The HR and OD Manager presented a summary of Health and Wellbeing at the Council over the past year, including the impact of Covid-19.
The HR and OD Manager reported that the Health and Wellbeing Framework had been refreshed and rolled out at the beginning of the year. A Health & Wellbeing Bulletin had been issued together with improved information on the Council’s intranet and Work Well notice boards. Nutrition and Menopause workshops had been held and there were further events planned for the year ahead but the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on the planned programme.
At the start of the pandemic business continuity plans and priority services had been initiated. Key workers had been provided with authorisation to travel. Emails had been sent to all staff to keep them updated and Temporary Workplace Measures had been put together and implemented on 26 March 2020. These measures were then refreshed on 6th April, 22nd May, 14th July and 9th November 2020. Some staff had been redeployed to work in the Community Support Team and some staff from Leisure had been furloughed.
The HR and OD Manager reported that 127 employees had worked from home, 26 had been shielding (long-term), 28 employees had self-isolated for seven days, 32 employees had self-isolated for 10 days, 59 employees had self-isolated for 14 days. As a large number of staff had been working from home since the start of the pandemic a home working survey had been undertaken as well as a Display Screen Equipment workplace assessment questionnaire for all employees working at home. Individual circumstances had been taken into consideration when looking at remote working options and the flexitime bandwidth had been extended to allow for more flexibility.
A new agile working policy had been approved at Council on 9th December 2020 and there would be regular reviews of working arrangements going forward.
The Committee wished to place on record its thanks for all the work that had taken place to support the workforce through this very difficult time. This work had ensured that staff were safe and could continue to provide Council services.
In answer to a question, the HR and OD manager confirmed that the workplace assessment questionnaire had covered common issues with setup and equipment, which had been considered and acted upon by managers were necessary.
The Health and Safety Manager briefed the Committee on the Covid-19 arrangements that had been put in place in respect of working in the workplace. Rotational attendance of staff in the office had been put in place where possible to decrease contact between staff members and risk assessments had taken place and relevant protocols put in place. A consistent message to work at home had been given, in line with government guidance. For those staff who had to work in the office, distance markers had been placed throughout and screens had been provided where there was minimal space between desks. Sanitising stations, which included wipes and sanitising gel had also been provided. Good hygiene practice had been promoted and face coverings could be worn, although they were not mandatory.
Other measures that had been taken included, facilities management displaying posters at entrances to show the maximum capacity for each office area, and the Health and Safety Team had been conducting ad-hoc covid-19 adherence inspections to ensure compliance. The team had also been meeting trade union representatives regularly to ensure adherence to guidance was being maintained and to keep unions up to date with any emerging issues.
Moved by Councillor Anne Clarke and seconded by Councillor Tom Munro
RESOLVED that the Committee note the monitoring update regarding the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the impact of Covid-19.