Issue - meetings

Our People Strategy - Year 2 Plan

Meeting: 23/02/2022 - Resources and Fire & Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 4)

4 Our People Strategy - Year 2 Plan pdf icon PDF 425 KB

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Rich Thomas (Strategy and Commissioning Manager, HROD) introduced the report, stating that the Our People Strategy had been refreshed in 2020 and endorsed by the Staff and Pensions Committee following input from the Resources and Fire & Rescue OSC. It would enable progress to be made towards the vision of making WCC a great place to work where diverse and talented people are enabled to be at their best. He stated that, to meet this vision, the organisation would need to attract, recruit, motivate and develop the diversity of talent required to deliver the objectives of the Council Plan.


In response to Councillor Watson, Rich Thomas advised that, predominantly, apprentices’ pay was set marginally higher than the minimum apprentice pay rate. In future, it was proposed to raise apprentices’ pay to the national minimum wage. This would help to attract candidates. He advised that there was a good level of interest in higher-level apprenticeships; however, there was less interest in lower-level apprenticeships where the Council was competing with other employers. The measures proposed would make WCC more attractive as a prospective employer to school leavers.


In response to Councillor Watson, Rich Thomas advised that ‘claw back’ clauses were in place within contracts where there was significant investment in a trainee, such as sponsorship for a professional qualification. In these circumstances, if an individual chose to leave the organisation prematurely, they would need to reimburse the Authority.


In response to Councillor Roberts, Rich Thomas advised that attention had been given to expanding Our People values and cultures to those indirectly employed by the Council, principally within the social care environment. Liaison had been coordinated by the People Directorate during the past 12 months, providing advice on matters related to the impact of COVID-19 such as vaccination take-up.


In response to Councillor Roberts, Rich Thomas advised that specific differentials applied between the National Living Wage and Real Living Wage; changes to government policy meant that the gap between the two had decreased. He advised that, by adopting the Real Living Wage, an employer was obliged to devolve control of its pay policy to an alternative party. The Real Living Wage was reset annually each November, meaning that an employer had six months to implement the required pay award. However, he advised that the merits of the Real Living Wage were being considered within the People Directorate as part of the Poverty Strategy. 


Councillor Roberts stated that apprentices between the ages of 18 and 23 were often paid substantially less than other employees. He highlighted the advantages of aligning pay for this cohort to a level closer to the Real Living Wage. This would attract capable individuals and offset financial pressures associated with increased costs of living.


Councillor Tromans praised the comprehensiveness of the report and presentation. However, he commented that some of the assertions within the presentation were not substantiated by metrics. He suggested that these be included in future. He drew attention to some of the technical language within the Strategy and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4