The Employee Relations and Policy Manager outlined the key points of the Temporary Workers Report, highlighting that since the last report there had been a slight increase in the number of temporary workers and a breakdown of these by Directorate had been provided in the report. The report also presented answers to questions that had been raised at the last Committee meeting in February.
The main concerns of Committee Members were around the number of temporary workers who had been employed by the Council for 3 or more years in the same placement, and the high number of leavers during the reporting period. On temporary worker placements of 3+ years, it was explained that these were mainly for difficult to fill positions, and that a recent recruitment campaign for permanent staff in adult social care had taken place which sought to bring down these figures. Members appreciated this but also noted that other categories such as admin and clerical showed high levels of 3+ years temporary placements, and suggested that perhaps the directorates involved needed to be more proactive in addressing this issue. On the high number of leavers, the Employee Relations and Policy Manager confirmed that all members of staff who resigned were offered an exit interview. Members requested further detail on the reasons given in exit interviews for staff leaving Slough Borough Council, and it was agreed that officers would look to see what more could be provided in a summarized and anonymized form to maintain confidentiality.
Members also requested further detail at a future point on statistics which did not include finance services, as the high numbers of temporary workers in this section currently distorted the overall figures; and also statistics for leavers for the whole year rather than 3 months as provided in the report. The Employee Relations and Policy Manager agreed to provide this.
In answer to further questions it was confirmed that in cases of long-term (over 6 months) sickness absence, different options were explored by managers on a case by case basis for adapting the employee’s role or offering an alternative role, and that the sickness policy is currently under review. It was also confirmed that managers would always look to consider fixed-term contracts rather than extending agency contracts when it came to renewal or extension of agency contracts for temporary workers.
In answer to a question on the current number of employment tribunals it was confirmed that there were 9 employment tribunals that were currently underway (which was down from 13 at the time of the last report). At Members’ request it was agreed that further (anonymized) details on current tribunals could be shared with members.
Resolved – That details of the report be noted.