Council workers’ sick days falling

Roger Kaye, head of human resources and performance
Roger Kaye, head of human resources and performance

SICKNESS rates for council staff have fallen compared with last year according to a report published this week.

SICKNESS rates for council staff have fallen compared with last year according to a report published this week.

Members of Scarborough Council’s Resources Scrutiny Committee will consider the annual report into sickness absence at a meeting on Wednesday.

The figures show that the average staff member took 6.51 days during 2011/2012 – which was below the authority’s corporate target of 6.6 days per employee.

This compares with 7.23 days during 2010/2011, 8.25 days for 2009/2010, 9.37 days in 2008/2009 and 9.12 days in 2007/2008.

In his report Roger Kaye, the council’s head of human resources and performance, said: “The effective and efficient operation of any organisation is to a great extent determined by the performance of its employees.

“The council is committed to maintaining high levels of attendance for all its employees, which is essential to provide efficient and effective services.

“The effective management of sickness absence continues to be a major issue for the council in terms of maintaining service levels and building capacity across the council.”

He added that good attendance was vital if the council was to provide effective and efficient services. He said: “High levels of attendance will help the council to plan and provide quality services, to win contracts, and assist in maintaining morale amongst employees – particularly during the ongoing process of achieving savings targets.

“Low levels of attendance, on the other hand, will result in poor provision of services, increased costs, lost contracts, and potentially low morale.

“Management information is provided on a monthly basis to members, senior managers and service unit managers.”

Mr Kaye said that new targets were now being introduced for the current financial year which took into account the latest restructuring of services.

The total cost of sickness absence for the year equalled £349,122 compared with £416,117 for the 2010/2011 financial year.

Mr Kaye said: “This represents an efficiency saving of over £66,000 in terms of reduction in sick pay. There are also indirect and less quantifiable savings in terms of improved morale and productivity.”

He added that the majority of services comfortably met their targets for 2011/2012 and improved their performance. He said: “There was minimal absence in Human Resources and Performance – 0.47 days per employee – and the former Transformational Services, which had a target of five days per employee achieved a figure of 3.52 days.”