Appendix A1 Cabinet 29 April 2003

Cumbria County Council


APRIL 2003

INTRODUCTION This Action Plan covers the period 2003 to 2006. We have reviewed the original action plan in the light of the County Council’s revised Corporate Strategy and performance plan, and following consultations with employees and trade unions through focus groups and questionnaires. The Plan will continue to evolve over time. It is not possible to achieve everything at the same time, and although all elements of the Plan are important, some have a higher priority than others. The strategy will be delivered within an equality framework. The Plan identifies who is responsible for taking an action so that everyone understands how they contribute to turning the Strategy into reality. In identifying people who can contribute to turning this action plan into reality, we will be seeking the involvement of the Trade Unions and employees from all Directorates, not just from Human Resources people. We will nevertheless harness energy and capacity of Human Resources people within Directorates to make the best use of our expertise. We are conscious of the multitude of tasks and new requirements facing managers and employees within the organisation. Implementation of this Action Plan will help managers to manage the performance of their team by creating a working environment in which individual employees feel valued and supported. It is essential that we take the time to ensure that our development of HR policy and practice is effective and is put into practice across the Council. We have therefore identified key priorities for action which we believe will have the biggest impact on improving performance and motivation of Council employees. These are the issues in bold which we will concentrate on delivering over the next 12 months. As many of these actions are inter related the initial priorities will start to deliver some of the other areas for development The Plan is also colour coded using the 3 main strategic themes of Resourcing , Development and Performance to illustrate that issues cannot be addressed in isolation and that there is a need to make the appropriate connections across the Plan. A detailed action plan setting out how the action is to be delivered will be produced for all elements of the plan, starting first with those in Year 1. Plans for actions in Years 2 and 3 will follow at the appropriate time, and will take account of progress made during the earlier years. To make sure that the Strategy is implemented effectively and that any barriers to this are overcome, it is important that monitoring of progress is carried out and reported to Corporate Officers Group and to Members. Monitoring will be supportive and carried out jointly both corporately and at departmental/management level. On occasion, corporate monitoring will be joint with Management Audit. External monitoring and comparison of the Council’s performance will also come through the Best Value and Comprehensive Performance Assessment process.

Key Objective Resourcing Development Performance 1. Organisational Develop policies to enable the Council to manage Performance Unit /HR Oct 03 Employee survey, • Development & necessary change in ways that engage employees in the Champions external audit Culture Change process and do not prevent the organisation from assessments including Corporate performing effectively. Leadership & Review and ensure that all HR policies support the culture • Management expressed in the HR Strategy. Development Develop an approach which ensures the effective • Strategy management of necessary re-structurings Develop approaches for recognising the achievement Communications Unit/ Dec 03 Employee survey • and contribution of employees. Performance Unit/ HR Support work to develop the organisation, improve working Champions • practices, reduce bureaucracy, support culture change and the development of existing/potential managers. Managers to ensure they obtain input from employees Managers Ongoing Employee survey • to feed into their management practices and feedback from now resultant changes and responses to employees. (This will include relevant employee support groups) Need to ensure visible change results where appropriate . (Links to Management Development Strategy) Stage 1 – Programme Produce a programme to deliver effective corporate Chief Executive May 03 delivered on time. • leadership . Stage 1 – design and obtain commitment. Stage Stage 2 – 2 – delivery of initial phase Dec 03 Devise, with senior managers, a management COG/Performance Dec 03 Longer term • development strategy that develops skills and knowledge of Unit/HR Champions employee survey and current and potential managers. manager’s appraisal Action Required Overall
By when How performance is measured


2. Investors in People IiP Champions to facilitate ongoing post assessment Performance Unit/ From May Achievement of • (IiP) auditing, action planning and monitoring within their Executive / Corporate 03 Corporate IiP Directorates. Directors and IiP Champions All Directorates to review annually their performance • against the IiP standard. 3. Work/Life Balance Identify the barriers to achieving work/life balance in Corporate Directors, Sept 03 Work completed on • the Council Performance Unit, time Develop a range of policies to support identified need e.g. Corporate Health & • flexible working, home working, employee support. Safety, Identify the necessary skills to support work/life balance. • Develop a county wide understanding of stressors and the • means of managing stress. 4. Equalities Develop a comprehensive equality & diversity policy Performance Unit Mar 04 Corporate Health • and toolkit incorporating the Race Equality Scheme BVPIs Provide briefings to all staff on the Race Relations • Amendment Act and new European Union legislation. Review equalities training provisions within the Council. • Provide training, development and awareness raising to • ensure equalities in service delivery, and in employment Prepare for new legislation; consider the implications for • service delivery and employment. Continue to monitor job applicants and employees to • comply with Equality Standard for Local Government. Explore ways to gain a more representative workforce • 5. Employee Relations Promote Trade Union Protocols and Facilities Performance Unit Dec 03 No of issues raised at • Agreement, and work with departments and trade corporate/member unions to promote effective resolution of issues at a local level level. Develop a framework and protocols for working with • Trade Union Learning Representatives 6. Recruitment & Review corporate standards of recruitment practice Performance Unit, HR Sept 03 Templates produced • Retention and provide template documents for Further Champions on time. Monitoring Particulars and other recruitment materials for on-line of departmental recruitment and for use by departments recruitment practice Review use of student placement trainees, New Deal •

