|Cabinet was provided with a report that updated Members on the progress made towards the implementation of Job Evaluation and the Single Status Agreement. |
Members noted that in view of the complexity of implementing a job evaluation scheme and single status for such a large and diverse workforce, the project had been broken down into three distinct elements:
a. Phase 1 which includes all posts graded up to SO1
b. Phase 2 for post graded SO1 and above
c. The rationalisation of certain conditions of service
It was explained that this phase of the project was almost complete. There were a very small number of evaluations outstanding and consistency checks were being undertaken to ensure the final results were correct. Within schools where approximately 2,500 employees were affected, the majority were being slotted into nationally agreed job profiles. The few non-generic jobs were being scored in the same way as other posts falling within Phase 1.
Cabinet noted that although the same job evaluation scheme had been adopted for posts graded on SO1 and above a simplified process had been used in order to move things forward more quickly. A benchmark sample of posts had been selected and evaluated. Profiles of similar posts werre being created and the remaining posts evaluated against the benchmark.
Both phase 1 and 2 would be completed by the end of June. However, it was important that both phases were complete to allow pay modelling to take place.
Conditions of Service
Members were informed that a number of changes to conditions of service were being considered. Some of the conditions contravened equal pay legislation and would have to be changed or removed. These included the payment of certain bonuses, and the calculation of working time and holiday payments for many support staff in schools. In addition, the opportunity would be taken to rationalise and simplify the multiplicity of premium payments, which were currently in operation.
Consultations were continuing with the Trade Unions but they had now indicated that in view of the current equal pay case (Allen v GMB) they would not be able to enter into a collective agreement with the Council. Although the Council would continue to consult with the Unions, the timescales for implementation would have to be adjusted to take account of the requirement for a formal consultation period of 90 days once in principle decisions had been reached on the new pay and grading structure plus a 12 week notice period for all employees. In addition, formal notification would be issued to the Trade Unions indicating that there was a possibility of collective redundancies following consideration of this report by Cabinet. It was suggested that the earliest date for implementation would therefore be 1st April 2008. A summary action plan setting out proposals for implementation was provided to Members.
Members were provided with details of financial and legal implications associated Job Evaluation and Single Status. Additionally it was noted that Risks relating to these issues had been included in the Councils risk register within the high category.
Members requested that a short briefing note be provided to all Members of the Council describing the background to Single Status/Job Evaluation and the processes involved. It was suggested that this would be of particular assistance to new Members.
|Cabinet considered a report relating to the preparation of the Sustainability Appraisal of the draft Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document.|
It was explained that the purpose of the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) was to assess whether the objectives, options or policies contained in the DPD or SPD (in this instance the Planning Obligations SPD) would contribute to achieving sustainable development. The preparation of a SA was a mandatory requirement following the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004).
In addition to national legislation, European Directive EC/2001/42 required that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the environmental effects of certain plans and programmes (which include DPD and SPD) be undertaken.
However, since there was a large amount of overlap between the two processes, Government guidance suggested that it was possible to satisfy the requirements of both in a single appraisal process, which was the approach adopted in this case. For ease of reference therefore, the term Sustainability Appraisal (SA) incorporated both the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Sustainability Appraisal requirements.
Members noted that there were four principle stages to the SA process:
· Scoping - identifying other relevant plans and policies, establishing the baseline (current situation), sustainability issues, sustainability objectives and indicators;
· Appraising the plans objectives, options and policies, and informing the refinement of them;
· Producing a sustainability appraisal report for consultation alongside the draft Planning Obligations SPD; and
· Monitoring the effects of the implemented plan.
In terms of the first stage, in order to reduce duplication, the SA of the draft Planning Obligations SPD had drawn on scoping work previously carried out for the Core Strategy Issues and Options, together with a generic scoping report concerning the Core Strategy DPD, the Regeneration DPD, the Residential Design Guide SPD and Open Space and Landscaping SPD.
The scoping stage enabled a SA Framework to be developed, which consisted of a set of sustainability objectives, indicators and targets. The sustainability objectives had been used to test the draft SPD for its likely environmental, social and economic impacts, which formed the second stage of the process.
The SA reports on the first two stages of the process were provided to Members, and presented the results of the appraisal of the draft SPD in a set of tables. Each of the options of the draft SPD (Affordable Housing, Open Space, Biodiversity, Highways and Transport etc.) were assessed against the sustainability objectives to ensure any likely detrimental effects were noted, and to inform any amendments to the draft SPD as necessary.
The majority of the options within the draft SPD either had a positive impact, an uncertain impact, or no relationship with the sustainability objectives. Where likely negative impacts occured, they would generally involve a physical development as opposed to a financial obligation. In this instance, the sustainability objectives that were affected were those concerned with reducing waste (SA15), biodiversity and geodiversity (SA16), and making better use of resources such as land and soil (SA 17). The full list of the sustainability objectives were provided at section 8 of the SA.
A do nothing option was also considered, which allowed the option of not producing a SPD to be appraised. The majority of the effects of this option on the sustainability objectives were negative.
The SA was subject to a formal six-week public consultation accompanying the draft SPD, due to take place in July and August this year. Any comments received would be considered, and the draft SPD or SA would be amended where necessary to reflect these. If, as a result of the consultation, significant changes to the draft SPD were made, then they would need to be appraised through the SA. On adoption of the SPD, a consultation statement should set out how changes were made to the SPD as a result of the SA process and consultation. Alternatively, the consultation statement might document why no changes were made, or why other options were rejected.
The final stage was concerned with monitoring the impact of the adopted SPD. The Council would monitor planning obligations through a database that would ensure agreements were complied with, and also provided a transparent approach concerning the Councils approach in dealing with the application of planning obligations. The Council also had a statutory duty to publish an Annual Monitoring Report (AMR), which reported on how successful the policies within the Councils Local Development Framework were, and for the purpose of the SPD, would seek to monitor the levels of investment and resulting benefits to the community achieved through the use of planning obligations.