agenda for these minutes
26 April 2012
Councillors Hart (Chairman), Greenslade, Leadbetter, Moulding and Owen
Mrs Roberts (Vice-Chairman), Mr Bowman, Ms Flemington, Mr B King, Mr Ryles
and Mr Turner
Mr Jones (Head of Human Resources) and Miss Chakraborty (Joint Secretary Management Side)
Mrs Williams, Unison Regional Officer
Councillors Mrs Boyle and Haywood
that the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2012 be signed as a correct record.
*PP/30 Corporate Employment Strategy
This item was considered as a matter or urgency given the recent decision of the Cabinet since the despatch of the agenda.
The Staff Side referred to the decision of the Cabinet on 11 April 2012 (minute 482)
to immediately withdraw the Vacancy Management Strategy, amongst other things, when it considered the operation of and proposed changes to the existing Corporate Employment Strategy and progress and key achievements made to date which had resulted in real savings and efficiencies.
The Staff Side had some concern that responsibility for recruitment now rested with the Heads of Service as part of their budget and Staff Side wished to see the retention of the central collection of statistics and a quarterly report for monitoring purposes.
The Head of Human Resources reported that Cabinet had agreed to the introduction of quarterly monitoring of baseline establishment figures for staff costs under each Head of Service including senior management savings. The proposed more streamlined quarterly report could be made available to the Staff Side, replacing the monthly monitoring report produced to date which had had significant resource implications.
AGREED that the joint secretaries look into the quarterly monitoring information to be made available to the Staff Side.
*PP/31 Appeals Against Dismissal and Grievance Review
The Partnership considered the report of the Head of Human Resources on the review after the first 12 months of operation of new arrangements for hearing dismissal and grievance appeals agreed by Cabinet 11 May 2011 (minute 350), ie:-
with (a) appellants having the option of dismissal appeals being heard by either a Chief Officer (or their nominated representative) or Members and (b) grievance appeals being heard by a Chief Officer (or their nominated representative).
The Head of Human Resources was pleased to report that the historic backlog of outstanding appeals had now been cleared and from the HR perspective the pre set dates of one day a month for Personnel Panel meetings was working extremely well with the appeal process more streamlined and time effective and appeals now being considered within reasonable timeframes. Around 75% dismissal appeals had been considered by Chief Officers and 25% dismissal appeals had been considered by the Personnel Panel.
The Staff Side suggested that given the relatively low number of grievance appeals the practice could revert to employees also being given the choice as to whether these were heard by a Chief Officer or the Personnel Panel. There had been some instances of Chief Officers (or other senior officers as nominated representatives) not being available to hear cases. The Head of Human Resources reported that as more Heads of Service and nominated representatives were trained any lack of availability should reduce and given the new practice was generally working well, members wished to continue with the new arrangements to let these settle and continue monitoring how these were working for a further six months.
AGREED that a progress report on the new arrangements for hearing dismissal and grievance appeals be brought to the October 2012 meeting of the Personnel Partnership.
*PP/32 Exclusion of the Press and Public
AGREED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting of the following item of business under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 4 of Schedule 12A of the Act and in accordance with Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matters arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or officer-holders, under the authority) by virtue of the fact that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
PP/33 Atkinson Unit (Secure Children s Home) Update
(Councillor Leadbetter declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this matter by virtue of his family involvement with the Atkinson Unit and withdrew from the meeting for this item).
The Partnership considered the report of the Head of Social Care Provision which included staffing, occupancy and budget (and risk areas in the budget), national perspectives and quality of provision.
Members noted improvements in the Atkinson Unit with encouraging feedback from OFSTED and clients and that the unit was now in a more viable position. The Chairman reported on his encouraging visit to the unit, arrangements with the Northbrook Trust Managers and DfE grants to improve facilities. Members therefore no longer considered that the Personnel Partnership needed to receive regular monitoring reports as there were now no on-going staffing issues, but suggested that an annual monitoring report on the position of the unit could be made to the Cabinet.
(a) that the Personnel Partnership notes:-
(i) that a full options appraisal process was not proceeding at present and that future commissioning arrangements for secure children s home placements would be part of Devon County Council children s placement strategy;
(ii) that improved working arrangements had been established between Devon County Council and Northbrook Community Trust of Managers. Councillor John Hart, Councillor John Clatworthy and Councillor Andrea Davis visited the Atkinson Unit on 21st December 2011, accompanied by Ms Jennie Stephens, Strategic Director;
(iii) that DCC had accepted 5 capital grants from DfE to improve the facilities at Atkinson Unit totalling 526,942. Improvements would be made to air conditioning, doors and windows, CCTV, telephone system for young people and an extension to provide improved meeting space, library and therapy facilities;
(iv) that the quality and occupancy of the Atkinson Unit continued to improve. The Atkinson Unit was graded as good by OFSTED and on 18/11/2011 at the interim inspection OFSTED noted that good progress was being made;
(v) that although the Atkinson Unit had faced significant challenges with achievable occupancy levels and the need for adequate staffing cover, the service was currently forecasting an under spend of approximately 33,000. Occupancy levels for 2011/12 were 80.8%;
(vi) that a bed price of 695 per night had been agreed for 2012/2013;
(b) that future annual reports to this Partnership cease as there are no on going staffing issues, but it is recommended that Cabinet receive an annual monitoring report on the position of the unit.
*PP/34 Dates of Future Meetings
All meetings commencing at 10.30am (10am Management Briefing):-
Thurs 18 October 2012
Fri 18 January 2013
Mon 22 April 2013.
The meeting started at 10.30am and finished at 10.50am
The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-