Hopefully you found the session useful and informative and can see how your feedback in our last employee survey has helped us prioritise our areas of focus in our organisation action plan. We want to thank everyone who raised a question during the question and answer part of the event and, though we weren’t able to answer all your questions, we did want to get back to you and address some of the ones we didn’t get to.
You can also watch a recording of the organisation action plan event if you weren't able to make it.
The Local Government Association is currently consulting with councils across the country on the national pay agreement for 2023 to 2024, so they are not yet in a position to make a pay offer. It is likely that the pay agreement for 2023 to 2024 will not be agreed in time for April 2023, however once it is agreed it will be backdated.
Our Derbyshire Rewards
Our Derbyshire Rewards is a new employee benefit platform that will enable all our employees to access a range of in-store and online discounts and cashback on purchases.
As it’s available to all employees, it doesn't matter where you live, you'll still be able to take advantage of the discounts. There will be 120 national retailers offering discounted instant electronic vouchers plus options to have discounted cards if you prefer. You will also be able to get cashback on purchases at over 400 retailers, so there is a wide range of ways to make savings on your everyday spend and many one-off purchases such as holidays and mobile phone contracts.
In addition, Our Derbyshire Rewards provides access to local Derbyshire discounts such discounts on leisure facilities across Derbyshire. We will be continuing to add more local discounts to support our communities where they are able to offer them to our employees and will be considering other benefit schemes in the future.
Electric vehicle scheme
We're currently in the process of seeking the approval to introduce a salary sacrifice electric and hybrid vehicle lease scheme to further enhance our employee benefit package.
It is difficult to give specific information about the scheme at this point, as we have not yet identified the benefit provider. If it is approved, the scheme will be eligible to employees who are permanently employed by us and who meet the required financial criteria of the scheme.
To be eligible for the scheme, an employee’s pay cannot fall below the national minimum wage once the lease agreement has been taken out through the salary sacrifice arrangement. Therefore, eligibility will be dependent on the employee’s earnings and the cost and length of the lease agreement they are seeking to obtain.
This scheme will not be available to relief or fixed term employees or employees who are in the teacher’s pension scheme, due to the lease agreement and pension regulations that prohibit access for these employees.
We're currently in the process of consulting on the working arrangements policy which will consider the working arrangements of employees under the employee profiles we have. We have revised our travel policy in line with our employee profiles, reflecting the differences in the way our employees work.
One of the changes were seeking approval to apply is to increase the rate of mileage for employees travelling to training from 16p per mile to 45p per mile in line with all other employees travelling for work purposes. Currently there are no plans to change how mileage claims are submitted and paid.
Buildings, accessibility and carbon emissions
We received a number of questions about our buildings and, as part of this, some specific questions on accessibility and the impact on our carbon emissions. As Joe O'Sullivan, our Executive Director of Corporate Services and Transformation, said on the call, there is a team reviewing best use of office space, initially focusing on County Hall, as it is our largest property, but also looking at all our properties across our estate.
The aim is to understand what are the best options for us to continue to operate in the way that best meets the needs of our residents but also ensures we are maximising the use of our buildings, reducing inefficiency and our carbon emissions impact wherever we can.
The team has picked up your comments on accessibility as part of this. We will soon be providing guidance on how colleagues can raise specific building or maintenance issues that need resolving. Work is also underway to explore an automated method of managing and tracking building defects, from identification through to completion, which will include how we can keep people better informed throughout the process.
Equipment, facilities and working arrangements
The bulk of the questions that came through for Joe O'Sullivan centred on IT equipment, facilities (such as showers, food and drink), use of desks, pedestals and team spaces and some suggestions around whether we could explore renting out parts of our building to provide services to employees such as food and drinks. We really welcomed your feedback on this and, as part of this review on best use of office space, we are liaising with each department and team to explore what is feasible.
Some of our decision-making on this will need to align with the launch of the working arrangements policy in April. The policy will provide more of a steer for teams to make informed decisions on the best mix of office / remote working, based on the four key principles Joe described on the call. These are:
- the efficiency and effectiveness of the individual
- the efficiency and effectiveness of the individual’s immediate team
- the efficiency and effectiveness of the interaction between teams across the council to deliver our services to residents and communities
- our ability to regenerate our workforce for the long term
As you may appreciate, there are a number of things to factor in when prioritising building issues that need to be fixed across our 700+ properties, how we resize our office space to align with future in-person office attendance following the launch of the working arrangements policy and, as a result, what facilities and equipment we’re going to need. Please bear with us as we work all of this through, your patience is very much appreciated.