Agenda and minutes

Human Resources Committee - Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 5.30 pm

Venue: Online only - Due to Covid-19, this meeting will be held remotely and will be livestreamed here: (Copy and paste the link in your browser). View directions

Contact: Elizabeth Jackson, Democratic Services Manager  Tel: 01423 500600 Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes:


01/20 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTES: There were no apologies for absence or notification of substitutes.

(5.32 pm)


Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.


02/20 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST: There were no declarations of interest.


(5.33 pm)


Minutes: pdf icon PDF 204 KB

of the meeting of 7 May 2020.


03/20 – MINUTES: The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 May 2020 were unanimously approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


 (5.34 pm)


Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items.


04/20 – EXEMPT INFORMATION: Appendix 1 to the report considered at Minute 06/20 was deemed to be exempt under paragraph 1 of Schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972.  Discussion on the item was, however, held in open session.


(5.34 pm)


Public Arrangements - Questions:

To consider any questions under Standing Order 27.


05/20 – PUBLIC ARRANGEMENTS – QUESTIONS: There were no questions to consider under Standing Order 27.

(5.34 pm)


Unison Branch Secretary - Time Off Arrangements Review: pdf icon PDF 522 KB

The Human Resources Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:




06/20 – UNISON BRANCH SECRETARY – TIME OFF ARRANGEMENTS REVIEW: Further to Minute 40/19, the Human Resources Manager submitted a written report in relation to the future of the paid time off arrangements for the Unison Branch Secretary.  The Committee had considered the matter on 29 January 2020 where it had resolved that the existing arrangement of 30 hours per week continue for a year until March 2021, with a review of the arrangements to take place at the October meeting of the Committee.  The report before the Committee had previously been considered by Management Board, who recommended that the current arrangement of 30 hours per week continue for a two year period until 31 March 2023.


A formal arrangement had been in place since June 2005 and the report set out the advantages to the Council of the current arrangement in dealing with significant change initiatives and day to day employee relations issues.  The COVID-19 pandemic had required additional trade union input and this was likely to continue well into 2021.  A number of significant projects the Council was embarking on would also require intensive input from the trade unions and these included the Local Authority Controlled Company, the Destination Management Organisation, restructures paused due to COVID-19 and, should it be confirmed, local government reorganisation.


At its meeting in January the Committee had requested further information on the difference between trade union ‘duties’ and ‘activities’ and an explanation was included in the report at sections 6.5 and 6.6.  The Committee had also requested further detail on the analysis of time spent on trade union duties, which was given at section 6.7 for 2018/19 and 2019/20, and a further breakdown was shown at exempt Appendix 1.


Unison had requested a continuation of the current arrangement, with an increase in facility time from 30 to 37 hours and a copy of a joint letter from the Unison Branch Chair and Branch Secretary was included as Appendix 2.  David Houlgate, the Unison Branch Secretary, attended the meeting and addressed the Committee, advising that Unison would be content with a shorter arrangement of 37 hours for 6 months which would provide additional capacity through the winter and COVID.


The Human Resources Manager and the Branch Secretary responded to questions in relation to the amount of time required to undertake the role and the Head of Organisational Development and Improvement confirmed that the grading of the role related to the job role of the Branch Secretary.  Councillor Graham Swift stated that he was a supporter of trade unions and that they made a genuine contribution to the role of labour in society.  Councillor Swift added that currently there was uncertainty over future work programmes and the timing of proposed projects.


Councillor Christine Willoughby then moved that the branch facility time be extended to 37 hours for a period of 6 months to assist with the current workload relating to COVID and that this be reviewed at the end  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.