Agenda item

People Strategy Update

There will be a presentation at the meeting on this item.


Cherry Bennett, Director of People and Policy, gave a presentation to the Panel which covered the following:


·  Background

·  Key Challenges and Risks

·  Attraction, retention, and workforce planning

·  Staff engagement and performance

·  Talent and Development

·  Health, Safety and Wellbeing

·  Preparing for the future programme

·  KPIs


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Shaun Hughes asked how savings, mentioned during the budget setting, were made from vacancies. The officer explained that savings in salary payments are made during the time delay/lag in the recruitment process which is possible in some roles.


Councillor Andy Furse asked how many long-term vacancies there are in the 300. The officer explained that the data is not good but there are around 50 – some are hard to fill posts. There are a high number of vacancies in care homes where recruitment and retention are challenging. Our 11% staff turnover is average.


Councillor Furse asked about the training for those members of staff who do not use IT every day. The officer explained that the new performance development system could be accessed on a phone so would be accessible to those staff members who do not routinely use IT as part of their job.


In response to a query from Councillor Furse about capacity, the officer explained that there is a bit more capacity in the department now – 3 senior manager posts and an additional recruitment business partner post.


Councillor Hal MacFie asked how KPI’s could measure the degradation in a service such as in enforcement where Councillors now use a generic email rather than contact officers direct. The officer explained that this would be a service performance KPI, we can pick that up with colleagues and directors.


Councillor MacFie stated that it felt like a lot of staff had left in the past year, yet it is reported as only 7.5%. The officer explained that the number was for the previous year, and we do not have the figure for this year yet. It could be team specific, or it may be a result of the labour market being more competitive than previously.


Councillor Lucy Hodge asked about exit interviews and if they are available centrally and what the strategy is. The officer explained that the data on why a person is leaving is not captured in sufficient detail and the new system was only introduced recently.


Councillor Hodge asked about fuel costs and staff working from home. The officer explained that staff can use pool cars and can work from the office now more so than they have been. We have a working well from home group which will look at fuel saving and financial planning for next winter.


Councillor Alastair Singleton referred to the ‘Time to Hire’ KPI and stated that anecdotally, to achieve a competitive salary we have to go through the recruitment process and fail. The officer agreed.


Councillor Winston Duguid stated that it is a tough environment, Covid had created an exceptional situation of blended working. Recruitment and retention will be a key issue – due to the rising cost of living, people will be looking to change jobs in some areas. Retention is important – it is important for staff to understand the purpose of the organisation and feel valued for what they do. This can be achieved through wellness interviews and managers knowing their staff. The officer agreed.


Councillor Karen Warrington stated that there are also other factors that affect the workforce such as the lack of rental properties in the city and fuel costs of moving further out of the centre.


Councillor Hughes asked about a working from home package as the Council has made savings on heating but staff working from home have to heat their homes all day. The officer explained that there is no working from home package. There is government tax relief and also some staff have saved on travel expenses. It was acknowledged that circumstances were difficult for many colleagues and the senior management team will keep this under review.


The Panel RESOLVED that the Panel noted the presentation.