CORPORATE PERFORMANCE AND RESOURCES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 15th February, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor G.D.D. Carroll (Chairman); Councillor V.P. Driscoll (Vice-Chairman); Councillors R. Crowley, O. Griffiths, S.J. Griffiths, Dr. I.J. Johnson, P.G. King, N. Moore, L.O. Rowlands and E. Williams.

 

 

713     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 25th January, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

714     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

715     EMPLOYEE PAY POLICY 2018/19 (REF) –

 

The Cabinet, at its meeting on 5th February, 2018, considered a report and subsequently endorsed the Council’s Pay Policy for the above period to allow its submission to Full Council for final approval.

 

Prior to consideration of the matter by the Scrutiny Committee, the Head of Finance and the Head of Performance and Development withdrew from the room during consideration of the matter.  The Head of Human Resources remained in the room to brief the Committee on the report and to answer any subsequent questions.

 

The Council had a statutory requirement under the Localism Act 2011 to prepare a Pay Policy statement for the new financial year 2018/19.  The statement needed to be approved and published by 31st March, 2018.  The document provided a framework for ensuring that employees were rewarded fairly and objectively, in accordance with the service needs of the Council and that there was openness and transparency in relation to the process.

 

The Pay Policy had been incrementally developed since 2012 to incorporate the following:- 

  • Guidance from Welsh Government as contained in the document “Pay Accountabilities in Local Government in Wales” as updated January 2016.
  • Changes as prescribed by the Local Authorities Standing Orders (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 which took effect from 1st July, 2014.
  • Changes as prescribed required by the Local Government (Wales) Act 2015 to ensure that any proposed changes to the salary of Chief Officers (as defined in the Localism Act 2011) were made following consultation with the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.
  • Necessary refinements as a result of changes to the Council’s senior management structure over recent years.
  • The effects of nationally negotiated pay awards and the emerging provisions of the National Living Wage as introduced in 2016.

The Pay Policy also reflected specific changes to the Council’s pay and grading arrangements as approved by Cabinet and Council during 2017/18.  These included- 

  • The removal of the first two pay points in the Single Status / Green Book Grading Structure as approved by Cabinet on 9th October, 2017 and which took effect from 1st December, 2017.
  • Minor changes to the payment arrangements associated with the Chief Officer Appraisal Scheme as approved by Council on 13th December, 2017.  Such changes would mean that from 1st April, 2018 all incremental pay increases would be processed on a monthly rather than an annual basis.

Over the coming year a number of other changes would impact on the Council’s current pay arrangements and would need to be reflected in future Pay Policy statements.  Such changes included: 

  • The outcome of the 2018/19 pay negotiations for NJC Green Book employees and the effect of such negotiations on the current NJC Pay Structure.
  • The potential requirement for any modifications to the Council’s own local Green Book / Single Status Pay Structure as a result of the above national negotiations.
  • The impact of the UK Government’s Enterprise Act 2016 and specifically in relation to a restriction on Local Authority severance payments.  It would be important to monitor how these provisions would be reviewed, translated and implemented by Welsh Government within the Welsh public sector.
  • Any changes to election payments as a result of the Welsh Government’s Electoral Reform Review and as part of the provisions of the Wales Act 2017.

The Scrutiny Committee noted that at the Cabinet meeting at that time, the Leader had tabled an amendment to paragraph 6.2 of the above Policy as follows:

 

“As part of the above the Council has linked the scores from the job evaluation results directly to the NJC pay structure.  The national pay structure ranges from spinal column point (SCP) 6 to 49, which equate to £15,014 to £43,821 per annum.  These values will be revised to reflect the outcome of the 2018/19 NJC pay negotiations (once such outcomes are known) and to take effect from 1st April 2018.”

 

A Member, in referring to the “national” picture saw no reference within the draft Policy regarding a recent Employment Appeals Tribunal decision relating to the calculation of redundancy payments.  In response, the Head of Human Resources indicated that he was aware of the Tribunal’s decision and the implications of that decision were currently being assessed and consequently the Pay Policy for 2018/19 was unaffected.

 

Separately, another Member referred to the UK Government’s Enterprise Act 2016 and sought clarification regarding the delay in the production of guidance / implementation of the same.  In response, the Head of Human Resources alluded to the UK Government’s ongoing assessment of implications of the above Act and referred to the £95,000 cap on severance payments and associated pension strain and secondly, arrangements for those employees who left their employment, then subsequently returned to public sector employment within 12 months and the implications for returning any severance payment.

 

Discussion ensued with a number of Members seeking clarification in relation to the effects of the current 2018/19 pay negotiations, NJC Green Book employees, the weighting of the proposed pay award over the two financial years of the pay offer and the potential implications for the Council’s existing pay structure.  The Head of Human Resources indicated that the weighting of the proposed pay award in the first year would result in a 2% pay increase for employees at spinal point 20 and above.  Employees below this level would receive a 9% increase.  The second year of the pay award would result in a 2% increase for employees at spinal point 23 and above with a 6% increase for all employees beneath this spinal point.  He referred to the implications of the proposed pay award on the Council’s existing pay structure, particularly the erosion of pay differentials between pay bandings which would likely necessitate a review of the Council’s existing pay structure.