employees Examine current age profile of the workforce and consider • implications of new laws on age discrimination Review where we advertise and how we attract Performance Unit/ All July 03 Equalities • applicants – devote sufficient resources to marketing Directorates monitoring of job the Council as a positive career choice . applicants. No of Explore alternative media to widen the target audience for posts re-advertised. • recruitment Promote careers in Local Government via local schools, • colleges and universities Consider using the National Local Government Graduate • Recruitment Programme Monitor corporate and departmental turnover rates, identify • areas with unusual rates and develop plans for remedial action as appropriate Introduce a revised Redeployment policy Performance Unit June 03 No of successful • redeployments Monitor exit interviews (occurrence and usage made of Performance Unit July 03 Analyse turnover • information). Also, monitor together with turnover Ongoing rates rates by ethnicity and disability 7. Resource and Identify the current and future resource needs of the Performance Unit, HR Mar 04 Production of • Succession Planning Council, the numbers and skills/knowledge and Champions COG Council employee compare with existing provision. resource plan Produce a strategy to enable the Council to meet identified • resource needs Raise ambition for lifelong learning and ongoing • employability Encourage internal development and promotion within Designated HR Sept 03 • an equal opportunities framework, including Champion to lead on secondments, sabbaticals and opportunities for behalf of Performance Take up of activities research, lead officer roles and corporate projects Unit Create a culture and environment where all employees can • see scope for personal development Develop a frontline approach to enable work teams to • improve their local working conditions (within available resources) using structured workplace improvements tools

8. Reward Strategy & Produce a reward strategy to meet the needs of the Performance Unit, HR Work Employee survey • Conditions of Council and which supports effective performance Champions, COG & underway – Service management and provides fair rewards to all employees Cabinet linked to Carry out a job evaluation review Performance Unit single • Continue to develop appropriate terms and conditions to status • meet Council needs and which ensure equal treatment of all employees. 9. Performance Develop a framework for monitoring the corporate Performance Unit with Oct 03 No. completed on • Management & employee appraisal process to ensure it is being used by all Directorates time (PWA records) Review including all Directorates consistently and that outputs are Employee Appraisal monitored for effectiveness Introduce positive attendance policy and procedures Performance Unit with June 03 BVPI on absence • Explore the European Foundation for Quality Management all Directorates • model and other suitable approaches to performance management. Ensure that the Corporate Director appraisal process holds • Corporate Directors to account on HR and equality and diversity matters. 10. Core Competencies In consultation, devise draft core competency Performance Unit, HR Mar 04 • framework Champions, COG Identify a suitable pilot area • Carry out a skills assessment against the competencies • Identify development opportunities and action plans • Reassess competencies and evaluate contribution to goals • Develop and maintain a register of employee skills • 11. HR Management Put in place and maintain robust departmental and Performance Unit and Ongoing Compliance with • Information corporate measures to produce accurate corporate and All Directorates from now BVPP requirements departmental Best Value Performance Indicators on time. Produce practical guidance on the HR aspects of Data • Protection. Work with departments to achieve full use of all 3 modules • of the PWA System, or other HR systems that are in use. Integrate payroll and PWA systems and replace paper • based HR systems with electronic systems where appropriate.

Provide corporate HR and equality information on the

Performance Unit

Sept 03 When available. No • intranet of hits


Ensure managers receive timely and accurate management • information so that they can manage their operation effectively 12. Monitoring Work with Capita and departments to remove the Performance Unit Ongoing Reduced number of • significant current level of pay errors and improve the complaints /errors pay information provided to employees . Continue to provide corporate monitoring of the HR • element of the Capita contract. Create a plan to monitor how HR policies are being • implemented and review to ensure continued relevance Create a plan to monitor how Equality policies are being • implemented and review to ensure continued relevance Liaise with Management/District Audit to check • appropriateness of monitoring methods 13. Manager’s Toolkit Update HR policies and establish Toolkit of good HR Performance Unit and Sept 03 Employee survey • of HR Policies and and managerial practice and legal requirements – HR Champions Practice including discipline, capability, grievance, positive attendance, appraisal; evaluation, health and safety, employee development and equality. 14. Employee Learning Review and update the Corporate Training & Performance Unit and Oct 03 Effective policy • and Development Development Policy HR Champions produced on time Corporate Officers Group to regularly identify strategic COG From Jan • corporate learning and development needs linked to 04 Council-wide issues and evaluate the impact of the learning. Identify and commission an ongoing programme of • employee learning and development to support the current and future needs of the organisation Apply a common approach to effectively identify learning • needs and ensure equality of access to learning opportunities. Evaluate outcomes of learning activities across the whole organisation. Encourage use of coaching, mentoring, action learning Designated HR Sept 03 No of employees • and other effective learning methods as a way of Champion to lead on using these tools integrating learning and work. behalf of Performance

15. Communication

Identify and develop the skills to support the IT, • Communication and Technology strategies of the Council Promote and encourage non traditional learning methods • including electronic learning to reach increasing numbers of employees and to provide the skills needed for eGovernment Identify mechanisms to highlight Basic Literacy/Numeracy • skills gaps and address these appropriately. Draw up a policy on the use of NVQ qualifications. • Monitor the equality of access and take up of training • opportunities Increase the opportunities for employees from all parts All Directorates Immediate Employee survey • of the organisation to “have their say” with clear feedback . Commission the appropriate training and development Performance Unit and Dec 03 • for the Team Briefing and corporate customer care Communications Unit policies Provide opportunities for employees and managers to • develop the skills needed to achieve effective 2-way communication and employee involvement Increase opportunities for Members and senior officers to • meet and engage with employees. Communicate the HR strategy to all employees and ensure • they are aware of the Action Plan and their role in it. 16. Induction Review the Corporate induction with the aim of fostering • commitment to the Council as a whole In liaison with the Equality Officer, ensure that Equality • and Diversity is effectively addressed at induction. Ensure that local induction is carried out effectively • including health and safety.