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Corporate Human Resources – Hackney. Essay

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This plan sets out the key aims and activities of the Corporate Human Resources service during 2003-04 and in particular how the service will support the achievement of the 2020 Vision for the borough and the other corporate objectives agreed by the Council, which are to:

* Make sure the Council works properly and efficiently

* Involve the public in what we are doing to get better

* Improve opportunities and quality of life in the borough and promote social inclusion

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1.1 Corporate Human Resources is managed by the Assistant Chief Executive (Human Resources), a member of the Core Management Team, who is responsible for ensuring the council’s compliance with employment legislation. The purpose of the HR function is to work in partnership with managers to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of our workforce in order to support the council’s business strategy and achieve excellence in service delivery

1.2 The components of the Corporate HR function are:

� Strategic human resource management

Develops a strategic framework that provides direction for the organisation in order to optimise employee productivity and achieves continuous improvement in the context of best value. Sets standards of best practice ensuring consistency of approach to create one organisation. Provides both guidance and input into operational HR functions. Provides the tools to drive up performance and productivity and drive down sickness absence.

Works in partnership with employee representatives in order to create and embed a positive and constructive industrial relations environment that achieves service excellence. Development and implementation of procedures and guidelines to ensure managers work towards a productive employee relations culture.

� Learning and organisational development

Develops and introduces strategies, policies and programmes to develop the capability of the council, its Members and employees to successfully implement business objectives and priorities. Establishes a competency based performance management approach to become a learning organisation, bring about culture change and to harness and extend the knowledge, skills and experience of all those within the council in pursuit of service excellence.

� Health safety and welfare

Promotes a healthy and effective workforce, promotes good practice in health and safety, and addresses ill health at work and ill-health early retirements. Ensures compliance with occupational health, safety and welfare legislation and guidance. Develops and implements Occupational Health service policies in co-operation with the Council’s nominated provider.

� Strategic HR Contracts team

Procures and monitors the payroll contractor to ensure timely payment of Hackney employees and pensioners.

Monitors the Independent Referral Unit, which provides a 24/7 confidential telephone help- line. This is an independent specialist service where employees can raise their complaints and concerns about racial discrimination, racial harassment and racially discriminatory practices in the workplace.

Monitors the One-Stop Recruitment contract responsible for permanent and temporary recruitment and the job matching service for the council’s redeployees.

Procures and monitors the Occupational Health Service contractor which carries out pre-employment health checks on new appointees and provides medical advice to help manage sickness absence.


The service was restructured in March 02 to downsize by eight posts and interviews were completed over March and April; there were some redundancies with staff leaving in June. Two vacant posts were filled by August.

The Departmental Strategic Objectives for 2002/03 were:

� To review and implement an HR strategy to reflect organisational needs and the new senior management structure; to consult all stakeholders – Directors, senior management and members by April 02.

We achieved the early stages and with the appointment of the Head of HR in August 02 this is being carried forward for completion by April 03.

� To introduce competency based performance appraisal in the organisation by April 02 and carry out regular audits of service areas.

We are currently in the process of reviewing the implementation process of the performance appraisal and development framework. A report of the findings will be produced for Core Management Team in December 2002.

� To achieve Investors in People standard – with assessments carried out across directorates by September 02.

This was achieved by Corporate Human Resources and the Social Services directorate. Assessments of the remaining directorates will take place in early 2003.

� To work towards Commission for Racial Equality level 4 standard.

This has been replaced by the Equality Standard for Local Government level 2 and is being carried forward for completion by April 04.

� Continue to fight racial discrimination by following through the Race Equality Action Plan, to reduce the number of complaints to the Independent Referral Unit, measuring the number of cases referred and their outcomes


� Develop corporate HR database and to ensure that systems are in place to provide workforce and BVPI monitoring information with complete audit trails.

We are on target to procure a Human Resources Information System by April 03, have had the approval of Cabinet and are meeting the milestones of the new corporate procurement process.

The Departmental Service Priorities for 2002/03 were:

* Recruitment of third tier managers by 30 June. 88% achieved, 6% under review, 6% vacant. Continuation of this activity is identified as a key project in Appendix 2(B)

* TUPE of Education staff to Hackney Education trust by 1 August. Achieved

* TUPE of finance staff to external provider. This exercise is still under review and the decision deferred whilst the organisation examine the feasibility of a strategic partner arrangement.

* Implementation of Best Value Performance Plan; production of annual BVPP estimates and actual performance by Feb 02. Achieved

* Implementation of the second stage of Single Status. Ongoing.

* Trade Union facilities agreement. Corporate agreement and budget reduction achieved. Local consultation agreements ongoing.

* HR Standards & Frameworks. Review of existing documentation – consult Executive and negotiations with Trade Unions as necessary. All managers complying with HR standards and frameworks. Available on website March 2002. Existing standards and frameworks on website. Continuation of this activity is identified as a key project in Appendix 2(B)

* Objective: reduce days lost per employee through sickness and industrial action. Project Manager of sickness absence team appointed, project developed and now being implemented.