 

The Chairman referred to paragraph 6.20 of the draft Pay Policy and enquired if the payments referred to were fixed and, if so, why these were not added to the Chief Officer’s salary.  In response, the Head of Human Resources indicated that such payments were fixed and represented a payment for permanent duties and were paid on a monthly basis.  The payments were agreed following the Single Status review of all previous allowances.  He acknowledged the Chairman’s point regarding the inclusion of such payments in Chief Officers’ salaries.

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Council’s Employee Pay Policy for 2018/19 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow for final consideration and approval by Council on 28th February, 2018.

 

 

716     VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF-ASSESSMENT (MD) –

 

The Head of Performance and Development presented the report, the purpose of which was to provide Members with the strategic self-assessment of the Council’s performance for the period April 2016 to December 2017 which identified the Council’s achievements and key priorities for 2018/19.

 

Self-assessments form a core part of the statutory local government inspection processes in Wales.  Under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council was required to undertake a self-evaluation of all its services and use this information to inform planning for improvement.  The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 also required the Council to set and review annually its Well-being Objectives in order to maximise its contribution to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Annual Self-Assessment was a position statement on the Council's performance over the past year in delivering its priorities.  It was intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the Council's achievements and identifies areas where further progress was required.  The information contained in the report, in particular the Service Self-Assessments, would be used to inform the Council's Service Plans for 2018/2019.

 

The Self-Assessment process was an evolving one reflecting the ongoing work to ensure that the process dovetailed with the Council’s other forms of self-assessment (such as the Improvement Plan, Service Plans, the Annual Local Authority Education Service Evaluation Report and Director of Social Services’ Annual Report) and the developing audit requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WBFG).

 

The self-assessment format for 2017 built on the Council’s Performance Management Framework developments in 2016/17 and reflected the Council's outcome focused approach in line with its duties under the WBFG Act.

 

The Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes formed the framework for evaluating the Council’s performance and achievements, thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for its residents and secure continuous improvement.  These were supported by service based position statements covering all Council services.

 

This was the second year of reporting performance against the Corporate Plan 2016-2020 and progress was now available for a full year.  Consequently, it had been possible to undertake a comprehensive self-assessment presented by the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome areas for the first time.  The Self-Assessment covered the period April 2016 to December 2017.  The report drew on the individual service self-assessments covering the 14 Service Plan areas; the Council’s progress to date in achieving the Year 2 priorities of its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities; the views of its regulators in the Annual Improvement Report and progress to date in relation to its audit recommendations / proposals for improvement.

 

Pages 57-70 of the Self-Assessment provided an overview which outlined the Council’s current position as at December 2017, its key achievements to date and its priorities for 2018/19 in relation to Corporate Health.

 

Of particular relevance to the remit of the Scrutiny Committee was the narrative in respect of Corporate Health of the Council (pages 57 to 70) which described the overarching performance of the Council and brought together the Council’s Well-being Outcomes and the integrated planning activity which supported its delivery.  Set out at pages 77 to 265 were the specific self-assessments for each of the service areas which reported its performance to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

In concluding, the Head of Performance and Development referred to the Insight Board Action tracker report set out at Appendix B, which provided a summary of progress to date.  As of January 2018, of the 61 actions contained therein, 29 had been completed and 34 remained ongoing.  Of the 34, 12 had been attributed a Green performance status, 21 Amber and one Red status.

 

Discussion ensued regarding the comprehensive nature of the information contained in the Self-Assessment.  A Member referred to future editions of Self-Assessments being reported to the Scrutiny Committee in the future and indicated that he would welcome a briefing session on the same to Members.  He also considered it useful if the document signposted the reader to areas of performance including, associated actions with data to allow comparisons to be made year on year.  The Head of Performance and Development responded by referring to the information contained in the “tracker” appendices to the report which contained performance information.  He indicated that he would take on board the suggestion relating to Member briefings.  He also touched upon Service Plans which would be reported to all Scrutiny Committees shortly.  Members, when considering these new Plans, would have the opportunity to comment and confirm relevance of performance indicators and associated targets.

 

A number of Members thanked those officers involved in the compiling of the document.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment Report, including identified priorities for 2018/19 onwards, be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the use and contents of the Council’s Annual-Self Assessment as the basis for service planning for 2018/19 be endorsed.

 

(3)       T H A T the current progress reported against previous regulatory recommendations / proposals for improvement arising from local and national Local Government Studies for the period 2011-2015 relevant to the Scrutiny Committee be noted.

 

(4)       T H A T future Council Annual Self-Assessment Reports be the subject of Member briefings.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services and use this information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services and maximise their contribution to achieving the national well-being goals.

 

(2)       To ensure the Self-Assessment reflected the key challenges facing both the Council as a whole and informs the Council’s plans for improvement for 2018/19.

 

(3)       To enable completed actions to be closed and the remaining actions incorporated in and monitored via the Council’s Insight Act Tracker for 2018/19 and to ensure the Council implements its regulatory recommendations / proposals for improvement and responds appropriately to the recommendations / proposals for improvement identified through the WAO’s programme of national Local Government Studies for the period 2011-2015.

 

(4)       To brief Members on its contents.