Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 9SA

Contact: Saira Malin, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillors Wendy Flynn and Heather McLain had given their apologies.

 

The Chairman advised that Councillor Webster would not be attending as recent Cabinet changes meant there would have been 4 Cabinet Members on the committee. 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Human Resources and Organisational Development declared a personal and prejudicial interest in agenda item 5, given that she directly affected by the changes proposed within the report.

3.

Agreement of Minutes pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 29 July 2010

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting had been circulated with the agenda.

 

Upon a vote it was unanimously

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on the 29 July 2010 be agreed and signed as an accurate record.

4.

Review of the Council's constitution pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Sara Freckleton, Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 The Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer introduced the report as circulated.  Members of the Working Group included Councillors Hay, Smith and Godwin, but the Monitoring Officer had compiled the report containing the Working Group’s deliberations and recommendations for consideration by the committee.

 

The report set out the recommendations of the Constitution Working Group with regards to those parts of the Council Constitution which needed to be reviewed, as per the Council agreed Action Plans. 

 

The Working Group took a view on the need for the Staff and Support Services Committee (S&SSC) and decided that it’s functions could be delegated to the Appointments Committee, the Chief Executive, Strategic Directors and Assistant Directors as appropriate.  It was also proposed that a Staffing Working Group and a Constitution Working Group would be established to provide members the opportunity to input into staffing and constitutional matters.  These changes were set out in the documents comprising Appendix 2.

 

The Working Group did not make a specific recommendation as to when these changes should be implemented.  This could be done immediately or, alternatively, in May when the wider constitution review would be finalised.  There were pros and cons to both options and the committee would need to take a view. 

 

The Appointments Committee was a concept that had been considered by the committee earlier in the year, and,  at the time this related solely to statutory officers.  However, in recognition of the changes consequential to the recommendation regarding the discontinuance of S&SSC,  the Working Group felt that that the functions of the Appointments Committee should be extended to include responsibility for the appointment of the Chief Executive, Strategic Directors and Assistant Directors.  The recommendation of the group was that the Appointments Committee should consist of 9 members, be politically proportionate and to include at least 1 Cabinet Member.

 

The Group had looked at the current JNC Committee and to ensure that the JNC Conditions of service for Local Authority Chief Executives were reflected, and some minor changes to the functions of the JNC Disciplinary Committee .were recommended as well as the establishment of a JNC Appeals Committee.  

 

In response to the public interest report, a series of amendments to the Constitution are recommended by the Working Group which are intended to clarify both the role of the Borough Solicitor in conducting litigation on behalf of the Council and also the constraints (financial limits) which apply to the Borough Solicitor and other officers when exercising delegated authority.  The amendments suggested to Articles 14 and 13 were included within Appendices 5 and 6 to the report and the Committee was also asked to approve the amendments to the Part 3H of the Constitution (Employee Delegation Scheme) which had, unfortunately been omitted in error from the recommendation 7 in the report.

 

The report recommended 2 amendments to the Council Rules of Procedure on voting.  The first was to require that appointments to statutory officer posts be approved by a 2/3rds majority.  The second required that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Strategic commissioning pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Andrew North, Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Having declared an interest, the Assistant Director – Human Resources and Organisational Development excused herself from the meeting.

 

The Chief Executive introduced the report as circulated with the agenda.  This committee had considered two earlier reports (Feb 2010 / May 2010) on Strategic Commissioning and as such, efforts had been made to reduce the amount of information contained within the report, but given that it would be referred onto Council, a certain level of detail had been necessary.

 

The initial reports had been philosophical about what Strategic Commissioning could achieve, this report set out proposals for a Strategic Commissioning Council and the supporting organisational structure.

 

Consultation with trade unions, the Economy and Business Improvement O&S Committee, key partners and Members through seminars and the cross-party working group, had resulted in feedback varying from “it’s just good management” to “this will fundamentally affect the way members work”. 

 

The full year annual saving as a result of the proposed restructure of the Senior Leadership Team would be £213,000, as set out in item 4 of the Strategic Business Case (Appendix A).  Additional savings could be made by applying commissioning methodology, for example an indicative figure of 10-15% of the operational budgets could achieve an annual saving of £0.8 and £1.2 million, based on the Torbay model.

 

He then concentrated on the proposed restructure and reminded members that he had recommended changes to the Senior Leadership Team structure to this committee in November 2008 regarding the former Deputy Chief Executive’s retirement, along with 3 others. 

 

He was confident that this had been a success for the organisation and often wondered how 4 additional Directors had been required, though he did feel that there was still scope for further restructuring.

 

Appendix B set out the structure being proposed by the Chief Executive. 

