Thursday, 31 May 2018

ANGUS COUNCIL CLERICAL & ADMIN REVIEW: INFORMAL CONSULTATION RESPONSE

We've received the responses to our comments on the Clerical & Admin Review from Angus Council and these are detailed below. 

At present, we're working through the revised report which has been shared by the employer with staff to see what (if anything) has changed following the first phase of 'informal consultation. As members carrying out valuable work in clerical and admin roles, we'd welcome your comments and observations on not only the Council's responses to us but on any new issues that have arisen that can be addressed during this second, 'formal', consultation period.

You an do this by making a comment on this post at the foot of the page, by emailing the Branch Office at office@unison-angus.org.uk or if you're a member of the UNISON Angus Facebook page, by commenting there. Any confidential issues should be emailed to us rather than posted.

Subject
Comments
Review Group response
1. Grading
We note that the grades of the new posts are marked ‘to be agreed’ and the Report advises that grades are ‘indicative’. When will the formal grading for these posts be carried out?
This will be completed prior to the formal consultation commencing.
2. Savings
If the required savings have been made and there are sufficient posts for all in scope, why does the report say that applications for ER/VR are being considered?
The Council has a £40 million funding gaps so it is inevitable that further savings will need to be identified as we streamline and digitise our processes.

Requests for ER/VR are not only looking at the clerical and admin review but also the wider business support area and the Council’s aspirations as stated in its Corporate Plan to be a smaller and digital Council by 2020.

3. Tables on page 8
Can you check and clarify the calculations and figures contained in the tables on page 8 as they do not tally.
These have been checked and are correct – if you wish further clarification please let us know.
4. Training and Training Needs Analysis
a). We would suggest that a Training Needs Analysis for staff will need to be carried out due to the wide range of roles and responsibilities that are encompassed by the posts in scope;
b). What plans are in place for the expected training implications of staff potentially moving into new areas of work?
Noted


This will be the responsibility of the new Manager – Business Support.
5. Transferability of Staff between People and Place
We assume that staff will be matched into posts in either People or Place?
There is only one Business Support team supporting both directorates – staff will be matched in according to the Council’s managing workforce change policies; in particular “Filling Jobs in a new organisation structure – Matching & Recruitment” which sets out in detail the process which will be followed.


6. Selection Processes
What selection process will be followed when equally qualified staff are matched but one or more needs to move to a post in People or Place whilst others stay in their existing Directorate?
We would refer you to the Council’s managing workforce change policies; in particular “Filling Jobs in a new organisation structure – Matching & Recruitment” which sets out in detail the process which will be followed.

7. Posts in E & M Support
Two LG3/LG4 posts have been identified to be transferred to E & M Support? How will the posts be selected and filled?                                        
We would refer you to the Council’s managing workforce change policies; in particular “Filling Jobs in a new organisation structure – Matching & Recruitment” which sets out in detail the process which will be followed.

8. Lack of Information & Clarity
a). It was felt by our many of our members that the briefings were, from their perspective, vague and lacking clarity. Members alluded to the proposed structure, but other than that they were of the view that they didn’t have any information on where (either individually or collectively) where were to ‘fit’ into the revised organisational structure. Assurances are sought that during the formal consultation phase, more clarity is provided for our members on where they are o that they are able to provide constructive feedback to the review team;










b). Members are assuming (or just don’t know) that their post is to be transferred into the IT or P2P teams. For all members involved in this potential transfer, clarity and confirmation is sought at the earliest opportunity of the final number of proposed posts and who is being considered.

The structure shows that there will be one new Business Support Team which will be based in HR & Business Support.

Whilst posts will be contained within the new business support team. Initially, these posts will be performing the same duties as before but they will be managed by the new Manager – Business Support.

Implementation will be on an incremental basis to ensure maintenance of service delivery. There will be further communication regarding the implementation plan once formal approval is given to the new structure which cannot happen until after the formal consultation process has been completed.


Staff will advised during the formal matching process which will commence after the formal consultation process has been completed and the new structure formally approved.



