Agenda and draft minutes

General Purposes Committee - Friday, 4th November, 2022 12.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

Contact: Charles Hungwe 

Link: This meeting will be livestreamed

Media

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Councillor Everitt and Councillor Stuart Piper.

20.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 113 KB

    To receive any declarations of interest. Members are advised to consider the advice contained within the Declaration of Interest advice attached to this Agenda. If a Member declares an interest, they should complete the Declaration of Interest Form

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest.

21.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

    To approve the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on 05 July 2022, copy attached.

    Minutes:

    Councillor David Saunders proposed, Councillor Austin seconded and Members agreed the minutes as a correct record of the General Purposes Committee meeting that was held on 5 July 2022.

22.

HR Policy Review - Phase One pdf icon PDF 109 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Sonia Godfrey, HR Manager and Ffion Pepper, HR Business Partner introduced the report and made the following points:

     

    • The HR function was brought back in-house in September 2021;
    • The HR team has been working on the review of a number of HR Policies;
    • The team used best practice in producing the policies and uses best practice to support managers and staff;
    • Each of the reviewed policies had guidance notes for reference and a key points section for highlighting the main aspects of the policy;
    • In the new policy it has been clarified at which stages of the process staff have a right to be accompanied by a colleague or union member to a hearing;
    • The new policy now had a process for dealing with absence from work, removing it from the disciplinary process;
    • The new Grievance Policy now had a section dealing with vexatious complaints;
    • The informal process for disciplinary matters was now less prescriptive to remove any confusion the previous arrangement might have caused.

     

    The Chair thanked officers for the report and detailed policy documents which were more advanced in detail than the previous policies. Members made comments and asked questions as follows:

     

    • Managing staffing matters through an appropriate HR policy was one of the issues that had been raised by the Section 24 report;
    • The challenge with the informal process of a disciplinary procedure was making it work;
    • HR team was asked to take that issue away and find ways of ensuring that the informal process will work in the new policy;
    • With regards to bullying, managers should conduct their behaviour and lead by example, i.e. respectful behaviour. Could this wording be added to the Bullying and Harassment Policy? The language used in this part of the policy should be supportive rather than disciplinary;
    • Was there no member involvement even at a senior management level?
    • One Member said that the language used in the documents was fair;
    • Robust policies were necessary to manage discipline in an organisation;
    • Another Member said that both staff and trade unions were happy with the draft policy;
    • Has this policy been run past ACAS?
    • S151 Officer, Monitoring Officer and CEx arrangements were outside this HR Policy and were covered in separate arrangements. Were these arrangements in place?
    • Annex 2, para 5: Would it help if there was a specific form that could be logged to capture information coming in?
    • Could there also be an official form for the formal procedure described in para 10.3?
    • Why was bullying not listed as part of whistleblowing?

     

    Ffion Pepper, Sonia Godfrey, Hannah Thorpe and the Chair responded to Member comments and questions as follows:

     

    • Officers could have a look at the language used in the absence management policy. However it was worth noting that the language used in the policy should be able to manage expectations between both staff and managers;
    • Since the HR function was brought back in-house, the General Purposes committee would be the interface between Members and staff;
    • The role of GPC was to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.