Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Richard Woodford - Committee Services  Email: richard.woodford@reading.gov.uk

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Items
No. Item

9.

Minutes of Previous Meetings - 19 November 2020 and 27 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings held on 19 November 2020 and 27 January 2021 were confirmed as a correct record.

10.

Proceedings of Local Joint Forum - 25 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 284 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted the proceedings of the Local Joint Forum meeting held on 25 February 2021.

 

11.

Review of the Council's Employment Policies pdf icon PDF 204 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to Minute 3 of the meeting held on 19 November 2020, the Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development submitted a report, presenting the Committee with twelve Employment Policies which had been reviewed jointly and agreed with the Joint Trade Unions.  The following documents were attached to the report:

Appendix A

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Appendix B

Flexible Retirement Policy

Appendix C

Learning and Development Policy

Appendix D

Probation Scheme Policy

Appendix E

Reimbursement of Expenses Policy

Appendix F

Bullying and Harassment Policy

Appendix G

Disciplinary Policy

Appendix H

Managing Poor Performance Policy

Appendix I

Managing Sickness Absence Policy

Appendix J

Social Media Policy

Appendix K

Flexible Working Policy

Appendix L

Grey Fleet Policy

Appendix M

Equality Impact Assessment

The Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development requested that, following a discussion with Trades Union colleagues at the Joint Trade Union Committee held on 17 March 2021, the Grey Fleet Policy (Appendix L), be removed from the list for approval.  This would allow time for further work to agree the Policy with Trades Union colleagues to reflect feedback about how the policy would operate at a practical level.

The report explained that all employment policies would be reviewed by the Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development and submitted to the Committee for approval in July 2021, following consultation and negotiation with the Joint Trade Unions.  The policies had been reviewed because they did not reflect current best practice or were out of date and hence put the Council at risk, were due to be reviewed in line with the two-year review schedule and had been updated with current job titles and gender-neutral language.  The remaining new and residual policies which required review would be brought forward for approval in July 2021.

The report confirmed that all employment policies would be reviewed every two years or sooner if legislation required it.

The process for agreeing the policies with the Joint Trade Unions was set out in a table and a communications plan had been put in place to communicate the revised policies to managers and employees.

Resolved:

(1)      That the following revised/new HR policies, as set out in in Appendices A to K attached to the report, be approved:

·       Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy;

·       Flexible Retirement Policy;

·       Learning and Development Policy;

·       Probation Scheme Policy;

·       Reimbursement of Expenses Policy;

·       Bullying and Harassment Policy;

·       Disciplinary Policy;

·       Managing Poor Performance Policy;

·       Managing Sickness Absence Policy;

·       Social Media Policy;

·       Flexible Working Policy;

(2)      That Appendix L, the Grey Fleet Policy, be amended, and following further consultation with Trades Unions, re-submitted to the Committee for approval at a later date.

 

12.

Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development submitted a report providing the Committee with a Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22, for approval by Council on 23 March 2021.  A copy of the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 was attached to the report at Appendix 1.  The report stated that Local Authorities were required under Section 38(1) of the Localism Act 2011 (the Act) to prepare a Pay Policy Statement that articulated the Council’s policy towards the pay of the workforce, particularly senior staff and the lowest paid employees.

The Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22 had been updated as follows:

·       To show the updated pay multiples in section 8;

·       To reflect changes agreed by Council regarding the senior management structure of the Council (as set out in Article 12 of the Constitution);

·       Annex B had been reduced and provided references as to where relevant information on the governance arrangements for pay and conditions of service for Council officers could be found in the Constitution (rather than including extracts lifted from the Constitution);

·       Annex D (Council employees in salary bands) had been updated with data for 1 April 2020 and paragraph 10 (Pay Profile) had been updated to reflect this.

The report stated that further updates might be required to the Pay Policy Statement and delegated authority was sought for the Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development, in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Corporate and Consumer Services, to make these updates.

Resolved –    That the draft Pay Policy 2021/22 be recommended to Council on 23 March 2021 for approval.

 

13.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Update pdf icon PDF 194 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of HR and Organisational Development submitted a report, presenting the Committee with an update on the work that was being done to advance Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Council.  The report also presented the Council’s Gender pay Gap Report for 2020 and, for the first time, an Ethnicity Pay Gap Report which was also for 2020.  The following documents were attached to the report:

Appendix 1         Gender Pay Gap Report for 2020

Appendix 2         Ethnicity Pay Gap Report for 2020.

The report explained that on 19 November 2020 the Committee had received a report on the Council’s Equality Audit for 2019/20 (Minute 4 refers) and on progress that had been made towards meeting the requirements set out in the Tackling Employment Inequality Motion that had been moved at the meeting of Council on 20 October 2020.  Since that time, the following action had been completed to advance Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Council:

·       Promotion of the Equality Audit for 2019/20;

·       The Race at Work Charter;

·       Equality, Diversity and inclusion Audit;

·       Establishment of a Cultural Unity, Diversity and Inclusion Network;

·       Healthy and Ethical Workplace – Support for the Directorate of Social Care and Health.

The report explained that the gender pay gap was calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men’s earnings.  Nationally, the gender pay gap had been declining slowly in recent years.  In April 2020 for full-time employees only, it was 7.4%, down from 9.0% in April 2019 and among all employees the gap had fallen from 17.4% in 2019 to 15.5% in 2020. 

The report set out the Council’s mean (4.71%) and median (2.53%) pay gap for 2020, which showed an improvement since 2019 when the mean was 4.99% and the median was 5.05%.  The report also noted that these figures compared favourably with the national mean for the whole economy of 15.5% in 2020.  The report stated that unlike the gender pay gap, large organisations were not yet legally required to publish their ethnicity pay gap.  However, the Council believed it was important to be transparent so it had been decided to voluntarily publish data for the first time.  The ethnicity pay gap was the percentage difference in the average hourly rate of pay of white and BAME employees and had been calculated using the same methodology set out in the Government regulations for calculating the gender pay gap.  The pay gap report had been based on data at the snapshot date of 31 March 2020 when the mean ethnicity pay gap was 6.88% and the median was 0.28%.  Nationally, in 2019 the median ethnicity pay gap was 2.3%, its narrowest since 2012.  The majority of employees at the Council (79.6%) were white and the proportion of BAME employees was 13.8%.  There were more white employees than BAME employees at every pay quartile, with the highest proportion (16%) in the lower quartile.  Pay grade RG10  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.