Worcestershire County Council

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					Information for job applicants

  Worcestershire County Council

 for job applicants

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    Information for job applicants
    Thank you for expressing an interest in working for Worcestershire County Council. If you would like more
    information about the organisation, or the job you are applying for, or want to request this leaflet in an
    alternative format, please call 01905 765765.

    About Worcestershire County Council:
    We are one of the largest and most progressive employers in the region, with over 18,500 staff and an
    annual turnover in excess of £750million. We serve over 500,000 citizens living in Worcestershire providing
    a huge range of services.

    Our corporate priorities are improving community safety, raising standards in schools, enhancing services
    to young people, improving transport links, providing care for vulnerable and older residents and
    strengthening the county’s economy. We also work in partnership with a number of local businesses,
    voluntary organisations and other local authorities such as district and parish councils.
    For the past 3 years, we have been rated as ‘excellent’ in the government’s Comprehensive Performance
    Assessment (CPA).

    Our ‘Way of working’ values are:

       •	 Customer focus: Providing high quality services which meet the expressed needs of the community
       •	 ‘Can do’ culture: Encouraging solutions and creative ways of working not blocked by bureaucracy
       •	 Freedom within boundaries: Devolving decision-making and ensuring services are responsive to needs

    Benefits Package:
    Final Salary Pension Scheme
    We offer all employees with a contract for more than 3 months and who are under the age of 65, the
    option of joining the Local Government Pension Scheme. This is one of the best pensions currently
    available and was recently valued as being 3x the value of a typical money purchase scheme. If you join,
    your monthly pension contributions will be between 5.5% and 7.5% of your gross pay, dependant upon
    your salary. These contributions enjoy tax relief at source and provide:

       •	   A	retirement	pension	based	on	1/60	of	your	final	pay	for	each	year	of	membership
       •	   Life	assurance	of	3	times	pay	whilst	you	are	a	contributing	member
       •	   The	ability	to	increase	your	pension	by	paying	extra	contributions
       •	   Pensions	for	your	husband,	wife,	registered	civil	partner,	nominated	co-habiting	partner	and	eligible	children
       •	   Pension	benefits	if	you	have	to	retire	due	to	ill	health
       •	   Option	to	convert	some	of	your	pension	into	a	lump	sum

    Hours of Work and Flexible Working Arrangements
    Our workforce is vital to our success hence the working arrangements that we offer are intended to allow
    you and your manager to best match your personal needs with the needs of the organisation. We aim
    to	enable	you	to	find	a	positive	balance	between	your	work	and	home	life.	We	believe	that	this	benefits	
    you and the organisation as a whole, as it leads to a more focused, happier and healthier workforce. The
    standard full-time working week is 37 hours. We also offer various alternative working arrangements, such
    as part time working, term time only contracts, home-working, compressed working hours (e.g. 9 day
    fortnights) or job sharing. If you would like any of these alternative arrangements to be considered, please
    mention this in your application. If your personal circumstances change during your employment and you
    wish to change your working arrangements, you can apply to do so.

Flexible Working Hours System (flexi-time)
We operate a system of flexible working hours wherever this is practical. This gives you some control
over when you want to work your hours, as long as you complete your contracted hours and the needs
of	the	service	are	met.	You	may	start	work	between	7.30am	and	9.30am	and	finish	work	between	4.00pm	
and 6.30pm. The lunch period is between 11.45am and 2.15pm; you must take a break of between thirty
minutes and two hours. In certain areas, e.g. residential care, flexible working is impractical and individual
directorate arrangements are made.

Training and Development
We are committed to providing all employees with training and development opportunities that are
appropriate to their personal needs and those of the organisation as a whole. Involving yourself in on-
going learning throughout your career is an essential part of the job, and one that will be supported by
your manager and the Development and Training team. Financial assistance and other support are available
for employees undertaking training relevant to organisational needs. We also offer employees undertaking
approved courses paid pre-examination leave to revise.

Salary Payment and Progression
Subject to continuing satisfactory performance and six months employment in the grade, incremental
salary increases are paid on 1st April every year for most groups of staff, until the maximum of the salary
scale is reached. In exceptional circumstances, individuals can be awarded accelerated increments to
recognise special merit or ability. Additionally, there is a nationally negotiated pay award, payable from the
1st April each year. For most posts, salaries are paid into your bank or building society on the 28th day of
each month.

Continuity of Service
If you have previous continuous service in local government or with a recognised related employer, this
may	be	taken	into	account	in	determining	certain	benefits	such	as	annual	leave,	occupational	sick	pay	and	
maternity leave, and a break in service of up to 8 years (with no other paid full-time work undertaken)
taken to care for children or dependants may be ignored except for calculating annual leave entitlement,
where the time limit does not apply.