* Race Relations Amendment Act. New Council policy agreed. Achieved

* Non Discrimination Notice Requirements.

Production of regular monitoring information for the CRE. Achieved

Regular ET panels to be convened. Dates have now been scheduled for the remainder of 2003 and the programme of panels will continue through 2003/4.

* To reduce spending on the Payroll Services Contract to save �250,000 per annum by 2004/05. On target to appoint new contract for Feb 04 and achieve savings on current contract.

* Bring payroll debt under control by 31 March 2003. New HR Information system to be implemented by September 03 will be single point on data entry to prevent new debt occurring. ITNet to be invoiced for debt due to their errors at end of financial year.

The Training and Development Plan for 2002/03

* Culture Change

Executive Coaching programme. Achieved

Phoenix Programme – Race Equality Action Plan. Achieved

Progress training and development related to the Race Equality Action Plan. Achieved

* Race Equality Action Plan/ Investors in People

Implement workforce development interventions and initiatives. Achieved

Implement a mentoring and coaching programme for employees. Ongoing

* Corporate Induction – Organise a series of induction programmes throughout the year. Achieved

* Management Development

Implement competency based appraisal & development framework. Achieved

* Human Resource Management training. Ongoing

* Workforce/ Organisational Development (Race Equality Action Plan)

Investors in People. Ongoing; achieved in HR and Social Services

Corporate development events/ road shows. Achieved


The HR cash limit for 2001/2 was set at �1,179k. Changes to accountancy practices meant that the costs of the corporate trade union facility and for the Occupational Health Service were no longer recharged to the payroll overhead as in previous years and no budget was transferred to the cash limit. This could have resulted in a �330k overspend but was contained by keeping seven posts vacant and through good housekeeping. HR were then on course to achieve the cash limit, however in February 2002 we were given the responsibility for the payroll debt and had to make a bad debt provision of �271k for other departments debts. An under spend of �35k therefore became an overspend of �236k.


3.1 Implement an HR strategy to reflect a one organisational approach. Reviewing and re-launching the HR standards and frameworks.

3.2 Completing the government direction of recruiting the council’s third tier of management and working through a programme to increase 4th tier capacity.

3.3 Embed performance management to increase productivity, tackle under performance and achieve service improvements through appraisal, sickness absence management, health and safety performance management and HR standards monitoring.

3.4 Embed competency-based performance appraisals in the organisation.

3.5 Review the council’s recruitment and retention strategy to improve the management capacity at all levels.

3.6 Reducing sickness absence levels to achieve the government’s targets of 9 days by 2005 and embedding an attendance culture in the organisation.

3.7 Whole organisation achievement of the Investors in People standard in 2003 and maintaining a continuous learning culture.

3.8 Procure, implement and deliver a Human Resources Information System across the council and improve all manual HR processes to meet audit requirements and best practice.

3.9 The payroll function will be subject to a competitive tendering process by 31 January 2004.

3.10 Continue the programme of single status implementation with Waste Management and Finance. Ensure that the programme of job evaluations for Scale 6 staff and below is completed in line with the single status agreement.

3.11 To achieve level 2 of the Equalities Standard for Local government.

3.12 Embedding a performance management model for Health and Safety across the council.

3.13 To implement a Members’ Development Programme.

3.14 To implement a Leadership Programme for third tier management.

3.15 SWOT Summary



* Nurture and maintain CMT/top team support for HR

* Increasing organisational stability ? shared corporate knowledge

* Increasing financial stability ? Less moving of goal posts

* New Political stability ? Better decisions

* New legislation ? Support Hackney change objectives

* Continue to develop own (HR) skills

* Develop SMARTER ways of working as a team (e.g. by cross-team project working, matrix teams, greater appreciation and awareness of each other’s strengths).

* Develop and achieve improvement to HR information systems.

* Redistribute reducing HR recruitment budget and improve capacity-building (in HR)

* Corporate Performance management framework – All managers and staff are clear about the requirements and good practice standards.

* Improving recruitment and retention; new employer brand improving rewards and recognition; better and new skills balance.



* Impact of reducing budgets possible constraints on obtaining appropriate funding for changes required or innovating. Need to monitor closely and use more wisely and creatively.

* Poor balance between operational versus strategic HR activities ? Need to improve capacity to focus more on strategic roles and review opportunities for improving efficiencies in delivery of operational functions.

* Pressures of deadlines imposed by others. Affect ability to deliver reliably; need to renegotiate earlier; need to improve how we manage our needs/demands as well as other stakeholders/clients



4.1 Investing in the development of staff

? Revise frameworks in line with recommendation

? Ensure consistent standard of implementation

? Evaluate the impact of the supporting Training and

Development programmes (quality and quantity)

? Design, commission & implement programme

? Design, commission and implement Scrutiny, Members

development programme.

