Minutes of the Staffing and Policy Committee on 12th June 2024 (draft)

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL STAFFING AND POLICY COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE 2024 IN THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES

THOSE ATTENDING:

Cllr K Burn

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr A Iley

Cllr J Rowell

Cllr P Vaughan (Chairman)

Cllr L Watson

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

Ms A Brindley Parish Clerk, Mr D Nicholson DPC and Mr D Iley FO

 

 

AGENDA PART 1

S&P001/24   1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

 

The following apologies were received:  Cllr Allsopp (prior commitment), Cllr Foster (NCC business) which were agreed as acceptable reasons for absence

 

S&P002/24   2.         MEMBERS DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).

 

No declarations.

 

S&P003/24    3.         ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL YEAR 2024/25.

 

Cllr P S Vaughan was duly moved, seconded, and elected to serve as Chairman of the Staffing and Policy Committee for the ensuing year.

 

S&P004/24   4.         ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR THE COUNCIL YEAR 2023/24.

 

Cllr J Rowell was duly moved, seconded, and elected to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Staffing and Policy Committee for the ensuing year.

 

S&P005/24   5.         PUBLIC QUESTIONS

 

No public questions

 

 

S&P006/24 6.            TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE  28th FEBRUARY 2024

 

Members agreed the minutes of 28 February 2024.

 

S&P007/24   7.         MATTERS ARISING

                                    No matters arising

 

 

S&P008/24   8.         TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR 2024/5

           

RESOLVED: Members agreed the terms of reference for 2024/25

 

S&P009/24   9.         APPROVAL OF THE PENSIONS DISCRECTIONS POLICY

The Parish Council is a good employer affording employees green book conditions of service.  However, it is not a large organisation and limited staffing and financial resources have to be considered in reviewing this policy.

RESOLVED: Members approved the pensions discretion policy for the 2024/25 year. Parish Clerk draw up a policy to reflect the decisions.

 

S&P010/24  10.        RECRUITMENT POLICY 2024/25 APPROVAL

                                    RESOLVED: Members approved the recruitment policy with the addition of social media to paragraph 2.3

 

 

S&P011/24  11.        APPRAISAL POLICY 2024/25 APPROVAL

RESOLVED: Members approved the appraisal policy with the addition of ‘Review current job description to match current tasks’ to paragraph 2

 

 

 

AGENDA – PART 2.

Members considered that in respect of Standing Order 3a and in view of the special and confidential nature of the business to be transacted, that it was advisable in the public interest that the press and public be excluded and asked to withdraw.

 

No items have been referred to Agenda Part 2. 

 

Meeting closed at 9.50am

 

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL STAFFING AND POLICY COMMITTEE HELD ON WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2024 IN THE PARISH COUNCIL OFFICES

THOSE ATTENDING:

  Cllr H Allsopp

Cllr K Burn

Cllr G Huntley

Cllr J Rowell

Cllr P Vaughan (Chairman)

Cllr L Watson

 

IN ATTENDANCE:

Ms A Brindley Parish Clerk, Mr D Nicholson DPC

AGENDA PART 1

S&P010/23   1.         APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

The following apologies were received:  Cllr Foster (NCC business) and Cllr A Iley (illness)) which were agreed as acceptable reasons for absence

S&P011/23   2.         MEMBERS DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).

 No declarations were made

S&P012/23    3.         PUBLIC QUESTIONS

 The Parish Clerk had not been notified of any questions from the public

S&P013/23   4.         TO RECEIVE AND APPROVE OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

Members agreed the minutes of 25 October 2023.

S&P014/23   5.         MATTERS ARISING

The Parish Clerk confirmed that the Pension authority had been informed of the Pensions Discretions Policy of the Council

S&P015/23   6.         REVIEW OF STAFFING STRUCTURE

 Members considered that in view of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, that it this should be considered in Agenda Part 2

AGENDA – PART 2. 

Members considered that in respect of Standing Order 3a and in view of the special and confidential nature of the business to be transacted, that it was advisable in the public interest that the press and public be excluded and asked to withdraw.

 Items referred from part 1. for consideration. 

 S&P016/23    REVIEW OF STAFFING STRUCTURE

 RESOLVED:  i          Change of hours:

        • Members agreed to the request for a reduction of working hours from a member of staff; noting the declared change in their external employment hours.
        • HR advice to be taken regarding the new contract, delegating the completion of the contract to Parish Clerk with Chair and Vice Chair.

                       ii        Succession Plan:

        • Parish Clerk and Deputy Parish Clerk to identify interest in future vacancies, ensuring time for a smooth transition.
        • A programme of development for existing staff to enable progression

                                          

There being no further business the meeting closed at 10.15

 

 Signed by the Chairman: …………………………………………….               Date:  …………………..

