The Head of Transformation & Organisational Development and the Human Resources & Development Manager presented the item in respect of the Staff Survey and in doing so highlighted the following points for Members’ consideration:
· The report had been provided in order to update Members in respect of the Staff Survey and in particular the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had had on the ways of working in all areas of the Council. The timeline for the Staff Survey had inevitably changed due to the pandemic however it was planned that the formal Staff Survey was planned to take place in the future. However, a confirmed date was yet to be determined.
· Although the main Staff Survey had not yet been carried out there had been other surveys undertaken including Working Arrangements Survey, a Communication Survey and a Wellbeing Survey in order to better understand how the staff were coping with working from home arrangements.
· The response to the Working Arrangements survey was encouraging and the response rate was measured at 79%. Members were advised that this was a snapshot in time and was carried out during the height of the first lockdown but that the results were mainly positive. The Human Resources & Development Manager reported that 89% of staff reported that they were clear and had a good understanding of what was expected of them whilst working from home and 44.5% reported that working from home had impacted their work life balance and well-being in a positive way, 40.9% reported it had impacted them in a positive and negative way and only 5.5% indicated that working from home had affected them in a negative way.
· The Caring for the Workforce Audit was carried out in line with the 6 Management Standards from the Health and Safety Executive. It was reported that a 64% return rate was recorded which was considered a positive response in comparison to the previous Staff Survey which had only had a 54% return rate. Members were informed that the results were being analysed and in doing so would enable greater understanding of what was working well and not so well across all service areas.
Following the presentation of the report the Chairman invited the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling to comment on the report and he explained that there had been a large amount of work carried out in the background to ensure that the changes implemented at a difficult time had not impacted the staff adversely. He further commented that the staff had reacted to the pandemic positively to a huge amount of change.
Members questioned officers regarding the outcomes of the surveys and during detailed discussion the following was highlighted:
· If staff had indicated that they had been negatively impacted by working from home were there any measures in place to mitigate the impact and was support provided if necessary? Officers indicated that it was recognised that there had needed to be some adjustments made in some cases and that all staff had different experiences of working from home and various challenges were faced. Members were assured that it was of paramount importance that all staff were kept safe and had the opportunity to make provisions or work from Council premises if necessary in order to undertake their work effectively during the pandemic and associated lockdown.
· That the results and responses to the survey were to be commended and showed a high level of engagement across the Council from staff.
· The figures provided by officers in the report were queried as they did not total 100%. Officers undertook to check the figures and report back to Members in due course.
· It seemed from the responses contained within the report that there was a high number of managers in relation to other staff that had provided responses to the Working from Home survey. Officers clarified that all managers across all services had access to IT equipment and therefore were able to complete the surveys however not all staff, particularly staff who were not currently working from home including frontline staff, had access to the survey and therefore a larger proportion of responses provided were from managers. In addition to this some Members queried whether these figures included responses from Redditch Borough Council along with Bromsgrove District Council. It was confirmed that it was difficult to extrapolate the figures for just Bromsgrove District Council as many of the staff worked across both Councils as part of the Shared Service arrangement. Some Members were interested whether it would be possible to identify a member of staff who had highlighted any significant issues within their survey response. Officers advised that as the surveys carried out were confidential it was not appropriate to ask for specific members of staff to confirm their name and location of work as asking for this kind of data might have an impact on the number of responses returned. Members enquired whether it would be possible for future surveys to separate the two Councils responses and officers confirmed that currently it was not possible. Some Members were confident that responses provided were clear and offered a good overview for all staff that working from home who were employed across both Councils.
· Access to IT – Members were interested whether the staff response regarding IT equipment and the capability to work effectively had been highlighted in a significant way in survey responses received. It was also queried as to whether the success of the new IT rollout had been measured in any way. Officers confirmed that there had been no particular issues highlighted and most staff felt that the technology provided was adequately supported. In fact, the response from the survey was that 76.3% of staff reported that they felt supported from a technology perspective. It was highlighted for Members’ attention that there may have been intermittent issues with home broadband but that these were not issues that could be controlled by the Council. Officers confirmed that hardware equipment was rolled out very quickly to all those who needed to have access in order to work effectively from home. In addition to this hardware rollout, it was confirmed that the systems e.g., Skype was also available from the very beginning of the lockdown and therefore the Council meetings were able to be resumed in as short a time as possible.
· It might be helpful to carry out a ‘temperature check’ since the initial survey was carried out in order to continue to understand how staff were feeling and Members were advised that this was being planned in addition to further Working from Home surveys.
After a detailed discussion, Councillor K. May extended her thanks to the officers that had worked so hard during the pandemic in order to ensure that Council services were carried out with as little disruption as possible in such difficult circumstances.
RESOLVED that the Staff Survey report be noted.