Agenda item



[NOTE: Councillor A. Evans having earlier declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this item, left the meeting]


The Committee considered a report which provided sickness absence data for the cumulative period ending 31st March 2023 plus Q2 2023/24 with an overview of the employee wellbeing support provided.


Amongst the issues raised on the report were the following:


·       The HR Manager (Business Partnering) informed the committee that hybrid working, was a method of working from home and from different locations across the County, subject to service delivery considerations.  Whilst operational staff can not benefit from hybrid working, they could ask for different working options to be considered.

·       Members were informed that staff took an average of 11.55 days off sick in 2022-23, nearly 2 days more that the Council’s target of 10.65, with the largest reasons for absence being stress and mental health issues, with some factors outside of work also contributing.

·       Members were advised that due to long waiting times on the NHS, GP’s were advising clients to seek help through their employers Occupational Health services.

·       In terms of Occupational Health and the demands on the service, it was noted a business case will be discussed with the Chief Executive to provide a Commercial Manager, as one of the key projects, they will work with the Occupational Health team to look at ways to commercialise the business. The outcome of business case will be reported back to the Committee.

·       The Employee Wellbeing Manager explained there were three Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinators employed across the Authority working with departments to provide bespoke interventions, as part of department’s action plans for managing attendance.  There are also key health and wellbeing groups which are supported by the co-ordinators.

·       It was noted that there had been a reduction in musculoskeletal problems being reported.  Training on safe handling for key workers and equipment assessments were some areas assisting in keeping staff safe in a working environment.  A physiotherapy service was available for staff via Occupational Health.

·       There was a 50% increase in referrals for mental health support reported in the last period.  It was noted that there were 8 Mental Health practitioners within Occupational Health.

·       The Committee noted an improvement in sickness absence for Primary schools, during the last year. The Committee were informed that sickness absence was managed by the Head Teacher.   The Schools’ Staff Absence Scheme established in-house provides financial support to member schools to cover the costs of agency staff required to cover sickness.  If schools don’t follow the correct absence procedures, the contribution is withheld.

·       The Assistant Chief Executive informed the group that the take up on the recent staff survey was low.  Data was now being looked at to provide direction to staff on future hybrid working.

·       Members were advised that the Authority had recently achieved Gold Accreditation following a report by an assessor from Investors In People which was a reflection of the support it gave to its employees; 


The Chair thanked officers for the support being given to staff.



4.1 the report be received.

4.2 the Committee endorse the business case for the creation of a Commercial Manager post to help develop future income generation initiatives

4.3 the Committee receive end of year update



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