This page will be used to consult with you on changes to HR and Health & Safety policies. We review policies on a scheduled basis and following the consultation these will be referred to the Council's Partnership Forum and then to the Executive for approval.
Feedback on the consultation will also be displayed on this page.
There are no open policy consultations at the moment.
Driving at work
This policy replaces the existing Driving at Work Policy and Amalgamates the Council vehicle and non-Council vehicle Driver Code of Conduct. It also updates the Council Travel Hierarchy and provides greater clarity on links to other Council policies such as Capability and Disciplinary. Roles and responsibilities have also been updated.
Managing vibration at work
This how-to has been updated as follows:
- Exposure Limit and Action Values are now stated as the equivalent exposure points (Exposure Points System and Ready-Reckoner) rather than a vibration magnitude per m/s-2. This is to make it easier to cross-reference the information provided in the risk assessment, equipment tags and any personal monitoring equipment used.
- Exposure Limit and Action Values stated are an equivalent value 10% lower than those included in Regulation 4 of The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. The HSE approved code of practice L140, Hand-arm vibration, The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, Guidance on Regulations states that research has shown that errors arising from the process of sampling and measuring vibration magnitude and estimating exposure duration can affect the precision of calculations by ±20%. HSE Inspectors work on the assumption that if a risk assessment shows an exposure is within 20% of an action value it's likely that the value could be exceeded in practice. The exposure points stated in the document have been adjusted to account for this.
- When personal monitoring equipment must be used is now defined, i.e any employees:
- whose vibration exposure has been restricted on the advice of Occupational Health
- who use any red tagged equipment
- Line Managers are given the responsibility of notifying the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team if an employee is diagnosed with either Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team will then report these to the HSE under RIDDOR if necessary.
Recovery of Overpayments Policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 9 responses received. Most respondents consider that the policy format is clear and easy to understand.
In response to comments received, the definition of a "small overpayment" has been included in the "how to" guide. We have also removed the requirement that the recovery period should not normally exceed 6 months. The policy now states that overpayments would usually be recovered over the same amount of time that the overpayment was made. One of the suggestions made was that recovery could be limited to overpayments made in the previous 3 months. The policy has not been changed in response to this comment. It does however include provisions to minimise financial hardship, taking account of individual circumstances, and signposts employees to avenues for support if required.
The Capability Policy covers all employee groups, including teachers. It gives guidance on how to support and manage cases where an employee's ability to undertake their role is affected by poor health or poor performance.
Guidance is also given on managing cases where an employee fails to obtain or maintain professional registration or a qualification essential for their role. It is the intention that the Managing Sickness Absence Policy will also be revised so that it ties in with some of the how-to guides to provide clarity on the links between the two policies.
Redeployment Policy 2022
We had a limited response to this consultation with 12 responses received. The respondents were mainly from employees (6) with the remaining being from managers (4) and 1 Trade Union representative. One respondent did not answer this question.
Overall, the response to the consultation on the Redeployment Policy was positive and respondents felt the policy was clearer and easy to understand and they understood their roles within the process. There was a comment received with concerns relating to additional workload possibilities and this has been addressed.
There was additional response from Trade Union representatives out with the policy consultation process relating to concerns about increased workload for managers, removal of the skills audit and provision of training. These have been responded to and will be incorporated into the policy.
How to: First Aid provision
There was limited response to this 'How To' consultation with only 6 received. This was from 3 employees, 2 managers and 2 Trade Union representatives. The feedback received was positive and there were no changes made to the guidance following consultation.
Smoke Free Policy
In total, there was 20 responses received for this policy consultation. This was from 13 employees, 5 managers and 2 Trade Union representatives. The responses were mainly positive, and the comments raised have been addressed with minor updated to the policy.
From the comments received, the document was reviewed and amended for clarity and readability. Particularly in relation to car usage and working from home. Now the policy has been agreed, further work will be undertaken to ensure enforcement across all Council services.
How to manage legionella
There were 11 responses received to this 'How To' consultation. The respondents were 5 managers and 4 employees, with 2 responses from Trade Union representatives. Overall, the responses received were positive, but a few questions about the guidance were raised and a summary of the response to these are addressed below.