 

 

 Appendix 1 Agenda Item  8                                                                                            

Terms of Reference

 Staffing and Policy Committee 

  1. Committee:  The Staffing and Policy Committee is constituted as a committee of the Council.
  2. Membership:  All Councillors can be members with a minimum of 5 Councillors and will include the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council.

The quorum shall be 3 members of the Committee.

  1. The Chairman (and Vice Chairman) will be elected at the first meeting of the Committee following the Annual Meeting of Choppington Parish Council.
  2. The Committee will meet minimum 6 monthly, with a minimum of 3 working days’ notice given, or less if an extraordinary meeting is required.

 

  1. Purpose:
    1. To consider matters relating to the Council as the employer.
    2. To consider matters of policy and make recommendations to the Parish Council as required.
  2. Performance Review of Clerk, appraisal by the Chair and Vice Chair (or in their absence 2 members of this committee) and to implement any recommendations or actions.
  3. To receive a report from the Clerk following performance reviews of staff, and implement any recommendations or action. NB budgetary responsibility relating to employee costs is considered by the Finance Committee.
  4. To review and recommend to the Council policy documents
  5. Minutes: The business of the meeting is recorded as minutes and approved at next meeting.  Due to the cycle of meetings, the minutes are noted at the following Parish Council meeting including recommendations for action.
  6. The terms of reference to be reviewed annually by the Committee.

Appendix 2  Item 9

Choppington Parish Council

Employers discretion Policy

  1. Introduction

Choppington Parish Council has chosen to participate in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LPGS).  Membership benefits are defined and mostly prescribed under this scheme but in certain areas it requires the employer (the Parish Council) to consider and formally agree some benefits that are discretionary.  Under Regulation 60 of the LGPS Regulation 2013 (amended) each scheme employer must publish and keep under review a discretions policy which explains how it will apply certain discretions allowed under the Pensions Regulations.  This policy will be available to the Council’s pensions administrator Tyne and Wear Pension Fund. (TWPF). Within the Local Government Pension Scheme there are over one hundred possible discretions which are either mandatory or optional, the following have been considered by the Staffing and Policy Committee in 2023

1          Power of employing authority to grant additional pension (Regulation 31)

 An employer can decide whether to grant additional pension to an active member or within 6 months of ceasing to be an active member by reason of redundancy or business efficiency.  Additional pension is up to a limit of £7759 (2022-23 rates).

Policy

The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications.

2          Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (APC’s) Regulation 16 (2)(e) Regulation 16 (4)(d)

 Where an active member wishes to purchase extra annual pension by making additional pension contributions (APC)1, an employer can choose to voluntarily contribute towards the cost of purchasing that extra pension through a Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC).

Note 1. This does not relate to cases where a member has a period of authorised unpaid leave.  Under certain circumstances the employer must contribute 2/3rd of the cost to a SCAPC (Reg 2013 15(5)).

Policy

The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications.

3          Flexible Retirement Regulation 30(6) TP11(2)

 An employer can decide whether to permit flexible retirement for staff aged 55 or over who reduce their working hours and/or grade and wish to access their pension benefits.  In such cases pension benefits will be reduced in accordance with actuarial guidance unless the employer waives reduction on compassionate grounds or a member has protected rights.  NB The Parish Council will require a flexible retirement policy if this is agreed as policy.

Policy

The Council may exercise this discretion mindful that consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications.  This must also be in line with the Council’s flexible retirement policy.

 4          Flexible Retirement waiving of actuarial reduction Regulation 30(8) TPSch2, Para 2(1), B30(5) and B30(A)(5)

 When an employee has been permitted flexible retirement, and access pension benefits, their pension is reduced.  The employer can decide whether to waive, in whole or in part, the actuarial reduction on benefits paid on the flexible retirement.

Employers may also waive on compassionate grounds members benefits for deferred members and suspended tier 3 ill health pensioners who elect to draw benefits on or after age 60 and before normal pension age.  The Parish Council as the employer will pay any shortfall.

