15 February 2018


Workforce Strategy Update Report


Final Decision-Maker

Employment Committee

Lead Head of Service/Lead Director

Head of HR Shared Services

Lead Officer and Report Author

Bal Sandher, Head of HR Shared Services



Wards affected

No wards


Executive Summary


The Council has had a Workforce Strategy since 2008 and this has been reviewed and developed as the priorities and environment has changed. The most recent version covers the period 2016 - 2020 and was agreed at the Policy and Resources Committee 29 June 2016. As part of the approval the P&R Committee requested that the Employment Committee should receive progress updates twice per year.


At Appendix I the report sets out the progress made against specific action areas that form the Workforce Plan.



This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the Committee note the progress of the actions set out in the Workforce Strategy







Employment Committee

15 February 2018

Workforce Strategy Update Report





1.1     The key themes of the Workforce Strategy are:


·         Organisation culture and change;

·         Resourcing;

·         Development, and

·         Reward.


1.2     There has been progress in all of these areas most of which is cross cutting and affects more than one of the themes, particularly ‘Organisation culture and change’ and ‘Development’.


1.3     One of the Council’s STRIVE values is Equality and we are proud to have been able to meet the new legislative requirement to produce our Gender Pay Gap information well within the governments deadline. The Ccouncil has regularly reported the equal pay data in its equality information but there is now a statutory requirement for all employers with more than 250 employees to report this publicly.


1.4     In 2016 we changed the appraisal template for all staff and introduced the ‘Developing Everyone’ framework. This new format reinforces the need for career and succession planning at all levels. It also helps to identify the ‘rising stars’ in the organisation to encourage a more structured approach to supporting their development for the future. All staff have access to development but this group are offered a wider range of opportunities that will take them out of their immediate job role. The Developing Everyone framework has been working well to help this longer term focus.    


1.5     The ‘One Council’ summer session was held for the first time in Mote Park and staff had the opportunity to hear several external speakers on the council’s ‘Love Maidstone’ theme. These sessions are very important to ensure that employees get a sense of the wider organisation and the council priorities and know how they fit into that. One of the sessions was a first taste of a development programme that will be run during 2018 for staff at any level in the organisation and is designed to encourage a ‘growth mind-set’; an area identified as crucial for developing the organisations culture to a ‘can-do’ position. The programme is being piloted at the Depot and in Revenues and Benefits to determine its impact.


1.6     The annual staff awards and One Council update will be held at Lockmeadow on the 21 February 2018, this event is enjoyed by both staff and members and gives the opportunity to recognise the great contribution our team members have made to achieving the council’s objectives and delivering great services to the public. This has become an important part of reinforcing our culture and values.


1.7     In the last update it was reported that the Ccouncil had developed and rolled out Resilience Training for staff and managers (two separate programmes) and that this had been well received. This is as a direct response to the fact that stress and anxiety have been our highest causes of sickness absence for several years. A further development has taken place since the last report. In October 2017 the council signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge which is a national initiative designed to change attitudes to mental health issues. The Ccouncil will need to develop an action plan for the seven principles:

·           Demonstrate senior level ‘buy in’

·           Demonstrate accountability and recruit employee champions

·           Raise awareness about mental health issues

·           Update and implement policies to address mental health problems in the workplace

·           Ask staff to share personal experiences of mental health problems

·           Equip line managers to have conversations about mental health

·           Provide information about mental health and signpost to support services.


1.8     In the process of working towards the action plan we have supported the accreditation of the Learning and Development Officer to become a Train the Trainer for Mental Health First Aiders which means that we will be able to develop a group of staff who are able to give initial support and then signpost to the right agencies.


1.9     The annual Wellbeing week has been arranged to take place during 19th to 23rd February 2018.  A number of events have been organised across the council to promote the importance of being healthy and active.  The aim of the week is to raise awareness on wellbeing by arranging opportunities for staff to get involved in activities that will improve their fitness, mental health and their overall wellbeing. 


1.10 In October 2017 employees were asked to complete the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Stress at Work survey. This was last run in 2011 and 2012 and the results show a fairly consistent picture across the three years with marginal negative change in the areas of ‘Control’ and ‘Change’ and a positive improvement in ‘Manager Support’. Given that the pace of work has increased significantly in the last six years and resources have reduced it is a positive outcome to see that the results are so stable and have not declined significantly.



1.11 The Workforce Strategy sets out the key themes for the period 2016-2020, there is an associated action plan that will be updated on a regular basis to ensure the council continues to develop. The action plan that was agreed in June 2016 is at Appendix I and it has been updated with the progress to date.



2.1     The Committee is asked to note the progress to date, and agree that work continues on the current action plan. Members could substitute alternative actions or add to the existing ones.





3.1     The preferred option is for the Committee to note the developments and support the on-going work.



4.       RISK

4.1    The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Council’s Risk Management Framework. We are satisfied that the risks associated are within the Council’s risk appetite and will be managed as per the Policy.




5.1     The Workforce Strategy was developed with input from the managers in the organisation and discussed with both the trade unions and Staff Forum.





6.1     Developments based on the Workforce Strategy are regularly communicated to managers and staff through Wakey Wakey, Team Talk activities, consultation with trade unions Staff forum and by email.


6.2    Actions within the Workforce Strategy are regularly reviewed by the Wider Leadership Team and twice a year by the Employment Committee.









Impact on Corporate Priorities

The Workforce Strategy has an impact on all aspects of the corporate priorities.

Bal Sandher,

Head of HR

Risk Management

The overarching risk is that if the council does not have a Workforce Strategy it may fail to put in place the actions to deliver the priorities.

Bal Sandher,

Head of HR


There are areas of the Workforce Strategy that may have a financial impact but these would be costed within the normal annual budget

[Section 151 Officer & Finance Team]


The Workforce Strategy will have an impact on staff – this should be a positive impact as we work to ensure that there are improvements.

Bal Sandher,

Head of HR


Although there may be specific actions that have legal implications there is nothing identified in the plan overall that will have legal implications.

[Legal Team]

Privacy and Data Protection

No personal data is contained in the report.

[Legal Team]


No impact identified at this time

[Policy & Information Manager]

Crime and Disorder

No impact identified at this time

Bal Sandher,

Head of HR


No impact identified at this time

Bal Sandher,

Head of HR




The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·         Appendix I: Workforce Plan update





Workforce Strategy