Agenda and draft minutes
Overview and Scrutiny Human Resources Sub Group
Tuesday, 15th October, 2019 1.00 pm
Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension
Contact: Mike Williamson
To receive the minutes of the HR Subgroup meeting held on 31 July 2019
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2019 as a correct record.
Presentation of the Strategic Director – Children’s and Education Services attached
The Sub Group considered the presentation provided by the Strategic Director Children’s and Education Services.
The Strategic Director Children’s and Education Services referred to the main points and themes within the presentation which included: -
? An overview of Children’s Services Structure and Teams;
? A description of the various teams and their respective remit;
? A description of the nine service priorities to meet identified risks and challenges and to maximise available opportunities;
? How this work and activity supported the Corporate Plan;
? A profile of the workforce and how this resource was utilised across the service;
? Data on the use of agency staff and the work to reduce agency spend;
? An overview of workforce development;
? An update on activities to support apprenticeships;
? Data on days lost as a result of staff absence and the work to address this;
? Data on the number of capability and conduct cases;
? Feedback from the b-Heard survey and the response to the feedback received; and
? Describing the identified challenges, opportunities and achievements.
Some of the key points that arose from the Sub Group’s discussions were: -
? What were the numbers of BAME staff at grade 10 or above;
? Did the service have enough capacity and was the service structure appropriate;
? What was the approach taken to undertaking exit interviews to understand the reasons staff left the service;
? What were the predominant reasons for staff leaving and was there any analysis of where staff went to;
? Was the use of consultants on the senior management team normal practice;
? Consideration needed to be given to the overall employment package to attract social workers to work for Manchester, such as the terms of employment and progression opportunities;
? Had consideration been given to adopting a policy of retention payments for newly qualified social workers to encourage them to remain working for Manchester once they had gained experience;
? More activities needed to be undertaken to engage with local schools and colleges to promote social work as a viable and attractive career option and to encourage local talent, further commenting that would address the issue of social workers leaving Manchester once experienced to return to their original home area;
? Apprenticeships should be used to support the future work force planning of social workers; and
? The importance of recognising that social workers dealt with very challenging case work, noting that the main reason for absence was Stress/Depression.
The Strategic Director Children’s and Education Services responded to Members comments by stating that the capacity of the service was regularly reviewed, stating that it was important that the correct ratio of managers to staff was established to ensure that staff were adequately supported. In respect of social worker retention, he stated that the there was no issue with recruiting newly qualified social workers, however the challenge came once they had gained experience. He said that staff were encouraged to engage in exit interviews with Team Managers, however they were not mandatory. He informed the Members that the predominant reason for experienced social work staff leaving was ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Repot of the Head of HR Operations attached
This report provides an overview of the refreshed approach to the Council’s approach to supporting staff to identify alternative roles within the organisation when displaced through either organisational structure changes or for medical reasons.
The Sub Group considered the report of the Head of HR Operations that provided Members with an overview of the refreshed approach to the Council’s practice to supporting staff to identify alternative roles within the organisation when displaced through either organisational structure changes or for medical reasons.
The main points and themes within the report which included: -
? Providing a background and overview of the MPeople approach that had been developed jointly with the Trade Unions and agreed by Personnel Committee in November 2010;
? Information on the review of the MPeople approach that had commenced in September 2017;
? Information on the key features of the refreshed approach agreed following this review;
? Progress to date;
? Current position by Directorate; and
? Next steps.
The Members welcomed the report and commented that they fully supported the approach adopted.
To note the report.
Report of the Head of HR Operations attached
This report provides an overview of current vacancies across the Council, whether the posts are being actively recruited to and how long posts have been vacant for.
The Sub Group considered the report of the Head of HR Operations that provided Members with an overview of current vacancies across the Council.
The Head of HR Operations referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
? Information and data relating to current vacancies;
? Information on whether posts were being actively recruited to; and
? How long posts had been vacant for.
Some of the key points that arose from the Sub Group’s discussions were: -
? Clarification was sought regarding the definition of a true vacancy, commenting that consideration needed to be given to terminology used to assist the lay reader;
? Consideration needed to be given to providing context for the data provided within reports, including a breakdown by grade, levels of sickness and employee capability cases per directorate;
? Information and analysis of factors relating to staff retention would assist the understanding of this subject;
? What were the circumstances that required the services of an Executive Search partner and what was the cost of employing those services;
? Further information was sought on the time taken in respect of the Parks Service redesign;
? Recognising the impact that vacancies had on existing staff and teams in terms of managing workloads; and
? Further information was sought on the use of agency staff to cover and unfilled vacancies, this to include where and when used and costs.
In regard to the comments from Members regarding additional data and analysis, the Chair stated that officers had provided the information that had been requested and she would discuss with officers the scope and content of any future update report.
The Interim Director of HROD informed the Members that the term true vacancy was used to describe those posts that were not actively being recruited to or being held. The reasons for these were various, including historical issues regarding the recruitment to social worker posts and ICT positions; the complex nature of the organisation and the range of functions undertaken, including seasonal work and the timing of income and grant funding for posts. Members were informed that these vacancies were regularly reviewed and vacancies over 12 months old would be challenged to ensure they were still valid.
In response to the time taken for the redesign of the Parks service, the Head of HR Operations acknowledged that both this and the Highways service redesign were outliers. Members commented that a summary of all redesigns and lessons learnt be provided. The Interim Director of HROD stated that the reasons for the time taken to deliver service redesigns could be complex and varied and that she would speak to the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) to understand the reasons and feed back to the Members.
The Interim Director of HROD advised that Executive Search partners would only be employed as a last resort when all other avenues for recruiting to the post had been exhausted and used for specific specialist roles. She said that she would analyse how long staff recruited using this method remained with the ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit
To review and agree the Work Programme for the Subgroup.
The Sub Group were invited to consider and agree the work programme.
The Chair informed the Members that following discussion with officers regarding the timing of reports she had agreed to defer the ‘Outcomes of the BAME review’ report from the meeting of 26 November to the 25 February 2020 meeting.
The Chair recommended that a report on the Legal Services Department be included for consideration at the meeting of the 26 November. The Sub Group endorsed this recommendation.