The requirement for annual microbiological testing is over and above the general industry guidance – Microbiological monitoring would not normally be required for the hot and cold water systems. However, HSG 274- Part 2, The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Hot and Cold Water Systems states that, "Legionella monitoring should be carried out where there is doubt about the efficacy of the control regime or it is known that recommended temperatures or other precautions are not being consistently achieved throughout the system." Ongoing monitoring suggests that there are opportunities for improvement in how Legionella management controls are being carried out in a number of buildings on the Council estate. Therefore, regular microbiological testing wouldn't be an unreasonable approach. The frequency of monitoring should be determined by risk assessment.
Unfortunately this isn't a feature of the Council's current contract for the delivery of Legionella risk assessments and so doesn't form part of the Council's risk assessment process. In the absence of this, annual microbiological monitoring would be reasonable until such time as the Council is confident that its control regime is effectively managing the risks from Legionella. This requirement can be removed once that's been achieved.
In education, the added responsibility is to ensure that responsibilities are picked up in the absence of PMs out with term time – A paragraph has been added to reflect this.
Legionella arrangements for sprinkler systems; We had an event at a premise which indicated the water in the sprinkler system needed checked or flushed – The risk from sprinkler systems is minimal. The main risks arise during maintenance, which none of our employees would be involved in.
Sprinkler systems are (or should be) independent systems so although water can stagnate in the pipes any bacterial growth shouldn't affect the cold water system. The droplet size from a sprinkler is sufficiently large that it shouldn't be a viable medium for Legionella transmission and, added to that, sprinklers should only activate above a fire, so no one should be in the area when it activates. Any firefighters entering the space where sprinklers are operating would be wearing breathing apparatus. This point will be explored further by Health, Safety & Wellbeing.
As I work in a council building, I would like to know that on completion, employees are told that the water supply is free from legionella, for my own piece of mind and are the results of the checks published so that employees and unions can see them and it does not seem to be clear how employees can bring up concerns – The publication of monthly checks is no indication of Legionella levels. We don't currently publish details of other checks and inspections as it's easy to misinterpret results if not trained. If you have any concerns please contact the Health, Safety & Wellbeing team.
There are a few acronyms in the guidance could this be fully written at least once, with the link next to it, so it people could access themselves, if they feel they need more information – The acronyms in the document are used as proper names: SHE, SHIELD and CIBSE. There were 2 other unnecessary abbreviations in the Appendix which have been removed.
Quite a lot of information which managers probably do not need to know – Although the information may not be relevant to everyone, there is comprehensive information for those who require it.
How to support employee wellbeing
We had 21 responses to this consultation. 13 were employees, 7 were managers and 1 Trade Union Representative. A total of 90% responded saying the overall document was clear and easy to read and 81% saying they understood the responsibility of their own mental health and wellbeing.
There were similar opinions given on certain aspects of the Support Employee Wellbeing guidance. Below is a response to the comments made:
Title: Some thought that the title didn't reflect the overall document, feeling it had an identified focus on Menopause. This has now been changed to How to – Support Employee Wellbeing During Menopause.
Guidance for Managers not for employee: Some thought the guidance read for a manager perspective and not from an employee. This guidance aims to support managers and employees to understand key signs to look for and how to support employees who may be experiencing some or multiple of the symptoms listed (although this list is not exhaustive). It aims to begin building awareness by identifying steps and accessible resources to support employees and managers alike.
Implications for frontline services: There were comments on how practicable some of the guidance could be given the service and circumstances. We are aware that not all managers will be able to accommodate as easily for employees. The guidance has changed to, "Where practical agree time out can be taken away from others without the need to ask for permission or where not practical, agree a sign where you need to speak to someone in private or need immediate support." This will support the wider needs of services.
Learning & Development Policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 8 responses received. The respondents were mainly from managers with only one response from an employee. There was no response from Trade Union representatives. Overall, the response to the consultation on the Learning & Development Policy was positive.
Respondents felt the policy was clearer and easy to understand.
There was a comment received asking for mentoring and shadowing to be included in the Methods of Learning and Development section. This has been included.
A comment was received asking for the Roles and Responsibilities section to include information on the Social Work Training and Workforce Development Team. The policy has been amended to include this.
A comment was also received requesting a section to be included to support Corporate Parenting. The policy has been amended to include links to Corporate Parenting and learning and development.
Hybrid Working Policy (Mobile Working Policy)
The Mobile Working Policy which has been up for consultation has now been re-named the Hybrid Working Policy. We had our biggest response ever to a policy consultation exercise for this policy with 258 responses. It's great that so many people took the time to read the document and provide comments.
