Agenda item

Our People Strategy


Rich Thomas Strategy and Commissioning Manager (HROD) introduced the item stating that it included agile working. The Council’s people strategy was refreshed to align with the 2020-2025 Council Plan. The strategy was developed with stakeholders including the council’s ‘How We Work Board’ and Corporate Board who were operating as the Change Portfolio Board with HROD (human resources and organisational development), Trade Unions, the Senior Leadership Forum and staff networks. Together they identified several priority items to deliver the desired outcomes, enablers and measures within the strategy. This was designed to create a great place to work where diverse and talented people are enabled to be their best. The strategy was developed around the council’s five values and six topics from which the priorities were developed from. The strategy needed to remain agile because of Covid-19 and the changing service and staff needs. Permission was sought for HROD to develop the underpinning strategies and projects to deliver the people strategy and refine measures where necessary. In terms of agile working.  The council’s focus was to create an environment where work is what is done rather than focusing on where or how it was done. The council’s agile working offer was developed to provide a choice for staff in how they deliver services and allows the council to review its office space management. The report was supported by Cabinet in December 2020.  


The Chair noted that staff were being engaged by the ‘check-in’ surveys throughout 2020; the fourth survey closed in December 2020. Rich Thomas stated that the survey responses were being used to appropriately help colleagues mentally as well as ensuring they were not overworking and took breaks. 

Councillor Neil Dirveiks agreed that staff engagement was paramount due to the change in work culture and that the social aspect of working will need to be protected to support mental and emotional wellbeing.  


In response to Councillor Andy Jenns’ concerns, Rich Thomas clarified that a robust approach was in place to ensure physical wellbeing for working at home with DSE (display screen equipment) assessments, all colleagues had £100 to spend on equipment which would allow them to operate safely at home but this cap was lifted as long as it was accompanied with a DSE assessment. Staff could also go into their office and take their equipment home.  

Allison Lehky (Service Manager (HR Enabling) added that provisions were implemented for staff to have allocated desks in the workplace if they struggled to work from home; this included financial struggles from working from home too. The equipment for staff members was reviewed too, so needs could be accommodated better. 


This was praised by members of the Staff & Pensions Committee. It was noted that Covid-19 accelerated change. 


Following a query from Councillor John Horner, Rich Thomas clarified that there was a provision for employers to make an allowance payment to employees up to £6.00 per week on a tax-free basis. Or the employer could choose not to make the payment so the individual could claim tax relief on that amount themselves. Warwickshire County Council chose to do the latter option. 


The Chair reiterated that the strategy will always be a ‘work in progress’ due to its need to be flexible. 




That the Staff & Pensions Committee


1. Endorses the Our People Strategy 2020 – 2025 (contained in Appendix 1)

2. Comments on the proposed delivery priorities set out in Appendix 2 and authorises the Chief Executive to finalise the delivery plan having regard to the views expressed by this Committee and by the Resources and FRS Overview and Scrutiny Committee


3. Endorses the Agile Working Offer and Online Protocols as part of the How We Work programme as set out in Appendices 3 and 4, to include the offer made to staff to move onto a new Agile Working Contract with new terms and conditions, with effect from 1st April 2021

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