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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 6th February, 2012

 

Joint Report of the Director of Social Services and the Director of Finance, ICT and Property Services

 

Sickness Absence Update – April to September 2011.

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide sickness information with regards to the Social Services Directorate for the period April to September 2011 and to update Elected Members on the progress made in delivering and responding to sickness absence management arrangements within the Directorate.

Recommendations

THAT the Scrutiny Committee:

1.             Notes the report and the reduced levels of sickness absence within the Directorate.

2.             Receives further summary reports in relation to this matter.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2  Members expect to receive, on a routine basis, reports confirming that the Social Services Directorate is contributing effectively to corporate aims and objectives in respect of the Management of Attendance policy and achieving higher levels of attendance by staff.

Background

2.             Within the Corporate Plan, the Council has identified as an objective “to improve the Management of Attendance to secure a sustainable reduction in the levels of sickness absence in order to reduce costs and ensure continuity of service provision absence across the Council”.

3.             Since it became operational in October 2007, the Corporate Management of Attendance policy has contributed to a sustained reduction in the level of absence.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             Absence figures, targets and outturn for Social Services and the Council for the period April 2011 to September 2011 are shown in the following table.

 

 

Annual Target 2010 / 2011 - Corporate

Actual against Target – April – September 2011 - Corporate

Total for period April to September 2011 – Social Services

Average lost days / shifts per FTE

9.0

(4.50 – 6 months)

 

4.05

 

5.31

Percentage of lost time by FTE

No targets set at this level

3.1%

 

4.1%

 

Total days lost                          Corporate = 8707.50

                                                 Social Services = 2512.82

 

5.             Set out below is a breakdown against individual Services within the Social Services Directorate for the period April to September 2011 along with half year outturn figures in respect of first half year in 2010.

 

 

Ave. lost days by FTE – April to September 2011

Target for

period

Comparison for the same period last year – April to September 2010

Children and Young People

2.07

5.2

5.52

Adult Services

6.82

6.7

7.63

Business Management and Innovation (inc. Director’s Office

3.03

2.7

5.86

Total

5.31

5.9

6.94

 

6.             These figures have been included within the corporate and schools Management of Attendance report to Cabinet on the 18th January 2012.  Compared with the same period last year, there is an overall decrease in the level of absence of 1.3% within the Directorate.  It is hoped that this trend will continue throughout the year.

7.             The split between short-term and long-term is 31% and 69% respectively, compared with the first half of the last Financial Year which was 16% short and 84%.  This clearly demonstrates a significant shift.  The top 5 reasons for absence during the latest period were: stress 719 days*; musculoskeletal 676 days*; operation and recovery 301 days*; viral infection 285 days*; and chest problems which accounted for 123 days* (*adjusted to reflect Full Time Equivalent).  Members will be aware of the support arrangements for staff which include access to the Employee Counselling, Occupational Health and Revive Office Therapy services, in addition to the recently introduced Chiropractor.

8.             When comparing the first half year figures of the current Financial Year with those of the previous year, Members will be encouraged to see that, within every service activity of the Directorate, reductions have been achieved (albeit Adult Services remain slightly above their target).

9.             There will remain a continued requirement on all managers to comply with their responsibilities as set out within the Corporate Management of Attendance policy especially given that traditionally the incidence of absence increases during the second half of the year.

10.        Social Services is predominantly a “front line service”.  As a consequence, the availability of alternative options (for example, home working or light duties) to support staff is problematic.  Therefore, the focus will continue to be on early intervention through Occupational Health referral to assist a speedy return as well as identifying, where appropriate, reasonable adaptations (e.g. specialist equipment, changes to hours, work pattern, etc).

11.        This report demonstrates the sustained reduction in sickness absence across the Directorate, achieved through the continued work and commitment of the staff.  Members will appreciate that, inevitably, a point will be reached when continued reductions in absence rates will not be achievable.  However, attendance monitoring and adherence to the policy requirements will continue to be a high priority and remains as a standing agenda item at Directorate Management and Service team meetings.  In addition, the Director (supported by the Social Services Management Team and Human Resources) will continue to review how the management of attendance policy is being applied within the Service and to investigate measures that may assist in accelerating further reductions in absence levels.  

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change if Appropriate)

12.        High levels of absence place constraints on the continued delivery of high quality service provision and present a significant financial burden.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.        There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.        In applying its policies, the Council complies with its obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.        The Council will be unable to deliver the corporate objectives without achieving a reduction in absence levels.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.        The report is in accordance with the Council’s Management of Attendance Policy.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.        There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual Ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Carys Lord

Officers Consulted

Sian Davies, Director of Finance, ICT and Property

Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation

Reuben Bergman, Head of Human Resources

Adrian Unsworth, Operational Manager, Human Resources

Responsible Officers:

Phil Evans, Director of Social Services.

Sian Davies, Director of Finance, ICT and Property Services.

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