Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre
Contact: Neil Porteous - Tel: 0191433 2149 - Email: Neilporteous@gateshead.gov.uk
The constitution of the Committee, including the appointment of the Chair and Vice Chairs, was approved by the Council at its meeting on Friday 12 May 2017 as follows:
RESOLVED - Committee agreed the constitution of the Committee and the
appointment of the Chair and Vice Chairs (as approved by the Council) for the current municipal year.
The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 3 April 2017.
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 May 2017 be
approved as a correct record.
Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance.
A report was received outlining the remit and terms of reference of the Committee.
RESOLVED - (i) That reference to Gateshead Voluntary Organisations
Council be removed from the Terms of Reference of the Committee.
(ii) That the remit and terms of reference be noted.
Report of the Strategic Director, Communities and Environment.
The Committee received a report and presentation on the impact of the Gateshead Fund during 2016/17.
The Gateshead Fund was agreed by Cabinet in 2011 and was created to fund the voluntary and community sector to build capacity within communities. The key components of the Gateshead Fund comprises of the Local Community Fund (LCF) and the Gateshead Capacity Building Fund (CBF). The criteria for 2016/17 remained the same as previous years, however additional objectives were included which were; developing and mobilising volunteers, supporting building relationships with communities and supporting residents to build their communities and improve what is already there. The overall fund budget for 2016/17 was £490,267.
The Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland is working to develop the CBF on behalf of the Council and Nils Stronach, Senior Programme Advisor for Community Foundation, gave a presentation on the work of the Foundation during 2016/17. It was noted that the partnership between the council and the Foundation was established in August 2016 and undertakes research into developing the Fund and also undertakes the administration of the CBF.
The CBF provides grants up to £10,000 to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations to build capacity and strengthen local communities. The Individual Sporting Grants can provide up to £400, in addition the Talented Athlete Scheme can grant up to £1,000 to reward and recognise sporting talent of Gateshead residents. The Gateshead Volunteers’ Month can provide grants of up to £300 to support volunteering development during the month of June.
It was reported that in 2016/17 there were 61 awards, with fund distribution of £180,938 benefiting all wards in Gateshead. This equates to approximately £1.77 per capita per ward.
A number of case studies were shared with Committee of organisations which received Capacity Building funding n 2016/17. Victims First Northumbria is an independent victim referral service which was awarded £10,000 to support women in Gateshead who have been victims of rape, sexual assaults and other sex offences. Felling Male Voice Choir was awarded £4,500 to support a programme of visits which will be used to generate interest in joining the choir, it was noted the progress has been steady but work is ongoing to look at different ways of delivery. Ryton Triathlon Club was awarded £8,000 to support the creation and delivery of a new Junior Club to facilitate the transition from the children’s section to the adult section. The Young Women’s Outreach Project was awarded £4,786 to engage two workers who will run a weekly session for the LGBT Plus Group, it was noted that this work was previously delivered through the Sexual Health Team before funding was cut, it has been used to reduce stigma and so far there has been high engagement.
In terms of plans for 2017-2018 there has been a number of changes to how the Gateshead Fund will be delivered. A new assessment and reporting framework will be established to help rate the impacts of the grant. There will be increased leverage for ... view the full minutes text for item CR4
Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance.
Committee received an update report on progress following its review of absence in the Council. The report covers the period 1 June 2016 until 31 May 2017.
During the period stress, depression and mental health was the biggest cause of sickness absence, at 24% for the whole Council. Post-op recovery was second highest at 18% and also musculo skeletal was at 12%.
The total days lost has reduced to 43672, with the average sickness per FTE due to stress at 2.53 days, which has reduced since the same period last year. Sickness absence due to stress, depression and mental ill health was broken down into service groups, the biggest of which was Care Wellbeing and Learning. Although this has reduced across the Council sickness absence in this group has increased. Data was provided in relation to the numbers of employees on short term and long term sick, it was noted that the vast majority of were long term sickness.
