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Agenda Item No. 8

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES): 24 JUNE 2014

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 16 JUNE 2014

 

C2342            SICKNESS ABSENCE REPORT – APRIL 2013 TO MARCH 2014 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were updated on the sickness absence information for the full financial year from April 2013 to March 2014.

The report set out the sickness absence figures for the full financial year 2013/1 4 and covered both corporate employees and those employed directly by schools. The outturn figures had been measured against the agreed targets for the financial year.

The report also included details of comparative sickness absence figures for the previous year, 2012/13, to assist performance monitoring of sickness absence over the two years.

 

The overall average sickness absence rate (per FTE employee) and percentage of working time lost per FTE over each financial year were set out in the table below:

 

2012/13

2013/14

Target

Average days/shifts lost (per FTE)

8.70

8.75

8.90

Percentage of time lost (per FTE)

3.3%*

3.3%*

           

 

The total figures for 2013/14 indicated a slight increase on last year's total absence figures, from 8.70 to 8.75 days per full-time equivalent employee (FTE). This represented an increase in absence of 0.05 days lost per FTE employee, however, overall absence levels had come in under the target of 8.90 days/shifts per FTE.

 

There had been a decrease in the absence levels for corporate employees (from 10.24 in 2012/13 to 9.85 days) compared with a small increase in absence levels within schools (from 7.05 to 7.60 days).

 

Absence by Directorate

 

A summary of the absence within each Directorate is set out below. A further breakdown of absence in each Service area was included within Appendix A that was attached to the report.

 

          2012/13

          2013/14

Directorate

Average days / shifts lost per FTE

% of lost time by FTE

Average days / shifts lost per FTE

% of lost time by FTE

Target (for each  year)

Corporate and Customer Services

7.57

2.9%

6.84

2.6%

8.48

Social Services

13.71

5.3%

11.72

4.5%

10.92

Development Services

5.51

2.1%

5.14

2.0%

5.31

Visible and Housing Services

12.24

4.7%

12.95

4.9%

11.47

Resources

5.23

2.0%

6.15

2.3%

7.2

Learning and Skills

9.87

3.8%

8.94

3.4%

6.66

Totals - excluding Schools

10.24

3.9%

9.85

3.8%

8.9

Schools

7.05

2.7%

7.6

2.9%

Totals - including Schools

8.7

3.3%*

8.75

3.3%*

8.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* The percentage of time lost (per FTE) is based on the total number of working days lost over the year divided by the total number of days that could have been worked by all employees over the same period. The difference between average days lost through sickness absence is low (0.05 days between 2012/13 and 2013/14) and this accounts for the percentage of time lost remaining the same over both periods.

 

Reasons for absence

 

A detailed breakdown of the reasons for sickness absence was set out in Appendix B attached to the report. The top four reasons for absence continued to be stress (24.38%), operation and recovery (19.81%), viral infections (16.26%) and musculoskeletal disorders (13.31%).

 

Responding to absence

 

A range of supportive interventions were available and applied throughout the Council irrespective of whether the sickness absence was short or long term. These included occupational health, employee counselling service and funded/part funded treatments, assessments and investigatory interventions.

 

Sickness flagging reports were produced for all managers across all Services on a monthly basis and Personnel Officers continued to work closely with managers using these to illustrate employee absence patterns and trigger any necessary action/intervention as appropriate. The Head of Human Resources also has a dedicated monthly review of the top 50 ongoing absence management cases.

 

A critical step in absence management was the return to work interview. There continued to be an ongoing emphasis placed on conducting and completing the combined return to work (RTW) interviews and sickness notification forms. These provide the framework for discussions between the manager and employee to consider reasons for the absence, explore any underlying issues or trends and moreover to identify any adaptations or supportive interventions where appropriate to promote and sustain the employees' return to work.

 

Absence levels within the Council were comparable with the levels identified in the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Absence Management Report (2013). This report found that an average of 3.8% of working time was lost through sickness absence which exceeds the 3.3% lost time within the Council.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)          T H A T the report and the sickness absence outturn provided in Appendix A as attached to the report be noted.

 

(2)          T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration.

 

(3)          T H A T the absence target for the current and future years remain the same as those set for last year 2013 / 2014 (8.9 days per employee).

 

(4)          T H A T a report be submitted to Cabinet every 6 months, to report on the half-yearly sickness absence figures and enable members to monitor progress and raise any issues for consideration. If there were any reasons for particular concern then these issues should be reported to Cabinet at a sooner date.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)          To bring matters to the attention of Members of the Cabinet in line with corporate objectives.

 

(2)          To enable the Scrutiny Committee to maintain a continued focus on the management of sickness absence throughout all services of the Council.

 

(3)          To help provide a clear focus on sickness absence management whilst acknowledging the increasingly difficult financial climate and associated challenges facing local government.

 

(4)          To provide Members with the opportunity to review sickness absence in relation to the Management of Absence policy and compare outturn against set targets, on a half-yearly basis or earlier if appropriate.

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 16 JUNE 2014

 

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