Agenda item

Update on Sickness Levels within Chichester District Council

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to note the latest levels of staff sickness absence.


Mr Mildred, Divisional Manager, Business Support Manager presented the report. Mr Radcliffe, Human Resource Manager was also present.


Mr Mildred informed the Committee that the Absence Management Policy has been reviewed and rewritten. A particular focus has been given to ensuring a consistent application of the policy and managing stress levels is maintained. The latest figures are positive and show that the average number of sick days has reduced; the calculation used to determine the number of average sick days taken is done on a 12 month rolling basis and includes information from people who are no longer at CDC. If the figure was calculated using data provided from existing employees it would be 5.6 days per annum. In addition to the report Mr Mildred informed the Committee that individual cases are monitored on a case by case basis. Mr Mildred, Mr Ward (Director of Corporate Services) and the HR team meet monthly to review these cases and look at patterns within teams.


The Committee asked the following questions;


·         How much is stress associated with a lack in staffing numbers? Mr Mildred explained that the root cause of most stress absence was not caused by work, however, it was acknowledged as a contributing factor. Where stress at work has been identified as an issue, work is undertaken to look at what can be done to mitigate the causes.


·         This appears to be a tick box exercise with focus being given to completing the form and less focus been given to the individual? Mr Mildred assured the Committee that this is not a tick box exercise, every time a member of staff is off sick then the manager will have a face to face meeting with that member of staff. If an employee has been off for a period of seven days or three individual incidences then there is a welfare interview to identify any problems within the work environment. The next stages of the sickness absence process are the formal stages and a warning may be issued which will go on an employee’s file for up to one year.


·         Can discretion be applied in cases of long term sick or would a formal warning still be issued? Mr Radcliffe confirmed that it would be likely a formal warning would be issued, he explained that it was important to manage the sickness absence and the impact it has on service delivery.


·         Is there a specific timeframe which triggers the sickness absence process? Mr Mildred confirmed that there was and this was set out in the policy.


·         Are there any departments which suffer from a higher occurrence of stress? Mr Mildred informed the Committee that stress is consistent throughout the organisation. Patterns of sickness levels are monitored on a regular basis to identify any occurring trends.


·         Was any comparison made with absentee figures from 2008 – 2011 when there were more officers employed at CDC? Mr Mildred informed the Committee that the sickness rates from 2008-11 were comparable with the present data.



That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee notes the latest levels of staff sickness.



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