BOROUGH OF POOLE
RESOURCES OVERVIEW GROUP
13TH APRIL 2004
The meeting commenced at 7.00 p.m. and concluded at 9.30 p.m.
Present:
Members of the Committee
Councillor
Councillor
Councillors
Mrs Butt (Chairman)
Belcham (Vice-Chairman)
Bulteel, Clements, Mrs Deas (substituting for Councillor Sorton),
Eades, Mason, Montrose, Pethen (substituting for Councillor Smith),
Mrs Stribley and Wilson.
Also attending
Councillors Gillard, Leverett and Wretham
Members of the public present at the meeting - 0
1.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Smith and Sorton (with
the above substitutions).
2.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor Clements – M.5 – Workforce Plan – as a Member of the Learning
Skills Council.
Councillor Mason – M.8 – Customer Access and Service Strategy – as the
owner of a retail establishment.
3.
MINUTES
The Minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2004 were submitted for
approval, and confirmed as a true record.
4.
IMPLEMENTATION AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE BOROUGH
OF POOLE’S RACE EQUALITY SCHEME
The Chairman commenced by stating that, as the Equality’s Champion,
Councillor Wretham had been invited to attend this meeting for the consideration of
this item.
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Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, presented a report
which gave progress to date on the implementation of the Borough of Poole’s Race
Equality Scheme which would enable the consideration of key issues for further
development of the scheme in 2004/05 and beyond.
Members of the Committee were provided with background information
regarding the Race Relations Act 1976, which had subsequently been a amended by
the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. This gave a statutory duty to all public
authorities to promote race equality. Each public authority must aim to:
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Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination;
Provide equal opportunities; and
Promote good relations between people from different racial groups.
In addition, public authorities, including all Local Authorities, were specifically
required under this legislation by May 2002, to publish a race equality scheme.
Members were then provided with further information regarding the content of this
scheme.
The Borough of Poole Race Equality Scheme was both approved and
welcomed by the Executive on 11th March 2003. In the process of development of
the scheme, all Council services were ranked in priority order in relation to the
relevance of the service area to race equality. All services would be expected to
develop a relevant and proportionate Action Plan for the updated Race Equality
Scheme to be published in June 2002. Further information was then provided to
Members on:
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Information relevant to resources services and the Borough of Poole Race
Equality Scheme;
Key issues and development for different service areas
- Personnel and Training Services
- Marketing Services
- Legal Services
- Financial Services
- Democratic Services
- IT Services and e-Government
- Policy Directorate
- Community Safety
In conclusion, Members were advised that whilst there had been considerable
work undertaken in 2003 to develop an effective approach to race equality and
diversity issues, there was still more work to be achieved at Corporate and Service
Unit level.
The Chairman recognised the difficulties in capturing/storing data (data
stream capture).
A Member referred to residents of the Borough who may feel isolated due to
the fact that they did not speak English and questioned how quickly translation could
take place.
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Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, referred to “language
line”, which was a phone line service that could translate the most frequently spoke
languages. A Member questioned whether this service was 24 hours a day, Colin
Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Service, undertook to provide this
information direct to the Member.
The Chairman referred to the Managing Diversity training sessions that were
currently taking place and encouraged as many Members as possible to attend
these sessions.
The Chairman suggested that the words “as they arise” be added to the
second recommendation for approval. On being put to the vote, this was carried.
RECOMMENDED that
5.
(i)
Members unanimously welcome and note the progress made to date
on the implementation of the Race Equality Scheme, as it related to the
resources theme; and
(ii)
Members identify issues and priorities for consideration, as they arise,
in the further development of the Race Equality Scheme for 2004/05
and beyond.
WORKFORCE PLAN
Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, presented a report
which gave information on arrangements relating to Workforce Planning. The
Workforce Planning process ensured organisations had the right number of
employees with the right knowledge and skills in place at the right time. The process
also assisted the Council in tackling problems such as staff shortages, staffing costs
and supported making fairly accurate predictions about the future demand for
different types of employees. Further information was then provided on the following
areas:
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National Pay and Workforce Strategy;
Other Workforce planning models;
Planning Framework;
Reviewing Workforce Planning;
Management Team consideration; and
Proposals for implementing Poole’s Workforce Plan.
