Agenda item




To update the Joint Staff Consultative Committee on the progress made in the last quarter completing HR work and projects and supporting people issues.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the HR Update Information.



Audio recording – 5 minutes 01 seconds


The HR Services Manager presented the HR Update Information Note and highlighted points including:


·         A formal document to show how employees work at North Hertfordshire Council was under development. The objective of this document was to inform job applicants on the work culture at NHC. Senior Management continued to work with HR to finalise the document, with feedback from employees and NHC’s Inclusion Group.

·         There have been 19 advertised vacancies this quarter which received a consistent number of applicants.

·         A couple of these posts were not filled in the first attempt, so HR have worked with recruiting managers to fill these roles.

·         The Recruitment Refresh project is ongoing and the use of feedback from employees and their managers will be used to improve the Council’s job vacancy website as well as inform future recruitment processes.

·         Staff Turnover remained consistent, although there have been small pockets of higher turnover in some key service areas. HR is working with these corresponding Service Managers to offer additional support in recruiting and also carrying out exit interviews. The feedback from these exit interviews will be sent back to these Service Managers.

·         The number of apprentices currently employed by the Council had delayed the recruitment of new apprentices, as North Hertfordshire Council has a central budget for 8 apprentices only.

·         The Pay Negotiations 2023 will begin in February with the Employer Consultation Meetings.

·         HR’s Benefits Review is underway and there are some changes to staff benefits, as well as some new benefits which will be introduced in the coming months. This is a very positive outcome for employee benefits given the current budget constraints of the Council.

·         Graphics of the Council values have been made, which are now displayed in meeting rooms within the Council offices, as well as loading screens on staff laptops.

·         Each monthly Personal Development morning in 2023 will be dedicated to a different NHC value. Resources will be provided for each of these mornings. This hopes to allow staff to consider what the values mean to them, and ultimately allow teams to further embed these values.

·         Absence levels had increased in this quarter, with colds and minor infections contributing most to these absence levels. Covid absences made up a portion of these absences also, but the levels of Covid absence are currently much lower than their peak in January and March of this year. There was ongoing advice provided to managers regarding short-term absence, and further advice and support is given to managers who have employees on long-term sickness leave.

·         The Steering Group for ‘Shaping our Futures’ has now ended but North Hertfordshire Council remained committed to developing and maintaining a positive culture. It was felt that the monitoring and review of activity was best achieved through other streams and in other groups, such as this JSCC group.

·         HR welcomed comments and feedback from the Committee on the contents of this paper to help it act as the strategic HR forum.


The following Members asked questions:


·         Councillor Claire Strong


In response to questions, the HR Services Manager advised:


·         The employee headcount found in this HR Update Information Note included all current employees, regardless of whether their position is full-time or part-time. There had been an increase in part-time employees, which is why the headcount has increased since the last quarter.

·         HR were aware that sickness levels always rise during the winter, especially in children. The absence policy does not support employees taking sick leave if their dependants are ill, employees must be ill themselves to take sick leave. However, other types of leave are offered to support employees being away to care for their dependants who are ill.


It was:


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the HR Update Information.


Supporting documents: