Agenda item

Work Programme

To decide the work programme for 2016/17.


The Committee received a report from the Service Director, Human Resources and Workplace, and considered the public forum statement by Cllr Craig in conjunction with this item.  The report set out some areas of HR policy and practice that the HR Committee could explore as part of its work programme for 2016-17. 


In discussion the following points were made:


Culture change, improving diversity and tackling inequality


  1. Cllr Craig summarised the key points of the public statement and introduced Professor Bamford. The Committee was asked to include culture change, improving diversity and tackling inequality in the work programme and consider a review of its Terms of Reference (ToR) to ensure that these were explicit in the committees ToR. Action: Culture Working Group
  2. There was a case for working in partnership with other public sector employers who were facing the same challenges within the constraints of budget cuts.
  3. There was an opportunity through the Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017 – to consider how this could be used to further the committee’s aims. Action: James Brereton
  4. There was suggestion that recruitment of staff from outside the organisation could have a demoralising effect on staff. There was a strong argument for developing staff within the organisation. Developing vehicles to progress people with protected characteristics to address under-representation at higher grades. It was recognised that meritocracy was important, and that external candidates could sometimes offer a fresh perspective, especially with regard to the aspiration for culture change. 


HR Dashboard


  1. Members sought clarification and analysis on leavers data and why representation amongst equalities groups had fallen. Action: Culture Working Group
  2. The Committee noted that the data identified 30% of the work force as over 55 whereas the population of Bristol had an increasingly diverse young population.  Research had shown that millennials sought a different work proposition than their older counterparts.  Were there opportunities to bring younger people into the workforce? Or an opportunity to emulate the work Birmingham had done on a City System level, working in partnership with other public sector organisations to develop the concept of a Birmingham Public Servant.  Action: Culture Working Group


Staff Survey


  1. It was confirmed that UNITE would be keen to progress the Staff Survey which had commenced under the previous administration. Timing would be critical as well as sensitivity around job losses to maximise staff engagement. Closing date of the Stonewall survey is 4 November.  Liz McDougall had led on a staff health survey and emphasised the need for focused questions, which led to clear outcomes that could be acted upon and fed back to participants.
  2. The committee noted that the 2011 staff survey had a 43% response rate.  The Committee wanted to ensure that the views of the staff that did not engage were still captured. It was agreed that a joint survey with trade unions and Bristol City Council would be welcome. A sub group to be set up to progress and develop with the trade unions. Cllr Craig proposed that Professor Bamford who had offered pro bono support to help progress the staff survey work be included on the sub group.  A draft copy of the survey to be presented that the next meeting in September and link to a theme, ‘How the Council should look in 2020’.  Action: Culture Working Group


Living Wage


  1. There were two facets to the living wage accreditation. 1. As an organisation paying its own employees. 2. Building the living wage into third party contracts.  At present the Council could only encourage but not stipulate the contractual obligation to pay the living wage. There may be an opportunity to progress this more robustly through the Social Value Act.  Confirmed that the living wage had effectively replaced the lowest five grades in the Council’s pay spine. Professor Bamford suggested that the Council look closely at what John Lewis Partnership had achieved in this area.  Action: James Brereton


Use of Agency Staff


  1. Concern was raised over the use of agency staff in the Council.  Officers to provide a report on the wider context for use of Agency staff in the organisation. Action: James Brereton
  2. The committee requested an update on the Collective agreement over holiday pay. Action: James Brereton


The Committee RESOLVED to note the report and actions arising.


Cllr Hopkins joined the meeting.

Supporting documents: