AT A MEETING of the HAMPSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE held at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Eastleigh on 1 December, 2006.
Councillors: K. Chapman (Chairman); M.G. Cooper; E.F. Gale; P. Galton; D. Horne; R.J. Kimber
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Keith House, R.C. McIntosh and Sam Payne.
66 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members were mindful that, where they believed they had a personal or personal prejudicial interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting, they should, normally at the time of debate, declare their interest and having regard to the circumstances described in paragraphs 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the Fire Authority's Code of Conduct consider whether to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed.
There were no declarations of interest made by members under this item.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 September, 2006 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the addition of Councillor P. Galton to the list of those Members present.
There were no deputations made under this item.
69 SERVICE MANAGEMENT TEAM PAY, REWARDS AND CAPACITY REVIEW
The Committee considered the report of Councillor M.F. Cartwright, Chairman of the working group set up to examine the pay, rewards and capacity of the Service Management Team (SMT) (Item 5 in the Minute Book) on the group's conclusions. The Committee wished to record their thanks to Claire Williams, external Human Resources consultant, and Helen Andrews, clerk to the working group, for their work on the review.
Members discussed the wide, and useful, consultation undertaken with staff and unions, the changes in job titles, lines of authority and the appointment process for several SMT positions including the new post of Director of Human Resources. The Committee noted that the last such review of SMT was in 2002 and the importance of reviewing SMT conditions every two or three years to ensure parity with other fire and rescue services.
The Committee went on to consider the methodology for the annual local review of Principal Officer pay. It was proposed that the Principal Officers' Pay Review Group be comprised of the Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, Councillor M.G. Cooper and two further Members, one to be nominated from the Finance and General Purposes Committee and one from the Performance Review Committee.
That, the conclusions of the working group, as detailed in the report and appendices be approved, specifically in relation to the SMT capacity and structure review and the Principal Officer pay review methodology as set out below.
a) SMT capacity and structure review.
i. That the responsibilities of the two existing Deputy posts be re-organised creating the posts of Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Director of Service Delivery and Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Director of Strategic Projects and Specialist Response.
ii. That the post of Head of Human Resources be replaced with a post of Director of Human Resources.
iii. That the posts of Head of Operations Delivery, Head of Operation Support and Community Safety, Head of Safety and Risk Management (Area Manager B+ but covering Head of Human Resources as Temporary Assistant Chief Officer) be deleted.
iv. That the posts of Head of Strategic Projects and Specialist Response (Area Manager B+), Head of Response (Assistant Chief Officer), Head of Community Safety (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) be created.
v. That the other posts within the SMT be broadly unchanged.
vi. That there be no change to the total number of posts within SMT (a current structure chart and a revised structure chart are at Appendix 1).
vii. That the Chief Officer be tasked with the implementation of these changes.
b) The Principal Officer Pay Review Methodology
i. That the proposed methodology at Appendix 2 be accepted.
ii. That mechanisms be put into place to enable the pay methodology to be implemented with recommendations in place for February 2007 Human Resources Committee including the creation of a Principal Officers' Pay Review Group to be comprised of the Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, Councillor M.G. Cooper and two further Members, one to be nominated from the Finance and General Purposes Committee and one from the Performance Review Committee.
70 CESSATION OF DAY-CREWING DUTY SYSTEM: TRANSITIONAL ALLOWANCES TO STAFF
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 6 in the Minute Book) on the merits of transitional allowances following the change to a day-crewing duty system. The Committee were advised that each group (i.e. those occupying Authority-owned houses, those in Authority-rented accommodation and those in their own homes) would be treated the same from a tax point of view. Staff, including retained firefighters, would also not only be eligible for Key Worker housing but given priority in the lists.
That it be a RECOMMENDATION to the Authority that:
a) those employees serving at the three day-crewed fire stations (Andover, Havant and Winchester) who were occupying privately owned or rented accommodation on or before 15 February 2006 be entitled to one of the transitional allowances set out in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
b) the application of the current relocation policy be applied to current day-crew employees to recognise their change of conditions of service from the day-crewing duty system to the shift-crewing duty system.
c) to assist with associated legal costs, an allowance of up to £2,500 be available to employees purchasing an Authority-owned property on presentation of receipts.
71 CHANGES IN THE HAMPSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT
The Committee received an oral presentation from the Temporary Assistant Chief Officer for Human Resources on the recent changes to the structure of the Human Resources Department of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. The Committee agreed with his view that the changes had enabled the department to meet significant challenges and would allow upcoming projects to be handled effectively.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 8 in the Minute Book) setting out the actual and authorised establishment as of 31 October 2006. The Temporary Assistant Chief Officer explained how the budget for retained firefighters was under significant pressure due to the recent unprecedented recruitment. This was the case even though retained cover was approximately five per cent under establishment because the budget for retained firefighters is based on retaining fees and an average number of callouts. This budget is also used to underpin the Co- Responder scheme, Emergency Catering and Incident Support Teams.
The Committee went on to discuss the effectiveness of the co-responders team. Members were reassured that dual attendance by ambulance and fire service personnel at an incident was rare and that the scheme was proving to be popular and successful.
That the changes to the establishment under the Chief Officer's delegated powers be noted.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 9 in the Minute Book) putting forward for approval the Disability Equality Scheme of the HFRA. Members were pleased to accept the Scheme and were encouraged that it had attained the `two ticks' symbol. The Committee wished its thanks to Andy Kettle, Human Resources Support Manager, to be recorded for all the work that he had done in producing the scheme.
a) That, the legal requirement placed upon the Authority to publish a Disability Equality Scheme in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act 2005 be recognised.
b) That, the Disability Equality Scheme be accepted as a mechanism for not only ensuring legal compliance, but also for promoting best practice in disability equality in line with the HFRS's organisational values.
c) That, it be a RECOMMENDATION to the Authority to formally adopt the Disability Equality Scheme.
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 10 in the Minute Book) on the `normal retirement age' for Service personnel. Members discussed policy at other local authorities, flexible working and the effect on pensions for grey and green book employees. The Committee noted that the consultation with the unions had been undertaken and the comments received were favourable.
a) That, a `normal retirement age' of 65 for all Service employees be adopted.
b) That, requests from employees for their service to be extended beyond the age of 65 not be agreed, except where there is a case to support a critical business need where particular skills or knowledge cannot be obtained from the existing workforce.
75 RE-EMPLOYMENT OF GREY BOOK EMPLOYEES FOLLOWING RETIREMENT
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 11 in the Minute Book) considering the position of the Service in respect of requests for re-employment after retirement.
a) That direct re-employment be offered to all grey book employees following retirement.
b) That the policy be reviewed after 12 months to consider its impact on the workforce profile.
76 FIREFIGHTER PENSION SCHEMES
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 12 in Minute Book) on pension provision issues.
That it be a RECOMMENDATION to the Authority
a) That, the future management of the Group Personal Pension (GPP) Scheme be adopted as follows:
i. The current GPP scheme be continued for pre 6 April 2006 members but closed to all post 5 April 2006 applications;
ii. That employers' contributions be paid for pre 6 April 2006 Retained Duty System (RDS) employees who wish to remain in the GPP scheme but do not wish to join the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme (NFPS);
iii. That employee contributions are collected from those who wish to be members of both GPP and NFPS schemes. In this case employer contributions will not be made into the GPP scheme.
b) That, delegated power be given to allow the Chief Officer to decide, on a case by case basis, whether to instruct Firefighters' Pension Scheme (FPS) administrators to collect payments from a pension scheme member wishing to make up FPS employee contribution shortfall, for periods of unpaid leave prior to 6 April 2006.
77 FAIRNESS AND DIGNITY FORUM HELD ON 25 OCTOBER 2006
The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Item 13 in the Minute Book) summarising the meeting of the Fairness and Dignity Forum held at Basingstoke Fire Station on 25 October 2006. Officers and Members who had been at the meeting reported on the stimulating debate which had taken place.
a) That the report be noted.
b) That the next meeting of the Fairness and Dignity Forum on Thursday, 8 February 2007 commencing at 1000 hours at Fareham Fire Station be noted for information.
78 UPDATES ON CURRENT HUMAN RESOURCES ISSUES
The Committee considered the oral report of the Temporary Assistant Chief Officer summarising the Human Resources aspects of the Regional Management Board meeting held on 18 October 2006. A presentation was given by Atmaana Ltd on the key findings of a strategic review of learning and development activities in the South-East Region, the outcomes of which would be used in creating a strategic plan for the region. However, the main focus of the meeting was the Regional Control Project. Though pleased that the Regional Control Centre would be located in Hampshire, at Fareham, the project has the potential to increase the burden on the HFRS Human Resources Department by more than was originally expected.