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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Scrutiny Committee [Corporate Resources] - 11th December 2012

Report of the Managing Director

Sickness Absence Report: April to September 2012

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Members with the sickness information for the period April to September 2012 together with the revised targets for 2012/13.

Recommendations

1.             That the absence outturn figures and targets at Appendix A are noted and any comments referred to Cabinet for consideration on 17 December 2012.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To bring matters to the attention of elected members in line with corporate objectives.

2.             To provide realistic targets to maintain the Councils focus on managing absence.

Background

2.             The Management of Attendance Policy has been operational since October 2008 and has contributed to a reduction in absence levels across the Council by over 3.5 days per employee during that time.

3.             The year ending absence figure for 2011/2012 was 8.74 days per employee against a target of 9.00 days. The figure including schools was 8.17 days per employee. The average absence figure for local authorities across Wales was 10.2 days. 

4.             This report highlights the absence figures for the first six months of the new year and, as previously requested provides additional comparative data.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             Absence information for the period April to September 2012 (and for the same period in the last financial year 2011/2012) is as follows:

 

 

     Annual 

     Target

       Actual Absence

     April - September

  2012/13

2011/2012

Average days/shifts lost per FTE (corporate)

      8.9

     4.29

    4.05

Percentage of lost time by FTE (corporate)

     3.4%

     3.3%

    3.1%

Average days/shift lost by FTE including Schools

      N/A

     3.47

    3.58

Percentage of lost time by FTE including Schools

      N/A

    2.7%

    2.7%

 

6.             The figures demonstrate that we remain within target (by 0.16 days per employee) which is encouraging and reflects a continuing focus on absence management.

7.             It is recognised, however, that sickness trends typically increase during the winter months (October to March). It will be important, therefore to maintain a focus on this issue for the remainder of the financial year.

8.             Full details of the breakdown by Directorate and individual service area are set out within Appendix A of this report. This includes the absence targets for 2012/13 as adjusted now to reflect the new senior manager structure.

9.             The half yearly figures demonstrate that four out of six of our directorates/service areas are within their half yearly target. Continuing work is being progressed within the Learning & Skills and the Social Services Directorates to ensure that the annual sickness target are achieved.

10.        There is a continuing need to review and analyse the reasons for sickness to inform intervention measures. Members will be aware that two-thirds of our current absence rates are related to long term absence, with the top two reasons being related to muscular skeletal problems and stress. This is congruent with absence figures reported in the Annual Absence Management Survey Report 2012 as published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

11.        All staff who are absent for the above reasons within the Council are automatically referred to the Occupational Health Department and appropriate support offered.

12.        At the meeting of Scrutiny Committee on 11 September Members asked for some information about comparative absence figures from across the wider public and private sector. This is summarised below and set out in more detail in Appendix B.

13.        Although the comparative information is useful as an overall indicator it is important to be aware of the dangers of direct comparisons. Members will, for example be aware of the variability in responses to annual sickness surveys and the differences in the way that sickness absence data is calculated and recorded.

Organisation/Sector

Average days lost

per employee

Average working time lost per employee

Vale of Glamorgan

8.17

3.1%

Local Authorities in Wales

10.20

4.2%

Public Services

9.00

3.9%

Manufacturing/Production

7.10

3.1%

Private Sector Services

6.60

2.9%

Non-profit sector

9.30

4.1%

14.        What is important is that, as a Council we maintain a record of strong management in relation to sickness absence and performance against agreed targets.

15.        Members will be aware that the targets set for 2012/13 were set in anticipation of ongoing and significant service changes across the Council.

16.        The pace of such change will increase over the next four years as will expectations about the numbers of staff and the working arrangements and performance of such staff. The retention of reasonable absence levels will remain a focus rather than seeking ongoing and maybe unrealistic reductions in such levels.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

17.        The incidence of high levels of absence has significant resource implications and places constraints on the continued delivery of high quality service provision. The need to continue to maintain reasonable levels of absence will be important as the Council respond to ongoing financial pressures

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

18.        None identified.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.        All legal implications including the Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act have been considered within the implementation of the attendance policy.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.        The Council's attendance levels have an impact on the Council's ability to deliver its crime and disorder initiatives.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.        All Chief Officers are aware of the absence figures within their respective services.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

25.        Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Appendix A   - April - September 2012 Sickness figures and targets.

Appendix B   - Comparative absence rates

Contact Officer

Adrian Unsworth - Operational Manager - Human Resources (01446 709359).

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team.

Gill Howells - Operational Manager - Finance and Systems

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director