The respondents were split as follows:
- Employees - 78%
- Managers - 22.5%
- Trade Unions - 0.5%
The majority of respondents, 96%, found the policy easy to understand. Common themes were evident in the responses received, a copy of these can be reviewed below.
|Concerns were raised about the different workstyle definitions and how these would be applied in practice. It was noted that there were overlaps and the distinction between the styles was not clear/easy to understand.
Comments were received advising that not everyone would choose to work from home for a large percentage of their working week. On the flip side it was noted that not everyone would want/need to come into the office every week.
|This section of the policy will be updated and the workstyle definitions will be reduced to 2 - Hybrid/Flexible or Office Based. This will make the difference between workstyles clearer and allow for increased flexibility. It is acknowledged that both role/job tasks and workstyle preference will influence how time is split between home/office. The policy title will also be changed to Hybrid Working Policy.
|Concerns for wellbeing for employees working from home.
||Managers must have regular check-ins with employees. If there are concerns that working from home is having an impact on wellbeing then consideration needs to be given to how working time is divided between home and office, there is flexibility in the policy to allow for this.
|Concerns that team cohesion and support from colleagues will be impacted by mobile/hotdesking.
||The importance of communication and team meetings cannot be underestimated. It may be that the frequency of team meetings increases. Teams will be allocated 'areas' within open-plan offices to enable them to sit together, where possible. Through MS Teams there is an option to create a 'virtual' office to allow for collaboration with team members whilst continuing to work on other tasks, just as though you were in the office. Teams should consider if this may be of benefit to the team and if so, how frequently. The policy wording has been updated.
Working hours/Working arrangements
|Comments were received in relation to boundaries between home and work life – specifically emails being received out of hours or interrupted lunch breaks, and questions around how you know when people are in/out of work. There was also a suggestion of not sending an email to someone you know is not at work at that time.
||The 'When can you work' section of the policy does acknowledge that there may be flexibility of when hours are worked (depending on your role) and asks that you ensure your manager and team know your availability. Your electronic diary must be shared with team members and make it clear when you are due to be working. You can block out lunch breaks in your diary. Your email footer and 'Out of Office' message can also detail your work pattern.
If you are working outwith normal office hours please select the option to delay your emails so the recipient will receive them within normal working hours.
During non-working times, when working from home, please put your laptop away to ensure you have a separation between work and home life.
There has always been the possibility that emails will be sent to you when you are not working – it doesn’t mean you need to respond immediately or check emails when you are not due to be working. Your out of office message will be sent to the sender of the message and they will know when you will be back at work and likely to respond.
|In relation to the ability to work flexibly there were questions about working out of hours, before 9am and after 5pm, or weekends
||The 'When can you work' section of the policy does acknowledge that, dependant on your role, this may be an option. Your option to do this needs to be discussed with your manager. Please note you would not be eligible for overtime or out of hours payments if you choose to work your hours in this way.
|If it is possible to work some of my hours over the weekend then Chronos needs to be updated to enable this to be recorded.
||IT are currently reviewing the applications used to manage time recording. As a result it is unlikely that any significant changes to Chronos will be made at this time.
|Site visits should not be carried out on weekends because there are no H&S precautions in place.
||The 'When can you work' section of the policy does acknowledge that there may be flexibility of when hours are worked (depending on your role). Site visits would be expected to be within normal working hours when H&S measures are in place.
|There should not be a preference for online meetings - attending meetings in person can be beneficial for wellbeing and mental health
||If we can have an online meeting we should as this saves time, mileage and helps with our carbon footprint. However, wellbeing of our employees needs to be considered, which may mean for some individuals or groups, more face to face meetings or face to face team meetings, depending on circumstances.
|Some comments indicated that not all managers would be receptive to employees working from home on an ongoing basis
||The work spaces will be reduced in the new buildings using a ratio of 0.5 work station to every full time employee. With the exception of office based employees or those who are unable to work from home there will be an expectation that at least a percentage of working time will be home based for the majority of employees.
|How does this tie in with the Flexi policy?
||The Flexi-time policy is still available in addition to this policy. Flexi-time enables employees to make and attend appointments during the working day using time accrued (subject to manager approval). Service Managers need to consider how this is managed within their area of responsibility.
|Since lockdown and working from home flexitime privileges for our team were revoked. This makes it impossible to have any personal appointments between 9am - 5pm. Why should flexi-time be removed just because we are working from home?
||The Flexi-time policy is still available in addition to this policy. Flexi-time enables employees to make and attend appointments during the working day using time accrued (subject to manager approval).
|Is there any need for core hours if people are working remotely?
||Yes - dependant on job role there will still be a requirement for posts to be covered during core business hours. For some posts this may not be the case and you should discuss flexibility of working hours with your manager. The policy wording has been updated.
|There were concerns that cafes were noted as possible locations to work from due to GDPR issues.
||Obviously, as with any work location, you need to be aware of your surroundings and what you are discussing/reading/viewing on your laptop. A café will not always be an appropriate work location.
