The People Report is designed to give officers and members relevant workforce data in an easy to understand format in order to support informed strategic decision making.
Ian Morgan, Reward Strategy Manager, introduced the report which provided a quarterly update on relevant workforce data in order to support informed, strategic decision making. It was explained that Appendix A to the report presented information relating to the number of staff, composition of the workforce, starters and leavers, and sickness. Appendix B presented a copy of the employment profile which showed some analysis of each directorate and activities relating to recruitment and retention and formal procedures.
It was noted that off payroll interims and consultants should be employed for a short time period and it was enquired whether it was possible to monitor the length of contracts for these individuals. The Reward Strategy Manager explained that no agency worker was engaged for more than three months and that any extensions to this time period were subject to a formal process with Director approval. It was noted that it was challenging to analyse the average length of employment as some workers could undertake multiple assignments or may have a break during an assignment. It was commented that these concerns were known and were taken into account for the insourcing of resourcing.
It was also noted that there had been a marked decrease in sickness rates between June 2020 and December 2020 and it was enquired whether there was a specific cause for this. The Reward Strategy Manager noted that there was likely an impact relating to Covid-19. It was explained that no worker directly or indirectly impacted by Covid-19 should suffer any detriment and some absences had now been categorised in a slightly different way as a Covid-19 related absence. It was added that this information was being tracked and that, if any trends emerged, these would be considered and discussed later in the year.
It was commented that the Committee had received a presentation on the impact of Covid-19 on the general health of employees in June 2020 and it was asked whether this subject had been reassessed. The Chief People Officer noted that continual improvements were being made for employees and this included a new process for ordering equipment for home working and a contract to supply desks for those who needed one. It was noted that a staff survey had not been conducted recently but there had been all staff discussions, including discussions about the future of the workplace after the Covid-19 pandemic. It was suggested that an update report could be brought to the Committee after March 2021.
It was noted that there would be changes to off payroll working rules (IR35) in April 2021 which would require organisations to determine whether there was a genuine case for people being self-employed; this would result in a change to the tax burdens for a number of interims and it was enquired whether the Council was prepared to ensure compliance. The Reward Strategy Manager stated that the Council was prepared for ensuring compliance in relation to IR35. It was noted that the responsibility for the tax bill in cases of pseudo-employment would fall on the Council rather than individuals and there was an awareness of the rules within the wider organisation, including the Chief People Officer, Director of Finance, and Audit Team. The Chief People Officer explained that these rules would be introduced to the private sector in April 2021 but that the rules had applied to the public sector for several years, although there would be a change in the tax burden. It was noted that the Council had established processes and had been making decisions relating to IR35 for some time.
To note the report.