(G Blakemore) To verbal update members on the People Strategy.
The Strategic Director, G. Blakemore updated the Committee on the Council’s People Strategy.
The Strategy had commenced in 2017 under the corporate ambition, Stronger Council and a significant amount of progress had been made. The Strategy consisted of five work streams which included Developing Leadership, Developing the Organisation, Developing Skills & Capacity, Resourcing the Council and Pay, Grading & Benefits.
Within this, various models had been used to progress the Strategy including Decision Making Accountability (DMA), which developed the leadership of the organisation and defined clear accountability for decision making and responsibilities. This led to the creation of four levels of management; Team Management, Service Management, Service Director Management and Strategic Management. Alongside this, another model was used called the Common Operating Model (COM), which consisted of the Customer, Business Support and Specialist/Technical. It determined how the authority worked through process mapping, the creation of a Customer Contact Centre and Business Support, ultimately leading to a higher level of understanding from staff and customer satisfaction.
The Strategic Director advised that the authority had completed the top tiers of the DMA, although the recruitment process for a Chief Executive was currently active and only one of the Strategic Directors was in post. The eight Service Directors had been internally recruited and in post since September 2018, (although reducing to seven from January 2019) and the Level 2 Manager posts were to be reduced to 17, with internal recruitment progressing. The Level 1 Managers would proceed shortly afterwards and the services area as a whole would be considered over the next 12-18 months.
In additional to the reorganisation, a piece of work was being carried out on changes to Pay, Grading and Benefits of the staff, for the future of the authority, to manage costs, address external pressures and improve equality and fairness and should be completed by May 2019.
Finally, the overall target of £2.5m of savings by 2020/21 had been set, with the £647,000 achieved in 2018/19 and a target of £1.5m in place for 2019/20 with anticipated target of £353,000 in 2020/21.
Councillor R. Jennings asked how the authority would be taking the organisation through the process, whilst keeping everyone updated with the changes and progress. The Strategic Director advised that it was a Leadership Team priority with the same messages at both management and staff level. Communication included manager’s conferences, staff events, information in District Lines and general email updates. The Acting Chief Executive advised that the staff briefings were also being webcast for anyone who was not able to be present and could be view at a later date.
Councillor A. Patel asked how the process of external and internal recruitment was being pursued within the new management model. The Strategic Director advised that her level had been externally recruited and the same recruitment process would be used throughout the four levels of management. The Service Directors had been internally recruited and currently the 56 managers had been internally ring-fenced for the 17 Level 2 Manager roles. Councillor M. Sartin asked for clarification on the unsuccessful applicants. The Strategic Director advised that they would have the opportunity to apply for the Level 1 Manager roles.
Councillor A. Patel asked about the cost savings of the Strategy. The Strategic Director advised that the £647,000 had been achieved through the reorganisation to date and through consideration of the current vacancy list by the Leadership Team.
Councillor R. Baldwin asked about flexible working arrangements and how or if they would effect the terms and conditions of the staff; the effect of the Strategy on staff moral; and whether the authority would be fit for purpose. The Director Strategic advised that there were no changes to terms and conditions for flexible working and this was an opportunity for staff to work in a more flexible and agile way. Regarding the staff moral, training would be available to managers to assist with changes.
Councillor D. Wixley asked whether the savings were in relation to reducing the number of staff; and what were the current number of staff before and after the implementation of the Strategy. The Strategic Director advised that no target had been set to reduce the number of staff and through the process so far, no compulsory redundancies had been made. There were financial figures determined with the Strategy but the authority was being reorganised through a new COM, to give efficiencies in the process, increased capacity or to use a smaller work force. The Strategic Director would advise Councillor D. Wixley about the current number of staff and the envisage amount. The Acting Chief Executive advised that vacancies were being carefully considered in the short term and the Council preferred option was to redeploy or retrain staff rather than lose skills from the authority.
Members thanked the Strategic Director for the update.