agenda for these minutes
23 April 2015
Councillors Clatworthy, Connett, Hart, Knight, Owen and Parsons
Mr Bowman, Ms Flemington, Ms Roberts, Mr Ryles, Mr Turner and Ms Rutter
Mr Smith (Head of Services for Communities)
Ms Edwards (HR Manager Strategy), Ms Marsh (Joint Secretary), Mr Yendole (Devon Legal Services) and Mr Parkhouse (Head of Business Strategy Support)
*PP/7 Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
AGREED that Councillor Hart and Ms Roberts be elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively for the remainder of the current year.
AGREED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2013 be signed as a correct record and that a report be circulated to the Committee, outlining the success of the payments to children s social care staff scheme, as resolved at minute *PP/4.
*PP/9 Dismissal and Grievance Appeals Statistics
The Partnership received the summary of Appeal Hearings for the period 1 October 2013 to 31 March 2015.
*PP/10 Senior Officers Pay Scheme
The Partnership was advised that proposed changes to the senior management grading structure would see spot salaries introduced for new appointments only, with officers on existing D grade roles continuing incremental progression until reaching the top of their relevant D grade.
Whilst recognising the need to address pay differentials and other issues in the senior management grading structure, the Staff Side expressed disappointment that the Council had considered increasing the salaries of senior officers, at a time when budgetary pressures had led to cuts in public services, staff redundancies and an inability to provide the living wage to all Council staff.
Specific issues raised by the Staff Side were inter alia:
the cost implications for the Council, which they considered had not been accurately reflected in the report submitted to the Appointments Remuneration Committee;
the inconsistency of the proposed policy which would see new staff being appointed on higher salaries than those who had worked for the Council for long periods, and the impact of this inconsistency on staff morale;
that the Appointments Remuneration Committee had not been provided with relevant information at an early enough stage to fully understand the implications of the proposed changes;
that despite the Council s championing of transparency and openness, this had not been seen by the Staff Side throughout this particular process;
that the counter proposal produced by the Staff Side for the senior management grading structure should be considered.
The Employers Side noted the comments, acknowledging the staff sides concerns over the process, and responded inter alia:
that the Appointments Remuneration Committee had amended the original proposal to one which would see spot salaries introduced for new appointments only, with officers on existing D grade roles continuing incremental progression until reaching the top of their relevant D grade, and had been made aware of the financial implications;
that in line with the normal process the proposals had been endorsed by the Appointments Remuneration Committee and ratified at full Council;
that the Council had worked hard to promote a spirit of transparency and openness in all its decision making and internal processes;
that all decisions, particularly those with financial implications, had been taken in light of the Council s medium term financial strategy;
that more information was required about the unintended consequences of the proposal and an analysis of the process followed before the matter could be concluded.
(a) that the Head of Services for Communities be asked to prepare a report setting out the background to the proposals for the senior management grading structure, along with the full implications of implementing those proposals for circulation as soon as practicable and for further consideration by the Personnel Partnership as necessary;
(b) that elevation of senior management pay, in response to perceived problems caused by any unintended consequences of new arrangements, would not be implemented until the Report referred to above had been reviewed; noting that any restructures that had already commenced would continue.
*PP/11 Proposed Changes to Redundancy Terms
The Staff Side raised concerns over proposed changes to staff redundancy policy, namely that:
that the policy had been reviewed in 2013 and the decision was made at that time to make no changes;
that there had been a lack of consultation with the Unions over the development of the policy and the decision making process;
that lower paid employees would be affected disproportionately by the proposed changes;
that proposed changes to policy and the current consultation had not been sufficiently communicated to staff, particularly those who are not Union members;
that financial information had been requested to inform the counter proposal which was being developed by the Staff Side, but this information was yet to be received.
The Employers Side noted the comments and responded inter alia:
that consultation over changes to the policy with non-union members of staff would be addressed;
that the only decision taken by the Council to date was to consult over proposed changes to policy;
that the consultation over changes to the policy was open and communication with Unions was ongoing;
that the figures requested were available at the meeting and did not indicate any savings based on past redundancy cases.
RESOLVED that further meetings be held between employer and staff representatives to discuss the proposal for changes to redundancy policy alongside the counter proposal brought by the Staff Side.
*PP/12 Office Rationalisation Programme and Implications for Staff
The Staff Side raised concerns about the exclusion of Heads of Service from the Office Rationalisation Programme, which aimed to reduce the desk to officer ratio across the authority, to 7:10. The Staff Side considered that the current application of the policy was detrimental to staff morale, and that the health and safety implications of such policies had not always been prioritised, citing in particular the office facilities at Great Moor House.
The Head of Business, Strategy Support advised the committee that the 7:10 desk to officer ratio was not applied across the board and that a pragmatic approach had been taken to allocating workspaces, recognising that different job roles across the authority had different needs. It had been decided that due to the large amount of the working day that Heads of Service spend in meetings, that it was reasonable and practical for Heads of Service to retain a larger office space which included meeting facilities. The Head of Business, Strategy Support also confirmed that all Head of Service office spaces can be booked for meetings using the Microsoft Outlook calendar, when not in use.
RESOLVED that while health and safety issues had been considered throughout the Office Rationalisation Programme, that the Head of Business, Strategy Support would investigate further the suitability of office space in specific sections of Great Moor House.
*PP/13 Dates of Future Meetings
RESOLVED that recognising the need for an additional meeting over the summer to address the issues raised and receive reports identified above, future meetings be held at 10.30am (preceded by a 9.30am Trade Union Meeting and a 10am Management Briefing) on:-
Monday 6 July 2015
Thursday 15 October 2015
Thursday 14 January 2016
Thursday 21 April 2016
The meeting started at 10.40 am and finished at 11.50 am
The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-