Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care & Health): 3rd September 2012


Joint Report of the Managing Director and the Director of Social Services


Sickness Absence Update - April 2011 to March 2012


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide sickness information with regards to the Social Services Directorate for the period April 2011 to March 2012 and to update Elected Members on the progress made in delivering and responding to sickness absence management arrangements within the Directorate.


1.             That Scrutiny Committee note the report and the reduced levels of sickness absence within the Directorate 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.             Absence figures, target and outturn for Social Services and corporately for the Council (excluding schools) for the period April 2011 to March 2012 are shown in the following table:


Corporate Annual Target

2010/2011 & 2011/2012

Corporate Actual against Target -

April 2011 - March 2012

Social Services Total for period

April 2011 to March 2012  

Average lost days/shifts per FTE

9.0 days

8.74 days*

11.55 days

Percentage of lost time by FTE

No targets set at this level.



Total Days Lost

Corporate = 18808.86 days

Social Services - 5481.24 days

         *   Excluding Schools.

5.             Set out below is a breakdown against individual services within the Social Services Directorate for the period April 2011 to March 2012, along with financial year outturn figures in respect of the previous year.

Social Services Directorate

Average lost days by FTE - April 2011 to March 2012

Target for the full year

Comparison for the same period last year - April 2010 to March 2011

Children & Young People




Adult Services




Business Management & Innovation (inc Director's Office)








         *It should be noted that the significant increase within this Service can be attributed to the transfer of Residential Services staff from Adult Services to the Business Management and Innovation Service.

6.             These figures have been included within the Corporate and Schools Management of Attendance report to Cabinet on the 30th July 2012.  Compared with the same period last year, there is an overall decrease in the level of absence of 0.6% within the Directorate.  It is anticipated that this trend will continue throughout the year.

7.             The split between short-term and long-term is 32% and 68% respectively, compared with 23% short and 77% for the same period in the last financial year.  The top three reasons for absence during the latest period were stress, musculoskeletal and viral infection.  Members will be aware of the support arrangements for staff which include access to the Employee Counselling, Occupational Health Revive Office Therapy services and Chiropractor Service.

8.             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.  Therefore the focus will remain on the early invention through Occupational Health referral to assist a speedy return as well as identifying where appropriate reasonable adaptations (eg: specialist equipment changes to hours, work patterns etc).

9.             When comparing the figures with those of the previous year, Members will be encouraged to see that Social Services sickness has reduced.

10.        There will remain a continued requirement on all managers to continue complying with their responsibilities as set out within the Corporate Management of Attendance policy.

11.        This report demonstrates the sustained reduction in sickness absence across the Directorate achieved through the continued work and commitment of all 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 explore measures that may assist in accelerating further reduction in absence levels.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

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

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.        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.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        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

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Carys Lord


Officers Consulted

Reuben Bergman, Head of Human Resources

Adrian Unsworth, Operational Manager, Human Resources


Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

Phil Evans, Director of Social Services