Venue: The Puerto Morazan Room - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions
Contact: Amy Rodwell
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Tim Wye, Kerry Bailes, Farah Hussain, Sarah Classick and Amirah Cole.
It was noted that Cllr Crawford had joined the Committee membership.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
The Chair advised Committee that a concern had been raised regarding the Council’s communication methods and notice periods to end temporary or casual contracts. The Chair sought assurances that the matter would be reviewed and stated that it was important that all employees felt welcome and valued whichever contractual terms of employment they held.
(a) Officers were investigating an instance where a service had to stop the use of casual and agency workers due to vacancy controls resulting in an urgent communication to those concerned; and would report back to Committee in due course.
(b) Zero-hour contracts referred to a type of contract that is not used in the Council; where there is an imbalance of rights between employer and employee in that the employer has no obligation to offer work but the employee is obligated to undertake any work that is offered by the employer.
(c) The Council instead operates casual and bank arrangements in a range of services. In circumstances where a service require a colleague at short notice, they would go through a list of casual employees to establish who was available to work.
(d) Alongside this a service may also utilise agency workers. In these circumstances an agency worker is not a Council employee in a legal sense and a week’s notice on either side is standard practice, with agency workers being paid weekly whilst casual workers are on a monthly payroll.
(e) It is possible for casual/bank and agency workers to go on to be appointed to permanent or fixed term roles, always providing a proper, competitive process is followed, which will fully recognise the value brought in their casual/bank/agency capacity.
To agree the minutes of the last meeting as a correct record.
RESOLVED; That the Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record.
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 by 4.30pm on Friday 8th December 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 Noon on Wednesday 13th December 2023.
There was no public forum received.
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 by 4.30pm on Friday 8th December 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 Noon on Wednesday 13th December 2023.
There was no trade union forum received.
The Committee is requested to note the attached Avon Pension Fund Annual Report 2022/23.
It was noted that Cllr Pearce as the Council’s Avon Pension Fund representative, had been unable to attend the meeting and it was agreed that the item be deferred to the February meeting where Cllr Pearce would be invited to attend.
RESOLVED; that the item be deferred until February 2024.
The Committee received the report of the Director: Workforce and Change and Head of Human Resources to consider the Pay Policy Statement for 2024/25. Members were asked (subject to amendments agreed at its meeting) to recommend to Full Council the Pay Policy Statement 2024/25 to take effect from 1 April 2024.
The Head of Human Resources asked Members to note the following key points:–
a. The Pay policy statement needed to be agreed by 31st March
b. The Council is a Living Wage Employer and in line with previous custom and practice the Council would adopt the new rate of £12 per hour from 1st April 2024
c. Local government employers were finding that successive pay awards had resulted in the pay spine gradually compressing, eroding ability to compete with rates of pay offered by other employers
d. The pay points specified in the draft pay policy statement would apply at the date of publication but would be updated to reflect pay awards agreed from 1st April.
e. A chief officer can be placed at any salary within the relevant range. From an administrative perspective it would be less burdensome if we had specific points within that range. It wouldn’t reduce flexibility but would provide more of a framework. Annual pay progression for chief officers on a time-served basis was not recommended (as per the 2011 Will Hutton review); instead it should be reflective of performance in role.
f. In reference to Paragraph 9 of the report it was confirmed that colleagues (“interims”) not directly employed by the Council attracted significant salaries. It was suggested that the ratios in the pay policy statement should include interims where they are included in the Council’s Statement of Accounts and/or where they were engaged for a period of 12 months or longer as at the reporting date (which is 31 December each year).
g. With reference to para 12 of the pay policy, returning officer fees, it was confirmed that the fees paid for national polls were set by government and local election fees had not been revisited for some years. Officers sought agreement to use the sum paid for the police and crime poll (which was set by government) pay policy as the sum to be paid for Bristol City Council local elections.
In discussion the following points were raised:
h. Cllr Eddy advised that although he broadly supported the improvements made to the pay policy statement, he still had concerns regarding the interim recruitment strategy as most interims were paid more than 10 times the least paid, and on that basis expressed concern about accuracy of figures and advised that he could therefore not vote for it.
i. Cllr Francis requested that introductory paragraph 1c of the pay policy was reviewed to clarify that whilst Councillors were responsible for recommending the implementation of the pay policy statement they did not directly make decisions about pay, and the current wording inferred that they did.
j. Officers clarified that ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
HR Dashboard - Agency Workers - Presentation
As per usual practice, a presentation for this item will be provided at the meeting.
The Reward and Analytics Manager introduced the item and started by sharing some general data on staff absence and turnover, followed by sharing a presentation on the HR dashboard and the HR Analytics Power BI data.
Key highlights were as follows:
a. The system had moved to a new version which updates overnight providing real time information.
b. There had been a downward trend in external turnover. Internal movement included promotions and employees swapping careers which demonstrated a developmental organisation.
c. Sickness trends for the last 12 months showed a downward trend for average working days lost from 12.2 days – 9.6 days. It was confirmed that the downward trend could be seen across all directorates.
d. Members were made aware of the functionality within the system to drill down into divisions and then services and team level.
e. It was confirmed that agency, interim and consultancy spend was mostly through the Council’s appointed supplier (currently Guidant Global). Data for the low number of placements procured outside of this arrangement is not currently included in this report.
f. It was necessary for a large organisation to have the flexibility offered by a contingent workforce. The current contractual arrangement assumes agency workers are paid the BCC rate for the job, unless there is a recruitment and retention reason to pay a higher rate.
g. It was confirmed that the current contract for the supply of agency workers and interims is due to come to an end in May 2024 and officers are working to procure a new supply contract.
h. The council services where agency workers are most often utilised are currently business support, social work and project management.
i. A significant change experienced in the last 12-18 months was the increase in the requirement for agency social workers.
j. It was confirmed that managers who have agency workers of 13+ weeks’ duration actively consider if those workers can be employed directly by the Council.
k. The demographics of agency workers could be explored at a future meeting.
Action: Officers to add the exploring the demographics of agency workers at a future meeting.
m. Work had commenced on a partnership international recruitment exercise for social workers to permanently fill vacant roles and reduce reliance on agency workers.
To note the work programme.
The Head of HR introduced the Work Programme. Members noted that the Avon Pension Fund item had moved to February and the Health, Safety and Wellbeing item had moved to the April meeting.
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting is scheduled to take place at 5pm on Thursday 15th February 2024 in a Committee Room, City Hall, College Green, Bristol.
The date of the next meeting was Thursday 15 February 2024.