Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

28.

Minutes (Agenda item 1) pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 26 March 2008.

Minutes:

a)           Standby/Out of Hours Payments (Minute No. 23/08)

 

In response to a concern with regard to what procedures were in place should the number of employees on standby payments increase, the Deputy Chief Executive assured the Chairman that if the number should change he would convey the information to the General Purposes Committee.<1>

 

b)           Minutes

 

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 March 2008 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

29.

Apologies (Agenda item 2)

To receive apologies for absence. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs S Howard-Alpe and Mr S Chapman-Allen.

30.

Local Joint Consultative Committee : 20 March 2008 (Agenda item 5) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To adopt the unconfirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 20 March 2008.

Minutes:

a)           Disciplinary Policy and Procedure (Minute No. 8/08)

 

RESOLVED that the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure be adopted (see Minute No. 34/08 below)

 

b)           Capability Policy and Procedure (Minute No. 9/08)

 

RESOLVED that the Capability and Policy and Procedure be adopted (see Minute No. 33/08 below).

 

c)            Standby Payments (Minute No. 10/08 (a))

 

Members were made aware that the Standby/Out of Hours Payments had previously been agreed at the General Purposes Committee meeting on 26 March 2008 (Minute No. 23/08 refers).

 

d)           Car Leasing Scheme (Minute No. 10/08(b))

 

Members were made aware that the Car Leasing Scheme had previously been agreed at the General Purposes Committee meeting on 26 March 2008 (Minute No. 24/08 refers).

 

e)           Organisational Review (Minute No. 10/08 (c))

 

Members were made aware that the Organisational Review had previously been agreed at the General Purposes Committee meeting on 26 March 2008 (Minute No. 26/08 refers)

 

f)              Adoption

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 20 March 2008 be adopted.

31.

Car Scheme for Officers using Cars on Council Business (Agenda item 6) pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal HR Advisor provided Members with the background of the car scheme which had previously been presented and approved by the General Purposes Committee on 28 March 2007 (Minute No. 20/07 refers). 

 

At that meeting the Committee had agreed to implement the Inland Revenue Agreed Rate (ILAR) which would be implemented over a transition period of 12 months and would mean that mileage would be paid at a reduced rate of 45p/mile from April 2008, decreasing to 40p/mile from April 2009.

 

Following a range of objections raised by Unison, the Corporate Management Team believed it was best to refer this matter back to the General Purposes Committee prior to the implementation of the revised scheme and in the light of the significant increases in fuel costs over the last 12 months.

 

Keeping the National Scheme would remove any associated risks of reducing staff benefits, including potential staff losses.

 

A Member was pleased that the car scheme was being reviewed and proposed the recommended option to continue to operate the National Scheme.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive informed Members that a report on the lease car allowance would be presented to a future meeting of this Committee.

 

RESOLVED

 

1)           not to implement the modified car scheme, as planned on 1st April 2008; and

 

2)           to continue to operate the national scheme, which pays mileage rates that are consistent with other local authorities, and properly and reasonably takes account of increases in petrol prices over the past 12 months.

 

32.

Allocation of Pension Contribution Banding (Agenda item 7) pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Payroll and Reward Manager presented the report which concerned a decision to review the Scheme Members’ contributions bands once a year each April.

 

Under previous pension scheme regulations Scheme Members had made a compulsory minimum contribution of 6% of their pensionable pay into the Pension fund, irrespective of their earnings level.

 

With effect from 1 April 2008, all existing and new members of the LGPS would pay contribution rates according to the table, at 3.1.2 of the report, based on their full-time equivalent pensionable pay at the date of joining or on 1 April 2008.

 

With the scheme going live from 1 April 2008 it was anticipated that the main potential area affecting the day-to-day administration of the scheme would be in relation to contribution banding when an employee theoretically moved into a different band (that they were allocated into on 1 April) due to a change in their employment/salary conditions mid-year.

 

The frequency of reviewing which band Scheme Members should be in would result in certain administrative and technical payroll implications.

 

The preferred option by Officers was to reassess contribution bands once a year.  The advantages and disadvantages of this approach were explained.

 

A policy statement had yet to be drafted and would be presented to a future meeting of the General Purposes Committee.<1>

 

Members’ attention was drawn to Appendix A of the report which showed an estimate of £5.5k for 2008/09 for the total amount of employees’ contributions that would not be paid in relation to in-year band changes based on an assumption of a 5.5% pay increase.  This figure was not material when compared with the estimate of the total employees’ contributions of £517k to the fund.  The estimate had been based on 293 employees in the fund with only 43 (15%) staff changing contribution bands within the year.

