Agenda item

HR - update

A verbal update will be given at the meeting


A Stunell updated the Committee on the various aspects of the ongoing People Strategy.


Apprenticeship Levy Board.

A Stunell said that the Board was currently meeting every month (with a view to meet every quarter) to discuss how the budget (£37K) was being spent. She said that an apprentice had recently started in the HR dept, and was completing an HR qualification. A Stunell explained that one of the issues facing the Board was that apprenticeship qualifications were either not established, or very expensive( e.g, a Management qualification within the apprenticeship levy was £3k, while a recognised professional qualification was £800).She also added that there were some issues regarding the desirability of the Housing apprenticeship qualification, in comparison to its professional equivalent (CiH qualification)


A Stunell said that they were mapping to see what qualifications DBC most needed. She also said that DBC were currently in a procurement exercise with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) which should make this process easier. A Stunell said that the apprenticeship levy was now part of Group Managers management budget – they needed to balance this budget against other staff training (including mandatory requirements.  In response to query from Cllr Chapman, A Stunell confirmed that DBC would be actively encouraging apprentices to stay with the Council, to regain these developed skills


Investors in People (IiP)

A Stunell said that a paper was being submitted to CMT proposing not to continue with the IiP scheme; this was based on the continuation costs of the IiP estimated to be between £7 – 13k. A Stunell said that she had mapped out the People Strategy in comparison to the IiP, and considered that much of what the IiP reaccreditation proposed was already being addressed by the People Strategy. She also added that HCC were also no longer continuing with IiP because of the significant costs.


Cllr Taylor observed that a bespoke strategy for DBC may offer a better investment for staff at substantially less costs.


Sickness Absence

A Stunell said that following the introduction of the Sickness Absence policy last April, HR had been asked to review the policy after a year; this was still ongoing – they were also in negotiations with the TU’s about the policy. A Stunell said that policy would not be substantially different as a result of this review, therefore it was unlikely to go to Cabinet/Full Council. She said that it would also include Appendices on Industrial Action, as well as the role of the Sickness Absence Scrutiny Group – this was used in practice, but currently there was no explanation of its role within the policy.


A Stunell also advised the Committee that the occupational health contract was due to be tendered during the month.


Cllr Chapman asked what support was offered to employees that were either returning, or in the process of returning, from a period of absence due to illness. A Stunell said that DBC offered an extensive range of support to these individuals – this included occupational health (where more than one session was available, depending on the need of the individual), the Employee Assistance Programme, the return to work interview (where Managers could identify any necessary areas of support), as well as working with the appropriate regulatory services. A Stunell said that the Sickness Absence Scrutiny Group would also review and ensure consistency.



A Stunell told the Committee that M Rawdon was taking a paper to CMT about this matter on 10 October. The team were conducting a review of the way that people apply to DBC – currently applications were submitted on forms via the portal. She said that this process could be seen as onerous. She said that 13 recommendations had been made, including a recommendation had been made for applicants to submit a CV and supporting statement instead.



A Stunell said ‘Leading in Dacorum’ was currently being reviewed – consideration was being given to whether it was fit for purpose, and if it should be continued. This was as an overall consideration of the mandatory training given by DBC.


A Stunell told the Committee that a project initiation document had been submitted for the Coaching programme. She said that she was in the process of completing her Coaching qualification; in parallel to this, she was considering how to roll this out to the rest of the staff.



A Stunell said that as part of the review to ensure consistency to all new DBC employees reviewing an induction, presentation slides had been created. She said that these would be slightly different for the Cemeteries and Cupid Green as they will require additional mandatory training for the manual aspects of their role. A Stunell said that the HR team were also looking at ‘On Boarding’; there was a gap between individuals being recruited and their start date. This was an opportunity for new staff to review certain policies and complete some mandatory training before they commenced their role.


Staff Survey

Kelvin Solely and M Rawdon would be taking the drafted version to CMT on 10 October 2017.


Rewards and Recognition

The first meeting would be taking place in mid-October.


Equality and Diversity

A Stunell said that Neve Turner from Housing was currently drafting this policy. She said that the principles of equality should run through all staff and areas of DBC, however the drafting of the policy would ensure that it was taken a step further.


Employment Handbook

A plan was currently being put togrther to fully review all policies contained within the handbook to consider if any needed updating; this was in addition to any legislation changes.


Flu vaccination

A Stunell said that this year DBC had moved to issuing vouchers to front line staff. This was in contrast to the previous year, and was considered to be more flexible than running sessions at The Forum. The Committee members expressed some concern whether drivers would arrange appointments, however A Stunell said as well as DBC, that employees also have their own responsibility for their health. She also explained that the sessions that were organised last year had not been utilised in the way that DBC had hoped – this meant that a a large batch of vaccinations that had been paid for were not used.


Councillor Chapman thanked A Stunell for the update. 



The meeting ended at 8:20pm.