Meeting documents

Tuesday, 19 September 2006


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Report by Head of Human Resources


  1. This report provides an update on activity since implementation of the Establishment Review and associated Recruitment Approval process on 1 August 2005. It makes particular reference to the objectives and targets of the Review and progress made against them. In addition it gives details of the agreed establishment figure at 31 March 2006 and staffing numbers at 30 June 2006.
  2. This report is the first to show the ‘new’ directorates following realignment earlier in the year. This has created particular difficulties for Children, Young People & Families (CYP&F) as indicated below:

    • The high number of grant funded and part time posts in the Directorate set against the fact that SAP does not currently record agency costs or grant-funded posts, necessitating a manual check against some 6,000 staff records;
    • As a result of realignment, staffing lists were being transferred between services as the new structures became operational. Therefore, within each service there has had to be considerable work undertaken to assemble accurate whole service lists, working from payroll data. Team managers knew what their staffing establishment was and their budget position but this knowledge has had to be reconciled with the payroll data;
    • The exercise to validate the payroll supplied spreadsheets (as SAP could not be used) has been taking place over the last six weeks. However, given the strong education-facing elements of the Directorate’s work this has been carried out during a period of high staff annual leave.

  1. Given these difficulties it has been agreed that exceptionally on this occasion the CYP&F data will be circulated at the Cabinet meeting. Appendices 1 and 2 (download as .xls file) to this report are therefore incomplete.
  2. Objectives of the Review

  3. The overall objectives of the review are to:-

    • gain control over the numbers of staff, which should result in an initial stabilisation and subsequent reduction in numbers as well as cost savings;
    • achieve a shift in distribution of resources to front-line services and certain approved business critical roles;
    • reduce overall costs associated with temporary/interim staff and recruitment advertising;
    • handle redeployment more effectively;
    • raise accountability across the Council in terms of resource allocation.

Progress against targets

  1. To ensure that the agreed objectives of the Establishment Review were met, a number of targets were proposed. These are outlined below with a statement of progress to date.
  2. The identification of an agreed establishment figure. The 30 June 2005 actual staff numbers were used as the base figure, and Heads of Service and Business Managers confirmed the number of vacancies they were carrying at that date. The establishment figure is now being updated on a quarterly basis. CYP&F are still continuing to work with their Heads of Service to determine the final establishment following the Realignment.
  3. A documented case for each vacancy, with a detailed audit trail for a decision to recruit or remove from establishment would be put in place. This has been done. An agreed format for applications was put in place for 1 August 2005 and continues.
  4. An agreed description of front-line, business critical and back-office services would be in place. This has been done via the creation of a list of posts which are exempt from the scope of the establishment review. All other posts go through the recruitment approval process. This exempt list was reduced in scope with effect from 1 April 2006 and continues to be monitored in terms of appropriateness.
  5. A centralised system of approvals for recruitment based in Corporate HR. This has been done, with the system going live on 1 August 2005. We now have a clear "business as usual" process in place across the Council with the objective of turning around requests within two working days of receipt.
  6. The involvement of the Cabinet Member for Change Management in the process. Regular updates on progress are in place.
  7. All staff in the redeployment pool to be considered for each vacancy before it is advertised and a documented decision placed on file. This is an integral part of the recruitment approval process; Directorate HR teams check the redeployment register before any advert is placed. To ensure even tighter control of the process, all redeployment activity across the Council has been pulled together within the Corporate HR team. Re-badged as the Job Finder Service, this enables us for the first time to have redeployment activity and recruitment approval process in one place.
  8. There were also annual reduction targets set for the costs of hiring temporary staff and recruitment advertising. We are continuing to drive efficiencies in both areas.
  9. Current Numbers

  10. The establishment and staffing numbers (FTE) as at 30 June 2006 are shown in Annex 1 by Directorate and in Annex 2 with service breakdown. In headline terms the numbers over the past year are as follows:
  11. 30 June 2005 – Establishment 5064 (FTE in post 4537)

    30 Sept 2005 – Establishment 5277 (FTE in post 4635)

    31 Dec 2005 – Establishment 5131 (FTE in post 4663)

    31 Mar 2006 - Establishment 5196 (FTE in post 4656)

    30 June 2006 – Establishment tbc* (FTE in post 4446)

    [*tbc prior to meeting]

  12. There have been 507 applications through the Recruitment Approval process during the period 1 August 2005 and 30 June 2006. 188 (37%) of these applications have been considered in the last quarter. The reason for the increase in requests for this period is due to the reduction in the number of posts on the exempt list from 1 April 2006. 73 of the 188 applications were approved on a temporary basis only where it was felt that the posts would be suitable for those displaced by Shared Services.
  13. During the period 1 April 2006 to 30 June 2006 there were 428 new starters with the Council, 238 of which were in Schools and 190 non-schools.
  14. Current Activity

  15. There has been a lot of activity since 1 August 2005 to make sure that we are able to secure real benefit from the Establishment Review and Recruitment Approval process. Given the difficulties CYP&F have had in providing information this quarter, clearly more needs to be done but there is a process in place which gives accurate people information to work with. This will be delivered more effectively when the data is gathered in a more consistent way across the Council. Shared Services will facilitate this.
  16. The agreed establishment figure has been recast for Social and Community Services to reflect the organisational changes made as part of Directorate Realignment. At the time of writing this report work is still being finalised for CYP&F.
  17. Heads of Service have been asked to provide reports of their service area on the following basis:

    • Establishment figure (FTE) at 31 March 2006;
    • Authorised vacancies (FTE) included in that number;
    • FTE employed at 30 June 2006;
    • Reason for movement over the last quarter – details of new posts, resignations, temporary appointments;
    • Vacancies at 30 June 2006 (FTE);
    • Number of posts removed from the establishment in this quarter;
    • Number of posts added to the establishment in this quarter;
    • Grant funded posts (FTE);
    • Vacancies included in these numbers covered by agency staff – in terms of FTE and cost.


  1. The Cabinet is RECOMMENDED to:
          1. note the report; and
          2. confirm that the Establishment Review continues to meet requirements in reporting and managing staffing numbers.

Head of Human Resources

Background Papers: Nil

Contact Officer: Sue James, Corporate HR Officer, 01865 815465.

September 2006

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