Grievance Appeal Working Group

The Partnership received a report on the review of grievance appeals procedure being trialled over the last year. However this report needed to be considered in the light of the Partnership s Failure to Agree on the way forward for grievance appeals (minute PP/21 above).


that mindful of minute PP/21 above and pending further developments:-

(a) a further calendar of meetings be arranged for 2011/12 setting aside two dates each month for dismissal appeals (trial over the next 12 months), subject to a further review in six months to consider whether there has been an improvement and whether this practice should continue or not;

(b) that a member appeal Panel for dismissal appeals (ie the Personnel Panel) continue to consist of 3 Members and the Constitution be revised accordingly;

(c) that the 12 week grievance policy timescale for arranging appeals continue unless HR determines in the future that the timescale should be reviewed (as part of normal operational/consultative policy changing procedures);

(d) that internal operational guidance for arranging Member appeals be revised and simplified by HR in liaison with Committee Secretariat;

(e) that report recommendation iv cannot be determined in light of PP/21.

*PP/23 Atkinson Secure Children s Home Update (minute PP/18)

(Councillor Leadbetter declared a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of his family involvement with the Atkinson Secure Children s Home and withdrew from the meeting for this item).

The Staff Side enquired about whether the meeting on options appraisal and discussions on the future proposals for the home meeting postponed some time ago would be rearranged and the Vice-Chairman offered to obtain a written update and financial breakdown for the Staff Side.

The Partnership were unhappy to hear that the Staff Side had still not yet received figures from the manager on Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) placements in the home and how many were still out of county requested at the last meeting and subsequently.


(a) that a written update and financial breakdown be provided for the Staff Side as soon as possible;

(b) that the manager forward figures of Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) placements in the home and how many were still out of county, to the Staff Side as soon as possible.

PP/24 Dates of Future Meetings

Thurs 20 October 2011

Fri 20 January 2012

Thurs 26 April 2012

commencing 10.30am (10am Management Briefing)

The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 11.15am

The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-

Date Published: Thu Oct 27 2011