Policy

The exercise of this discretion is in a highly exceptional  circumstance, however consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case, of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications

5          ‘Switch on’ the 85-year rule LPGS Regulations 2014 (Transitional Provisions Savings and amendments – paragraph 2 (2) of schedule 2

The 85 year rule applies to members joining before 2006 and currently Choppington Parish Council does not have members in the pension fund to which this applies.  The rule states that if the member’s age plus the number of years in pension fund add up to 85 years or more, they are eligible to retire early without losing any pension benefits.  The 85 year rule applies after 60 years of age.  Between the ages of 55 and 60 members can choose to retire with reduced benefits.

The employer can decide to ‘switch on’ the 85-year rule for a member voluntarily drawing benefits on or after age 55 and before 60 (other than on the grounds of flexible retirement).  Under these circumstances the employer will pay pension strain costs.

Policy

The exercise of this discretion is in a highly exceptional  circumstance.  Currently the Council has no member of staff that this would apply.  However consideration must be made on an individual basis, having regard to the business case – of it being in the interests of the Council and in respect of cost and staffing implications

Pre LGPS 2014 discretions – this is not applicable

Choppington Parish Council does not have members who ceased active membership on or after 1 April 2008 and before 1 April 2014

Policy Review

The Staffing Committee will review this policy annually

Glossary

actuarial guidance – based on a table which shows probability of a person dying before their next birthday

actuarial reduction – using actuarial tables a calculation is made to calculate the reduction in pension benefits with early retirement.

Deferred members – members who have been in the LGPS a minimum 2 years and have left before their retirement age but have kept their pension benefits in the LGPS

Shared Cost Additional Pension Contribution (SCAPC).  Employer and employee both pay additional contributions.

Strain Cost –  Shortfall in the assumed level of funding needed to provide a pension benefit.  Most strain costs are payable up front as a lump sum to the fund at the point that an event occurs. Strain costs relating to “no fault” events such as ill health retirements and deaths are not payable up front but instead are absorbed within the ongoing employer’s contribution rate as part of the actuarial valuation.

Suspended tier 3 ill health pensioners – tier 3 ill health refers to those likely to be capable of gainful employment within 3 years of leaving employ  ment or before normal pension age.  This pension is paid temporarily for maximum of 3 years or when employee enters gainful employment.

 

Appendix 3  Agenda item 10

Choppington Parish Council Recruitment Policy

Policy Statement

Choppington Parish Council is an Equal Opportunities employer. The aim of this Policy is to ensure that the Council select the most suitable person for the job based on relevant merit and abilities and that no employee/candidate is unfairly treated on any grounds, including those protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010.

  1. Purpose
    1. The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that:
      1. The efficient and effective recruitment of staff takes place
      2. Applicants are treated fairly, consistently and courteously
      3. Recruitment and selection decisions are based on merit alone
      4. Compliance with recruitment legislation.
    2. Scope

This Policy applies to recruitment to Choppington Parish Council.  This process falls under the delegated powers of the Staffing and Policy Committee.

The Staffing and Policy Committee may delegate the recruitment process to the Parish Clerk in consultation with members of the committee (working group)

  1. The Recruitment Process
    1. Pre-Advertising
      1. For all job vacancies, a job description and person specification must be provided. These documents set out the duties of the job and the skills needed to fill it. The objective criteria contained within these documents must consist of minimum standards considered to be essential for the effective performance of the job. Desirable criteria may be included, but these must be referred to only after candidates have met the essential criteria.
      2. An application form will be reviewed and prepared in advance of the job being advertised. Application forms should ask candidates to confirm that they are legally entitled to work within the UK.
      3. The salary and grade for the job vacancy will be determined in accordance with the National Agreement on Salaries and Conditions of Service of Local Council Clerks in England and Wales.
    2. Advertising
      1. A job advert will be prepared by the Parish Clerk for each job vacancy. Job adverts will be carefully constructed and include an equal opportunities statement, encouraging applications from all sections of the community.
      2. All job adverts will include; the job title, job location, intended pay, qualifications, essential and desirable experience required and closing date. Job adverts will state where further information can be obtained and that all candidates will be required to complete an application form.
      3. Choppington Parish Council job vacancies will be advertised on the Council’s website, and if appropriate may be advertised more widely including social media, SLCC and NALC website.
    3. Shortlisting
      1. Following the job vacancy closing date, and as soon after the closing date as possible, all applications will go forward to the shortlisting process where each application shall be assessed against the person specification for the role applied for. Shortlisting will be undertaken by more than one person.
      2. The Council shall keep records of reasons for not shortlisting candidates.
      3. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview and given a minimum of a weeks’ notice of the interview date.
    4. Interview
  2. Interview panel will be selected by the staffing committee to include the Parish Clerk.
  3. Interview questions will be drawn up in advance and the same questions will be applied to each candidate applying for the same job vacancy, to ensure a consistent and fair approach.
  4. Interviews will be conducted by an interview panel, comprising of at least two panel members. All effort will be made for the same interview panel to interview all candidates applying for the same job vacancy.
  5. Notes will be made throughout the interview recording candidates’ responses to questions.
  6. At this stage, checks and photocopies should be taken of one of the following documents to verify candidates ID and entitlement to work in the UK:
    • UK British passport or full UK birth certificate and proof of NI number
    • EU passport or ID card
    • Non EU passport and Visa
  7. Appointment
    1. Once the interview panel has made a decision, the successful candidate can be offered the post, subject to confirmation of documentary evidence of their right to work in the UK, satisfactory references and, where relevant, any other pre-employment checks. Once all information has been satisfactorily received, a formal job offer will be issued.
    2. Post Appointment
  8. All employees will be subject to a probationary period of 6 months, after                         which there will be a review.
  9. Once the appointment has been confirmed, all unsuccessful applicants should be informed in writing.
  10. It is a legal requirement that details of every application must be retained for a period of 12 months. Notes detailing the recruitment decision, of the successful candidate and those who were not selected must be retained.
  1. Policy Review