? Evaluate 2002 development programme

? Implement revised programme

? Develop Phase II of development programme

? Design and implement Development Programme

? Evaluate Phase I of Development Programme

? Implement programme

? Monitor Implementation

? Evaluate programme

? Implement programme

? Monitor Implementation

? Evaluate programme

? Prepare for strategic assessment of the council

? Audit standard to ensure continuous improvement and compliance

in meeting IIP standard

? Implement programme

? Monitor Implementation

? Evaluate programme

? Implement programme

? Monitor Implementation

? Evaluate programme

4.2 Ensuring staff performs to high standards. Embed performance management to increase productivity, tackle under performance and achieve service improvements. Embed competency-based performance appraisals in the organisation.

4.3 Tackling poor performance. Reducing sickness absence levels to 9 days by 2005 and embedding an attendance culture in the organisation. Reviewing and embedding capability framework.

4.4 Equality of opportunity in recruitment and employment practices. Monitoring of corporate Equalities Plan and Equalities Scheme.


5.1 HR are addressing the following corporate objectives:

* New financial management systems – by procuring a corporate HR Information System. This will be a single point of data entry to payroll for starters/leavers and absence recording to remove the current problem of overpayments to staff and leavers caused by processes being paper-based and difficult to enforce.

* Consistent records are kept and procedures followed by –

� HR Standards and Frameworks giving a clear guide to managers on recording staff attendance and maintaining personal files,

� Maintaining a cost centre validation tool introduced to prevent staff being placed on payroll without a valid cost code,

� Developing and implementing an Establishment Post number system for all staff to ensure only valid members of staff are being paid.

* Ensuring budget holders manage their budgets – by issuing guidelines on verifying appropriate staff are on the payroll and paid at the correct scale. HR has local monitoring systems, which are reconciled to the general ledger every month. The ACE (HR) hold weekly budget meetings with the HR management team to identify and tackle potential areas of risk.

* Improving the way we procure services – by participating in the corporate procurement training programme and involving the Hackney Procurement Centre at all stages of current procurement projects; project management of these and participation in post-procurement reviews.

5.2 District Auditor’s Regularity Review

* Risk based planning. Operational and financial risks are being identified and evaluated as part of the on-going, six weekly scrutiny process. Risk identification, evaluation, monitoring and management arrangements are being embedded in the 2003/04 budget preparation and service planning process. Improved monthly financial monitoring procedures have been introduced and a new scheme of delegation has been finalised.

* Payroll. A reconciliation exercise between payroll records and local employee monitoring and forecasting systems has been undertaken and additional resources have been deployed to clear the backlog of payroll overpayments. Revised procedures are being developed to reduce the risk of future overpayments and the new HR Information System will act as a single point of entry to replace current paper-based processes.

* Contracts. Contracts registers established. Contract monitoring and management procedures are embedded.

* General income. Work is underway to improve income collection and debt management and recovery procedures. Income profiles are being established, against which collection performance will be monitored on a monthly basis. Revised procedures for debt management and debt recovery are being introduced and performance will be monitored on a regular basis. Arrangements are be being strengthened further in the 2003/04 budget preparation process.

* Payments to agency staff. A One Stop Recruitment contract for permanent and temporary recruitment is in place as a result of a competitive tendering exercise. There is a single point of invoicing from appointed agencies via the leas supplier who provides monthly financial monitoring information to the council.

5.3 Key procurement activities are:

� the purchase and implementation of an HR Information System (see 3.7)

� The competitive retendering of the payroll contract which expires 31 January 2004 (see 3.8).

� Future retendering of the Occupational Health Service contract by April 2004.



6.1 The Head of Learning and Development is working with the Deputy Mayor and INLOGOV to design and implement a Members Development Programme. Members training needs such as IT training and Scrutiny skills are being identified to implement a training programme.


7.1 All current job vacancies in the council are now published weekly on the Hackney Live website. The public can download job details and profiles, advice and guidelines on how to apply for posts and complete application forms. The One Stop Recruitment contractor Bartlett Scott Edgar manages and maintains the database of advertised posts and acts as a single point for enquiries and response handling. Hackney recruitment now has corporate branding and materials are produced to improved quality standards. We intend to make it possible in the next year to make it possible to complete and send applications online.

7.2 Our equalities scheme: we will use our council website to publish the results of consultation exercises and the monitoring information in accordance with our requirements under the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000.


8.1 Members’ enquiries are logged and responded to within three days. All responses are approved and submitted by the ACE (HR). The service also implements the corporate letter monitoring and complaints procedures.

8.2 Complaints about externally provided HR services are raised in regular contract meetings with providers and used to review and fine tune services provided. Contracts are to monitored against HR local BVPI’s.



9.1 HR will explore the increased involvement with apprenticeships and work experience schemes to improve access for local people to council jobs.


10.1 HR ensures that all staff interviewed for posts with unsupervised access to young people have a pre-employment check through the Criminal Records Bureau. Agencies providing temporary staff through the One Stop Recruitment contract also carry out pre-employment and police checks before placing them with Hackney managers. All agencies under the contract have had to pass quality criteria to ensure they carry out these procedures.

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