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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 15TH OCTOBER, 2012

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 3RD SEPTEMBER, 2012

 

 

“           SICKNESS ABSENCE UPDATE – APRIL 2011 TO MARCH 2012 (MD AND DSS) –

 

Committee received the sickness information for the Social Services Directorate for the period April 2011 to March 2012 and received an update on the progress made in delivering and responding to sickness absence management arrangements within the Directorate. 

 

Absence figures, targets and outturn for Social Services and corporately for the Council (excluding schools) for the period April 2011 to March 2012 were shown as follows:

 

 

Corporate Annual Target

2010/2011 & 2011/2012

Corporate Actual against Target -

April 2011 - March 2012

Social Services Total for period

April 2011 to March 2012 

Average lost days/shifts per FTE

9.0 days

8.74 days*

11.55 days

Percentage of lost time by FTE

No targets set at this level.

3.3%

4.4%

Total Days Lost

Corporate = 18808.86 days

Social Services = 5481.24 days

    

    *   Excluding Schools.

 

Committee also received a breakdown against individual services within the Directorate along with financial year outturn figures in respect of the previous year:

 

Social Services Directorate

Average lost days by FTE - April 2011 to March 2012

Target for the full year

Comparison for the same period last year - April 2010 to March 2011

Children & Young People

5.73

10.4

8.63

Adult Services

10.52

13.4

15.06

Business Management & Innovation (inc Director's Office)

19.95*

5.4

9.98*

Total

11.55

11.8

12.99

 

*           It should be noted that the significant increase within this Service can be attributed to the transfer of Residential Services staff from Adult Services to the Business Management and Innovation Service.

 

Compared with the same period last year, there was an overall decrease in the level of absence of 0.6% within the Directorate.  It was anticipated that this trend would continue throughout the year.

 

The split between short term and long term was 32% and 68% respectively, compared with 23% short and 77% for the same period in the previous financial year.  The top three reasons for absence during the latest period were stress, muscular skeletal and viral infections.  Support arrangements existed for staff, including access to the Employee Counselling, Occupational Health, Revive Office Therapy Services and Chiropractor Service.

 

Social Services remained a predominantly “front line service”.  As a consequence, the availability of alternative options (e.g. home working or light duties) to support staff was problematic.  Therefore, the focus remained on the early intervention through Occupational Health referral to assist a speedy return as well as identifying, where appropriate, reasonable adaptations. 

 

There remained a continued requirement on all managers to continue complying with their responsibilities as set out within the Corporate Management of Attendance Policy.

 

Members of the Committee commended the improvement in absence figures, although the view was expressed that the complexities of some of the IT systems in use within the Directorate may be a contributory factor to the level of stress related absence.

 

The Director of Social Services advised that, in his opinion, there was unnecessary bureaucracy in the way Social Services are required to carry out assessment and case management work.  Use of these systems is a national requirement and so they cannot be changed.  However, there is increasing recognition that reform is needed and the Vale would be keen to pilot new approaches as part of the Welsh Government’s 10 year strategy “Sustainable Social Services: A Framework for Action”.  Any request of Scrutiny Committee to the Welsh Government via Cabinet asking to reduce the levels of unnecessary bureaucracy would be of assistance.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the report and the reduced levels of sickness absence within the Directorate be noted and that further reports be received in relation to this matter.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to write to the Welsh Government requesting that the Strategy to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy be accelerated.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Members have previously asked to receive, on a routine basis, reports confirming that the Social Services Directorate was contributing effectively to the corporate aims and objectives in respect of the Management of Attendance Policy and achieving higher levels of attendance by staff.

 

(2)       To accelerate the reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy.”

 

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 3rd September, 2012

 

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