Agenda item




To update the Committee on the progress made in the last quarter completing HR work and projects as well as the work supporting employees through COVID, lockdown and ongoing restrictions.


IT WAS AGREED: That the Information Note entitled People Strategy Update be noted.


REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Committee to consider the Information Note entitled People Strategy Update.


Audio Recording – 11 minutes 9 seconds.


The Service Director – Resources presented the Information Note entitled People Strategy Update along with Appendix A – People Recovery Plan 2020-22 and drew attention to points including:


·                The draft recovery plan considered what lessons could be learnt from the pandemic and how the organisation will move forward as restrictions change;

·                The plan had been received by the leadership team and discussed by SCF;

·                The main area of feedback from SCF was in relation to home working set-up fees which became redundant as IT equipment was to be provided by the Council;

·                The council was looking at how to go about providing other equipment (e.g desk chairs) for employees working from home in future;

·                Paragraph 3.3.1 provided statistics on recruitment;

·                The application ratio statistics may be skewed by the apprentice posts which generally attract more applications per position than any other role;

·                General levels of unemployment were also a factor;

·                The Shaping our Future group was in an information gathering stage and the Inclusion Group had its first meeting earlier in the week;

·                Paragraph 3.10.2 provided an update on Learning & Development days which most but not all staff had been able to take part in;

·                The most recent Learning & Development session was on Equality & Diversity Training in line with the motion passed by Council, and this training would be rolled out to Members soon;

·                Staff Survey results showed members of staff were coping well with pandemic restrictions and working from home but there were indications that as time progressed people were feeling strained, particularly in service areas where COVID-19 response had increased workload;

·                Employees with caring responsibilities including those home schooling also reported that they were finding it more difficult;

·                The survey results might have been indicative of the time it was taken as COVID cases were spiking and as numbers decline and the vaccination programme continues results should improve;

·                Future surveys would ask staff what they feel the return to office work should look like and what measures they expect to be in place.


The Managing Director advised that he was in discussion with chief executives of other councils to compare strategies on the return to office working and indicated that NHDC’s recovery plan would be benchmarked against staff needs and expectations.


The following Members asked questions:


·                Councillor Kate Aspinwall

·                Councillor Tony Hunter

·                Councillor Claire Strong


The Managing Director, Service Director – Resources, and Interim HR Services Manager gave responses to questions including:


·                It was anticipated that staff would want a different balance of office and home working in future;

·                Plans for the return to work envisioned using the offices differently compared to 12 months ago;

·                Some employees missed the social side of office work and those with difficult working environments at home may find returning to office working a relief;

·                The working assumption of the recovery plan was that the council would use one less floor in the office than it currently occupies;

·                Comments attached to the staff survey indicate that there are groups in the workforce very keen to come back to office work and others that see value in working from home permanently;

·                As people return to the office the way they work in the office would change including adopting hybrid meetings and hot desking;

·                Not all services areas and teams had been able to work effectively from home during the pandemic and this would have to be considered by the leadership team;

·                There were no plans as yet to enforce a particular home/office balance and it was felt that office space would be able to be managed naturally;

·                If rotas or desk bookings did need to become a feature this would be implemented;

·                Some degree of storage would still be provided in DCO offices;

·                The next Learning & Development session was not themed so teams and individuals could determine the training they wanted to focus on;

·                There were organisational benefits to allowing holiday balances to be carried over across two years.


IT WAS AGREED: That the Information Note entitled People Strategy Update be noted.


REASON FOR DECISION: To enable the Committee to consider the Information Note entitled People Strategy Update.

Supporting documents: