To receive the annual workforce report, from Alison McBride, Corporate Manager People.
Alison McBride, Corporate Manager - People, presented the Workforce Report to the Committee, the highlights of which included:
· A snapshot of the Council’s headcount which showed the number of FTE’s decreasing year on year
· Gender breakdown - there had been a limited change since the previous report (37% male/63% female)
· Gender pay gap – Rushmoor’s pay gap was 12%, it was noted that the Local Government Association (LGA) average was 6.1%
· Part time Staff – the majority of part time staff were employed at Grade 5 or below
· Ethnicity profile – 22.6% of staff chose not to report their ethnicity, of those that did, 75.2% identified as white and 2.2% as Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME)
· Profile Age – of which 31% were over 55 and 18% aged under 34
· Apprenticeship programme – Rushmoor currently reported above average numbers and were spending 57% of the allocated apprenticeship levy
Ms McBride advised that a People Strategy was being developed in-line with the Council’s strategic objectives and it was hoped that a draft would be available in August for Members to comment on.
In response to a query regarding the data relating to women in higher positions and the gender pay gap within the Council, consideration would be given to how women could be encouraged to apply for higher paid positions and what could be implemented to make these roles more appealing, including flexibility and working arrangements. It was noted that the Leadership Development Programme was assisting to address this with 13 of the 14 enrolled in the second cohort being female.
Long term absence was raised as a concern by Members, as the data showed an increase in lost working days on the previous year. It was noted that, since the Employee Assistance Programme had been introduced in 2018, it’s utilisation had steadily increased. In addition, there had been a marked increase since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic in March, 2020. Being a relatively small local authority, 1-2 cases of long-term absence made a significant difference to the figures and it was advised that the 22% of staff absence attributed to anxiety, stress and depression figure was slightly outdated. During the Pandemic, emphasis on wellbeing was greater across the Council. Managers were carrying out regular check-ins with staff and data was showing a difference in dealing with change and crisis, which could cause anxiety, stress and depression.
A request was made for more detailed data on the ethnicity profile. It was noted that the 2.2% of Council staff who identified as BAME equaled to six people across the authority. The number of employees who identified as BAME who had been or were part of the Leadership Programme was also requested and this information would be provided. The comparator used in the report had been the 2011 census findings, a more recent comparator would be sought and if identified, shared in the presentation for the special meeting of the Policy and Project Advisory Board to discuss the Notice of Motion on Black Lives Matter on 25th August, 2020.
In response to a query regarding attracting more young people into the Council, it was noted that a number of initiatives were in place. An officer group had been formed to liaise with schools to showcase career opportunities within local government and assist with CV writing and interview skills in both schools and colleges. Working relationships were in place with the local colleges for the apprenticeship schemes.
The Chairman thanked Ms McBride for her report.