Asset Management / Facilities Management Transformational Programme
The Council is making major changes to the way it manages its land and buildings and Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel members had a series of discussions throughout the year looking at different aspects of this programme.
Matters considered during the year have included the Council’s programme of asset reviews, the sale of assets surplus to requirements and the potential for communities to take over the management of buildings from the Council. We also examined facilities management – the way in which the Council provides reception services, cleaning and maintenance of our buildings in-depth at the September meeting. We finished in January by looking at the proposed strategy for planned building maintenance and the review of schools catering and cleaning.
The voice of the child
There are children in Calderdale who need the help of our social services. They may live in care homes, or are fostered or adopted. They may be in families with a whole range of problems, or they may be young carers. Whatever the issues are that they are dealing with, it’s important that their voice is heard when it comes to decisions that affect their lives.
Scrutiny was asked to look at how effective the council is at listening to the voices of young people, how that’s recorded, and how we take those opinions into account.
A team of four Councillors went out and interviewed over twenty different groups of council staff, voluntary sector workers and others who should be listening. We then produced a report with some recommendations and took that to a meeting with young people at the Orange Box to see what they thought, and whether they’d like to add anything else.
Most of the recommendations have now been taken on board, including the very important one which is that two members of the Youth Council are now members of our scrutiny panel!
The Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel recognises that the health and well-being of the Council’s staff is very important. It also recognises that senior management has a responsibility to ensure that sickness absence levels in the organisation are effectively managed, with policies and procedures in place to manage sickness absence in a fair and consistent manner throughout the organisation.
The Panel considered absence management several times last year and held detailed discussions with the Cabinet member and the Director of Communities and Business Change on the levels and types of sickness absence in the organisation and, in particular, what measures they were taking to address sickness absence in the organisation, particularly to reduce long term absences and stress related illnesses.
Average sickness absence per employee at the Council had varied between 8.9% in 2010/11 and a current figure of 8.5% in 2013/14. The figure for sickness absence per employee is now below the national average of 8.8% for local government employees.