Agenda and minutes

Venue: Boardrooms 3-5 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Nikolay Manov, Governance Officer  Tel: 020 8937 1348, Email:  nikolay.manov@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Colwill, with Councillor Kansagra present as substitute member.

 

2.

Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests made by Members.

 

3.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.

Minutes:

There were no deputations received.

 

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on Thursday 2 August 2018 as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 2 August 2018, be approved as an accurate record.

 

5.

Matters arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

 

6.

Recruitment and Retention Payments for Children and Young People's Social Workers pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To receive a report from the Strategic Director of Children & Young People updating the Committee on the current challenges in recruiting and retaining key social work roles within the Children and Young People’s (CYP) department along with the resultant budget pressure and detailing proposals as to how these can be addressed to complement other measures already in place.

Minutes:

At the Chair’s invitation, Nigel Chapman (Operational Director Integration and Improved Outcomes, Brent Council) , introduced the report which informed the committee of the recommended measures for addressing existing challenges in recruiting and retaining permanent staff on social work roles within the Children and Young People’s (CYP) department. He stated that the issue had been ongoing and was first raised at a General Purposes meeting back in March 2016. In noting the progress made since then, including not only the establishment of a more stable leadership within the department, review of career opportunities and improving training offers but also general re-aligning of services and formation of smaller teams, Mr Chapman explained that structural difficulties however remain, with only 44% permanency rates of experienced social workers and managers as of September 2018. Whilst acknowledging the need for a long-term strategic approach, Mr Chapman stated that the proposals set out in the report were therefore expected to provide an immediate response to the challenges of recruiting and retaining staff and were seen as a positive step in the right direction.

 

In welcoming the report, members asked questions which centred mainly on the financial and equality implications of the proposals. In terms of financial implications, officers explained that while the proposals would not generate financial savings, they were expected to reduce pressure on services by minimising the need for agency staff expenses of £7200 per year per person.  A query was also raised on the rationale behind awarding £3600 retention payment to new recruits on PO5 and PO7 grades and whether that would put existing staff at a disadvantage. Mr Chapman explained that the payment mirrored what staff on scales PO1 to PO4  were currently being paid with the difference being that the funds to new recruits would be paid as lump sum as opposed to monthly instalments. He continued to say that payments would not be pensionable and would be paid at the end of a probation period, as a way of incentivising staff to remain in the organisation.  The committee was assured that the proposals were not putting anyone at disadvantage and payments would be subject to continuous review, in line with market needs.

 

Discussions moved on with members seeking further clarification on the equality implications of the proposals, in particular the risk of creating further imbalance within the Council and the basis on which the proposed payments would be made. Whilst putting strong emphasis on the importance of the assumptions behind the proposals, namely that funding would be met within the CYP department, that proposals would lead to a reduction in cost pressures and would create a positive impact, members were particularly mindful of the implications on other professions within the Council  and felt that due regard should be paid onto the impact on current staff and ensuring overall fairness of the proposals. Referencing the report, officers stated that whilst careful consideration to the extent to which proposals may disproportionally affect staff had been given,  the market evidence set out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Appointments to Sub-Committees / Outside Bodies

To consider any appointments needing to be made in relation to General Purposes Sub Committees.

 

Members are asked to note that details of any appointments to be considered will tabled at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no appointments to sub-committees/outside bodies to report on.

8.

Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.

Minutes:

None.

9.

Exclusion of Press and Public

There are currently no items listed that will require the exclusion of the press or public.

Minutes:

None.