Agenda and minutes

Human Resources Committee - Thursday, 27th April, 2023 5.00 pm

Venue: City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 9NE

Contact: Steve Gregory  0117 92 24357

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomedall parties to the meeting and introductions were made.    

 

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies received from Councillor Amirah Cole and Councillor Mohamad Makawi.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None declared.

 

4.

Minutes of previous meetings

To agree the minutes as a correct record.

Minutes:

Resolved – that the Minutes of

 

1.      16 February 2023.

2.      1 March 2023 (extraordinary meeting).

 

be agreed as a correct record.

 

5.

Minutes of 16 February 2023 meeting pdf icon PDF 173 KB

6.

Minutes of 1 March 2023 (extraordinary meeting) pdf icon PDF 142 KB

7.

Public Forum

30 minutes is allowed for this item

 

Any member of the public or councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:

 

Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by5 pm on 21 April 2023.

 

Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on 26 April 2023.

 

 

Minutes:

None Received.

 

Under this item the Chair allowed Councillor Richard Eddy to raise an issue regarding the Council’s Policy on allowing staff back into buildings to work. The current arrangement of booking desks in advance was brought in under the Covid restrictions and Councillor Eddy had been made aware of some problems associated with this.

 

Councillor Eddy requested that a report be brought to the HR Committee AGM in July 2023 so that members could consider the rationale of continuing the policy particularly in the light of covid restrictions no longer being necessary. Action: Director Workforce & Change

 

8.

Trade Union Forum

A total of 15 minutes is permitted for Trade Union Forum.

 

Each Trade Union will be allowed up to 5 minutes to speak to their submitted statements or raise a supplementary question arising from a submitted question. If only one trade union is in attendance a 5-minute time slot will be allowed.

 

All statements and questions must be in writing and meet the deadlines as set out below -

 

Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by5 pm on 21 April 2023.

 

Written statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on 26 April 2023.  

 

Minutes:

A late statement was allowed by the Chair and members of the committee from Jeff Sutton GMB, presented by Councillor Tim Wye, regarding the transfer of security and cleaning staff from Bristol City Council to the Bristol Waste Company and the issues that had arisen from this. The GMB raised specific concerns and asked that the whole process be reviewed and investigated.

 

After further discussion the Chair agreed to write to the Chair of OSMB to raise the issues for further scrutiny and to feedback its findings to HR Committee on progress. Action Councillor Francis

 

9.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To note the work programme.

Minutes:

Members noted the updated Work Programme for 2022/23.

10.

Apprentice Annual Report - Time for this item 30 minutes pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Director Workforce and Change providing an overview of the achievements and challenges in relation to apprenticeships within the Council.

 

The Head of HR informed members that in 2022 the apprenticeship team had moved from Education, Skills and Learning to the Human Resources service. The hiring process had been modified to ensure that apprenticeships were proactively considered instead of or alongside open recruitment.

 

1.      Members were advised that between 31st March 2022 and 31st March 2023, 128 new apprenticeships had started at Bristol City Council, contributing to the total of 834 apprenticeships which had started since May 2017.

 

2.      The workforce for BCC was currently 6,233 with 525 new employees and 3,106 for maintained schools with 889 new employees. The Apprenticeship Levy expiry for the last 12 months stood at £81k. There were currently 60 apprenticeships in the pipeline, which were due to go live in the next quarter.

 

3.      The recruitment controls put in place in 2022 had led to a suppressing impact on the number of new recruits as apprentices. In addition, uncertainty resulting from the required budget savings had led to a decrease of apprenticeship uptakes amongst BCC employees. However, in the last quarter there had been a significant rise in apprenticeship enrolments.

 

4.      Since May 2017 BCC had contributed over £6.57 million to the Levy, which had generated a government top up of £642k, providing a total input of £7.21 million. To date, £3.6 million had been spent and there was a further £1.055 million projected minimum spend over the coming year. It was intended to increase spend to approximately £109k per month and fully utilise annual contributions which required an increase in new starts to approximately 240 per annum or an average of circa 350 staff on programme at any one time.

 

Arising from members questions the following points were made/clarified –

 

1.      Future reports would contain a more detailed breakdown of apprentices by age, currently the information available showed that of the apprentices, 53 were under 20 years of age, 22 were BAME, 24 were disabled, 2 in construction services and 2 in care services.

2.      Recruitment processes included close working with the HR team to make recruitment part of the mainstream recruitment process including working with outside employment agencies.

3.      An Apprenticeship Stakeholder Group had been set up to work with trade unions, staff-led groups, apprentice ambassadors and departmental representatives. The Group met regularly, and its findings were fed back into the planning and development of apprenticeships and the interaction with a Talent and Development Steering Group. An apprenticeship data and performance dashboard was also being developed.

