Venue: Remote meeting held via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Melanie Carr Email: Melanie.email@example.com
That the public Minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 having been printed and circulated, be taken as read, and confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Apologies & Declaration of Interest
There were declarations of interest to note.
Public Questions & Statements
Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Wednesday 2 March 2022. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:
· at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.
If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.
There were no public questions or statements received.
Purpose of Report – To update Scrutiny Members on the County Councils changing workforce, presents key workforce data, outlines key areas of work and progress in year, and sets out key priorities for the year ahead.
Justine Brooksbank, Assistant Chief Executive for Business Support, provided an overview of the detailed report presented, and highlighted the following:
· A year dominated by Covid - bereavement, long Covid, impact of mental health, pressures of HAS etc;
· Not much change in key workforce data, just a slight reduction in staff numbers;
· An under reporting of ethnicity;
· An increase in staff sickness absence from 6.5 days last year to 8 days this year, which was still low in comparison to other Local Authorities and employers;
· The health and wellbeing support given to employees as detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report;
· An increase in staff turnover (historically around 11% but currently around 16%) – the authority was struggling with retention and recruitment, with some pressure in technical roles and a doubling of the spend on agency staff;
· The range of communications channels in use for providing support and information to staff;
· Change in Government guidance regarding self-isolation and public sector guidance for employees was expected to change at the end of March 2022;
· The 4th year of the Apprenticeship levy scheme as detailed in paragraphs 5.16 – 5.20 of the report;
· The high retention levels from graduates, and the additional graduates recruited to support the ongoing work on the Local Government Review;
· Good progress was being made regard to improving diversity, equality and inclusion, with expanding employee networks becoming more vocal;
· The staff survey had highlighted a number of key points with a good response rate and an increase in the level of staff satisfaction. There had also been lessons learnt from the online engagement process, and work was ongoing to address the recorded lack of confidence in going back to working in the office, which had been attributed to concerns around Covid;
· A new corporate framework approach had been agreed regarding new hybrid ways of working and when face to face was required;
County Councillor Annabel Wilkinson suggested the more open conversations being had around mental health and wellbeing was likely to be a factor in the increased recording of long-term absences attributed to that reason.
County Councillor Yvonne Peacock queried whether there were problems with teacher training and it was confirmed there was a reducing school workforce as a result of increased academisation.
Justine Brooksbank drew Members’ attention to section 5 of the report on recruitment and the in particular the Authority’s involvement in the Government’s Kickstart Scheme. She confirmed that unemployment for young people in North Yorkshire was at 4% whereas nationally it was 6%, and highlighted the Authority’s role, acting as a broker for employers across the County and confirmed that more employer participation was needed. It was noted that traineeships had been less successful as a result of not having the right type of roles available.
Members acknowledged the massive recruitment challenge nationally in the care market and noted that the HUB supported the wider care sector not just the Authority. They were disappointed to note that whilst the recruitment campaign undertaken by ... view the full minutes text for item 181.
Purpose of Report – To provide Scrutiny Members with an update on the Corporate Volunteering Project and outline continued progress made to date.
Adele Wilson-Hope introduced the report and provided an overview of the progress with the Volunteer Programme project, which had been significantly impacted by Covid.
Attention was drawn to the table at paragraph 3.2 of the report which provided details on volunteering levels
Members noted both the recently undertaken volunteers’ survey and the positive feedback received, and the introduction of an online application form. They also acknowledged that a key part of being a volunteer was receiving recognition for their efforts.
County Councillor Yvonne Peacock noted the closures of some local libraries, and it as confirmed that NYCC Libraries were about to commence a volunteer recruitment drive.
Members noted the key focus for the Corporate Volunteering Project over the next 12-18 months would be Local Government Reorganisation (LGR). Keeley Metcalfe, NYCC’s Talent Acquisition Manager, confirmed that Scarborough Borough Council and one of the District Councils already had a structured volunteer programme, whilst others took a more ad-hoc approach. It was also noted that volunteer services currently engaged by one of the Districts, Borough and County Council would be brought into a consistent Volunteer approach in the new North Yorkshire Council. Officers confirmed the next update would provide a more overview of the ongoing work to unify that approach.
Members thanks officers for their update and it was
Resolved – That the update be noted.
Council Plan Update
Purpose – To provide a verbal update on the refreshed Council Plan for 2022-23
Simon Moss, NYCC’s Strategy and Performance Team Leader provided a verbal update on the ongoing work to refresh the Council Plan, as a follow up to the written report provided at the last meeting of the Committee.
Alaina Kitching, Strategy & Performance Officer provided an overview of the main changes i.e. the addition of a Local Government Review ambition with associated priorities, the new additional outcome for the ‘Leading for North Yorkshire’ ambition and the new priorities for the ‘Every adult has a longer, healthier and independent life’ ambition.
County Councillor Yvonne Peacock was pleased to note the introduction of a Rural Taskforce which would be leading on the implementation of the recommendations arising from the Rural Commission findings
County Councillor Andy Paraskos raised the issue of improving east to west connectivity and suggested that other options aside from the M62 needed consideration. In response officers confirmed that large funding schemes would be required for the delivery of other options and that the Authority worked hard to ensure access to additional funding as and when it became available.
Members thanks officers for their verbal update, and it was
Resolved – That the update be noted.
Purpose – To consider, amend and adopt the committee’s draft work programme for the coming municipal year.
Members considered the Committee’s draft Work Programme for the coming municipal year 2022-23 as presented in the report of the Principal Democratic Services and Scrutiny Officer.
Taking into account the outcome of discussions on previous agenda items and any other developments taking place across the county, Members
Resolved – That the draft work programme for 2022-23 be noted.
Private Minute of the meeting held on 6 December 2021
That the private Minute of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 having been printed and circulated, be taken as read and be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.