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Report of the Chief Executive
RESOLVED - That the constitution of the Committee for the 2023/24 Municipal Year be noted.
The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 17 April 2023.
RESOLVED - that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 April 2023 be approved as a correct record.
Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance
RESOLVED - That the role and remit of the Committee be noted.
Report of the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital
The Committee received a report and presentation on the end of year Performance Management and Improvement Framework reporting on the delivery of Council priorities for the period April 2022 to March 2023. It also provided an overview of the performance relevant to the role and remit of this committee.
Cross-cutting key areas already being highlighted are:
· MTFS estimates a £55m financial gap over the medium term due to significant pressures manifesting over the last twelve months in inflation, pay, utilities and costs of living.
· The continuing impacts of rising costs facing local people, families, and businesses, as well as in the delivery of services.
· The demand pressures being faced by services such as in children’s and adult social care continue to increase, as well as expanding demand for debt advice.
· Staffing pressures are still impacting performance across the Council including recruitment, retention, and sickness.
· Progress in key areas such as workforce strategy, climate change strategy and customer experience.
· Inequalities continue to widen. Thrive data shows a shift (over 2 percentage points) compared with the previous year-end, towards more people being vulnerable, moving from the just coping and managing categories. There is minimal change in the proportion of people ‘thriving’.
· Additional support is still being sought and provided to local people and businesses through various grants, although this is affected additional by burdens relating to central Government’s initiatives. Household support grant is to continue for a further 12 months.
Following a request in June 2022 for additional support in relation to the Performance Management and Improvement Framework, the Commercialisation and Improvement team are working with the Workforce Development team on a focussed training session for councillors. A training brief had been drafted and is being shared at the next meeting of the Councillor Support and Development group.
The Committee received a presentation on the current position with regards to the Workforce Strategy.
Michelle Brown (Service Director for HR, Workforce Development and H & S) took OSC through an update of the Workforce Strategy which included an update on progress in the last 12 months, work in progress, and what’s coming next for 2023 . It was highlighted that some of the action plan for 2024 is underway also. Some of the work completed so far included, but is not limited to; delivering the apprentice awards, organising the leadership keeping in touch sessions, creation and rollout of the Smart Working Framework, launch of the cost free employee benefits platform – VIVUP, the development of a policy review schedule to update current key people policies and develop new ones, a new modern approach to the layout of job descriptions, the launch of the new learning system Learning Hub, developing and negotiating the Construction Joint Local Agreement and skills gap/multi-skilling framework, the opening of the new learning venue – Kingsmeadow, changes to low pay, refreshing the corporate induction scheme, launching of the jobs fair at the Gateshead International Stadium and much more.
A detailed update was given on sickness absence which highlighted some interesting trends, ... view the full minutes text for item CR4
Report of the Director of Public Health and Wellbeing
The Committee received a report to provide an annual update on the Council’s Resilience and Emergency Planning Activities.
The Council’s Resilience and Emergency Planning functions continue to operate in adherence with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (the Act), ensuring we perform our statutory duties in collaboration with our partners and communities. Within the Act the Council are categorised as Category 1 responders.
The Council’s Resilience and Emergency Planning Team has recently been restructured following some recent changes in personnel. The Role of Resilience and Emergency Planning Coordinator was advertised and a successful applicant is due to commence employment during the summer. Should any further pandemic scenarios arise the Council will work closely with the team at the Integrated Care Board.
The Committee were informed that during out of hours periods, Strategic and Service Directors cover any incidents on a rotational basis along with a Duty Officer. All roles within the Emergency Response Team are on a voluntary basis and are provided by Council employees below the grade of service director. Team numbers are constantly monitored to ensure that a large team remains in place and to make sure effective arrangements can be activated.
The learning gained from the response to Storm Arwen in late 2021 highlighted the need for more robust and proactive response mechanisms to be in place for future incidents. As a result an escalation protocol has been drafted for use by the Emergency Response Team.
Role based refresher training was offered to all existing members of the Emergency Response Team and provided to those who expressed an interest in November and December 2022. Further training has been provided to new members of the Incident Director Team in May 2023 and to other new members of the Team throughout the year.
The following multi-agency exercises have taken place over the past 12 months.
· Exercise London Bridge – 24 May 2022
· National Exercise Flood-Ex – 15th and 16th November 2022
· Exercise Mighty Oak – 28-30 March 2023
The following incidents have been responded to by the team since the last report in June 2022.
· 1 – 20 July 2022 – Extreme Heat
· 8-19 September 2022 – Operation London Bridge
There have been recent reports of Avian Influenza outbreaks nationally, but fortunately Gateshead has not had any cases reported since February 2022.
Northumbria Local Resilience Forum (LRF) of which Gateshead Council is a member is the mechanism used to enable multi-agency planning arrangements to be documented, tested and exercised. In 2022 a restructure of the LRF resulted in the recruitment of an LRF Manager and supporting team of officers and administrators which replaced the previous structure of one administrator and a support officer.
These additional resources have benefitted all multi-agency organisations in the LRF’s membership providing a much more structured and pro-active approach to potential threats to business continuity and the public.
The ‘Protect Duty’ has been in development by the Home Office over recent years, in response to the evolvement of terrorist threats in public spaces all ... view the full minutes text for item CR5
Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received the provisional work programme report for the 2023/24 municipal year. The following were requested by members of OSC as topic to be included within the 2023-2024 work programme:
RESOLVED - (i) that the comments of the committee and annual work programme for 2023/24 be noted.
(ii) that the Provisional work programme for 2023/24 be endorsed and referred to Council on 20 July 2023 for agreement.
(iii) that it be noted that further reports will be brought to the Committee to identify any additional issues which the Committee may be asked to consider.