Scrutiny Councillors follow up on the impact of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of staff

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Scrutiny Councillors on the Workforce Working Group have met in February to follow up on the impact of the pandemic on the health and wellbeing of staff and how the Council is supporting this.

The Working Group initially met in March 2021 and discussed in detail issues around home working, staff sickness, staff turnover and use of agency staff and agreed to meet again once results of a second staff survey about these issues had been received and analysed.

Here is a summary of what the Working Group concluded but you can view all details discussed at this meeting by clicking here.

The Working Group expressed how useful the follow up session was and felt reassured by the answers given to questions raised and felt confident that the Authority is progressing in the right direction with regards its workforce.

Members had some concerns that the recent survey may not be a true reflection of how staff are feeling as the number of responses was low. They felt the Authority needs to find ways of getting a higher response to surveys but realise this is a difficult task. To improve the number of responses to staff surveys in future, the Working Group encouraged officers to make more hard copies of surveys readily available; try offering incentives to staff for completing a survey; and consider including something in new employee contracts to encourage them to complete surveys.

The Working Group discussed issues around rising energy costs for staff working from home and were pleased that information on how to claim money back from the tax office for working from home is made readily available to staff in various ways. Members would like to see reminders of this published on a regular basis so all eligible staff can take advantage of it.

The Working Group felt it would be useful to have a ‘one stop’ shop to contact if people have several questions they want answered. It was clarified that currently the Service Centre can answer a number of questions from staff and the public. Members were pleased to hear that all HR functions will be brought together under one Head of HR and Service Centre and hope that this will result in one cabinet member for this portfolio.

The Working Group expressed thanks and acknowledged the hard work and commitment of all staff, the senior management team and everyone in the organisation who have worked so hard doing their jobs and supporting the people of Swansea in very difficult times.

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