Venue: Norfolk Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 16 April 2014.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 April 2014 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Apologies (Agenda Item 2)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Matthews and Steward. Councillor Richmond was present as Substitute for Councillor Matthews.
Urgent Business (Agenda Item 4)
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.
It was noted that an additional item had been added to the agenda as item 11. The report for that item had been included in the agenda supplement.
Local Joint Consultative Committee (Agenda Item 6)
To adopt the unconfirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 28 May 2014.
a) Anglia Revenues Partnership Organisational & Services Review (Minute No 22/14)
It was noted that part b) of the Recommendation had been amended to clarify the delegation authority.
The recommendation would be taken into consideration when the matter was discussed under Agenda Item 7.
b) Local Government Pension Scheme: Exercise of Discretionary Elements Policy (Minute No 23/14)
The recommendation was noted and would be taken into consideration when the matter was discussed under Agenda Item 8.
c) Health & Safety Policy (Minute No 24/14)
Councillor Borrett suggested that the Committee should receive a full Health & Safety update at a future meeting.
The Chairman of the LJCC had expressed grave concerns about the potential for a Corporate Manslaughter case due to the lack of proper reporting system to ensure compliance with the Council’s Health & Safety Policy. He had been assured by the Leader of the Council that a qualified Health & Safety Officer was being sought.
The Human Resources Manager advised that a report was being presented to the Corporate Management Team (CMT) outlining a number of options.
Councillor Bambridge asked for clarification of the Lone Worker Policy and the HR Manager explained that there were certain services within the Council where staff visited off-site premises and dwellings. Each service had their own process for monitoring such activities, but due to reorganisation, some areas had changed their working practices and were no longer confident that they could ensure lone worker safety. A central policy was required.
Councillor Goreham noted that it was the sort of issue that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (O&SC) used to look at.
It was noted that the O&SC were holding a workshop to discuss their work programme on 19 June. The Health & Safety issues would be included for consideration.
RESOLVED that the unconfirmed Minutes of the LJCC meeting held on 28 May 2014 be adopted.
Report of the Head of ARP.
The Head of ARP presented the report and explained that the ARP Joint Committee had agreed to appoint a Strategic Management Team and their first task had been to carry out a full restructure for joint working across all seven Authorities now involved in the Partnership. The Committee were asked to approve the proposed restructure and to grant delegated authority to implement the new structure, subject to a maximum 15% increase in the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) posts affected.
Councillor Williams asked if the major changes at the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) would have an effect on the new structure and he was advised that it would but it would not be clear exactly how it would affect the service until more details were available. It was expected that some staff would transfer across to the new Single Fraud Investigation Service (SIFS) in September 2014. However, Universal Credit (UC) had been expected to commence in 2013 and it had been put back to 2015, so timescales were not definite. Both SIFS and UC would have significant impact on the Partnership.
Councillor Borrett asked if the changes would lead to more jobs in Thetford. He also sought assurance that Thetford would remain the Headquarters of the ARP.
The Head of ARP explained that with the recent expansion to include Fenland and Waveney & Suffolk Coastal not all staff were based in Thetford. Future strategy would determine how the Partnership evolved, but the intention was that all IT would be based at Thetford which would act as a central hub and would continue to be the Head Office of the ARP.
Councillor Bambridge asked how the proposal for centralised IT would affect new members and other authorities that the ARP worked for on a contract basis.
The Head of ARP advised that it would allow work to be shared with other partners bringing economies of scale and sharing of resources. The strategy allowed expansion to anywhere in the country and would make the ARP’s products more saleable.
Councillor Goreham sought clarity on the number of Breckland staff at risk and asked if the aim was to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.
The Head of ARP explained that it was known which posts would be deleted and the numbers at risk included all staff currently employed in those roles. For example, there were two posts to be deleted from Systems Administration. Currently 11 staff were employed in that role so all 11 were at risk although only two jobs were to be lost. The total number of possible redundancies for Breckland was seven and it was hoped that most of those would be covered by existing vacancies, moves to other posts and voluntary redundancies.
Councillor Williams thanked the Head of ARP for a concise and well written report. He drew attention to the proposed amendment from LJCC to clarify the delegation authority.
The Head of ARP confirmed that he was happy with that proposal. If there was more than a 15% increase ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Report of the Director of Commissioning.
The Human Resources Manager presented the report and said that it was a legal requirement for the Council to publish how it would deal with the Discretionary elements of the Pension Policy.
Due to the changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme it was necessary to update certain elements of the Policy.
The Discretions were outlined at Appendix B to the report. The proposal was to continue as previously, and not to exercise any discretion where there would be a cost to the Council.
The Chairman requested that the document be checked for typographical errors and any abbreviations be clarified before it was published.
RESOLVED that the Pension Policy (attached at Appendix C to the report) be adopted and authority be delegated to the Corporate Management Team (CMT) to change the basis/frequency of contribution band assessment (as per 1.4.4 of the report) if appropriate.
New Remuneration Package (Agenda Item 9)
To receive a verbal update on progress.
The Human Resources Manager updated Members on the new remuneration and appraisal package that had been rolled out to staff. There was on-going, in-team training sessions and the new scheme had been well received.
After all staff had received training a review of 10% of the appraisal documents would be done to ensure that there was a consistent approach being taken across all departments.
Next Meeting (Agenda Item 10)
To note that the next meeting will be held on 23 July 2014 at 10.00am in the Norfolk Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham.
The arrangements for the next meeting on 23 July 2014 were noted.
Report of the Assistant Director for Commissioning.
The Licensing & Business Support Manager presented the report which outlined an opportunity for an apprenticeship within the Environmental Health Team.
Apprenticeships were a good way for young people to get a start in employment. They were very popular as they gave real experience and training and 85% of participants stayed in employment after the apprenticeship.
The restructure of the Environmental Health department had created three shared posts in the Business Support team. The team had a heavy workload and an 18 month fixed term apprenticeship would help to ensure the smooth implementation of smarter working.
Funding was available and the figures were set out in the Proforma B attached to the report. The apprenticeship would develop partnership working with City College. The successful candidate would gain a formal qualification.
Councillor Bambridge thought it was a very good idea. He hoped a local person could be recruited if possible.
It was pointed out that with the level of remuneration there were unlikely to be applicants from far afield. It was also noted that if the area for applicants was limited it could potentially limit the choice of candidate.
Members were split on whether the apprenticeship should be restricted to a local candidate. It would be difficult to define ‘local’. Councillor Williams suggested that that was a Policy issue which should be discussed in depth by the Committee.
It was clarified that although it was a shared post the apprentice would be based in Dereham and there would be no requirement for travel. The Union had been consulted and fully supported the use of apprenticeships.
The HR Manager advised that the HR Team had established links with Norwich City College and Kings Lynn & West Norfolk College and had named contacts who could advise on which scheme/qualification was most suitable for the apprenticeship.
The Licensing & Business Support Manager confirmed that the Portfolio Holder had been advised of the opportunity by e-mail as he was currently away. His Executive Support Member had approved the proposal, in principle, in his absence. Speed had been required to ensure that recruitment could take place in time for the candidate to start their college course in September.
RESOLVED that an increase in the Establishment by 1 FTE and the appointment of an apprentice on an 18 month fixed term contract to support Environmental Health, as a shared business support role for Breckland and South Holland Council, be approved.