Presentation by the Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services
The Committee received a presentation from Stephanie Hopkin, Facilities Manager, on the Council’s new ways of working. Ms. Hopkin updated on Phase 1 – Asset maximisation, locality working and ICT transformation which enabled the start of agile working and which was completed in 2017-2019; Phase 2 - further development of Agile Working arrangements to support business need and health and wellbeing of staff, and which took account of changes arising from the pandemic and the further rationalisation of buildings which delivered further budget savings and that this project was nearing completion; and
Phase 3 – the longer-term review of Bootle estate linked to Bootle Town Hall, the Strand and lease on Magdalen House - 2022-2032.
Ms. Hopkin also provided additional information on Phase 2 relating to:
· progress made on agile working as the new way of working and how Covid-19 accelerated this progress; significant further Investment in ICT infrastructure, kit, licensing and mobile phones; employees embracing the change in a challenging environment; and that COVID-19 related measures were monitored via building risk assessments
· what Phase 2 looked like which included the reduction in the building footprint, which linked to the Asset Management and Climate Change Strategies; the achievement of carbon savings through reduced electricity and gas consumption in buildings and the reduction of commuter and business travel; proposals for St. Peter’s House and St. Anne’s House; lease issues on both 3th and 4th floors of Magdalen House relating to Children’s Services operational requirements which in turn allowed for a review of wider assets; and that the regearing of the Magdalen lease had resulted in lower revenue cost, a rent free period and options around the mothballing of wider assets as well as supporting a critical Children’s Services revised operating model.
· Moving forward and the full and continual engagement with trade unions; reviews undertaken in respect of HR policies, ICT solutions and guides for staff; the provision of home kit and individual health and safety risk assessments; office environments being set up to meet the agile needs of staff; the average time for workers attending the office being 1-2 days per week and that attendance in corporate buildings was in line with service requirements for such things as elected member governance meetings; car parking proposals; team and 1:1 staff meetings to discuss business need; and that Phase 3 proposals were now being developed
Members of the Committee asked questions/commented on the following issues:
· The working arrangements of staff who were wholly office based, wholly working from home or who worked as part of a hybrid model
· The dialogue between managers and staff to ensure that the business needs of the authority could be maintained whilst also meeting the personal circumstances of staff whilst agile working
· The benefits to staff who worked using the hybrid model
· The wellbeing of staff should be ensured whilst working from home to combat isolation issues
· Security issues associated with ICT equipment to ensure confidentiality was maintained when staff were dealing with very sensitive issues such children’s social care matters
· The potential economic impact on businesses in office quarters due to reduced footfall
· The potential requirement to look at land use in office quarters as employment trends change due to staff hybrid working or working from home
That Stephanie Hopkin be thanked for her informative presentation.