Agenda and minutes
Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 1st September, 2020 10.00 am
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Webcast at - https://manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/485377
Contact: Michael Williamson
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 21 July 2020.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 21 July 2020 as a correct record.
Report of the Director of HROD attached
This report provides an update on the Council’s response to issues relating to race equality, and in particular to the review carried out last year of race relations and discrimination within the City Council. It includes an update on the work being carried out by a working group established to progress the recommendations, and of consultation with Trades Unions.
The Committee considered a report of the Director of HR and OD, which provided an update on the Council’s response to issues relating to race equality, and in particular to the review carried out last year of race relations and discrimination within the City Council. The report included an update on the work being carried out by a working group established to progress the recommendations, and of consultation with Trades Unions.
The key point and themes in the report included:-
· The review had found that, there were issues that needed to be addressed by the Council in order to ensure fairness and equity for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff in the workforce;
· Whilst wanting to make swift progress on the issues identified, it was also identified that the Council lacked a strategic and coherent approach to workforce equalities generally.
· A commitment had been made to produce a Workforce Equalities Strategy for the Council for consideration at the meeting of the Executive in November 2020;
· An overview of the key drivers in taking the recommendations of the Race Review forward;
· The established working group consisted of over 40 employees from across the organisation who were dedicating 1 day per week over a 12 week period to ensure there was adequate resource to give focus to this work and to ensure real impact could be achieved in this initial 3 month period;
· The working group was balanced in terms of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and those staff who had responsibility for creating the systems, policies and culture which enabled progress to be made.
· The 27 recommendations from the original race review have been grouped into 5 broad themes –
o Developing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff
o Engagement and communications
o HR polices
· The parallel role Trade Unions would play in supporting the work of the Working Group; and.
· An overview of key progress to date
Officers from the working group also attended the meeting to update the Committee on the areas of work which they were leading on.
What followed was a lengthy discussion by the Committee on the content of the report and the updates provided by Officers from the Working Group.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· How had the membership of the working group been determined; was the was the ethnicity breakdown of the whole group know or being monitored and if not why not; and where Elected Members part of the group and again, if not why not;
· What steps were taken to ensure staff of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds had the opportunities to be part of the working group;
· Disappointment was expressed that Cllr Ahmed Ali had not been invited to meetings of the working group, given he was the lead Member for Race Equality within the Labour Group;
· Questions were asked as to whether any Black councillors had been invited to take part;
· Had Trade Union representatives been invited ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Report of the Deputy Director of HROD attached
This report provides an overview of support to staff during the Council’s response to the COVID19 pandemic and an update of the work to develop management standards as part of the Our Ways of Working programme.
The Committee considered a report of the Director of HR&OD, which provided an overview of the support to staff during the Council’s response to the COVID19 pandemic and an update of the work to develop management standards as part of the Our Ways of Working programme.
The key points and themes in the report included:-
· An update on ICT support to enable staff to work from home;
· Communications and engagement with staff;
· Health and Wellbeing support
· The current position of numbers of staff working on site and the work going into prepare for more staff to return;
· An update on those staff classed as vulnerable or shielding;
· Future ways of working based on a maximum 30% of the workforce in the building at any one time; and
· The steps being taken to strengthen accountability
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:-
· Concern was expressed that the 62 staff who were classed as shielding and unable to work from home were being managed under the Council’s management of attendance policy;
· Was the ambition to have all staff returning to work by October too ambitious given that most staff felt comfortable working from home;
· Why were staff who were not comfortable working from home, especially BAME and disabled staff, still awaiting receipt of appropriate equipment to enable them to work from home more comfortably;
· How many Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff were in the 373 within the ‘vulnerable’ or ‘living with someone that is shielding’ categories; and
· Were the any common/predominant issues being raised through the Employee Assistance Programme.
The Deputy Director of HR&OD advised that the 62 staff referred to in the report were not able to work from home due to the nature of their jobs. It was clarified that at present anyone who had bene classed as shielding and unable to work from home were not being managed by attendance and all were going through individual risk assessments to look at their specific circumstances, which would include a referral to Occupational Health. The ambition to return all staff to work would be on a much reduced basis (approx. 30%) and would equate to staff having access to work on site approximately one or two days a week. The Committee was also advised that all staff working from home had been provided with the necessary technology to enable them to work (laptop, mobile phone etc), and the provision of equipment for those who had specific medial, such as chairs, was being facilitated.
The Deputy Director of HR&OD agreed to provide a breakdown of the 373 staff that fell within the ‘vulnerable’ or ‘living with someone that is shielding’ categories and advised that the Council was informed of themes by the EAP providers but not specific details. This alongside feedback from managers and support groups helped identify predominant areas of concern felt by staff which HR were then able to look at and put plans in place to address.
Report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform attached
This report provides an overview of the Our Manchester Strategy reset, including the timescales of the work.
The Committee agrees to defer this item to its next meeting on 6 October 2020
Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit.
This report provides the Committee with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.
The relevant COVID-19 Sit-rep is now included as an item for information.
The Committee considered a report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.
(1) Notes the report;
(2) Agrees the Work Programme as submitted