9. Specialisms
a). Members have made many comments on the removal of specialisms. This despite previous assurances that many Business Support staff do carry out specialised tasks and that this would be reflected in the new structure.










b). What was the justification or process which concluded IT admin and clerical staff were specialist whereas RPS, CARO or licensing weren’t?
The purpose of this review was to bring together the management of business support under one manager. One of the reasons for this is to ensure that we as a council have no “single points of failure” in terms of service delivery but instead have a team of people who are able to deliver a broad range of services. The Business Support team will be required to deliver on the agreed service delivery requirements of each of the services which they support to ensure that there is no failure in service delivery. There will be a managed transition from specialist functions in line with the aspirations to be a smaller digital council

IT staff were taken out of scope due to the technical nature of their posts and they be subject to a separate review.
10. ER/VR
a). When will staff be advised of the outcomes of their applications for ER/VR?





b). If a member who has asked to be considered for VR/ER has applied to go to University in the late summer, would their application for ER/VR be considered favourably and ahead of other staff without such plans?

Any confirmed applications will be reviewed as part of the matching process and employees will be updated during this process.
Anyone who is over 60 can choose to leave under the Council’s Early Retirement Scheme at any time.

As above

11. Existing flexible working arrangements
Members are concerned that given the broad scope and sheer size of the review, existing flexible working arrangements may not be honoured upon implementation of the final Review proposals. What assurances can be offered to members in this regard?
It is not anticipated that there will be any changes to existing flexible working arrangements.
12. Mobility
In both the Level 1 and Level 2 Business Support roles, ‘mobility’ is defined as an essential criteria. What is your Review’s definition of ‘mobility’? For members who don’t drive or have access to a car does this mean they will not have all the necessary criteria for one of the posts? And if that’s the case, what will happen to them?
There is no requirement for any member of staff to have a car.

This is to reflect the agile working policies which the council has in place.
13. Staff in scope and available posts
a). Members are seeking clarity with regard to staff in scope – of those in scope, how many are on temporary contracts?
b). It was stated that there are sufficient ‘jobs’ for everyone in scope. Are all these jobs permanent?
c). If so, is there a possibility that temporary staff in post will be matched to permanent positions?
Permanent employees and temporary staff with more than 2 years of employment will be considered for posts initially.

All posts in the new structure are being established on a permanent basis initially.
14.Appeal Process – Review Placing
Members included in the Review may potentially be included in the P2P or IT Structure and in turn become part of another Review. If members are of the view that they have been placed in the ‘wrong’ team, are they able to formally appeal this decision?
There is no formal appeals process for this situation but we would encourage your members to contact a member of the implementation team should this arise.
15. Reporting  Lines
The proposed structure shows both the Business Support Officer posts and Business Support Assistants reporting to the Business Support Supervisor for both directorate structures.  With the numbers of staff involved this volume of direct reporting seems excessive and cumbersome. How will this be managed practically?
The new structure reflects the council organisational design principles and operating model for 2020. Management responsibilities for the business support posts will be split between the 4 Business Support Supervisors which falls within the agreed span of control ratios.
16. Business Support Supervisor Person Specification
                                                  The Business Support Supervisor proposed job outline / person specification states that ‘the specific nature of the duties to be undertaken by each job holder will be determined by the employing directorate. This could result in different working practice in operation in the directorates; given the desire for generic roles and job descriptions, how will this potential situation be managed strategically?
This is an error and will be corrected prior to the formal consultation.
17. P2P Team
Is                                              Is this team a project team with a route back to business support or is there a vision this team would be integrated in to the finance team after delivery of the anticipated £200K savings?  The report isn’t clear and doesn’t state the posts would be subject to further review or evaluation on transfer.
This review has not yet commenced and the aims and objectives agreed, so it is too early to comment on any potential outcomes.
18. IT Systems Support & Development Team
a). The creation of the new team has not been widely communicated in the organisation, can more information be provided to staff affected? 

b). Was a delay in the review of the performance information team review considered for staff proposed to be transferred?  This would have allowed for all affected staff to be consulted at the same time and allow all staff to participate in discussions e.g. new job profiles and job evaluation to manage this proposed workforce change including the fact structural arrangements needed to be put in place.

c). A Senior Systems Officer is currently being recruited on a temporary basis until no later than 30 June 2019. Is this position going to be ringfenced for those already identified as being in the Support & Development Team?
This was subject to a separate review and we will pass these comments onto the Service Lead IT & Digital Enablement.

