1. Mr Royel introduced the report which provided an evaluation of the People Strategy 2017 – 2022. The Strategy was the first of its type used at KCC serving as an overarching employment strategy for the organisation. Mr Royel explained that the Strategy set out a 5 year vision for the workforce so it was clear what KCC expected as an employer and how it worked with staff. He advised that some aspects had been accelerated in response to the Pandemic and it now featured as one of the key projects within the Strategic Reset Program.
2. The evaluation undertaken had examined all 8 main aims and objectives of the Strategy and Mr Royel provided an overview of the findings. Key successes included; recognition of good engagement with staff, E-Learning development, reshaping of the management development offer and the introduction of the Kent Academy. In addition, other achievements across the employment offer included; 26% increase in Kent Rewards use over 4 years, two thousand mindfulness sessions attended, positive response in staff surveys for staff being treated with respect, 24% reduction in the use of agency staff (excluding COVID testing staff) and increase in the graduate intake scheme.
3. Mr Royel noted that there remained areas for further work, as would be expected. Key points included; the need to build managerial confidence as part of the ongoing management development programmes, workforce planning needed to be more strategic to ensure KCC had the right people in the right places at the right time.
4. Summarising, Mr Royel confirmed that the evaluation had indicated significant positive outcomes via the People Strategy and the activity required to address the areas for further work would continue to be managed under the next Strategy.
5. Mr Royel responded to questions of detail and comments, which included:
· Confirming that additional work had been undertaken to help the organisation better understand and address issues related to staff sickness involving mental health and that there was also a staff support group focusing on mental health.
· It was clarified that while the vast majority of managers had the right skills and knowledge and were supported by effective policies and processes, some lacked the confidence to respond flexibly and dynamically. This had been highlighted in the pandemic and was being assessed to deliver a positive solution.
· Ensuring clear understanding at all levels in terms of accountability and responsibility was accepted as a vital issue and that it was important that managers were able to make decisions are the right level. Staff survey results indicated that there was increased support and understanding for management, partly due to the increased visibility and leadership action required during the pandemic.
· The Total Contribution Payment system explained in terms of the organisation needing to have a consistent and manageable approach to assessing and rewarding performance. It was highlighted that the financial differences between grades was not necessarily significant but the formal process ensured the organisation had to recognise hard work and good performance with improved pay. The number of appeals against TCP gradings remained very low.
· It was explained that the gender pay-gap calculation was not seen as effective and useful approach and that the organisation instead valued the effective grading and evaluation of jobs and more importantly, the equal pay audit undertaken showed that there was no discrepancy in terms of equal pay. It was suggested that the skewed averages shown in the gender pay-gap calculation reflected wider societal issues which influenced some employment elements and they were beyond the remit of the Council address. It was highlighted that the high number of women in senior roles at KCC evidenced that there were not major barriers to progression and significant success within the organisation.
· In terms of inclusion, the conversion rate of applications to jobs for relevant groups had improved significantly since the implementation of the Strategy. The work of support groups was highlighted in this area and to ensure the organisation can listen to staff and understand their experiences better. Further work was still required to improve diverse and inclusive recruitment but it was noted that wider societal factors impacted on recruitment in ways outside of KCC’s control.
RESOLVED that the achievements and overall evaluation of the People Strategy be noted.