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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ. View directions

Contact: James Goddard  Committee Manager

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 40 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2010 as a correct record. 


The minutes of the 17 November 2010 meeting were approved and signed as a correct record.


Matters Arising from the Minutes

Members are requested to contact the Head of Human Resources or Committee Manager prior to the meeting with any issues they wish to raise. 


(i)          10/22/JSEF Option to Exclude the Public

Committee Manager sought clarification from Forum as to whether it wished to be a Working Group (ie open to the public) or a closed session internal meeting. This was due to references set out in the previous minutes concerning inviting members of the public in exceptional circumstances.


JSEF unanimously agreed that the Forum should be open to members of staff to address the committee, but was not a Working Group that would be open to members of the public.


Action Point: Committee Manager to liaise with Democratic Services Manager and Civic Affairs Committee concerning implementing this. 


Apologies for Absence


Councillor Dryden.


Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare at this stage any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  If any member is unsure whether or not they should declare an interest on a particular matter, they are requested to seek advice from the Head of Legal & Democratic Services before the meeting. 





Councillor Shah


Personal – Member of UCU

Councillor Smart


Personal – Member of ATL

Councillor Todd-Jones


Personal – Member of Unison



Public Question Time

See below for detail of the scheme and other public information. 




Action Plan Post Investors In People Assessment

Oral report expected


The Forum received a report from the Organisational Development Manager regarding Action Plan Post Investors in People (IiP) Assessment.


The Organisational Development Manager referenced a report tabled at the meeting.


The Organisational Development Manager, Head of Human Resources and IIP Assessor met 10 January 2011 as part of an annual maintenance visit post successful assessment against the IIP Standard in December 2009.


The purpose of the visit was to review progress, monitor the on-going continuous improvement process, and ensure rigor in continuing to meet the entire IIP Standard between reviews.


The Assessor confirmed the Council was moving in the right direction, but should be mindful of the impact of change on staff (ref restructuring), the need to “look up” from the short term, building capacity and the need for evidence to demonstrate improvements (ie rationale for organisational change) to staff and citizens of Cambridge.


The Forum made the following comments in response to the report from the Organisational Development Manager:


(i)          Queried how the benefits of service reviews could be evidenced.


(ii)           Queried when was the right time to undertake a staff survey.


(iii)          Queried how Head of Service performance was monitored.


(iv)          Queried if previous annual staff survey recipients would be contacted to follow up their comments to measure improvement or dissatisfaction between surveys.


The Organisational Development Manager and Head of Human Resources responded:


(i)          Benefits of service reviews should become apparent after 6 – 12 months. These could be evidenced through performance indicators and the staff survey. These would be shown to the Assessor who specifically requested this information at the next IIP maintenance meeting.


(ii)          There was no right time, but a survey in April 2011 would provide a benchmark for a follow up in April 2012. This would identify good practice, areas for improvement and where better communication was needed.


(iii)     The Council staff restructure led to service reviews in each area and new ways of working. Staff should see a difference in how new and current Heads of Service (who retained their position) operate. On-going reviews would test Head of Service, Director and Chief Executive future strategic vision.


(iv)     It was not possible to identify who responded to the staff survey, but it had been; and would continue to be; open to all staff.


Partnership Agreement

JSEF members were asked to read the Partnership Agreement document circulated at the last meeting and to discuss at this meeting.


Document to be circulated at the meeting.


The Forum referred to a copy of the 2004 Cambridge City Council Partnership Agreement circulated in the 17 November 2011 Forum.


The Forum welcomed the Partnership Agreement in principle and agreed it should be updated, including reference to consultation as specifically requested by Councillor Bick.


The GMB representative requested that managers were briefed to use the new Partnership Agreement and Procurement Agreement when they come into effect to ensure universal adoption.


Action Point: Councillor Smart and Head of Human Resources to liaise concerning how to take forward updated Partnership Agreement document, and will liaise with trade unions.


Trade Union Facilities Agreement

Document to be circulated and discussed at the meeting


The Head of Human Resources referred to a copy of the draft Trade Union Facilities Agreement circulated to the Forum. The current agreement covered a 3 year period, and is coming to an end.


The purpose of the Trade Union Facilities Agreement is:


(i)      To act as a framework for the negotiation, consultation and information arrangements between Cambridge City Council (“Council”) and the recognised Trade Unions (“Unions”), to outline how the Council would enable and facilitate the role of Unions within the organisation and balance this with its obligation to provide services to the public. To ensure that legal requirements and responsibilities were met in line with current legislation and the relevant ACAS codes.


(ii)      To provide clear guidelines to managers, employees and trade union members about the different union representative roles, their duties and the facilities provided (e.g. handling requests for time off), to establish realistic expectations that enhance employee relations, through avoiding misunderstanding, facilitating better planning, and to ensure consistent practice and fair treatment.


(iii)     The agreement covers the unions that were currently recognised by Cambridge City Council, UNISON, GMB and UCATT. These unions are recognised for the purposes of local consultation, bargaining and negotiation on pay, terms and conditions of service and for representation of their members at internal hearings and appeals. The agreement will apply with effect from 1st April 2011 for three years and will be reviewed annually.


The Forum approved the draft Trade Union Facilities Agreement in principle. They then moved on to discuss funding for Trade Union Branch Secretary posts.


 Funding was currently allocated for 2 full time posts, split equally between Unison and GMB. It is proposed that funding be equivalent to one full time post, divided between the two trade unions.


The Union representatives and Councillor Todd-Jones made the following points:


(i)      The Council and Unions have had good employee relations to date, greatly helped by the work of Branch Secretaries.


(ii)      The workload for union staff was the same now as when funding was allocated to 2 full time posts.


(iii)     If direct funding was cut for these union posts, the full time work may be undertaken by 2 part timers, whose substantive jobs would be still be funded by the Council. There would be no net saving, as 2 staff would be split between part time council and trade union work.


(iv)          Recognised the Council was currently in difficult times, but cautioned against short term cost savings at the expense of long term strategic savings.


Forum members recognised the Council and Unions have had good employee relations to date, and hoped these would continue. Due to financial pressures, the Council needed to find a way to ensure good relations continued at a realistic level of resource expenditure. The Unions were asked if they would consider sharing services with their counterparts in other authorities to reduce costs.


Councillor McGovern would consider the points made and would respond to the trade unions.


Action Point: Having heard the points made at the meeting, Councillor McGovern will respond to the trade unions on funding and time allocation for the branch secretary posts.


Committee Dates 2011-12 and 2012-13

Proposed 2011/2012 date for approved as follows:

- 5 July 2011


Indicative 2012/2013 meeting date for information:

- 3 July 2012


Dates for 2011/2012 were approved as follows:


(i)      23 August 2011 moved to 5 July.


(ii)      21 August 2012 moved to 3 July.


The Forum noted other dates as 19 April 2011, 16 November 2011, 7 February 2012 and 24 April 2012.


Indicative 2012/2013 meeting dates for information: 14 November 2012, 5 February 2013 and 23 April 2013.