It was reported that management training has been rolled out, which is one of five mandatory modules to enable managers to deal with workforce issues more effectively. A stress course has also been piloted in partnership with Talking Therapies for people suffering from work related stress. A full review of the course will take place after the pilot. In addition, eight workplace contacts have been recruited who can provide support and guidance to employees experiencing issues with mental health.
It was noted that two Workforce Development Advisers from the Council attended Connect 5 training, which was based on a cognitive behavioural therapy approach to enable them to work with adults to help improve their mental wellbeing.
The Health and Safety E-learning portal is continuing to be monitored, with 200 employees completing modules on stress management.
Committee was advised that sickness absence management training will continue to be rolled out for all managers, which is expected to take six months to complete. A review of the Council’s health surveillance programme will be undertaken and employees will continue to be trained in mental health first aid.
It was queried whether there was a comparison of the council’s sickness absence to the national picture. It was acknowledged that this has previously been looked at but that not all sickness recording is like for like. It was suggested that this could be looked at in terms of a regional aspect in the future.
It was questioned whether HR support is still in place to help those managers dealing with more complex cases. It was confirmed that HR support is not being withdrawn, however capacity within that service has reduced by 50%. Therefore managers are being given the tools to manage sickness absence but HR will still be available.
It was questioned as to how short term sickness absence is being dealt with. It was noted that this is covered in Council procedure, for example return to work interviews and any relevant action thereafter.
Committee queried what level of absence was related to performance management. It ... view the full minutes text for item CR5
Report of the Chief Executive.
Committee received a presentation on year end performance for 2016/17 and an update on the performance and delivery of the Council Plan 2015-2020.
Over the last year work has been ongoing to deliver the Workforce Plan, this includes implementation of the new HR and Payroll system; iTrent. Over 100 officers have been trained on the system which provides direct access to sickness management data for managers. In the future the system will also include Appraisal and Developments.
In terms of employee engagement there was approximately 2,000 responses to the Employee Survey, however this is only 40% of the workforce. From the responses positive messages were received including; 88% felt that their managers were approachable, 80% understood the need for change. Internal communications still remained an issue and as a result a Council-wide Employee Forum has been set up, chaired by Roy Sheehan.
The Appraisal and Development (A&D) framework has further been developed based on employee feedback. 45% of staff were not receiving A&D’s and therefore the process has been simplified to make it more flexible. The new system will now rate performance.
Committee previously agreed to support young people leaving care to access Council apprenticeships. There has been one so far and work is ongoing to ensure care leavers are apprenticeship ready, a working group has been set up with Council officers and staff from Connexions.
Council Tax collection has improved to 95.8%, however this remains below the target of 96.6%. Business Rates collection has fractionally decreased from last year to 97.3%, however this remains above the target of 97%.
In terms of benefit claims there continues to be steady progress, with a fall in the number of days taken to process new claims to 7.75 days. It was acknowledged that the roll out of Universal Credit has changed caseload and will likely impact on performance in the future. The rate of undisputed invoices paid on time fell from 87.16% last year to 71.44% in 2016/17. This could have a financial impact on the Council therefore work is ongoing to improve the rate.
It was reported that the new Council intranet was launched on 26 April 2017. This was developed following the views of staff being sought through surveys, workshops, forums and testing. Effectiveness is currently being measured and improvements will continue to be made as the system is live. A one system for all has been introduced for fly-tipping, forms can be completed online which is the same form that customer services would complete when a resident telephones to report fly-tipping. Feedback is provided to the complainant at all stages of the process and it is reported when the issue has been completed. This provides a fully rounded digital process. Performance dashboards help inform how services can be delivered in the future.
It was questioned whether the system has the capability for residents to send photos of fly-tipping through the system. It was confirmed that there is this facility and GPS detects the location. It is hoped ... view the full minutes text for item CR6