Agenda item

Workforce Profile Report


The Employee Relations and Policy Manager introduced the Workforce Profile report. The purpose of the report was to present the Committee with workforce profile details for the Council, based on data collected in mid-January 2022.


Members’ main concern on the report was the relatively low numbers of staff who had disclosed their ethnicity or any disability.  6.3% of the workforce (68 staff members) had a declared disability, but 716 staff members had not disclosed their status, and similarly on ethnicity data 634 staff members had not disclosed their status. It was explained that HR were making efforts to encourage staff members to provide this information, and the improved Agresso system would lead to better reporting on HR issues and statistics, but this was also a sensitive issue for some individuals and ultimately a self-declaration process.


A question was asked about sickness, as it accounted for 54 of the 71 cases being taken through the Council’s HR Policies and Procedures.  The Officer highlighted the wider context that SBC had a sickness absence rate of 4.2% against a national average of 5.4% for the same period so the overall sickness absence rate compared with the other authorities.  Nevertheless, addresses the HR issues for the relatively small number of staff with sickness absence issues was a key area of policy and focus for the Council, and a new ‘stress and wellbeing’ programme was being rolled out.  In answer to a question on sick leave related to disciplinary proceedings, it was explained that an occupational health assessment was arranged where appropriate, and based on the results of this assessment virtual or in-person meetings could be arranged to enable the disciplinary process to continue.


In answer to a question on employment tribunals, it was explained that out of 13 cases cited, 7 had been responded to.  Figures were not available for how many cases had been settled by an employment tribunal and this information would be provided at the next Committee. It was confirmed that unions were always involved in tribunal cases, as HR needed to work in partnership with the unions to reach a solution.


In answer to questions on how many staff were currently working from home, it was explained that the Council had a home working policy, in line with national guidelines, during Covid lockdown. In terms of staff returning to the office the Council were working on a phased approach, with emphasis on how teams could best operate effectively, rather than setting a number of days per week to be worked. The situation would be reviewed again in approximately 6 weeks time, and an update on this would be provided at a future Committee.


In future, the workforce profile would be updated annually and reported to the Employment and Appeals Committee in April each year.


The report was noted.


Resolved – that details of the report be noted.

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