The Chairman introduced the
item and explained that the topic had been placed on the Scrutiny
Workplan to enable the Panel to consider how the Attendance
Management Policy was supporting employees and helping to manage
sickness absence in a constructive manner following its
introduction in 2015.
He informed the Panel that this
topic was last considered via the Scrutiny process in 2015 when the
Attendance Management Policy was first introduced. At that time Members were supportive of the new
approach following concerns about the Bradford Factor (the previous
method and formula used to manage attendance) and were keen to
ensure that the Policy was effective in supporting employees and
managing attendance in a constructive way.
The scoping report presented to
the Panel provides an overview of the current Attendance Management
Policy for Members to consider and review any areas of concern or
The Chairman welcomed to the
meeting Kate Hill, Senior HR Adviser for the Ashfield and Mansfield
HR Shared Service who was in attendance to assist Members in their
consideration of this topic.
The Senior HR Advisor proceeded
to give an overview of the impact of the Attendance Management
Policy and summarise the various initiatives implemented over the
last 2 years to improve employee attendance:-
The main points considered were
Stress Action Plans
Stress Action Plans were
introduced to help identify and address the reasons why employees
were absent with stress.
Letters were sent to all
Ashfield GP’s explaining what support the Council could offer
to help employees return to work.
The Senior HR Adviser reported
that unfortunately there had been very little feedback from this
The introduction of a new
‘Employee Assistance Programme’ to provide counselling,
online information and signposting to support.
Quarterly meetings between
Human Resources and Directors are scheduled to discuss and review
sickness absences and progress against the targets.
Promotion of healthy lifestyles
including the introduction of workplace health schemes, exercise
referral schemes, stop smoking and weight management
Greater use of the
physiotherapy service to assist employees with muscular/skeletal
The Senior HR Advisor reported
that the main objective of the Policy was to provide a framework
for supporting employees to maintain expected levels of
attendance. In addition to this the
Human Resources Team provide a wealth of support and advice to
ensure that attendance management was effectively monitored and
The Senior HR Adviser briefly
outlined a number of other procedures that are in place to enable
the Human Resources Team to observe the Attendance Management
Policy and support employees including:-
Monthly reports highlighting
Monthly absence trigger reports for both short term
and long term absence.
Attendance at CLT to provide regular updates an
Referrals to occupational health and/or support
Promotion of workplace health activities (holistic
therapies, walking/fitness groups, yoga etc.).
Development of workplace Health
Identifying mental health problems in employees and
rolling out mental health training.
The Senior HR Adviser also
referred to the performance data for sickness absence figures for
2016/17 and 2017/18 respectively.
Members were advised that in
2016/17 the target was set at 10 days however, the actual sickness
absence figure was 8.53 days per full time employee. In 2017/18 from April to September the target was
set at 4.75 days (for 6 months) and the actual sickness absence
figure was 4.38 days per full time employee with the target for the
full year being 9.5 days per full time employee.
The Senior HR Adviser informed
the Panel that the performance data for Quarter 3 (207/18) would be
submitted to Cabinet in February.
However, she asked Members to be mindful that sickness figures for
December were likely to show an increase due to a rise in flu
cases. Furthermore, there were also a
number of long term absences in the workplace but all cases were
Following the presentation
Panel Members took the opportunity to ask questions of the Senior
HR Adviser and in doing so discussed the following:-
The significant improvement on sickness absence
figures which was beneficial to both the employer and the
The impact of long term/disability sickness on
Disappointed that local GP’s had been
reluctant to get involved in explaining what support the Council
could offer to employees returning to work after a period of
Scrutiny Manager suggested that this matter could be referred to
the Health and Well Being Board for consideration.
Were Managers able to consistently meet
How was the sickness absence data
Relationships between Managers and staff and its
impact on the attendance management process.
Does Ashfield District Council have an ideal target
figure they would like to reach in respect of sickness absence
Following conclusion of the presentation and debate,
the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Senior HR Adviser
for her informative update and valuable contributions towards the
Members acknowledged that significant measures had
been put in place to improve sickness absence levels, support staff
and introduce healthy workplace initiatives in line with the
objectives of the Attendance Management Policy.
that the following observations of the Panel be
forwarded on to the Interim Director of Place and Communities and
the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Resources and Finance for their
the concerns of this Panel with regard to the lack
of co-operation from local GP’s in explaining what support
the Council could offer to employees returning to work after a
period of absence be forwarded onto the Health and Well Being Board
for their attention;
thanks and appreciation be forwarded onto the HR
Team for their efforts in implementing the Attendance Management
Policy and to employees for their contributions in improving the
sickness absence levels;
recognition of the effective preventative measures
that have been put in place for employees through the various
be given to setting realistic and achievable
sickness absence targets for employees in a more innovative