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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting – 18th January 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Human Resources and Equalities

 

Sickness Absence Report April to September 2011

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update members with the sickness information for the period April to September 2011.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

1.             The report and absence outturn at Appendix A are accepted.

2.             Cabinet refer the report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To bring matters to the attention of Members of the Cabinet in line with Corporate objectives.

2.             To inform the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and to invite comments.

Background

2.             The Corporate Management of Attendance policy has been operational since October 2008 and has contributed to a sustained reduction in the level of absence across the Council.

3.             This report further demonstrates the sustained reduction in sickness absence across the Council and acknowledges the continued work and commitment of Councillors, managers and the staff. Members will appreciate that inevitably a point will be reached when continued reductions in absence rates will not be achievable.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             Absence information for the Council during the period April to Sept 2011 is as follows:-

 

 

Annual Target

2011/12

Pro rata Target April   – Sept

    2011

Actual Absence April -Sept

2011

Total April – Sept 2010

(as a comparison)

Average days/ shifts lost per FTE

 (CORPORATE)

9.0

 4.5

4.05

4.62

Percentage of lost time by FTE

3.46

3.46

3.1%

4.0%

Average days/shifts lost per FTE

 (Inc Schools)

N/A

 N/A

3.58

4.20

Percentage of lost time

by FTE (Inc Schools)

N/A

 N/A

2.7%

3.2%

 

5.             Full details of the breakdown by Directorate and individual service area are attached within Appendix ‘A’ of this report. 

6.             The figures within Appendix ‘A’ show that corporately we are currently within target by 0.45 of a day. Whilst the outturn for the half year both corporately and for schools are very encouraging given that traditionally sickness absence trends are inclined to increase  during the winter months managers will therefore need to maintain a continued focus and a consistent application of the Management of Absence to achieve their targets.

7.             The half year figures show an encouraging increase from three to four of the number of Directorates that have achieved or came within their target (namely the Chief Executive’s, Social Services, Environmental and Economic Regeneration and Learning and Development Directorates). 

8.             Members of the Cabinet will note that although sickness absence within the Social Services Directorate remains the highest when compared to all other Directorates in comparison to last year for the same period there is a significant reduction from 6.94 to 5.31 average days lost per FTE which is a commendable overall 1.2% reduction.

9.             On the basis of the first half year absence figures and targets both the Directorate of Legal, Public Protection and Housing and the Directorate of Finance, ICT and Property services are above target.  However a variety of measures have already been implemented within the Directorate of Finance, ICT and Property services where absence has been mainly long term.

10.        The previous Sickness Absence report considered by the Cabinet on the 22 June 2011 in respect of the full year April 2010 – March 2011 highlighted the need for Building services to consider new measures to bring down their absence rate. Members will be pleased to note that this has been achieved.

11.        There remains a continuing need to review and analyse the reasons of the sickness to inform the development of intervention measures to assist staff to remain/return to work with appropriate adaptation/support as necessary.

12.        The main reason for long term sickness absence is attributed to stress followed by other muscular skeletal causes. The total days lost for these two reasons alone account for more than all other absences. All staff who are absent as a result of these reasons are automatically referred to the Occupational Health Department and support and assistance offered throughout their absence.

13.        Members will be aware of the continuation of the regular performance management meetings with respective Cabinet members and Heads of Service as a means to ensure a continued focus on absence management, consistency of application and early positive intervention as appropriate.

14.        As the Council continues to respond to a period of unprecedented change the retention of acceptable and reasonable absence levels rather than seeking ongoing reductions will remain the primary focus. However, there can be no room for complacency and in this context, managers will still be required to monitor and explore available opportunities to access any appropriate measures to support the policy objectives.

15.        Following a lengthy consultation process the Cabinet at it’s meeting of the 19th October 2011 approved a revised Management of Attendance policy for adoption by all schools. In this regard several training sessions have been scheduled between January and March 2012 to which all Head teachers and Chair /Vice chairs of Governors will be invited to attend. At each training session school Governing Bodies will be encouraged to consider adopting the revised policy within their respective establishments with a target implementation date on or before Easter 2012.

16.        Figures reported in October 2011 show that the Vale of Glamorgan Council lies second in rank order of lowest number of days lost per full time equivalent of 8.52.  The all Wales figure was 10.34.   

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

17.        The incidence of high levels of absence has significant resource implications and places constraints on the continued delivery of high quality service provision and presents a significant financial burden on available financial resources.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.        Legal implications including the Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act have been considered within the implementation of the policy provisions.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.        The Councils attendance levels have an impact on the councils ability to deliver its crime and disorders initiative.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.        In progressing the Management of attendance policy the council will remain compliant with its obligations under the Equality Act

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.        The Council will be unable to deliver corporate objectives without keeping absence levels to a minimum.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.        The report is a matter for the Executive decision by the Cabinet

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.        All Chief Officers have been made aware of the absence figures within their respective services.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Appendix A - April to September Sickness 2011 figures, comparative data and targets

 

Contact Officer

Adrian Unsworth - Operational Manager Human Resources 01446 709359

 

Officers Consulted

The Corporate Management Team

Gill Howells - Operational Manager - Finance and Systems

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Director of Finance, ICT and Property

Vale of Glamorgan Council, Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry CF63 4RU 01446 700111

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