Agenda and minutes

Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2011.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 January 2011 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



To receive apologies for absence. 


Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Millbank, Rogers and Sherwood.


Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.


The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.


There were none.


Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There were none.


Guidance on Policies That Affect General Purposes Committee

The Solicitor & Standards Consultant was requested at the meeting of the Committee on 12 January to give guidance on how new emerging policies affecting the Committee should be dealt with.


How any new policy is processed will depend on whether it affects only the business of one Committee or the Cabinet, whether it relates to a number of Committees and also if it forms part of the formal “Policy Framework” which can only be agreed by full Council.  Sometimes it is difficult to say definitely which categories a policy falls into, and this leaves room for different interpretations.


However, the role of the LJCC is restricted, under the Constitution and the amount of business has varied over the years.  LJCC cannot make decisions or determine policy – indeed, the Constitution makes it clear that “matters which are to be considered by General Purposes Committee shall not fall within the powers of (LJCC) if agreement has been reached with the staffing organisations”.


The Whistleblowing Policy is an example of a policy which by its nature affects more than one Committee : Audit Committee, Standards Committee and General Purposes.


The Principal Accountant states that this policy is still in draft, and will be put for comment to all three Committees, with the result being put to Council for approval.  By contrast, other policies such as Fraud and Corruption and Money Laundering all within the delegated powers of Audit Committee, and can quite properly be resolved by that Committee.


From the point of view of the joint management of Breckland and South Holland, each Council is able to make its own policies.  However, the Corporate Management Team will keep emerging policies under review and will seek wherever possible to harmonise policies between the two authorities.


The Solicitor & Standards Consultant was not present at the meeting, but had provided Members via the Agenda, guidance on policies that affected the General Purposes Committee.


Members were happy with the guidance provided.


Local Joint Consultative Committee : 3 February 2011 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To adopt the unconfirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee held on 3 February 2011.


(a)       Flextime Policy (Minute No. 6/11)


The Human Resources Advisor advised that the content of the Policy had not changed apart from some minimal word changes and terminology used.


            RESOLVED that the Flextime Policy be adopted


(b)       Adverse Weather Policy (Minute No. 8/11)


A sentence had been changed, but there had been no changes to the Policy content.


            RESOLVED that the Adverse Weather Policy be adopted


(c)        Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy (Minute No. 13/11 (a) )


RECOMMEND to the Audit Committee that the Counter Fraud and Corruption Strategy be approved


(d)       Anti-Money Laundering Policy (Minute No. 13/11 (b) )


RECOMMEND to the Audit Committee that the Anti-Money Laundering Policy be approved


(e)       Adoption


RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting on 3 February 2011 be adopted.


Whistleblowing Policy pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report of the Head of Internal Audit.


Members are asked to note the comments made by the Local Joint Consultative Committee at its meeting on 3 February 2011

Additional documents:


The Head of Finance advised the Committee that the Head of Internal Audit had reviewed the Policy and Guidance, and brought Members’ attention to the Appendices and associated paperwork that went with the report.  They had been asked to review the content of the Whistleblowing Policy and put forward any enhancements where appropriate, ahead of presentation of the policy to the Audit Committee for formal approval.


He went through the main changes within the Whistleblowing Policy itself shown at Appendix 2, with key changes to the Contacts for Whistleblowing which had been separated into Appendix 1.  The intention would be to look at policies across South Holland and Breckland in the future, as it would make sense to amalgamate them.


There had been no matters of concern received through the mainstream policy during the last 3 years.


The Policy made reference to the Monitoring Officer as being the Deputy Chief Executive.  Under the Shared Services Structure, the Monitoring Officer would be the Assistant Director of Democratic Services and by the time the Policy reached the Audit Committee the names of the postholders within the Shared Services Management Structure would be known.


A Member felt that as the role of the Monitoring Officer was a recognised post within the Council, it would be preferable to keep it as such to avoid the need for the Policy to be changed.


With regard to the Guidance for Employees (Appendix 1) shown on page 34 of the Agenda, second bullet point final paragraph, ‘You must reasonably believe it to be substantially true’, it was felt that this sentence was not explicit enough.  However, within the Guidance for Managers (Appendix 2) on page 35 of the Agenda, it was felt that under the paragraph entitled, ‘be responsive to employees’ concerns’ helped to rationalise the said sentence.


A Member wanted assurance that anyone who raised a matter of concern was made aware that it was being looked at as he felt that the Policy in its current form was quite vague about how such concerns were subsequently dealt with.  He drew attention to the paragraph entitled ‘Feedback’ on page 43 of the Guidance for Audit Committee Whistleblowing Arrangements.  The Head of Finance assured Members that he would highlight this concern at the Audit Committee meeting on 25 March 2011.


In response to a question, Councillor Matthews, who was also a Member of the Local Joint Consultative Committee, said that the Staff-side and the Union Representatives had been fairly content with the Whistleblowing Policy.


RECOMMEND to the Audit Committee that the Whistleblowing Policy be adopted.




(a)       the Whistleblowing Policy be reviewed by the Local Joint Consultative Committee in six months, and


(b)       The General Purposes Committee be provided with a hard copy of the updated Policy once adopted by the Audit Committee








Basic Performance Increase pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.


Members are asked to note the comments made by the Local Joint Consultative Committee at its meeting on 3 February 2011.


The Human Resources Advisor advised that the purpose of the report was to outline the proposals for the pay award for Breckland staff in 2010/2011, and had been based upon the outcomes of consultation with Unison.


The main points and the recommendations were highlighted as follows :


(a)               award staff a Basic Performance Increase (BPI) of 0% of their salary;

(b)               award staff an increase of 0% of their salary for being rated Performing;

(c)               award staff an increase of 0.5% of their salary for being rated Overachieving;

(d)               award staff an increase of 1% of their salary for being rated Exceptional;

(e)               review and renegotiate the Basic Performance increase (BPI) in a years time with renegotiated terms to be implemented in April 2012;

(f)                 review the PRP scheme for implementation April 2012.


The proposals were felt to be sound and reasonable, and it was therefore


RESOLVED that the Pay Award for 2010/11 for Breckland staff be approved and the Scheme be reviewed in accordance with points (a) – (f) above


Anglia Revenues Partnership - Reduction in Full Time Equivalent Posts pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Report of the Director of Corporate Resources.


Members are asked to note the comments made by the Local Joint Consultative Committee at its meeting on 3 February 2011.


The Senior HR Consultant provided Members with an overview and the background of the report and sought approval for the proposed possible redundancy of up to three posts.


Unison Representatives had been involved in the process from the start, and the structure had been through the ARP Joint Committee.  The report had also been to the Corporate Management Team, the Local Joint Consultative Commmittee and the financial aspects to Cabinet on 11 January and Council on 27 January 2011.


In order to try and mitigate some of the losses, some vacancies had been dealt with by secondments, and there were only three posts now at risk of possible redundancy.  Staff had managed with temporary posts and all had worked very hard to ensure the service had been provided to the level required.


HR had provided individual out-placement services for those at risk which consisted of skills training on CVs, application forms and mock interview practice.  The grades of the posts involved at possible risk were Grades 9, 8 and 6.  Just over 150 staff had been looked at across the four Councils.


It was asked if sufficient capacity was available in the new structure. The Senior HR Consultant advised that a new post had been created as quality control and support services had been lacking.


It was a very difficult time for those at possible risk of redundancy and therefore everyone needed to be sensitive and aware of the issues.


The Chairman was concerned that no figures or indication was available to the Committee of what the financial impact would  be on the Council.  The Senior HR Consultant stated that a financial report went to Cabinet on 11 January 2011 and Council on 27 January 2011.  The Chairman was not happy that the General Purposes Committee had only been given part of the information, and it had already been approved by the Cabinet despite the fact that it should have come to the General Purposes Committee first to agree any possible redundancies.  The Member Services Manager explained that whilst the Committee should have been made aware of the financial cost of the redundancies, Full Council of each of the three partner authorities in the ARP needed to agree St Edmundsbury as a partner first. 


In accepting that principle, the Chairman felt that the financial information should have been available to the Committee on 12 January 2011 as an urgent item, and that a representative of the Cabinet should have attended that meeting so comments from the Cabinet meeting held on 11 January could have been communicated and visa versa, in so much as the Council on 27 January should have been aware of the comments of the General Purposes Committee when making the decision on accepting St. Edmundsbury as a partner.


RESOLVED that the possible redundancies be approved and the HR team  proceed with issuing notice to staff of termination of employment, on the grounds of redundancy.


Next Meeting

To note that the next meeting will be held on 30 March 2011 at 10.00 a.m in the Norfolk Room.


The arrangements for the next meeting on 30 March 2011 at 10.00 am in the Norfolk Room were noted.