 

Subject to agreement the aim was to implement Phase 1 by April 2011, resulting in a reduction from 8.5 Assistant Directors (the Monitoring Officer was counted as half a post, given that it was shared with Tewkesbury Borough Council), to 6.5.

 

Phase 2 would see that further reduced by 1 Assistant Director (AD) post and was envisaged for implementation by October 2012.

 

The Head of Shared Services was marked as ‘if required’ as it very much depended on the extent and range of shared services. 

 

The proposals identified significant changes, especially to those AD’s directly affected by the changes.

 

Appendix C contained key points for consideration and he was very grateful to HR and Finance for their input.

 

The retirement of the AD Community Services would leave one redundant AD and could result in 2 having to apply for 1 post.  As such, there clearly needed to be a process for involving members if there were competition for posts. 

 

In summary the Chief Executive felt confident that this was the appropriate structure for the future, accepting it was lean, but fit for purpose and long term, would offer capacity to transform services whilst retaining community focus.

 

In addition to this, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

JCC (inc. Health and Safety) pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Corporate Services introduced the health and safety quarterly report as circulated with the agenda.

 

He confirmed that there had recently been a serious incident where a vehicle had run into the back of a refuse truck.  The driver had managed to pull the operator out of the way just in time, had he not, the operator could have suffered severe, or even fatal injuries.

 

At the recent JCC members had discussed the budget outturn and financial climate, though this was before the announcement by central government and whilst the trade unions had concerns they understood the position the Council were in.

 

Various other matters were discussed including, change management, strategic commissioning and the Council’s approach to shared services, etc.  HR performance, various policies and organisational development were also covered.

 

Though invited, members of the Conservatives and PAB’s were unable to attend.

 

There were no questions or comments from members of the committee.

7.

HR Performance pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Minutes:

At this point Councillor Smith excused himself from the meeting and left.

 

The System and Business Improvement Business Partner introduced the quarterly report as circulated with the agenda.  Whilst this was a standard report, previous comments from the committee had been taken on board and graphics had been added, which he hoped made it easier to identify trends.

 

Sickness absence (3.2) which was 2.48 days lost, though the actual days lost was slightly less than the same period last year.  It was noted that employee numbers had reduced, thus making the average days lost per full time employee (fte) higher.

If this principle was used to predict the rest of the year, it would result in 9.5 days per fte.

 

Musculo-skeletal remained the main reason for absence, though some significant improvements had been achieved following changes to procedures at the depot.

 

The following responses were given to questions from members of the committee;

 

  • The reason for absence cited as ‘other’ included various things from eczema to cancer-related illness.  A breakdown could be provided outside of the meeting, but often there were few practical measures that could be taken to address this.
  • The trend for absence due to stress was down and falling.  It was monitored closely, as well as the number of employees accessing the counselling service.  It was important to note that it was not always work related and was hard to separate given that it was often the result of more than one factor. The number of employees absent for more than 6 weeks with stress had peaked at 11 and was currently 4.

 

There were no further questions or comments from members of the committee.

8.

Corporate Health and Safety Policy pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Julie McCarthy, Human Resources Manager - Operations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Human Resources Manager – Operations, introduced the discussion paper and refreshed policy as circulated with the agenda. 

 

The Corporate Health and Safety Policy had been reviewed and updated as per guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.  The updated policy further clarified the roles and responsibilities of those people involved in Council activities, the changes had been highlighted in bold and photos of the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council had been included.

 

The following responses were to questions from members of the committee;

 

  • There was no mention of training under the Chief Executive and Strategic Directors as this fell under Corporate Health and Safety functions.
  • The words ‘including training’ would be added under Assistant Directors.
  • The words ‘must be compliant with our Health and Safety policies’ would be added under Contractors.

 

 

There were no further questions or comments from members of the committee.  

9.

Staff and Support Services work plan pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman referred members to the work plan as circulated with the agenda. 

 

Obviously, was the recommendation to dissolve the committee agreed by Council in December the items listed on the work plan would be addressed by other committees or working groups. 

 

He asked that members review the work plan and highlight any items that they were concerned would fall outside of the scope of the proposed committees and working groups. 

 

 

10.

Any other business the chairman determines urgent and requires a decision

Minutes:

The Chairman wished Clive Minett all the best in his new role with the GO Partnership and Centre of Excellence for ICT Support and Hosting.

11.

date of next scheduled meeting

Thursday 24 February 2011

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday 24 February 2011, however, were the recommendations to dissolve the committee agreed by Council in December, there would be no further meetings. 

 

A ‘special’ meeting of the committee would been arranged before Council in December, in response to a request for enhanced payment.  The date details would be confirmed as soon as possible.