Agenda and minutes

Human Resources Committee - Thursday, 30th April, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Zoom Committee Meeting

Contact: Steve Gregory  0117 92 24357

Link: Watch Live Webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

The Committee is asked to note that Councillor Jeff Lovell has resigned as Chair of the Human Resources Committee with immediate effect. The Committee is now asked to make nominations, for the Chair, for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

Minutes:

1. Election of Chair

 

The Committee noted that Councillor Jeff Lovell had resigned as Chair of the Human Resources Committee with immediate effect. Members of the Committee were therefore requested to give nominations, for the Chair, for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

Only one nomination was given -

 

Resolved – That Councillor Jon Wellington be elected as Chair of the Human Resources Committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year. 

 

2.

Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all parties to the meeting and introductions were made. The Chair set out the process with regard to the meeting being a virtual one via Zoom technology.

 

3.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Jeff Lovell, who was substituted by Councillor Margaret Hickman, and Councillor Richard Eddy, no substitution.

 

4.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There wereno declarations of interest.

 

5.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting as a correct record.

Minutes:

Resolved – that the Minutes of theprevious meeting held on 5 March 2020be agreedas a correct record and signed by theChair.

 

Matters arising –

 

1.      The Committee was advised thatresponding to COVID-19 situation had significant implications for the workload of the HR Leadership team and this meant that some aspect of the work programme for the team had to be re-prioritised and that actions arising from the last meeting had not yet been completed, Members acknowledged this;

2.     Progress regarding Disability Equality training would be communicated to members after this meeting.

 

6.

Public Forum

NB. up to 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 24 April, 2020.

 

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 29 April, 2020.

 

 

Minutes:

None received.

 

7.

Covid 19 - Workforce Implications pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on the workforce implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the organisational response that had been made. Members were informed that COVID-19 had been the most significant incident the Council had to manage in living memory to which it had responded to quickly and effectively.

 

Members were advised that –

 

1.     Council employees had experienced sickness absence due to COVID-19 and some had to self-isolate;

2.     Some employees were shielding as they were in the high risk group;

3.     Testing was available and being prioritised for key workers who were self-isolating or symptomatic with COVID-19;

4.     Comprehensive advice to employees, volunteers and managers on how to manage the health and safety implications and risks of exposure to COVID-19 was in place and being updated regularly in line with national advice;

5.     A number of employees had already been redeployed from their normal jobs to support the organisational response to the Pandemic;

6.     A casual worker retention scheme had been proposed to support casual workers whose monthly pay had ceased or diminished as a consequence of some services being scaled back or closed and 387 of staff had been written to about guarantee of payment;

7.     Large numbers of staff had been enabled to work from home very effectively at short notice and building on that experience other rapid changes were being made in the Council’s organisational plans;

8.     The Council’s HR policies and procedures had in some instances been relaxed to support both colleagues and managers in response to the Pandemic;

9.     The Council had been working closely and positively with the Trade Unions to ensure a collective approach to dealing with any problems.

 

The Committee thanked officers for their exemplary work and actions during what was an exceptionally difficult time. Members then commented and asked questions, arising from discussion the following points were made/clarified –

 

1.     With regard to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) the Committee was assured that the Council was working closely with care workers and other frontline teams to ensure that the supply of PPE was maintained and that the quality was at as high a standard as possible and was fully in line with current national and international regulations;

2.     The Council’s HR policies and procedures had in some instances been relaxed to support both colleagues and managers in response to the Pandemic. This included greater flexibility for Agile Working and child care/home education requirements and relaxation of policy in relation to emergency carers leave and sickness absence related to COVID-19. Detailed FAQ’S were also available to give guidance to staff;

3.     Testing for employees in key worker roles with COVID-19 symptoms and those that were self-isolating commenced with effect from 20 April 2020.  Testing was being prioritised for colleagues in health and social care roles. Testing wherever possible was something that was also being considered in line with public health advice;

4.     Furlough of employees was not an option open to local government staff so the Council’s policy during the crisis  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

That under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it (they) involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph(s) 2 (respectively) of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

That under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it (they) involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph(s) 2 (respectively) of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.

 

9.

Exempt staffing matter

Minutes:

The Committee was informed that following recent peer review challenges, at Bristol City Council, by the Local Government Association a proposal seeking to make some changes to the Council’s senior officer structure had been drawn up and were as set out in the accompanying report.

 

Following consideration by Members it was -

 

Resolved – that the recommendations as set out in the report be approved.

 

10.

Exempt staffing matter

Minutes:

The Committee was informed of the contractual arrangements that had been made and implemented in respect of a number of major projects and initiatives within the Council’s Growth and Regeneration portfolio and the required staffing arrangements to ensure continuity and consistency with ongoing project work.

 

The Committee was informed that, going forward, a decision had been made to procure a Strategic Partner to enhance the delivery capacity of the Council in its project work in the future.

 

Following further discussion Members requested to have further information on the Council’s strategic/major projects and initiatives within the Growth and Regeneration portfolio, this was agreed.

Action: Head of HR/Executive Director of Growth & Regeneration

 

Resolved – that the contents of the report be noted.