Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 11th February, 2013


Report of the Director of Social Services


Social Services Sickness Absence Update - Half Year - April to September 2012


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide information regarding sickness absence in the Social Services Directorate for the period April to September 2012 and to update elected Members on the progress made in delivering sickness absence management arrangements.


1.             That Scrutiny Committee note the report and the levels of sickness absence within the Directorate, across Services and receives further summary reports in relation to this matter.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             Members have previously asked to receive, on a routine basis, reports confirming that the Social Services Directorate is 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.             The Council continues to strive to improve the management of attendance in order to reduce costs and ensure continuity of service provision.

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.             As a result of the corporate structures, all sickness targets have been amended to take account of any change in staffing as a consequence of the recent Senior Management restructure.  The new targets have been formulated on the basis of the previous year's absence of staff redeployed into their new directorate and against the outturn of 9 days per FTE.  Changes to Social Services were minimal, with the addition of the Youth Offending Service returning to Children and Young People.  This restructure resulted in a target absence rate of 10.9 days, as opposed to the previous figure of 11.8 days.

5.             Absence figures, target and outturn for Social Services and corporately for the Council (excluding Schools) for the period April to September 2012 are shown in the following table:-



Annual Target 2012/2013


Actual against Target -Half Year

Social Services

Total for period April - September 2012

Average lost days/shifts per FTE

8.9 days

4.29 days*

5.54 days

Percentage of lost time by FTE

No targets set at this level



Total Days Lost

Corporate = 8744.52 days

Social Services = 2723.15 days


* Excluding Schools.

6.             Set out below is a breakdown against individual services within the Social Services Directorate for the period April to September 2012, along with financial year outturn figures in respect of the previous year.

Social Services Directorate

Average lost days by FTE - April to September 2012

Comparison for the same period last year - April to September 2011

Target for the full year 2012/2013

Children & Young People

3.76 days

2.07 days

10.0 days

Adult Services

6.14 days

6.82 days

10.0 days

Business Management & Innovation (inc, Director's Office)

6.18 days

3.66 days

13 days


5.54 days

5.31 days

10.92 days


7.             These figures have been included within the Corporate and Schools Management of Attendance report to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on the 11th December 2012 and referred to the Cabinet meeting of the 17th December 2012.

8.             Within all Directorates within the Council, Social Services continue to have the highest level of absence.

9.             Compared with the same half year period of last year, there is an overall increase in the level of absence of 0.23 days per FTE.

10.        Looking at the above figures for the first six months, it is unlikely that Adult Services will achieve their target and likewise as a Directorate there is a possibility that the target may be exceeded.

11.        The data shows that Operations and Recovery attributed to 31% of the absence.  Typically with age, there is a greater likelihood of requiring an operation, and 20% of the staff in Social Services are over the age of 60.

12.        The second highest reason for absence was due to Other Musculoskeletal, which accounts for 21% of absence.  Training records indicate that all staff working in care have been trained in manual handling and the incidence of issues of this nature are lower than a number of years ago as a result.

13.        The split between short-term and long-term is 30% and 70% respectively, which is consistent throughout the Council.

14.        Social Services remains a predominantly "front line service".  As a consequence, the availability of alternative options (eg: home working or light duties) to support staff is problematic, however managers are encouraged where possible to consider requests for flexibility.

15.        Managers will continue to undertake their responsibilities within the Corporate Management of Attendance Policy.  The figures show a slight increase in absence compared to last year which will be considered 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 all services and to explore measures that may assist in identifying measures to bring absence levels within target .

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

16.        The incidence of high levels of sickness 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.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.        None identified.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.        There are no crime and disorder implications directly as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

22.        The report is in accordance with the Council's Management of Attendance Policy.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers

Sickness Absence Update (Whole Authority) report - Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).


Contact Officer

Carys Lord, Head of Business, Management & Innovation - 01446 704606


Officers Consulted

Adrian Unsworth, Operational Manager, Human Resources


Responsible Officer:

Phil Evans, Director of Social Services