To provide an update on key performance metrics across the partnership, with a more detailed view of the approach being taken in Business Operations.
Adrian Stockbridge introduced the report to the committee.
Key points raised during the discussion:
The Committee were informed that turnover for Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) staff in the first two years of employment was comparatively high when set against East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Surrey County Council (SCC). It was generally agreed that some turnover was a positive and no movement was a negative. It was noted that the approach to exit interviews was different across the ORBIS group, therefore information was not comparable regarding the reasons for staff leaving. It was agreed that the group need to do something to attract and retain staff. The Committee were informed that private business staff retention appeared to relate to career progression which was not seen generally as possible in councils. The Committee requested that the issue of staff retention and in particular the attraction of younger staff to council working be looked into and reported back to the committee in October 2019.
Annex 3 to item 5 of the agenda was explained to the committee along with other highlights of the Business Operations Performance deep dive. It was noted that the combining workloads reduced spend and growth was a positive. The huge amount data in Business Operations means that deployment of robotics can be used and this assisted in reducing costs. Targets and weekly meetings were found to be useful. It was noted that in areas such as pensions the smallest of errors had a big impact and this has proved challenging. The right balance needs to be struck between risk and service changes. The Committee agreed that the Business Operations performance was positive news and should be disseminated throughout the ORBIS councils. It was also noted that wider successes around the partnership are not always communicated effectively and more needs to be done to articulate the benefits.
Actions/ further information to be provided: Retention of staff and attraction of younger staff to council working - information on progress to be provided to next committee meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Committee dually noted the recommendations in the report.
To provide an update on key performance metrics within the partnership.
Declarations of interest:
Michael Coughlin, Director of Customer, Digital and Transformation, Surrey County Council
Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council
David Kuenssberg, Executive Director of Finance and Resourcing, Brighton and Hove City Council
Adrian Stockbridge – Head of Strategy, Performance & Change, Surrey County Council
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. An introduction to the report was provided by officers who gave the Committee an overview of workforce data that had been collected across the three authorities. Members heard that there were some variations in how this information was collected across the partners and that it was necessary to standardise and create consistency in the workforce data that was collected across the three authorities. The Committee was advised that Orbis had an ageing workforce profile and, as such, a strategy was being devised to target recruitment towards a younger demographic.
2. The Committee discussed the variation in sickness absence across the three authorities. This was in part explained by the differing methods and timeframes used to monitor sickness absence.
Actions/ further information to be provided:
That the Orbis Joint Committee noted the performance statistics presented.
To provide an update to the Joint Committee on the development of the Orbis Performance Framework.
5.1 Officers introduced the report which was the latest in a series of reports on non-financial performance. Although all three authorities collected performance data work was needed to ensure that this data was consistent across the Partnership.
5.2 Councillor Standley noted that there were significant differences in sickness rates between the three authorities and that the sickness rate for Orbis staff was below the averages for the sovereign Authorities. He asked officers to expand on the causes of these differences.
5.3 Officers stated that the data was taken from a relatively short period and they would expect that the differences would lessen as more data was collected. The difference in sickness rates between authorities did have some historic precedent as Brighton & Hove as a city had a demographic with higher prevalence of risk factors associated with health issues leading to sickness. This was shown in Public Health data and was common across employers in the city. Brighton & Hove City Council also had an in house waste collection service which had a higher rate of injury than office based roles and so would increase sickness rates. Surrey County Council’s data was uncorrected and was very likely to be significantly underreporting the levels of absence in the Authority.
5.4 Councillor Elkin suggested that it may be best practice for there to be a single absence reporting system or at least equivalent systems across the Partners to ensure that consistent data was being collected and could be reported.
5.5 In response to Councillors Wealls and Clack, Officers stated that there was a drop in satisfaction with Orbis services in Surrey which was expected given the challenging circumstances and restructure taking place. Surrey now had a sovereign lead for Orbis which would allow issues to be addressed much quicker and for more strategic oversight.
5.6 In response to Councillor Turner-Stewart, Officers responded that more forensic surveys were being carried out to investigate the performance results reported. Brighton & Hove and Surrey were also carrying out separate surveys of services including Orbis services.
5.7 RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the report.