Agenda item

Chair's Business


The Chair explained that the TUPE transfer issues raised during the public forum session could be discussed at this point of the meeting following a verbal update from the Director of Workforce & Change.


The Director of Workforce & Change said that the proposal to transfer cleaning and security staff to the Bristol Waste Company (BWC) was first considered in 2019 by the former Commercialisation Directorate, the work had been subsequently picked up whilst reviewing facilities management to explore improved resource opportunities by the BWC given its historical experience in this area of work. Practices were looked at by a Council Board last February to explore options and significant scrutiny by the Board was undertaken to ensure the business case was sound. The findings had subsequently been reviewed and at all time staff conditions of service were at the forefront of the work including clauses in the contract to fully protect all employees. Consultation feedback from staff had mostly been positive. The proposals included significant benefits for staff including investment in people, provision of specialist equipment, professional development and training, health & safety improvements.


Some members of the Committee felt that the reassurances given conflicted with the information they had received from individual employees and with the comments made by the trade unions in their public forum statements. This included potentially poorer terms and conditions of employment, job losses, employees not being allowed to freely speak about the changes or make representation to council meeting public forums, and lack of quality assurances such as equality procedures e.g. access to SLG’s.   


The Director of Workforce & Change clarified that no member of the cleaning and security staff had been asked to sign an agreement regarding disclosure of information about the proposed changes. The legal contract had clauses to protect staff fully, up to and including withdrawing from the contract if staff were treated inappropriately by BWC. At the end of the contract period it could either be extended or employees could be brought back into the employ of the Council.


The Committee was also informed that extensive individual and trade union consultations had taken place in full accordance with HR policies. This included 121 meetings between employees and management, group zoom meetings and questionnaires being sent out to employees. There had been good levels of participation from both employees and trade unions and assurances had been given regarding job protection throughout the consultation process. Further TUPE consultations would take place if Cabinet agreed the proposals and would address any ongoing concerns prior to the transfer. Existing Terms & Conditions would transfer with existing employees and would be offered to new employees.


After further discussion Members felt that the significant change to policy in this matter should have received greater in depth scrutiny prior to a report being put to Cabinet in order to enable enough time to understand and comment on the proposed changes.


It was proposed and seconded that, as there would be insufficient time for OSMB on 24 February to effectively scrutinise this issue prior to Cabinet decision on the 25 February, the Chair on behalf of the Human Resources Committee write to Cabinet recommending that the report on Delivery of Cleaning and Security be postponed for further consideration until such time as sufficient scrutiny had taken place by the OSMB.


On being put to the vote it was unanimously -


Resolved –

That the Chair, on behalf of the Human Resources Committee, write to Cabinet requesting that the agenda item Delivery of Cleaning and Security Services be deferred until such time as sufficient scrutiny had taken place by the OSMB.