The Review team were not sighted on this project and therefore cannot comment.






The Review team were not sighted on this project and therefore cannot comment.



19. Job Evaluation Scheme / Process
Members would like more transparency and clarity on this or confirmation this can be found. This is particularly relevant as the process is referred to in the Consultation Report.
Members of staff should contact HR for more information.
20. Pay and Grading Review
Given the reference to this forthcoming Review, are there any potential timescales set for this?
This is not within the remit of this project and therefore we cannot comment on this.
21. Business support manager post & Team Leader – Payroll/ Staffing
Is there a timescale for recruitment for this post?  Given the Business support structure out with the single LG12 Team Leader Post (with no indication of levels below) and with no indication of the Accessline Supervisor pay scale the difference from LG14 to LG8 seems considerable.  There was no provision of the job outline for the team leader post as part of the consultation document – given this is a new job it would have been helpful.
The manager post is due to be advertised within the next two weeks.

The LG12 post was created as a result of the Management Review and was initially designated as Team Leader – Payroll and Staffing – this has now been widened to include Business Support – at the time of publication of informal consultation the updated job outline was not available. However, once published this will be for information only as it was agreed as part of the management review.
22. Career Development Pathway and Competency
How will competencies be addressed for clerical and admin staff who have no knowledge of a service and need to gain an understanding of the business they are to support before they can undertake duties? To be competent in all the elements required for a clerical post could take several months.  Therefore, there should be an acknowledgement that either training or a specific element to induction will be needed before a person can comfortably fulfil a role either from an LG3 entry point or at various stages during their career progression.
Section 3.5 of the report provides  initial details on how this will be progressed. There is no further information available at this time.
23. “Do it once, do it well”
Our member has noted that managers in all business areas will need to contribute as well as be able to access information directly.  Often deviation from the generic principles is at the request of managers and the potential for this needs to be managed.
We note your comments.
24. Further efficiency reviews and savings
Members sought clarity on who would be leading the further reviews referred to as the current project lead has been appointed under the management review to a post and that  the majority of the current project team are affected directly by the outcomes of this Review.
Project Leads are currently being identified as part of the wider change programme.
25. Confirmation of current Vacant posts in scope
Given the scenario that vacant posts are to provide a significant amount of the savings from the Review, could the current position on vacant posts be reflected to provide transparency and understanding to members of the consequences of the Business Support Review e.g. where breakdown of posts is detailed including the areas identified as no longer being in scope?
Heads of Service have agreed the position in relation to vacant posts within their service areas.
26. Wider consistency and the original review specification
a). Is it possible to demonstrate that a consistent approach across the staff based reviews is being applied, particularly after the removal of 104.88 FTE posts;




b). Given 104.88 FTE are no longer in scope for the review, why was the initial scope so wide given the revisions now made?  The stress of inclusion could have been minimised particularly given the delays in meeting the original timescales.

Information across the organisation was not available at the initiation of the project. Scope of project was agreed by senior managers in the organisation. Information from the change programme and from the survey data was used to determine if scope was to be revised.

We note your comments re timescales and would ask you to note that responses to all surveys were not received from employees in scope until the end of January (closing date 22 November) which meant that data could not be fully analysed within the previously agreed timescales impacting on the overall timescales of the project.

27. Organisational Design Review
This was alluded to briefly in the staff briefing sessions but more information would be helpful so that staff can understand why it’s being done and what it entails.
This is outwith the scope of this review and therefore we cannot comment on this.
28. Customer Service model
Given all the changes and potential impact for both internal and external customers is there a mechanism going to be put in place to manage standards and ensure a consistent approach to operational practice is achieved?
A protocol for engaging with the new Business Support team will be drafted by the Manager- Business Support once in post. This will detail how allocation of work and support will be provided.

29. LG6/LG7 split
For information, members have enquired as to how the current LG6 and LG7 posts divide into People and Place roles?
There are currently 19.2 FTE in Place and there are 12.6 FTE in People.

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