The Employee Relations and Policy Manager outlined the main points of the Temporary Workers report, which Members were requested to note. The report covered the Q2 period (1 July 2022 to 30 September 2022). Expenditure on temporary workers for this period was £4.81 million.
The Employee Relations and Policy Manager also clarified that the reference to ‘section 14’ in the last paragraph on page 29 of the report should read ’section 114’.
Concern was expressed by Members over some of the comments from Slough Borough Council leavers which were quoted in the report, as a number of these were very negative. Officers acknowledged and agreed that these should be noted and lessons learned where necessary, but also asked Members to bear in mind the circumstances of staff leaving in some instances, (eg in cases of dismissal) which could have a bearing on the tone of the comments.
Members asked what the Council were doing in terms of improving staff benefits and wellbeing, in order to try to prevent employees wishing to leave. The new Chief Executive’s workshops for all staff were welcomed, but also questions raised on whether more junior staff would feel able to speak openly and freely in such forums. There were also concerns expressed by some Members that they were aware of staff and management conflicts which still existed in some instances. Officers noted these valid points, and explained that the Chief Executive would also be holding smaller, more informal sessions for staff. Staff surveys were also planned in order to try to get open and direct feedback from all staff, and that HR were already hearing from more staff at all levels of the workforce.
Other questions raised included queries on the budget figures given and the effect of the high number of agency staff reductions in Q2 on the directorates involved, and on residents. In terms of budget figures the Employee Relations and Policy Manager explained that while there had been an increase in spend on temporary workers in July 2022 due to specialist roles and customer service advisor roles, which were needed to meet high service demand. There had then been a decrease in agency spend during August and September. In terms of the effects of agency staff reductions on directorates and residents, the officer agreed to look at statistics for this and bring back further details to the next meeting.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Chair thanked officers for the increase in detail and analysis contained in the Temporary Workers report.
Resolved – that the contents of the report be noted.