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Agenda item

Chair's Report


The Chair brought the Committee’s attention to the actions from the previous meeting and responses provided in the meeting papers.


In relation to point 13 on transfer of the apprenticeship levy, a member commented that it would be very helpful to have more specific information on what percentage of the apprenticeship levy is spent internally and externally, and the types of apprenticeship courses being funded externally.


In relation to point 16, on destinations and career progression of those on apprenticeships, a member expressed surprise that the council did not track the outcomes of those it supported into apprenticeships. It was noted that Ofsted rated one third of apprenticeship courses nationally as “requiring improvement” or “inadequate” and the member considered that it was important for the Council to track this data in light of this context. It was requested that officers consider how the effective tracking of apprenticeship outcomes may be enabled in the future, as mentioned at previous meetings.


In relation to point 7, on the status of previously agreed savings now considered undeliverable, the papers noted that the detail would be included in future budget monitoring reports. A member expressed disappointment that this detail was not yet available and suggested that the information would help to inform the scrutiny of the budget setting process. The Committee asked if it was possible for this detail to be provided in a standalone document and the officers present advised that this would be prepared and circulated in December.


In relation to point 6, on the employment of agency workers, a member requested data on how many agency workers and consultants were recruited in each financial year, how spend on this compared to previous years, which specific teams were employing agency workers, and why this was considered necessary. It was requested that data on agency workers and high-value interim workers be reported separately.


A member raised the career progression of BAME staff and queried the plans, targets and timescales to recruit more diverse staff to senior levels. It was noted that the committee had previously asked about this topic. The Chair advised that this was a matter for Human Resources and the relevant Executive Member was the Executive Member for Finance, Planning and Performance. The Chair reiterated that the Committee wished to review the findings of the previous equalities working group held on BAME staff progression at a future committee meeting.


In relation to point 17, on staff sickness absence where mental health was recorded as a factor, it was commented that the data provided was helpful, but did not specify if work-related factors had contributed to the sickness absence. It was asked if any data was held in relation to this, including qualitative data. It was suggested that discussions with those on long-term sickness absence may be helpful to understand if work-related factors had contributed to their absence.


In relation to point 4, on the Islington Lettings scheme ending, it was suggested that the Housing Scrutiny Committee could consider lessons learned from the scheme, why it had not succeeded, and what the implications were for the council’s relationships with private sector landlords, particularly in the context of rising rents.




That updates be requested on the above matters.