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Meetings

Meeting Details

Council and Trade Union Joint Committee
10 Mar 2020 - 18:00 to 20:00
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

Standard Items
1 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
To note any apologies for absence and substitutions.

It was noted that Councillor Block was substituting for Councillor Donnelly.
2 Urgent Matters
To note any urgent matters that the Chair has agreed should be considered at the meeting.

It was noted that the Chair had agreed that the Council’s preparedness for, and plans to respond to, the Coronavirus Outbreak should be added to the list of Employee Side Items as an urgent item for consideration.
3 Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members.

There were no declarations.
4 Matters to be Considered in Private
To consider whether items contain information that is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

There were no none.
To review and approve the minutes of the previous meeting.

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2019 be agreed as a true and correct record.

Matters Arising:

On item 4 Minutes, following concerns expressed by the Employee Side about the delay in implementing the Ethical Charter and the consequential delay in dealing with the issue of low pay, particularly amongst care workers including those transferred under TUPE, the Council Side undertook to establish when the estimated costs would be identified The Council Side also undertook to consider the Employee Side’ s request to be involved in the process for implementing the Ethical Charter.

 The Employee Side sought evidence that the proposal for Community Managed Libraries was working:

The Council Side:

  • Agreed that the development of reading skills was essential, particularly at an early age, hence the importance of the Council’s decision not to close Libraries but to keep them open through the Community Management Model which would take some time to bed down;
  • Accepted that finding volunteers not only to set up but to sustain this model in the long term posed a significant challenge;
  • Recognised that the model was not appropriate for all Libraries, hence the decision to continue to fund the Library at Northfields; and
  • Provided an update on the progress being made to implement the model with 4 of the 5 Community Based Libraries due to have, subject to any constraints as a result of the Corona Virus.a soft launch in April followed by an official launch late in the summer. A soft launch for the fifth Library was planned for July subject to a number of building works being completed.

Staff Survey and Action Plan

 Following a request from the Employee Side, the Council Side undertook to submit the Staff Survey and Action Plan to the next meeting


To discuss employee side items arising as per the list attached.

  1. Update on the Council Budget, Savings and Other Re-organisations and redeployment, Corporate Board/Council Structure, Other Initiatives.

    The Employee Side requested:

  • An update on the Council’s budget and the priorities that helped to shape it;

  • A commitment to deal with equal pay through the Ethical Charter;

  • Details of any proposals for staff re-organisations, major or minor;

  • A commitment to continue to adopt the process used for dealing with restructuring proposals including any minor ones;

  • An assurance that Managers would be reminded of the need for, and importance of, carrying out, staff/Union consultation in respect of any reorganisation proposals;

  • Details of changes at Senior Leadership Team (SLT) Level; and

  • Details of any other initiatives.

 The Council Side:

  • Explained the Council’s budget with its emphasis on maximising income through commercialisation and making efficiency savings to ensure that the Council maintained a workforce to deliver services to its residents;

  • Expressed caution on the future budget given the number of unknowns e.g. impact of Brexit, the level of support from Central Government and the impact of the Corona Virus on the economy;

  • Reiterated the commitment to deal with equal pay through the Ethical Charter;

  • Confirmed that no major staff reorganisations were planned and agreed to communicate this message to managers who would also be reminded of the importance of consultation;

  • Noted the request for the process used in dealing with reorganisation proposals, minor or major, to be continued should any proposals become necessary;

  • Confirmed that no changes at SLT level were planned; and

  • Confirmed that no other initiatives were planned..

The Employee Side:

  • Pointed out that the pages on the Council website relating to expenditure of £500 and above needed updating;

  • Sought clarity on the purpose of Future Ealing including how it was being communicated to staff to secure their buy-in together with the criteria for evaluating its cost effectiveness;

  • Expressed concern over the apparent reluctance of some managers to allow for remote/flexible working together with the inconsistent decisions being made by them and requested adoption of a Council wide policy to secure greater transparency and a more consistent and equitable approach across the workforce.

The Council side:

  • Undertook to ensure the pages on the Council’s website were updated;

  • Explained the rationale behind Future Ealing with its focus on configuring Council services to achieve 9 Outcomes with partners as appropriate. Also explained that the initiative was in its early stages and its purpose would become clearer as it was developed;

  • Noted the request for a policy for remote/flexible working. Recognised that implementation of remote/flexible working would require a change in culture and the need for mangers to take a more positive approach. Also recognised that not all work could be carried out remotely.

 


7 Workforce Equality Update
Standing item - Verbal update to be provided.

It was noted that a report was being prepared for the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee in April.
8 Health and Safety Update
Standing Item - Verbal update to be provided.

Broadway Living

  1. Employee Side sought an update on this initiative.

    The Council Side explained that an update report would be submitted to the April meeting of Cabinet.

  2. Well -Being and Mental Health

    Employee side:

  • Sought an update on the progress on the wellbeing initiatives that Liz Chiles had previously identified and requested to be represented on the Working Group progressing these issues;

  • Referred to the statistics from the  sickness reporting system for London which showed mental health/anxiety to be the highest recorded reason for sickness absence with the  exception of  Ealing and questioned whether this was due to underreporting by Ealing employees  because they  felt under pressure not to reveal their anxiety levels.

Council Side:

  • Explained that the initiatives referred to were still being worked on by the Working Group and undertook to take into consideration the request to be invited to meetings of this Working Group.

  • Confirmed that work was in hand to improve the processes for reporting episodes of sickness absence and their reasons.

  1. COVID - 19

Employee Side requested an urgent update on the Council’s plans to respond to the corona virus outbreak.

Council Side responded to the request by providing a detailed briefing which included amongst other things

  • An explanation of the new virus (now known as SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19 disease) its origin in China and its spread to a reported 104 countries around the world infecting over 110000 people;

  • The likelihood that the virus would be declared a pandemic by the WHO as more systematic local transmissions were reported worldwide;

  • The further likelihood that with no vaccine currently available the disease would continue to impact across the world for several months until a vaccine is developed and distributed;

  • Information about the current position as at 9 March in the UK and in Ealing in terms of tests concluded and the number of cases confirmed:

  • The Foreign Travel and medical advice that had been issued by the FCO and UK Chief Medical Officers;

  • The setting up of a Strategic Coordination Group to implement Regional Arrangements;

  • Details of the action already taken by the Council which included 

    1. The setting up of a COVID-19 preparedness directors’ group, to ensure the core, critical and routine services were prepared to continue delivery for the needs of residents;

    2. Implementation of an action plan that included preparations for the possible impact of staff shortages, options for sharing staff between services to allow for continued operations and a method to prioritise service delivery should this be require;

    3. Undertaking a review of business continuity plans based on planning assumptions that were circulated by London Resilience;

    4. The setting up of a wider COVID-19 partners group to consider the impact on the wider community; and

    5. The publication of a frequently asked questions page on OneSpace and the circulation of daily updates received from Central government to wider partners including, faith networks, the local voluntary sector, universities and local businesses.

 

  • Details of the next steps which included continuing to implement advice and guidance received from Government, PHE and regional organisation and producing plans to consider options to review service standards should the Council not be able meet them because of staff shortages.

 

  • A list of issues under consideration including the need to support staff to self-isolate, to review HR Policies, to encourage home working where possible and how best to protect vulnerable people and essential services; and

  • A commitment to update TUs on the Council’s final plans.


9 Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on 10 June 2020.


That the next meeting would be held on 31 March 2020.

Attendance

Name
No attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
Name
No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
No apology information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Visitor Information is not yet available for this meeting