Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: daniel.wilkinson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors John Fahy, Gary Parker and Harpinder Singh

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies was noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2017.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Panel were deferred to the next meeting.

 

5.

Human Resources - Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To receive an update on the developments and performance of HR Professional Services for 2016/17 and identify key actions for 2017/18

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In response to questions from Members about training new staff the Head of Human Resources replied that Human Resources sought to support new employees through training. It was hoped that training would be done through the Apprenticeship Levy but currently that was not to be the case, but some generic frameworks had been identified and some staff would be put through them, however, that would not cover the roles listed in paragraph 4.3.4 of the report. A pan-London training framework for planning roles was being developed.

 

In response to questions from Members about staff retention the Head of Human Resources explained that career grades or career paths were built in to help retain new staff. Human Resources worked with all Directorates on recruitment and training staff. She indicated that the Council needed to be more proactive at Greenwich University as there were few university leavers who wanted to work in the public sector; Council representatives, including graduates and apprentices, did attend the University’s Careers Fairs, which was successful in generating interest but the Council was operating in a competitive market.

 

In response to questions from Members about reintegration of staff following absence due to stress or depression the Head of Human Resources explained that all staff were given a return to work interview following sickness absence. Those with stress, depression or mental ill health should get a phased return to work. There was a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Staff Network, which the Head of Human Resources or other Human Resources Officer attended, where staff could suggest improvements, and it helped break down the stigma of mental health.

 

The Chair indicated that the Panel would be looking to see a reduction in the number of staff absence due to stress or depression in the next report.

 

In response to other questions from Members the Head of Human Resources clarified that requests for flexible working from staff were considered according to their effect on the service and to fellow members of staff, and that most requests were agreed. Human Resources monitored reports of accidents and worked with schools to ensure measures were in place to prevent recurrence. Agency staff were only for short term use and agency usage was being driven down; there was a pan-London agreed to cap the agency pay rate to encourage people to take a permanent job. The Head of Human Resources commented that the Council’s General Management Team were positive about Human Resources involvement and advice when issues were flagged up within a Directorate. The Quality and Service Assurance Manager (Human Resources) advised that the Council had an opposite gender pay gap, and that was due to having a large manual work force, for example waste operatives.

 

The Chair was pleased to see that that candidates’ names were to be removed from job applications in an effort to prevent unconscious bias in shortlisting decisions.

 

 

6.

Council-wide telephone handling performance review pdf icon PDF 311 KB

To receive a report on progress made towards improving the performance of answering telephone calls made to numbers that are not handled by the Corporate Contact Centre

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In response to questions from Members the Head of Customer Services advised that it was possible for telephone numbers to be forwarded to a mobile telephone, and this facility was done automatically for certain Officers. He explained that Customer Services had met with various teams and had advised what options were available. He noted there was no consistency on how teams dealt with calls and he gave examples of how working practices affected telephone answering performance.

 

Members noted the disparity in performance between the Contact Centre and the Directorates in answering calls.

 

The Chair queried if all public calls could go through the Contact Centre. The Head of Customer Services noted that some other authorities processed more of their public calls through their contact centres in comparison to Greenwich. The Head of Customer Services indicated that because some teams were specialist they would prefer not to have a generic Council contact telephone number.

 

Members discussed the matter. It was suggested that after receiving the next report on the matter the Panel should consider producing a recommendation that there be centralised telephone handling through the Contact Centre.

7.

Contract Standing Orders - Summary of Exemptions and Variations pdf icon PDF 171 KB

To note the summary of Exemptions from Contract Standing Orders and Variations under Contract Standing as reported to Cabinet on 21st June 2017

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The item was deferred to the next meeting.

8.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To note the work programme items that are scheduled to be presented to the next meeting of the Panel and to identify any specific themes or lines of enquiry to be covered in the reports

Minutes:

The item was not considered.