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Agenda item

Workforce Information Report - Quarter 4 2018/19

Decision:

(a)       That the Committee notes the Workforce Information report for quarter four of 2018/19;

 

(b)       That disappointment is expressed at the reduction in Appraisals performance and an explanation for this sought;

 

(c)       That the offer by the Chief Executive to bring a report on Appraisals to the September meeting be accepted; and

 

(d)       That the Senior Manager speak to Councillor Woolley after the meeting to clarify the headcount and FTE figures provided.

Minutes:

The Senior Manager, Human Resources and Organisational Development presented the workforce information report on Quarter 4 of 2018/19 which focussed on organisational performance and trends.

 

The increase in full time equivalent (FTE) figures in 2018/19 included a number of agency workers being appointed to permanent positions which had a positive impact on agency worker spend.  The downturn in attendance figures was disappointing, however this reflected a similar position across many other councils in Wales.  The main reason for sickness absence (Stress, Depression, Anxiety) also mirrored the national trend and in Flintshire, analysis by Occupational Health showed that the majority of those cases were triggered by personal issues which impacted on work.  The Occupational Health team was continuing to work with services and had helped to reduce the number of work-related stress cases in Social Services.  Detailed analysis on the team’s findings would be reported to a future meeting.

 

On the completion of appraisals which was a priority area, the Chief Executive shared his disappointment in the outturn of 75% which was a downturn from the previous quarter (91%).  This was not thought to be an accurate figure due to inadequacies in recording completed appraisals and failure to schedule repeat appraisals within the period.  A detailed action plan included a review of the appraisal model which would help to achieve better outcomes.  Quarter 2 progress would be reported to the Committee in September.  In addition, there would be a special item on appraisals when relevant Chief Officers could be present to explain any areas of slippage.

 

Councillor Jones spoke about national suicide rates for the 25-45 age group, particularly for males who often found it difficult to speak about mental health issues.  He asked if figures for the main category of absence (Stress, Depression, Anxiety) could be broken down to give an indication of the split between males and females.  The Chief Executive agreed and said that age ranges could also be shown.

 

Whilst sharing officers’ frustrations about the performance on appraisal completion, Councillor Jones said that this was a long-standing issue and called for Chief Officers to attend the Committee in advance of the quarter 2 data to give explanation on their service areas.  He described the completion of appraisals as a key responsibility for Chief Officers which should be reflected as part of their own appraisals.

 

The Chief Executive said that an initial review had identified insufficient consistency on working within systems which would be pursued.  Good progress had recently been made on appraisals which needed to be embedded into the process across the organisation to prevent further slippage.  As the lead officer, he would be seeking assurance of progress on the action plan and if he was not satisfied with the explanations given, the relevant Chief Officers would be required to attend before the Committee.  Whilst Chief Officers were held accountable for their portfolios, there was wider responsibility amongst managers and supervisors in service areas.

 

The Senior Manager said that increased training for managers was having a positive effect in generating more consistent and quality appraisals.  She agreed to speak with Councillor Woolley outside the meeting to clarify headcount and FTE figures in the report.

 

Councillor Collett questioned the rationale for including sections of the report such as sexual orientation and religious beliefs where many responses were inconclusive.  Officers explained the need for the Council to collect as much information as possible, with the report containing areas of interest requested by the Committee.  If Members wished, the quarterly report could focus on priorities such as attendance, appraisals and agency workers, with an annual report providing a breakdown of all other statistics.

 

Councillor Banks commended the Chief Executive’s honesty in tackling the issue of appraisals.  He said that the points raised by Councillor Jones about mental health in males should link with work in other service areas such as Housing.

 

The Senior Manager said that in addition to the range of support currently available to employees, the Health & Wellbeing Strategy would involve wider focus on physical, mental and financial aspects of individuals, all of which affected attendance.  One of the objectives would be to provide a trained Mental Health Champion for each service.

 

Councillor Roberts praised the Chief Executive for being open in explaining the issues and the actions being taken.

 

Councillor Shotton welcomed the actions being taken to address the issues and identify a true figure for completing appraisals, asking if the Committee could be kept updated.  The Chief Executive said that validation on the completion figure would form part of the update to be given to the Committee.

 

The recommendations, which were changed to reflect the debate, were moved by Councillor Johnson and seconded by Councillor Collett.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the Committee notes the Workforce Information report for quarter four of 2018/19;

 

(b)       That disappointment is expressed at the reduction in Appraisals performance and an explanation for this sought;

 

(c)       That the offer by the Chief Executive to bring a report on Appraisals to the September meeting be accepted; and

 

(d)       That the Senior Manager speak to Councillor Woolley after the meeting to clarify the headcount and FTE figures provided.

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