The Staffing Committee will review this policy as is necessary and appropriate, and at a minimum on a 4 year basis.

 

Appendix 4 Agenda Item 11

Appraisal Procedure

 

1          INTRODUCTION

Appraisals provide the opportunity to improve the performance of the Parish Council through investment in its workforce.  An appraisal gives each member of staff an opportunity to discuss and review with their line-manager the progress and achievements they have made in the year and to discuss any training or developmental opportunities that may become available during the coming year.

Appraisals should also reinforce equality policies and staff responsibilities.

As part of this process staff have a right to a clear understanding of the Council’s expectations of them, and in return each member of staff should contribute to the council’s strategic objectives.

2          PURPOSE OF THE SCHEME

The purpose of the appraisal scheme is to:

  • Review current job description to match current tasks
    • review performance and determine the progression through to salary points.
    • set objectives for the future.
    • review Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and identify future training and development needs.

3          ELIGIBILITY

The appraisal procedure applies to all staff.

4          FREQUENCY

Appraisals take place once per year in the cycle January to December.

Where an employee starts their employment part way through the year, the Clerk will determine the date for the first appraisal for that employee and thereafter falls in line with the appraisal cycle. 

5          APPRAISERS

Senior members of the Council (usually Chair and Vice Chair) will appraise the Parish Clerk.

The Parish Clerk as line manager will appraise other members of staff.

6          PROCEDURE

The appraisal meeting should be planned in advance. Appraisers will give at least 5 working days notice of a review meeting to enable the member of staff to prepare. The meeting best takes place in a confidential and quiet location.

The appraisal meeting follows a template based on objectives from the employee’s job descriptions.  This should include a review of performance and the objectives that have been set the previous year.  This documentation is shared with the member of staff.

The member of staff should prepare for the meeting by reviewing the objectives set during the previous appraisal cycle and prepare evidence to demonstrate progress.

7          THE APPRAISAL MEETING

  1. The appraisal meeting is scheduled to last no longer than an hour.

The venue should be mutually agreed and should be comfortable and arranged to create an informal atmosphere. The interview should be free from interruptions.

2    The appraiser should explain the purpose and scope of the interview, this being to:

  1. Review: previous objectives and discuss the employee’s actual performance.
  2. Explore: what factors affected individual performance examining both internal and external constraints and issues.
  • Agree: future performance objectives and identify any support and development plans for the future.
    1. Targets set should be achievable and realistic.
    2. Should be capable of being monitored.
  1. Plan: identify training and development needs and plan for implementation including costs and timescales.

3   The appraiser should initially ask the employee to go through the self- appraisal form.

  1. Encourage the employee to discuss his or her strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Discuss how far agreed objectives have been met.

From this the appraiser and employee should:

  1. agree future objectives.
  2. discuss any development needs appropriate to the existing job or the employee’s future in the organisation, for example: training, education, work experience.

Summarise the plans which are agreed.

If there are disagreements the appraiser should explain how the employee can appeal against their appraisal.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

After the interview, the appraiser should write up a summary of the main points from the meeting and any objectives agreed using the Appraisal Form.  A copy is given to the member of staff for signature.  The member of staff retains a copy and the other is filed in the staff member’s file.

REPORTING TO THE COUNCIL

The completion of the appraisal cycle is reported to the staffing Committee and recommendations included in the budget setting process.