Meeting documents

Personnel Partnership

Committee Minutes

Thu Oct 17 2013

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

17 October 2013


Councillors Barisic, Hart, Knight, Owen and Parsons.

Mr Bowman, Ms Flemington, Ms Rutter, Mr Ryles and Mr Turner.

[NB: Councillor Owen present up to and including PP/4].

Non-voting members:-

Mr Jones (Head of Human Resources).

In Attendance:-

Jacky Wilson (HR Manager, Operations) and Sue Mayes (HR Manager, Strategy)


Councillor Biederman, Mr King and Ms Roberts.

*PP/1 Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman

AGREED that Ms Roberts and Councillor Hart be elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively for the remainder of the current year.

*PP/2 Minutes


that the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 April 2012 be signed as a correct record.

*PP/3 Rifford Road Children s Home Press Comments

The Staff Side expressed concern over statements allegedly made by the Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Skills which had appeared in the local media. The Staff Side felt these statements both vilified staff and implied guilt, before the internal investigation had been completed. The Staff Side also expressed concern at the lack of communication with staff at the home and asked if the Cabinet Member had been fully briefed on the situation before the comments were made, and if the Employers Side considered the comments to have been fairly reported.

The Employers Side confirmed that the Cabinet Member had been fully briefed prior to the comments being made, but were unable to comment on whether this was fairly reported, and undertook to check this with the Cabinet Member.

The Staff Side confirmed that a letter was due to be sent to the Council s Chief Executive regarding the same matter.

The Employers Side confirmed that Barnardos had been commissioned to carry out a review of Rifford Road Children s Home, but had been delayed at the request of Barnados to allow an appropriate period of time to pass before they spoke to home s former residents.

AGREED that the Partnership await the outcome of the Barnados report before pursuing this issue any further.

*PP/4 Payments to Children s Social Care Staff

Whilst acknowledging that staff in Children s Social Work team should receive acknowledgement for the good work that they do, and being sympathetic towards the Council s situation, the Staff Side raised a number of concerns and asked questions over retention payments made to Children s Social Work staff in specific teams including inter alia,

lack of consultation with the Staff Side prior to payments being made;

the mechanics of payments made and eligibility;

the possibility of precedent being set for other groups of staff;

the apparent conflict with messages to staff over financial difficulties being faced by the Council;

the funding of this scheme should objectives and proposed savings not come to any fruition;

the benefit of making the first payment with immediate effect and with no process in place for repayment should the member of staff subsequently leave;

the relation of such payments to the Corporate Employment Strategy.

The Employers Side noted the comments and responded including inter alia,

that the lack of early consultation was not typical of the Council s relationship with Unions and was a result of a unique set of circumstances that would not be repeated in the future;

that there was an urgent need to address the issue and take action in response to staff retention issues that were identified in the recent Ofsted report;

a precedent had not been set and the Corporate Employment Strategy makes allowances for exemptions;

the effectiveness of the scheme will be monitored and that the Council is learning from approaches taken in neighbouring authorities;

that the Staff Side have referred the issue for legal advice, as requested to do so.


(a) that a Report outlining the success of the scheme would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee.

(b) that the relevant part of the Ofsted Action Plan in relation to payments for additional hours worked, be shared with the Partnership.

(c) that communication and transparency between the Council and the Unions is the most beneficial way of working and that this practice should continue.

*PP/5 Dismissal and Grievance Appeals Update

The Partnership considered the report of the Head of Human Resources, presented by Sue Mayes, HR Manager, outlining the current position in relation to dismissal and grievance appeals heard since May 2012 and whether they had been heard by Members or by a Chief Officer. All appeals had been heard within the policy timeframe or extended because of extenuating circumstances; the view of the Employers Side was that the current arrangements were working well.

AGREED that the current arrangements for dismissal and grievance appeals be continued and that the Partnership does not require further updates but that statistics will continue to be shared with the Partnership on a regular basis.

*PP/6 Dates of Future Meetings

All meetings commencing at 10.30am (preceded by a 9.30am Trade Union Meeting and a 10am Management Briefing):-

Thursday 16 January 2014 (including budget)

Thursday 24 April 2014

Thursday 16 October 2014

Thursday 15 January 2015 (including budget)

Thursday 23 April 2015

[NB: Subsequently and in relation to a question on the timetable of budget consultation meeting it was confirmed that the statutory Budget Consultation with Trade Unions would take place in January 2013 and details of Roadshow events being held by the Leader of the County Council would be circulated.]

The meeting started at 10.40am and finished at 11.35am

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

Date Published: Wed Oct 15 2014