 

A Member asked what other Norfolk authorities were doing.  In response, the Payroll and Reward Manager advised that Norfolk County Council was opting for the once a year approach based on salaries as at 1 April 2008.

 

In response to various questions, the Chief Accountant explained that there were two elements to contributions: the employees’ and the employer’s rates, which fund the Breckland share of the Norfolk Pension Scheme.  On the other side there were current employees who were members of the scheme; previous employees who had left the authority and had deferred their pensions, and employees who had retired. Every three years the actuary reviewed demographic data, interest rates and investment performance and projects the contribution rates required to meet predicted liabilities.  The actuary would take into account any contributions made, including any shortfall from employees, and adjust the employers’ contribution rate.

 

A Member asked how this related to contribution figures.  In response, the Chief Accountant advised that the employee contribution rates were set by Government and would not change unless legislation changed.

 

Another Member asked whether the cost of the administration would be more than £5.5K.  The Payroll and Rewards Manager explained that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Capability Policy and Procedure (Agenda item 8) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Human Resources Consultant presented the amended Capability Policy and Procedure for Members’ approval.    The Committee was advised that the Local Joint Consultative Committee had agreed with the amendments (see Minute No. 30/08(b) above) which had now been incorporated into the Policy.

 

A Member asked whether in future amendments could be highlighted in red.

 

RESOLVED that the minor amendments to the Capability Policy and Procedure as summarised in 3.2 of the report be approved.<1>

34.

Disciplinary Policy and Procedure (Agenda item 9) pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Human Resources Consultant presented the amended Disciplinary Policy and Procedure for Members’ approval.    The Committee was advised that the Local Joint Consultative Committee had agreed with the amendments.  These had now been incorporated into the Policy.

 

A number of questions relating to the Policy were put forward by the Chairman on behalf of Councillor S Howard-Alpe.

 

The first question related to the procedure in paragraph 5.1 of the policy document – Prior to the Hearing. The Human Resources Consultant advised that this had been put in place when the Government introduced the Statutory Employment procedure in 2004.  The final question related to paragraph 6.3 – Final Written Warning.  The Chairman questioned the wording in this paragraph as it did not state whether any previous documentation on the employees’ conduct, relating to other matters, could be brought to the Hearing and taken into account.  Members were advised that all previous documentation was removed from the employees’ file and was disregarded; however, it could be mentioned at a Hearing.

 

The Committee was informed that there was new legislation afoot which might require further amendments to the Policy and procedures; accordingly, this Policy and procedure would be brought back to the General Purposes Committee in due course.

 

RESOLVED that the minor amendments to the Disciplinary Policy and Procedure as summarised in 3.2 of the report be approved.

35.

Whistle Blowing Policy (Agenda item 10) pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Accountant presented the report. 

 

The Whistleblowing Policy aimed to ensure that staff and the public could raise concerns without worrying about being victimised or discriminated against.

 

The draft policy had been considered at the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 4 December 2007 where a number of amendments were suggested.  The policy and recommended amendments were then put before Cabinet on 8 January 2008, and the revisions were approved, subject to approval by the General Purposes Committee.

 

A Member pointed out that this policy was actually a legislative requirement. 

 

In response to a question, the Committee was advised that if a person was to make malicious allegations they would not be covered by protections under this policy (see section 7 of the Policy).

 

The Chief Accountant was asked whether there was a link between this policy and the Standards Committee with regard to someone reporting misconduct of a Member.  The Committee was made aware that although this policy provided comprehensive coverage, it would be more appropriate to go through the Standards route if the allegation was specifically against a Member.

 

The Principal Committee Officer reminded Members that the Whistleblowing Policy would have to be recommended to the Standards Committee for approval.

 

A question was asked whether the report needed to be put before the Standards Committee.  The Deputy Chief Executive advised that if the whistleblower reported the conduct of a Member, and if that allegation was well founded, the Council could not dismiss that employee, therefore, it was important that Members of the Standards Committee be advised of the policy so that they could disseminate the significance of this point to Members. 

 

It was noted that one of the Deputy Chief Executive’s future tasks was to look at the remits of the Council’s committees.

 

Following further discussion and clarification, it was

 

RECOMMENDED to the Standards Committee to approve the Whistleblowing Policy.<1>

36.

Next Meeting (Agenda item 11)

To note that the next meeting will be held in the Norfolk Room at 10.00am on Wednesday, 4 June 2008.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting would be held at 10.00 am on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 in the Norfolk Room.