Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 2nd September, 2013


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


Sickness Absence Update - April 2012 to March 2013


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide Elected Members with information about sickness levels in the Social Services Directorate for the period April 2012 to March 2013 and to update them on the progress made in delivering sickness absence management arrangements.


1.             That Scrutiny Committee notes the report and receives further summary reports in relation to this matter on a routine basis.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             Members have 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.             One of key objectives in the Corporate Plan is "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 across the Council".

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

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             Absence figures, target and outturn for Social Services and corporately for the Council (excluding schools) for the period April 2012 to March 2013 are shown in the following table. 





Annual target





Actual against target  


Social Services

 Actual against target  

Average lost days/shifts per FTE

8.9 days

10.24 days

13.71 days

Percentage of lost time by FTE

No targets set at this level.



Total Days Lost

Corporate - 20912.26 days

Social Services - 6729.86 days


5.             Set out below is a breakdown against individual divisions within the Directorate for the period April 2012 to March 2013, along with outturn figures in respect of the previous financial year.


Social Services Directorate

Average lost days by FTE 

Target for the full year

Comparison for the same period last year - April 2011 to March 2012

Children & Young People - now includes YOS




Adult Services




Business Management & Innovation









6.             These figures have been included within the Corporate and Schools Management of Attendance report to Cabinet on the 1st July 2013.  Compared with the same period last year, there is an overall increase in the level of absence of 18.70% within the Directorate.

7.             The split between short-term and long-term is 31% and 69% respectively, compared with 32% and 68% for the same period in the previous financial year.  

8.             The top three reasons for absence during the latest period were Operations and Recovery (27.73% of the total), Stress (17.61%) and Viral Illness (17.59%).

9.              Members will be aware of the support arrangements for staff which include access to the Employee Counselling, Occupational Health, Revive Office Therapy services and the Chiropractor Service.

10.        In addition to the above, efforts will continue to be made to manage sickness absences, support the early return of employees to work and, where possible, reduce the likelihood of absence through appropriate preventative measures.  This includes the implementation of occupational risk assessments and the provision of manual handling (and related) training.

11.        The Department of Work and Pensions has advised that the Health and Work Assessment Advisory Service will be established by 2014; the role of the Advisory Service will be to supplement the work of General Practitioners.  Coupled with the work of the Council's internal Occupational Health service, this may bring about speedier responses to long term absences.  In anticipation of the initiative, a joint project between the Directorate and HR is currently being implemented to assist colleagues in such circumstances to return to work.

12.        All managers are required to comply with their responsibilities as set out within the Corporate Management of Attendance policy.  This is closely monitored, corporately and within the Directorate.

13.        Sickness absence management will remain a standing agenda item on all the Directorate, Service and Team meetings.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.        High levels of absence place constraints on the Council's capacity for delivering high quality service provision and present a significant financial burden.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.        As there is a mixed economy in the provision of social care in the UK, the Council has to demonstrate that it can provide cost-effective services and service continuity if it is to maintain its role as a provider. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        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

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        The Council will be unable to deliver effectively all its corporate objectives without achieving a reduction in absence levels.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        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 Officers

Sian Davies, Managing Director

Phil Evans, Director of Social Services