A Member stressed the importance of the objectives being applied to the
individual Services Unit’s Business Plans (as the golden thread). It was also
suggested that this Plan should be reviewed annually.
In response to a Member question, Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and
Training Services, advised that it was important that within this process, Strategies
existed which enabled the creation of “career pathways” to “grow our own”. Within
this, it was also important to have Strategies to develop skills for Managers.
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Members were advised that Nottingham City Council had received additional
central Government support for their Workforce Planning process, therefore, their
principles were being used as a basis for own scheme.
RECOMMENDED that the identified proposals 9(a-g) as amended, be
adopted in order to guide and steer Poole’s Workforce Plan. (Councillor Wilson
abstained from this vote).
6.
JOB EVALUATION
Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, presented a report
which updated Members on information and arrangements relating to job evaluation.
Since the last meeting of this Overview Group, data had been collected from a
benchmarking exercise and a “sore thumbing“ exercise was being undertaken by the
Trade Union and Council officers trained in job evaluation in order to ensure data
held was valid. Members were advised that computer software had just been
ordered which enabled pay modelling and determination of job evaluation scheme
points to pay. This would also enable the costing of job evaluation and assist with
the determination of how detailed phasing arrangements may be applied.
In addition, the vacancy clearance panel had given authority to an APT1
graded officer, appointed on a temporary basis to assist with job evaluation.
Recruitment arrangements were currently taking place. The 2004/5 budget had
enabled progress to be made on job evaluation this year.
The National Pay Negotiations for 2004 were expected to involve a national
conditions of service requirement for authorities to carry out an equal pay audit. The
National Employers were recommending Local Authorities to progress with job
evaluation taking account of equal pay principles and the potential for equal pay
claims.
Further update reports would be presented to future meetings of this
Overview Group.
In response to a Member question regarding the proposed grading for the
officer, Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, stated that this post
would be primarily administrative with himself taking the lead on job evaluation.
In response to a question raised regarding the cost implications of job
evaluation, Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, advised that if
this was not proceeded with, individual claims could be made which could damage
the pay structure. He advised that job evaluation would be controlled within budget
and he added that phased arrangements on any pay rises could be an option.
In conclusion, the Leader of the Council, who had been invited to attend this
meeting by the Chairman, in order to answer any budgetary matters, reiterated the
earlier point made that provision had been made in this year’s budget to start a job
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evaluation process. However, this would be growth item for next year and possibly
the year after.
RECOMMENDED that Members unanimously note the current position with
regard to job evaluation.
7.
PEOPLE MATTER SURVEY
Colin Hague, Head of Personnel and Training Services, presented a report on
the People Matter Survey which was carried out during the Autumn of 2003. The
report outlined information on the response received.
An Employee Survey had been carried out as an outcome of work by the
People Strategy Group. The Survey results had been analysed by Strategic
Planning Services. A 58% response rate was received which was excellent. Whilst
this meant that we had not heard from 42% of employees, this does nonetheless
involve a high overall level of response. Overall, the survey results were very
positive with most people enjoying working at Poole, thinking the Council was a good
employer and believing that they made a valuable contribution to the Council. A
presentation relating to the feedback was then given to the Overview Group.
Following the analysis of the responses received, the following action has
been taken:
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Officers had submitted a report to the Management Team from the People
Strategy Group;
A copy of the survey has been sent to the recognised Trade Unions;
Information on the survey has been placed on the Council’s Intranet Loop
system;
The Joint Consultative Committee have given consideration to the survey;
The Employee Newsletter Splash included an article relating to the survey;
All Service Unit Heads have been asked to brief information on the survey
results for their Unit to employees;
The People Strategy Group and Management Team are monitoring action
taken arising from the survey; and
Policy Directors will be paying particular attention to Service Units where a
higher level of support and intervention would seem appropriate from the
results.
RECOMMENDED that Members note the report and unanimously welcome
proposals to identify areas for improvement.
8.
