Agenda item

Organisational Development (OD) and People Strategy (Agenda item 8)

Report of Councillor Jane James, Executive Member for Customer & Corporate Services.


Councillor James, the Executive Member for Customer & Corporate Services introduced the report and was pleased to present the Organisational Development & People Strategy (OD&P).  


In terms of background, the Council currently had a workforce plan that ran from 2020 until 2023 that set out ways the Council supported and developed its staff through the Council’s strategic priorities. Given the new focus on a pro-active, longer-term and strategic view of people development, described as organisational development, an opportunity had been taken to review this Plan for it to be a jointly owned document between Organisational Development and Human Resources.  This new OD&P Strategy for 2022 to 2025 would help the Council to ensure that it had the right people with the right skills in the right role, performing the right tasks to support the Council’s strategic priorities.


Claire Burton, the Organisational Development & Performance Manager then provided more detail.


It was explained that the world of work had changed considerably over the last 2 years and the Council, as an organisation, needed to ensure that it was flexible, continued to evolve and was fit for purpose and to develop its culture to make Breckland Council a great place to work.  Five key themes had been identified (see section 2.1 of the report) and under each of these themes four areas had been set out to concentrate on supported by an Action Plan detailing these activities and timescales.  Members attention was drawn to ‘Our People Promise’ within the Strategy which outlined employees’ expectations about when, where and how their work had changed.  Breckland wanted to be an organisation that people aspired to work for, and the ‘People Promise’ described what it was like to be part of Breckland Council and this would be used as part of recruitment campaigns to attract candidates.


Apart from a few minor spelling mistakes, Councillor Monument felt that the Strategy read very well.


Councillor Birt felt that the recommendation should have included the words Organisational Development in full rather than being abbreviated.  He appreciated that organisational development was wider than continued professional development (CPD) but nevertheless he felt that CPD should be a key component and queried where the Council was in respect of this matter in terms of budget, what training was available and who would perform that training and what proportion of staff was using CPD or had used it in the last year for specific individual needs. 


The Chairman reminded Members that all employment of staff and staff training came under the Chief Executive.  Members could take an interest but could not pass judgement on it.


The Organisational Development & Performance Manager explained that there was an annual training budget of around £72k as well as a training plan that was set each year based on employee needs.  This particular year two training programmes had taken place, one for senior leadership team and one for the senior management team and all these learnings and themes stemming from these were now being progressed down to all staff members. Any training that staff felt they needed for their roles the Council would try to accommodate.


Referring to page 27 of the Agenda pack, Councillor Birt had noted the details in respect of measuring outcomes, and pointed out that the Overview & Scrutiny Commission (O&SC) received information of days lost as a result of sickness from full time employees and it seemed to him that this was related to the KPI within the Performance report that O&SC considered; however, such measures had not been included in the list of parameters in this report.   He pointed out that O&SC also used to receive a KPI called staff turnover, but this KPI had been dropped for some unknown reason.  He remembered that this was last reported in Quarter 2 in 2021/22 and the target that had been set back then was 4.3%, the new target listed in this report was much lower at 1.5% which he felt was quite a difference and asked if this figure was being met.  He also asked how these 8 measures were going to be reported to Members.


The Organisational Development & Performance Manager felt that Councillor Birt had raised a fair point in respect of the KPI for sickness and it would not be unreasonable to include such a measure in this document.  As far as staff turnover was concerned, this was an HR performance indicator (PI) and she understood that such information was not provided to Members as it was not a KPI and was monitored by the HR Team.  The measure that had been included in this report was the turnover of 1.5% per month and was reviewed by the HR team regularly to ensure that the Council was at a national target and was reflective of the national figure for staff turnover.


In terms of reporting such measures, there would be an internal reporting process whereby Councillor James would be checking progress but would not be reported to Members unless it was a KPI.


Councillor Hambidge asked what the employee headcount was.


Members were informed that it was around 270 not including the Anglia Revenues Partnership staff.


Councillor Birt referred to a staff survey being used and asked how the Council ensured that this was anonymous and if it was not, were there opportunities for staff to provide anonymous feedback and how would this information be collated.


Members were informed that it was all anonymous and the feedback was gathered using various communication channels.


Councillor Bambridge mentioned the staff training.  He himself had been a member of this Council for nearly 20 years and had been extremely heartened by the training available for both staff and Members whereby many staff that he knew of had worked their way up in the Council and had remained.


The recommendation was proposed and seconded, and it was:


RESOLVED that the Organisational Development & People Strategy (2022-2025) be approved.

Supporting documents: