Proposals for unitary local government Staffing issues by RobSmyth


									Proposals for unitary local government: Staffing issues                                                                      Page 1 of 3

           Proposals for unitary local government: Staffing issues
           The paper identifies a number of key issues regarding staffing matters.

           Staff transfers

           The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) do not apply to
           the transfer of local authority functions between authorities in this context. However, the government is
           committed to applying TUPE-like terms to any transfer within the public sector.

           The provisions of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill will enable the
           government to make regulations about staff transfers and they will be able to make different provisions
           for different cases and circumstances.

           Front line staff

           In the last round of reorganisation the following staff automatically transferred to the new authority:
                   employees who delivered services directly to the community;
                   employees whose work involved regular and substantial contact with members of the community; and
                   immediate managers and clerical, admin and support staff wholly engaged in supporting those

           Where county functions were being disaggregated the following rules applied:
                   where the whole or a clear majority of the community being served was within the area of the new
                    authority, the employee transferred to that authority unless all relevant new authorities and the
                    employee agreed that a transfer to a different new authority was more appropriate;
                   where no clear majority of the community being served was in the area of any new authority, the
                    employee transferred to whichever new authority was agreed amongst all relevant authorities, taking
                    into account as far as possible the employee’s preferences; and
                   where no agreement could be reached under the previous bullet point the transferor authority (i.e. the
                    employee’s employer) determined the destination using such reasonable criteria as it could decide.

           The government proposes to adopt similar principles in this reorganisation. In the case of county
           unitaries all service delivery staff will transfer. Where county functions are to be disaggregated (Exeter,
           Ipswich, Bedford and Cheshire) the first two bullet points above will apply. Whereas in the last round of
           reorganisation there was a Staff Commission to deal with areas of disagreement, the government
           does not propose to establish a Staff Commission for this round of reorganisation and so local
           authorities will have to introduce their own appeal/arbitration mechanisms.

           The government would welcome views on this approach.The LGE will be considering its response
           and the other options that may be possible. As the government has indicated, different approaches
           may be appropriate in different areas.

           Other staff – Open competition and prior consideration

           The government proposes that other staff (including senior officers and other back office staff) will not
           automatically transfer. In this case the shadow or transitional authority will define the organisation
           structure of the new authority required from the reorganisation date. Staff not automatically transferred
           should be asked to apply for the posts.

           However, there remain some unresolved issues:

           In the last reorganisation appointments to senior posts (Head of Paid Service, Statutory Chief Officers
           and non-statutory Chief Officers) were required by regulations to be appointed by open competition.

           On this occasion, the government intends that the Chief Executive post for the new authority should be
           filled by open competition but it has not yet taken a final view on whether other senior posts should be                                                                         29/01/2009
Proposals for unitary local government: Staffing issues                                                                  Page 2 of 3

           subject to the same process.

           The government welcomes views on this issue.

           Also, the government has not yet developed a view on prior consideration (i.e. the mechanism or
           protocols for recruitment to those posts which do not automatically transfer and are not subject to open
           competition). In the last reorganisation eligibility for vacant posts in the new authority (or vacancies in
           outgoing authorities which needed filling prior to abolition) was initially limited to existing employees.

           The government welcomes views on this issue.

           Transfer orders

           Transfers will be put into effect by statutory transfer orders (STO’s). To some extent this requires the
           listing of affected staff or posts which will automatically transfer. For county unitaries on existing
           boundaries (Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire, Wiltshire) the STO’s should be more
           straightforward (although not without difficulty). However, for district unitaries on existing boundaries
           (Exeter, Ipswich, Bedford), and unitary authorities with new boundaries (Cheshire), these will be more

           Where lists of staff or posts to transfer are required there will need to be a process by which the list
           can be consulted on and agreed. The government sees that this would be a task of the Joint
           Implementation Team (JIT).

           Redundancy Compensation

           In the last round of reorganisation there was a mandatory redundancy compensation scheme which
           applied nationally to all local authorities affected.

           On this occasion, the government believes that this is not necessary and that local discretion and
           flexibility are valuable. The government has only recently amended the discretionary compensation
           provisions available to local authorities which are now contained in The Local Government (Early
           Termination of Employment) (Discretionary Compensation) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006.
           These regulations are designed to allow individual authorities to have flexibility to determine locally
           what is appropriate for their workforce and affordable for taxpayers.

           However, the government does recognise that in reorganising areas, affected authorities may have
           different arrangements in place under the regulations which could cause uncertainty for staff and have
           possible recruitment and retention implications at a vital time for the development of the new
           authorities. Therefore it considers that this should be one of the first tasks of the JIT and
           shadow/transitional authorities to examine.

           LGE supported this approach as this will allow bidding authorities greater ability to deliver on its bid.

           Equal Pay

           The new authority will take on the employer responsibilities from the existing authorities. Decisions
           about new pay and grading structures will be a matter for the new unitary authority which will include
           issues such as what to do in circumstances where an old authority has agreed but not implemented a
           new pay and grading structure.

           The government states that any increase in the pay-bill arising from the need to introduce a single pay
           and grading structure for the new authority must be factored into the financial plans for restructuring.

           The government also acknowledges that the resolution of this issue will be a major activity and require
           a significant resource in the year of transition and beyond and robust planning will be needed to take
           things forward and keep staff informed. All affected authorities will need to share intelligence, and the
           shadow or transitional authority will need to do a risk assessment prior to the reorganisation date. The                                                                     29/01/2009
Proposals for unitary local government: Staffing issues                                                              Page 3 of 3

           new authority will need to do an early pay and grading review. The government suggests that there
           could be a specific milestone for this activity.

           Pension Schemes

           Pension schemes will be relatively straightforward. County unitaries on existing county boundaries
           (Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire, Wiltshire) will become the new administering
           authority. District unitaries on existing boundaries (Exeter, Ipswich, Bedford) will be scheduled as a
           new employing authority assigned to their existing administering (county) authority. In the case of the
           abolition of a county council and creation of two new unitary authorities with new boundaries
           (Cheshire), one of the new unitaries will become the administering authority for all of the unitary
           authorities in the old county area.

           Claims in connection with contracts of employment

           The government proposes to introduce legislation to provide that any outstanding claims relating to an
           existing authority will transfer to the new authority as if the claim was with that authority.                                                                 29/01/2009

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