4.      Risk of losing levy funding was ongoing and although efforts were made to reduce the loss it was important not to increase apprenticeship numbers without the correct level of support for them, in essence it was about quality over quantity.

5.      The Council currently held about 200 vacancies, over a wide range of services, that were sometimes difficult to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Avon Pension Fund annual report - Time for this item 40 minutes

Please use the link below to access the report –

 

 

Annual-Report-2021-22-Draft-v2.pdf (avonpensionfund.org.uk)

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee received an information report of the Avon Pension Fund for the financial year 2021/22. Councillor Steve Pearce (BCC representative on Avon Pension Fund Committee) presented the annual report.

 

In summary -

 

1.      Covid restrictions were now easing across the UK however current situation in Ukraine and the worldwide repercussions would have an impact on the Fund as trade and asset values were impacted by sanctions and geopolitical tensions. To mitigate this the Risk Management Strategy had been strengthened during the past year and should provide some protection to significant falls in asset prices and rising inflation.

2.      The medium to long term outlook which played into the 2022 valuation and investment strategy review looked to be far more challenging, with increasing concerns around inflationary impacts.

3.      Operationally the Fund had mixed success during the Covid isolation period with the Investment Strategy able to move ahead more easily and completing the transition of assets to Brunel, expansion into private markets and renewables whilst making significant moves to combat climate change.

4.      The administration service however continued to face a number of challenges to manage business objectives with a combination of staff turnover and difficult operating conditions impacting performance.

5.      There were positive signs this had now turned a corner particularly with teams now able to operate more frequently in an office environment.

 

Arising from members questions the following points were made/clarified – 

 

6.      The Fund undertook significant member engagement, which informed the strategic direction of the investment strategy. In November a member survey showed that respondents were generally supportive of the current approach, acknowledging climate change as a financial risk best managed by the integration of variable factors and effective stewardship.

7.      Regarding investment strategy members were remined that the former BCC Chief Executive had been written to about wider staff consultation on investment strategy however it appeared that this had not happened yet.

(Councillor Eddy left the meeting at this point)

8.      There was a dichotomy regarding investment in that directing investment to renewables to soon could mean that the APF would lose out on financial gains from oil investment which itself would enable future funding in renewable energy.

9.      A presentation to elected members about investment choices would be undertaken by Councillor Steve Pearce to explain what the APF does for both the employer and members of the fund.

 

Resolved – That the report be noted.

 

12.

HR dashboard Recruitment Thematic Review - Time for this item 30 minutes pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Director Workforce and Change updating the Committee on the Council’s latest data from the HR dashboard and employee experience surveys and illustrated key trends alongside other information on recruitment and retention. The details of this were as set out in paragraph 4 (a-m) of the report.

 

Key trends from the HR Dashboard including information on recruitment and retention were:

 

1.      The council’s headcount had reduced by 5% over the 12 months up to 31 March 2023 and the council’s number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions had reduced by 4%.

 

2.      The average number of working days lost due to sickness absence had increased by 4% over the same period.

 

3.      Turnover within the council had remained broadly the same over the last 12 months at 16%.

 

4.      The number of applicants shortlisted and offers made to Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic applicants remained below the working age population of the city.

 

5.      Representation of Disabled staff and the number of Disabled applicants shortlisted and offers made was above the Quality-of-Life 2020/21 to 2022/23 three-year average of 8.4%.

 

6.      Representation of women and number of female applicants shortlisted and offers made was above the working age population of the city.

 

7.      The number of applicants shortlisted and offers made to 16 to 29 years olds remained below the working age population of the city.

 

8.      The number of Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual (LGB) applicants shortlisted, and offers made was above the working age population of the city, though the representation of LGB staff remained below the working age population of the city.

 

9.      Representation of staff with a religion or belief and number of applicants, shortlisted and offers made was slightly below the working age population of the city.

 

10.  The Council’s employee experience survey for starters indicated that 97% of new starters agreed that they were happy in their job and 95% felt able and supported to be themselves in the workplace. 11% did not agree that they had the equipment to do their work effectively.

 

11.  47% of new starters identified career development as the main reason for joining the Council. 17% identified an interest in the public sector were their main reason.

 

12.  The Council’s employee experience survey for leavers indicated that 76% of leavers agreed that they felt able and supported to be themselves in the workplace and 72% felt they were treated fairly as an employee. 21% did not agree that they were listened to and 20% did not agree that they were happy in their job.

 

13.  33% of leavers identified career development as their main reason for leaving the Council. 13% identified personal reasons. 31% of leavers had worked for the Council for over 10 years.

 

Arising from members questions the following points were made/clarified –

 

14.  Information about where applicants for BCC jobs lived was available and would be included in future reporting as it was recognised that social mobility needed to be encouraged wherever  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.