Annual Leave
The	leave	year	runs	from	1st	April	to	31st	March.	You	will	be	entitled	to	25	days	paid	annual	leave,	in	addition	
to	general	public	holidays.	This	includes	two	extra	statutory	days	leave,	which	are	‘fixed’	following	certain	
public	holidays	for	employees	at	some	operational	units.	Your	annual	leave	entitlement	increases	to	30	days	
after 5 years’ continuous service. Holiday entitlement for part-time staff is calculated pro-rata to the full year
entitlement and expressed in hours. Employees who join the Authority directly from another employer (public
or private sector) can have their previous level of annual leave entitlement preserved, up to a maximum of 30
days.	This	is	subject	to	the	receipt	of	written	confirmation	from	your	previous	employer	of	your	former	annual	
leave	entitlement.	Employees	who	benefit	from	this	provision	cannot	exceed	30	days	annual	leave	in	total	at	
any	stage	of	their	employment.	Therefore,	if	you	reach	five	years	continuous	local	government	service,	then	30	
days would be your total entitlement. The annual leave entitlement for workers leaving or joining an authority is
proportionate to their complete service during the leave year.

Annual Leave for Youth and Community Workers is 30 days, in addition to statutory and general public
holidays;	workers	who	immediately	prior	to	the	commencement	of	the	leave	year	have	not	less	than	five	years’	
continuous local authority and/or youth and community work service are entitled to 35 days annual leave.

    Health and Well Being
    We take the health of our employees seriously and among other pro-active measures, have an
    Occupational Health Service whose work is centred on promoting well being, advising on reducing the
    impact of work on health and offering free information programmes to eligible staff. We also provide
    a	free	and	confidential	staff	counselling	service.	In	addition	to	providing	statutory	sick	pay,	we	offer	
    occupational sick pay. This starts at one month at full pay and rises with each complete year of service up
    to	six	months	at	full	pay	and	six	months	at	half	pay	after	five	years’	service.

    Childcare Voucher Scheme
    If you have children, you can save money by using our Childcare Voucher scheme to help towards your
    childcare	costs.		You	can	use	vouchers	to	pay	your	(registered)	carers	and	setting	up	a	scheme	enables	staff	
    and the Council to both save money as the vouchers are tax and National Insurance (NI) exempt up to £55
    a week or £243 per month.

    Time off and other Leave
    You	will	not	normally	be	expected	to	work	overtime.	However,	when	it	is	required,	time	off	in	lieu	is	
    usually granted instead of overtime payments. For example, if you work an extra four hours to meet a
    deadline, you might agree with your supervisor to leave earlier one day to reclaim the four extra hours.
    Special leave is available to provide you with time off in the event of serious family illness, bereavement,
    or family or domestic crises. Unpaid Parental leave is available to allow you to spend more time with
    your children while they are young and to relieve some of the stresses of working and caring. Paternity or
    maternity support leave can be taken to support the mother of a newborn baby, look after the baby or
    support a partner who is adopting a child. Maternity leave or adoption leave provide up to 52 weeks leave.
    Members of the Reserved Forces and the Territorial Army are granted two weeks’ additional paid leave
    for	attendance	at	summer	camp.	Retained	Fire-fighters	are	granted	paid	leave	to	undertake	their	duties,	
    subject to prior approval.

    Relationships with Trade Unions
    The County Council believes that having positive relationships with recognised trade unions is an essential
    component of a successful organisation. Although you are under no obligation to be a member of a trade
    union you are free to join any union of your choice. The Council recognises a number of trade unions and
    consults with them on a wide range of employment issues.

    Equality and Diversity
    The Council is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff or users of services regardless
    of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, disability or offending
    background. Employees can join the Black Colleagues Group or Disability Equality Group that provide
    advice and mutual support to their members, and meet every 4-6 weeks. The groups also offer advice to
    the Council, channelled through individuals and management groups, which relates to many areas including
    the recruitment and retention of Black employees or those with a disability, service development and
    policy issues.

    Relocation, Removal and Disturbance Allowances
    A	scheme	of	Allowances	is	available	to	provide	financial	assistance	to	an	eligible	employee,	following	
    approval by the Head of Service/Director, who needs to move home as a result of accepting an
    appointment. The Scheme provides help towards removal expenses, legal fees, estate agents’ fees,
    disturbance expenses and additional accommodation costs. Please ask for further details.

Staff Travel Plan and Car Parking Arrangements
The staff travel plan offers employees and visitors improved transport choice and reduces the need
to travel, helping reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote sustainable travel. Travel choices
offered may include bus, train, bicycles, walking, motorcycles and car sharing, to reduce reliance on single
occupancy car travel for commuter journeys and business travel.

