Kate Sullivan (Lead Commissioner, Culture, Leadership and Performance) introduced the report which provided a summary of ‘Our People’ engagement activities over the past 12 months. The report outlined key achievements and areas of development, the new approach to engaging with our people, and key priorities for the year ahead.
Councillor Gifford noted the positive responses received to staff check-in survey questions, including a rise in the number of staff members who felt trusted by their manager to do their job. He highlighted that the question that had declined most significantly on the results of the previous year was “Warwickshire County Council is a good employer”. He queried whether this was attributable to the effect of rising inflation on pay.
Kate Sullivan advised that, despite the reduced number of positive responses to this statement, the 2021 check-in result was still ahead of levels recorded in 2019. She stated that the delayed resolution of the national pay settlement may have influenced the outcome of responses to this question. It had been a frequently raised issue at Corporate Broad briefings to staff throughout the year. She highlighted that the Council was part of the national framework on pay which prevented the organisation from being able to directly influence the progress of negotiations.
In response to Councillor Hammersley, Kate Sullivan advised that check-in surveys were anonymous, enabling respondents to feel confident to provide honest feedback. There had been a decline in response rates; however, it was not proposed to make it mandatory for staff to respond. Instead, steps would be taken to encourage increased engagement by demonstrating the positive impact that check-in surveys could make across the organisation. She stated that following the June 2022 survey, the ‘Big Conversation’ initiative would be reprised enabling staff to discuss survey results and contribute ideas. This would lead to an improved dialogue with staff, stimulating interest in future consultations. She advised that benchmarking was undertaken against the results of other local authority staff surveys. Warwickshire County Council’s results scored favourably against those of other councils.
In response to Councillor Millar, Kate Sullivan outlined the proposed methodology to improve response rates. She advised that efforts would be made to highlight actions taken in response to survey results, providing assurance that check-in surveys had a meaningful impact. She stated that previously, survey data had been shared with managers upwards from Tier 3. In future, data would also be provided to team leaders, enabling improved scope for action at a local level. This would improve confidence that check-in surveys led to positive change.
In response to the Chair, Kate Sullivan advised that post-pandemic fatigue accounted for a significant proportion of concerns relating to workload. Workload would be a key focus in 2022/23; future survey questions would seek to develop an improved understanding of the causes of workload pressure, leading to measures to provide the right support.
In response to Councillor Hammersley, Kate Sullivan advised that the Council’s vision recognised the diversity of activities across the organisation and individual ways of ... view the full minutes text for item 2