CUSTOMER ACCESS AND SERVICE STRATEGY
Andrew Flockhart, Policy Director, presented a report which considered the
scope of the Customer Access and Service Strategy and the process proposed to
develop it in the coming months.
Members were provided with information regarding the background to the
Council’s e-Government Strategy which included proposals to develop a Customer
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Access and Service Strategy. The ODPM had made the Council’s commitment to
pursue the development of this Strategy a condition of releasing the Government
grant for e-Government amounting to £500,000 over the two years 2004/5 – 2005/6.
Public expectations about how they contacted organisations who delivered
services to them were changing very fast. Popular access to the Internet and mobile
phones was relatively recent but appeared to be shaping public expectations very
powerfully. At the same time, some groups in the community still rely heavily on
“face to face” contact with the Council. Therefore, the Council need to carefully
consider the various needs in the community and anticipate the implications of
changes in public expectation and then consider how it wished to plan to meet these
in the future.
Further information was then provided on the following areas:
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Scope of the Customer Access and Service Strategy;
Process and timetable for development of the Strategy;
Governance arrangements; and
Opportunity to bid to ODPM for resources.
In conclusion, Members were advised that improving the Council’s focus on
people and businesses as customers represented a major change in ways of
working. There were many choices open to the Council about what it should do and
how it should do it and the next few months represented a crucial period in which
these choices would be identified. The key to success in this area was a need for a
common commitment of Members and officers to work together on the issues and to
develop solutions that were “right for Poole”.
A Member referred to the MORI survey which had indicated that a large
number of people still saw the telephone as the best way to contact the Council. In
relation to this, a view was expressed that more training could be offered to staff on
answering the phone. A Member suggested that this could form part of the
Corporate Induction and this would be addressed further.
Andrew Flockhart, Policy Director, suggested that it may be useful to speak to
the newly elected Members of the Council in order to ascertain how they had found
their experiences with the Council during their time in position. This would be
addressed further.
RECOMMENDED that
(i)
Members unanimously approve the scope of the strategy and the
process proposed for developing it;
(ii)
Members agree that a newly constituted Member Steering Group for eGovernment themes be formulated (extended from 3 elected Members
to 5) to offer guidance and support for the development of the
Customer Access and Service Strategy and the political groups notify
the Head of Democratic Services of their nominated representations (3
Conservatives, 2 Liberal Democrats); and
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(iii)
9.
Cabinet be requested to consider and approve the Council’s
application to the Government for funds to support the development of
the strategy.
CORPORATE PLANNING FRAMEWORK
Andrew Flockhart, Policy Director, presented a report which shared with
Members the most recent draft of the Corporate Planning Framework.
The development of a Corporate Plan and a Corporate Planning Framework
was identified as a key action in the 2003/04 Best Value Performance Plan in order
to support the delivery of the Council’s CPA Improvement Plan. The Corporate
Planning Framework explained the Corporate and Service Unit Business Planning
Process and performance management in Poole.
Performance Management was the process that monitored performance
against targets, identifying opportunities for improvement and delivering change. For
Local Government, effective Performance Management required co-ordinated
planning and review systems that enabled key decision makers, both political and
managerial, to take action based on facts about performance. An initial draft was
developed and shared with Service Unit Heads and elected Members with
responsibility for the resources theme and the external Auditor. Feedback resulted
in changes which had been reflected in a revised draft and it had been agreed that
the final draft should be presented to this Overview Group for recommendation to
Cabinet for implementation in 2004/05.
Members were reminded that this was a “live” document and would be subject
to revisions and enhancement as new systems and processes were developed. One
notable area being risk management which would be rolled out during the course of
2004/05 with a view to having fully risk based Business Plans in place for all Service
Units by March 2005.
Members commended the report stating that it represented a very
comprehensive framework.
A Member stated that with regard to the preparation of the Service Unit
Business Plans, he would welcome some recognition of the “Four C’s” being taken
into account, in future years.
RECOMMENDED that Members unanimously welcome the Corporate
Planning Framework and recommend that Cabinet adopt this with effect from
2004/05.
CHAIRMAN
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Minutes - Resources Overview Group