Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Sitting as a Select Committee
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 6.00pm

Venue: Autun Room - Daneshill House, Danestrete. View directions

Contact: Fungai Nyamukapa  Email: fungai.nyamukapa@stevenage.gov.uk Tel: 01438 242707

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs P Bibby CC, J Fraser and J Mead.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs P Bibby CC, J Fraser and J Mead.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

2.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 08 October 2018

Decision:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 08 October 2018 are approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 08 October 2018 are approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

3.

REVIEW OF SBC SICKNESS MANAGEMENT pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To consider the SBC Sickness Management documents and interview witnesses for the review

Decision:

Following presentations from SBC Senior Human Resources Manager, SBC officers and FirstCare Business Development Manager, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee formulated the following recommendations:

 

1.         That a further meeting to consider other aspects of the review be arranged

 

2.         That management officers from Customer Services and Housing Investment be invited to the next SBC Sickness Management review meeting

 

3.         That union representatives be invited to a future Sickness Management review meeting

 

4.         That data collected for FirstCare’s East of England clients be shared with the Committee

 

5.         That officers clarify the projections for reduction in sickness absence after the engagement of the third-party sickness absence provider (FirstCare)

 

6.         That the “Time to Change” pledge be circulated to Members

 

7.         That the SBC Volunteering Policy be submitted to the Committee

 

8.         That the current (and when available) the revised Sickness Policy be submitted to the Committee

 

9.         That details of the employee assistance programme be submitted to the Committee

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Matthew Scrimshire, the FirstCare Business Development Manager to the meeting. The Business Development Manager had been invited to provide an update on the proposed Absence Management Contract.

 

FirstCare is an Absence Management Solutions provider that was established in 2004.  The company has a staff compliment of about 180 and it operates from a base in Watford. FirstCare has another office in Waterloo and it also has remote working arrangements. FirstCare provides a specialised phone triage service for 120 clients including 15 local authorities. 60% of the company’s clients are public sector organisations. FC works with 15 local authorities. The provider employs one doctor and nurses of Band 6 grade and above. The service provider also works with 12 NHS Trusts. The robust service had been signed off by Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust.

 

The service was procured via the Watford Borough Council Procurement Framework Agreement. The Framework Agreement enables local authorities to procure the Absence Management Service without going to tender. The Agreement sets the cost of the service to £3.30 per employee per month.

 

The objectives of FirstCare Absence Management Solutions are to support employees, minimise absence and promote safe return to work. All initial calls to the service are handled by administration (non-clinical) staff who will direct callers/employees to relevant nurses for clinical advice. 

 

FirstCare received about 1 million calls in 2017. One in 436 of calls received involve life-threatening conditions. The provider has handled 215 urgent calls so far this year including seven (7) unintentional overdoses, 28 suicidal ideation calls and 44 cardiac/chest pain calls. It is worth noting that 56% of red flag calls were received between 6.00pm and 9.00am. Statistics from FirstCare clients indicate that early intervention significantly contributes to reduction in sickness levels.  A bus operator had reduced sickness absence following advice from FirstCare to adjust shift patterns for drivers. Data analysis had revealed a link between musculoskeletal disorders and the operator’s working patterns.

 

The Business Development Manager informed the Committee that:

 

           FirstCare would be the first point of contact for officers. FirstCare non-clinical staff would record employee details and then transfer the call to a nurse. The provider’s call centres operate the entire 24 hours of the day and seven days of the week (24/7).

           An email or text notification would be sent to the employee’s line manager or other nominated Council officer within five minutes of the employee’s first call to FirstCare.

           FirstCare would provide regular updates regarding estimated duration of absence

           Medical details will be shared only in cases of positive consent by the employee

 

The Committee also considered the Sickness Absence Report for the period 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018. The report highlighted the overall trend, organisational changes, comparison with national and local absence trends, long and short term absence, cost of sickness absence, reasons for sickness absence and the support available to employees. It was reported that on average 50% of staff did not take time off for sickness.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

URGENT PART I BUSINESS

To consider any Part I business accepted by the Chair as urgent

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.

5.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following motions:

 

1          That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items

of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs 1-7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by SI2006 No. 88

 

2          That Members consider the reasons for the following reports (if any) being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure

Decision:

Not required.

Minutes:

Not required.

6.

URGENT PART II BUSINESS

To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent

Decision:

None.

Minutes:

None.