Agenda item




To receive an update on the progress made in the last quarter on the People Recovery Plan and general HR related activities.


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 – 6:15


The Interim HR Services Manager presented the report entitled People Strategy Update along with the appendices:


·                2021-2022 HR Service Plan

·                Covid-19 People Recovery Plan 2020-2022.


The Interim HR Services Manager drew attention to points including:


·                The general approach of encouraging staff to come back to the DCO for just one day per week from 4th October has been appreciated by the majority of staff and was a good test of the measures in place;

·                There was a booking system to facilitate the allocation of hot desks and which would enable teams to book an area;

·                The IT team was busy with the laptop rollout project;

·                The customer service teams, waste team, and Town Hall and North Herts Museum teams had been working in person;

·                HR intended to seek feedback from staff during the first few weeks of the return to office working;

·                Recruitment had been busy in the last quarter including the recruitment of a new Service Director – Place

·                The Council was pleased to be supporting the government kickstart scheme and the first trainee under the scheme had arrived in the IT department;

·                3 more apprentices were recruited over the summer and 2 more vacancies were advertised to bring the cohort up to full capacity;

·                Regarding the pay award and negotiations: a final offer was made by the National Employers Group and was rejected by the National Joint Council in August; now union members would be invited to vote on whether the offer would be accepted towards the end of the month and into early into October;

·                The rollout of flu vaccination vouchers was going well;

·                The Mental Health First Aiders had created a monthly drop in session to support employee wellbeing

·                The Council had marked World Suicide Prevention Day by taking the opportunity to raise awareness and share information about how we can all play a part in spotting the signs;

·                The Council also provided a more detailed suicide prevention training to over 70 employees following a request by the corporate safeguarding group;

·                The Inclusion Group recently discussed Disability and found that despite being a small group and the organisation having a low rate of staff reporting disability that many in the group had a personal connection to disability;

·                The report included a summary of the COVID-19 absence data, which showed that the numbers for April to June and June to September this year being slightly higher than they were last year;

·                On labour turnover statistics: they had started to increase with a higher number of levers as the employment markets become buoyant.


The Service Director – Resources advised that there had been a recent steering group meeting of the Shaping Our Future group, which looked at to translate the new proposed Council Plan and its objectives into what we want from staff.


The following Members asked questions:


·                Councillor Keith Hoskins

·                Councillor Claire Strong

·                Councillor Kate Aspinwall


In response to questions the Interim HR Services Manager advised:


·                The Council had not faced difficulties in recruiting more generally but there were certain posts that had been advertised a number of times seeking candidates with specific qualifications, which were traditionally hard to fill;

·                There were currently no advertised vacancies in the Planning department;

·                Apprentices were supported in working from home or in the office;

·                There were no indications of ‘Long COVID,’ in the workforce or number of employees taking long-term sick leave;

·                Diversity statistics and their relationship to the increased flexibility available from part home-working would be kept under review.


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: