The committee to consider proposals for the re-organisation and refocusing of the Council’s Organisational Development and Learning function.
The Assistant Chief Executive presented the Committee with the proposals for the re-organisation and refocusing of the Council’s Organisational Development and Learning function in order to deliver 50% budget reduction in back office services and 35% budget reductions in what were ABG grant funding streams for social work and social care development . The reorganisation would deliver a total saving of £908k. Members were asked to consider paragraph 7.4 of the report which set out the current number and future number of posts in the service. This included posts which were funded by ABG funding and overall meant that 14 posts would be deleted in this service. The Committee were advised that as the posts in the new structure had changed substantially from the old structure, the proposed recruitment method for most posts was by a series of open ring fence interviews. This was with the exception of the OD Consultant for E- learning.
Members were asked to note that Appendix E of the report contained responses to the staff and union comments on the reorganisation. There was engagement with staff that were involved in more than one ringfence about how they wanted their interviews to be managed. The key focus of the restructured service would be to support the transformation agenda within the whole of the organisation together with helping the implementation of the budget decisions. The service would continue to provide short courses which would be commissioned externally. Moving forward into later financial years, the Assistant Chief Executive envisaged a closer working relationship between Human Resources, HESP (Haringey Efficiency savings Programme) and Communications under the Chief Executive’s service. There would follow a report to a forthcoming Committee about the transformation agenda of the Council. This would provide information on how the Council will manage its transformation and efficiency going forward with an explanation of how the CE’s services will work together.
The Committee learned that, where there was a position to be made vacant by means of a voluntary redundancy, and if there was a need to continue with this post then the service would seek to transfer the saving and find an appropriate displaced employee.
Clarification was sought on how the developmental aspect of the service could continue. In answer to this, the Committee were asked to note that the short Course programme, which staff relied upon to access to improve skills in their chosen area, was continuing with a manager to commission these courses for staff.
The Assistant Chief Executive continued to outline the changing function of the Organisational and Development service which would need to accord with the culture change in the organisation and support it. This was translated in the proposed new posts which were set out in Appendix D. The Committee recommended that the term consultant should not be used to describe a Council employee post as this was a term mainly associated with externally contracted staff and could also cause confusion when data is collected and analysed on the use of this staff. The Committee expressed concern at the range of pay scales for managers in the service and enquired about the duties to be undertaken to warrant this. The Committee noted that the posts were designed to provide organisational development as a function and work directly with services and this was the factor in the pay scales of the new positions outlined.
The Committee enquired about how the Council could measure the satisfaction with the new service and understand how effective they were with supporting staff in other business units through the changes. It was noted that, there were already mechanisms in place to monitor staff satisfaction with the service. The service provided valuable support to mangers with staff meetings, and team building activities. The Committee were interested in comparing the cost of externally commissioning this type of service instead of having the service provided in house.
The Committee further enquired about the research completed on working with other Councils on commissioning organisational development type service and it was noted that this service was on the list of areas to be explored for partnership working with Waltham Forest Council.
In response to the valuable points raised by the Committee the Assistant Chief Executive agreed to provide the following key information to members of the Committee. This was:
1. The service offer from Organisational Development which would include examples of how they will work directly with services and on change programmes.
2. Benchmark information: salaries, details of what the cost would be to buy in this expertise, the cost of purchasing short courses externally, and the types of Organisational Development services provided by other boroughs.
The Employee side requested that the written response provided by Unison be taken into consideration. It was noted that the liaison support provided by OD to the union learning representatives in seeking external training providers to develop workforces skill and capacity would stop. The Employee side asked that the report on trade union facilities, which was due to be considered by the Committee in April, consider how this service could continue to be provided.
i. That the new Organisational Development service offer outlined at appendix A be noted.
ii. That the staffing structure at Appendix C be agreed taking into account the responses of the formal consultation detailed in appendix E and having due regard to the Council’s public sector equality duties.
iii. That the revised structures as acted in Appendix C be agreed
iv. That the savings levels to be achieved from the reshaping outlined in section 15.5.2 be noted.
v. That it be noted that the proposals outlined in this report represent phase one of the Council’s Support Function Review of learning, development and service improvement and that any further savings will be achieved through centralization and rationalisation of these activities from within directorates and the rest of the corporate centre.