A Wilkie introduced the report. In relation to People, sickness continues to be higher than they would like, though this is being experienced across all sectors. An action plan has been signed off by the SLT (Senior Leadership Team) and it is hoped this will soon have a positive impact on numbers. Turnover remains consistent, notwithstanding that recruitment continues to be challenging. On transformation, customer service performance is below the desired level, though recruitment gaps have now been filled, and the Customer Service Strategy is now in delivery phase. On communication, there was a large programme of events over summer, and having events fall under the People and Transformation team has been successful. A new Head of Digital will start next week. Performance has been strong over the quarter.
Cllr Freedman asked how many current vacancies there are, how long it takes to fill a vacancy on average, and the percentage of vacancies versus total staff numbers.
M Rawdon advised he would collate the data and circulate it to the committee. Action.
Cllr Adeleke commended the team and noted the improvements in communication with the community. He also commented that the playground refurbishment in Berkhamsted was well received.
An observation was made regarding sickness reducing and it was suggested that this may be a result of the new wellness programme.
M Rawdon confirmed that there has been a focus on staff wellbeing and signposting staff to mental health support.
Cllr Symington commented that it would be useful to understand if staff are returning to the office and whether this is being monitored.
A Wilkie advised that there has been a recent increase in staff returning to the office. A new project has begun; this will focus on what working looks like for different groups of staff and for different roles. M Rawdon noted that a session was held with the leadership team to discuss this and that they want to ensure that there is a hybrid approach that supports staff, customers and the overall service, and therefore the aim is to empower managers to work with directors to put a business case forward on the new way of working.
Cllr Symington asked for an update on the situation last week where staff were unable to work remotely.
A Wilkie explained there was an initial issue with the server that was identified quickly and was rectified. Another policy became corrupted and therefore needed to be fixed, and Microsoft had issued an update that, in conjunction with other security features, meant they were unable to deploy the fix remotely. A corporate decision had to be made to bring everyone into the office, which was largely well received. A Wilkie confirmed they are now looking at a lessons learned piece, and whilst the risk of the issue occurring again is minimal, a number of improvements have been identified.
The Chairman observed the large reliance on digitalisation and electronic communication, and they therefore need a facility that is 100% reliable.
Cllr Symington commented on item 5.1 regarding the climate and ecological emergency and queried the current policy following previous discussions around rolling out EV (electric vehicle) charging to car parks.
The Chairman advised that a report would be received in March 2023, to which Cllr Symington responded that this was counter to what was stated in June/July 2022.
The Portfolio Holder advised that they are in the advanced stages of negotiations with 2 suppliers to provide both fast and rapid chargers to car parks. The necessary application for funding has been submitted and a response is expected in the coming weeks. The Portfolio Holder confirmed that, by March 2023, they will be able to proceed. The importance of the situation was acknowledged.
The report was noted.