Agenda and draft minutes

Employment Committee
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Hannah Stevenson  01344 352308

Items
No. Item

13.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

14.

Minutes from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 10 July 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2019 be approved

as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

15.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business.

16.

Update from the Chairman of the Local Joint Committee

A verbal update from the Chairman of the Local Joint Committee.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that they had met with Trade Union colleagues earlier to

discuss tonight’s meeting.

 

UNISON had reported that thy were happy with the amended Social Media Policy, however they were not content with the working within the Sickness Policy regarding phased return to work. Their comments would be reported in detail when the item was discussed.

 

17.

Minutes of Sub Groups pdf icon PDF 141 KB

The Committee is asked to note the minutes of the Local Joint Committee held on 10 July 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the minutes of the Local Joint Committee held on 10 July

2019.

18.

Social Media Policy pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To receive and approve the Social Media Policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Council’s Social Media Policy.

 

Tris Barnard, Head of HR and Employee Experience reported that the previous Social Media Policy had been brought to the last Employment Committee in July 201 and  had not been approved as the original document was very long. It had since been rewritten and stripped back to a more simplified document alongside a guidance document.

 

It was clarified that the local press had contacted the Council regarding highlighted sections that had appeared in the final version uploaded to the internet. This did not highlight a specific issue and had simply not been removed from the final version and this had been relayed back to the press. This version had since been removed and replaced with a non-highlighted version.

 

RESOLVED that the Social Media Policy be approved.

19.

Exclusion of Public and Press

To consider the following motion:

 

That pursuant to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, and having regard to the public interest, members of the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the consideration of the following item 9 which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information under the following category of Schedule 12A of that Act:

 

(3)        Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that pursuant to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, and having regard to the public interest, members of the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the consideration of the following item which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information under the following category of Schedule 12A of that Act:

 

(3)        Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any

particular person.        (Item 9).

20.

HR Policies Review

To note and approve the updated HR Policies.

Minutes:

The Committee received a Report on the Policy Review Managing Sickness Absence. Following the Council Wide Support Service Review, the Council’s Employment policies were all in the process of being reviewed and updated to reflect modern working practices, legislative changes and to ensure the policies are clear for managers to follow.

 

The sickness policy was one of seven policies/procedures in the process of being updated. They were originally due to come to the committee at the same time, however they required further work and revision and would be brought back to the Committee once the revision was completed thoroughly and, in a format, and content that officers were happy with and reflected the feedback from staff, managers and the Unions. It was expected that at least one or two policies or procedures would be brought to the Employment Committee over the next twelve months.

 

The updated sickness policy aimed to formalise working practices to supporting staff, such as the use of iWork and more details of staff phased return to work

 

It was reported that at the Local Joint Committee that UNISON were not happy with the wording around not paying full pay after a phased eight week return. The Head of HR and Employee Experience stated that the Council did not have a major issue beyond this time scale and that this was not a new timeline in the policy and as part of the consultation undertaken in the summer, managers and staff had requested that the timeline be clarified within the policy. This was the current practice and application of the pay subsidiary.  However, UNISON had felt that there was no medical consideration within the policy surrounding the phased return issue, and that serious illnesses and accidents didn’t seem to be take in to consideration. They also felt that the policy should not be related to finances as this could put individuals at risk therefore they were not in agreement with the policy and would inform their members accordingly.

 

As a result of the Members’ comments and questions, the following points were made:

 

·        Individuals were able to enter their own sickness absence onto iWork. It was the managers responsibility to ensure that this was completed. If an individual didn’t enter their sickness themselves, managers could enter the information on their behalf.

·        Members’ of the committee were content with the phased return to work wording as it was and felt that even after UNISIONS comments that it did not need to be amended.

·        Some Members’ felt that the eight-week full pay was rather generous and covered a longer period than in the corporate world.

·        This wasn’t a change of policy, nor was it being assumed it was just clarifying the current practice.  

·        Benchmarking data could be sought if Members’ required it.

·        Sickness data was reported in the QSRs.

·        Employees didn’t have a statutory right to bring a representative or colleague at Stage one of the disciplinary process, but it was often granted at stages two and three.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.