At County Hall Campus (including Wildwood and Countryside Centre), there are parking restrictions in
terms of the number of spaces available to staff. However, there are designated parking spaces for car
sharers, a short-stay area for staff only attending meetings and a visitors’ car park. Based on the parking
restrictions and to support the Staff Travel Plan, all staff are encouraged to drive to work in a car on their
own for no more than three days a week and consider either changing their travel choice (as described as
above) or alternative working arrangements such as home-working, managing their diary to work at other
locations or compressed working hours for the other days.

Criminal Records Checks and Safeguarding
As an organisation using the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Disclosure service to assess applicants’
suitability for employment, the Council complies with the CRB Code of Practice and undertakes to
treat all applicants for positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a
Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.

Worcestershire County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and
young people, and vulnerable adults, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

If you apply for a job with the council, you will need to give the names and addresses of two referees, one
of whom must be your current or most recent employer, or work experience provider. Some applicants
may not be able to provide this, for example those who are applying to join us straight from education. In
these cases, at least one of the references should be sought from a person in a position of responsibility,
who has knowledge of you, as the applicant. This could be a tutor or lecturer. The second referee can
be anyone who can comment on your suitability for the job you are applying for, including a previous
employer. As they are invariably complimentary, personal or character references from family members
are not acceptable. Any offer of employment made to you will be dependent on whether we receive
references that are satisfactory for our purposes from the two people you nominate. We will contact
your referees only if we offer you the job and not before.
Standard Retirement Age:
The County Council’s standard retirement age is 65. The Council does not normally recruit beyond the
age	of	64.5	years	unless	specified	in	the	job	advertisement.	(This	refers	to	applicants	aged	64.5	at	the	date	
of their application) This is in accordance with the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. These
Regulations, in relation to discrimination in employment do not apply in relation to a person:
(a) whose age is greater than the employer’s normal retirement age; or
(b) who would, within a period of six months from the date of application to the employer, reach the
employer’s normal retirement age.
Therefore, if you fall into either of the above categories it is lawful and reasonable for us to adhere to our
recruitment policy
Additional information and comments
If there is any information that is not contained within this document, or you have other questions or
queries, please contact the Central Recruitment Team on 01905 765765. Alternatively, you can e-mail us at:
jobs@worcestershire.gov.uk. If you want to make a comment about any aspect of the selection process you
should	contact	the	person	named	on	the	advertisement.	If	you	are	not	satisfied	with	the	answer	you	should	
take it up with Patrick Birch, Director of Corporate Services, Telephone (01905) 766200 or write to him at County
Hall,	Spetchley	Road,	Worcester,	WR5	2NP.	If	you	are	still	not	satisfied	you	can	contact	the	Chief	Executive.
    Your Application and the Recruitment Process
    Making your Application
    The following advice is designed to assist you with your application and to explain the process that we will
    use to select the most suitable applicant for the post:
       •	 Read	the	job	information	very	carefully	before	completing	the	application	form
       •	 The	job	description	lists	the	main	duties	of	the	post	and	the	person	specification	describes	the	skills,	
          knowledge	and	experience,	and,	if	relevant,	qualifications	that	we	are	looking	for
       •	 When	completing	your	application	form,	think	carefully	about	why	you	want	the	job	and	what	experience	
          and skills you have to offer. These may be from previous employment (paid/voluntary/domestic), study, or
          general	interests	and	life	experience.	Please	remember	that	it	is	not	sufficient	to	merely	repeat	what	is	in	the	
          person	specification	–	you	must	give	clear	examples	of	how	you	meet	each	requirement
       •	 We	cannot	guess	or	make	assumptions	about	your	knowledge,	skills	or	experience	therefore,	the	
          information that you provide on your application form will be the only basis on which we can decide
          whether or not you will be selected for interview
       •	 We	aim	to	be	an	equal	opportunity	employer	and	require	the	same	range	of	information	from	all	
          candidates. This is why we ask you to submit a standard application form and do not accept either a
          CV or testimonials
       •	 The	application	form	includes	a	monitoring	form.	This	is	included	to	enable	the	County	Council	to	
          monitor the effectiveness of its policies relating to equality and diversity. All monitoring forms are
          treated	confidentially	and	are	not	used	in	the	selection	process
       •	 Any	information	that	you	provide	relating	to	any	disability	will	only	be	used	to	consider	adjustments	
          that might be needed to give you equal consideration to other applicants
       •	 If	you	have	ever	been	convicted	of	a	criminal	offence,	bound	over	or	cautioned,	regardless	of	your	
          opinion of the seriousness of the matter, you must complete the section of the application form
          headed	“Convictions/Disqualifications”	with	particular	care.	Criminal	records	will	only	be	taken	
          into account for recruitment purposes when a conviction is relevant. Unless the nature of the work
          demands it, you will not be asked to disclose any convictions which are “spent” under the terms of
          the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 - but see note below. Having an unspent conviction will not
          necessarily bar you from employment. This will depend on the circumstances and background to the
          offence, and the nature of the job that you are applying for.

    Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a conviction will become “spent” (i.e. treated as if it had
    never occurred) when the individual has not committed another serious offence after a certain period
    of time. Rehabilitation periods vary according to the type and length of conviction originally incurred.
    For example:
        •	 Imprisonment	for	between	six	and	thirty	months	–	Ten	years
        •	 Imprisonment,	detention	in	a	young	offenders	institution	or	youth	custody	for	six	months	or	
           less	–	Seven	years
        •	 Probation	–	Five	years	(if	under	18,	the	longer	of	two	and	a	half	years	or	when	the	order	ceases	to	
           have effect)
        •	 Fine	or	community	service	order	–	Five	years
        •	 Absolute	discharge	(whatever	age)	–	Six	months
        •	 Conditional	discharge,	bind	over	–	The	longer	of	one	year	or	whenever	the	order	ceases	to	have	effect

    Important Notes - If the post is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exemptions) Order 1975,
    detail must be given about all convictions, whether spent or not.
    If you are in any doubt as to whether you must disclose a conviction or caution, you should contact the
    Central	Human	Resources	team	on	01905	766215	for	confirmation.	The	information	that	you	provide	will	not	
    be disclosed to the Selection Panel. This will ensure that if you are not required to disclose this information,
    it will not influence the decision of the Selection Panel.

The Recruitment Process
   •	 Before	returning	your	application	form,	please	ensure	that	all	sections	are	fully	completed	and	that	
      you have signed the declaration. If additional space is needed to complete your application, please
      continue on a maximum of one A4 sheet
   •	 Please	ensure	you	submit	your	application	on	or	before	the	closing	date.	Internet	applications	will	
      be	accepted	up	until	midnight	on	the	closing	date.	Postal	applications	will	be	accepted	first	post	the	
      morning after the closing date. Any applications posted/delivered by hand to reception will be date
      stamped and will be accepted as per postal applications. Any forms that arrive after these deadlines
      will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances
   •	 Once	received	by	the	short-listing	panel,	all	applications	forms	will	be	carefully	reviewed	and	
      considered	against	the	criteria	laid	down	in	the	person	specification
   •	 If	you	are	unsuccessful	at	short-listing	stage,	you	will	be	informed	in	writing,	usually	within	2	weeks	of	
      the closing date
   •	 If	you	are	invited	to	interview,	you	will	be	required	to	bring	documentation	that	proves	that	you	are	
      entitled	to	work	in	the	United	Kingdom.	Specific	details	will	be	included	in	the	letter	inviting	you	to	
      interview. The Council is obliged to carry out these basic checks before taking on new employees, as
      it is a criminal offence to employ anyone who does not have this entitlement
   •	 Dependant	upon	the	post	applied	for	there	maybe	further	interview	stages.	The	interview	process	
      may also include tests which are an additional tool used to assist us in making a decision on
      candidate’s suitability
   •	 If	you	are	the	successful	applicant	you	will	be	made	an	offer	of	employment	subject	to	medical	
      clearance and the receipt of references that are satisfactory for our purposes
   •	 Some	posts	are	also	subject	to	other	checks,	such	as	from	the	Criminal	Records	Bureau	or	of	your	
      qualifications.	You	will	need	to	bear	this	in	mind	if	you	are	currently	employed	and	need	to	resign	
      from your post.

Starting your job
   •	 If	you	are	not	presently	employed	in	local	government	your	appointment	will	automatically	be	subject	
      to a probationary period of six months
   •	 Every	appointment,	be	it	a	first	appointment	to	the	County	Council,	internal	promotion	or	alternative	
      work, incorporates a “settling in” period. This is generally for a period of six months and involves
      increased levels of support and guidance from your manager. It also provides you with feedback
      on your performance to help you clearly understand what is expected of you. This reflects our
      commitment to helping you successfully settle into your new role and the organisation as a whole.

You can contact us in the following ways:

  By telephone:
  01905 765 765
  By post:
  The Central Recruitment Team, Central Human Resources, Worcestershire County Council, County Hall, Spetchley Road,
  Worcester, WR5 2NP
  By email:

                          This document can be made available in other languages and alternative formats
    (large print, audio tape, computer disk and Braille) on request from Human Resources on telephone number 01905 765 765
                                             or by emailing jobs@worcestershire.gov.uk

                  To the best of our knowledge all information was correct at the time of printing: February 2009

  Important: The details contained in this leaflet or the accompanying job details do not constitute
  any part of an offer or contract of employment.
                                                                                                                             49742 02/09

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