The policy wording has been updated.
|There were mixed responses to the requirement to ideally be able to travel from home to work within 2-3hrs. Some questioning this and others happy to see this in the policy.
||The wording of the policy in this section does state 'ideally' be able to travel from home to work within 2-3 hours.
The requirement and frequency to attend the office will vary dependant on the job role/tasks carried out.
It is possible to agree something separate outwith the policy with your line manager in consultation with HR so long as it is suitable to your job role and team.
|It was asked whether employees can be forced to work from home.
||If your role allows you to work flexibly and you have the ability to do so it would be beneficial to consider working from home, for at least part of your working time. If however, you are completely averse to this you need to have a conversation with your manager and determine where you will spend your working time. It may not be possible to be in the same office every day due to there being a 0.5 desk:1 FTE employee ratio.
|Suggestion of collaboration with other Local Authorities to enable employees to work from a Council office closest to their home.
||When 'office' is mentioned in the policy it refers to a Falkirk council office. There is currently no conversation taking place about our employees hot desking in another Council's premises.
|Will base locations provide areas/space to catch up with colleagues and chat or work over a tea/coffee or lunch?
||Yes – there will be break out areas that can be booked for catch ups and areas with kettles for making cups of tea/coffee.
|Concerns about working from an open plan office – predominately privacy and noise for making calls and having confidential discussions.
||You will be able to select which seat you book in the office through the booking app. Also, there will be break-out areas that can be booked for calls or private discussions.
|There should be guidance on how employees should behave in an open plan office.
||Inside Falkirk does have guidance under the Anytime Anywhere project in relation to open plan offices. We will add the link at the end of the policy.
Working from home
|Will my house insurance need to be updated?
||Yes – your home insurance company should know that you are working from home for some of the week.
The policy wording has been updated.
|What if I have an accident at home whilst working?
||If there is a work related incident at home whilst working then an incident report should be completed.
|Do I need to sign to confirm I've carried out a workplace assessment at home?
||Employees should undertake the Olle course on Display Screen Equipment and put this into practice. There is no requirement to sign anything as it will be logged that you have completed the Olle course.
|Will there be separate Workstation Assessments for the home and the office?
||For the most part the online form will be the same, however depending on responses provided it may lead to some supplementary questions.
|Concerns about listening to/dealing with calls from unhappy customers in own home. Work/home environments being blurred.
||If you feel that working from home is impacting on your home life you need to discuss this with your manager. Consideration needs to be given to how working time is divided between home and office, there is flexibility in the policy to allow for this.
|Does the lone worker policy apply if working from home?
||Yes, as you are working alone. However, there are systems in place to enable direct contact and the level of risk is deemed minimal. Whilst working from home you will still have access to colleagues/manager via MS Teams or phone.
|I have no idea what a 'good conversation' is, I assume it is a term for a team meeting?
||Good Conversations were introduced through Employee Development – it is a policy that incorporates an annual conversation, regular 1-2-1 check ins and team check ins. Promoting meaningful conversations.
|Concerns were raised that space at home is not sufficient for working from home on a long term/ongoing basis. It's been manageable during lockdown but would not be going forward.
||A discussion needs to take place with your line manager. If there are concerns that working from home is only feasible for a short time each week/not feasible then consideration needs to be given to how working time is divided between home and office, there is flexibility in the policy to allow for this.
|Concerns were raised in relation to childcare whilst working from home.
||Whilst working from home you are not expected to be looking after dependants (children, elderly relatives). Appropriate care arrangements should be in place to allow you to work.
It is acknowledged that this was not the case throughout lockdown when both care facilities and schools were closed – these were very exceptional circumstances at that time.
|Concerns were raised that working from home longer term may increase feelings of isolation/feeling remote from the team.
||The importance of communication and team meetings cannot be underestimated. It may be that the frequency of team meetings increases.
Through MS Teams there is an option to create a 'virtual' office to allow for collaboration with team members whilst continuing to work on other tasks, just as though you were in the office. This has proven to be successful for many teams.
Managers will need to check in with employees to see how they are feeling. If employees are feeling isolated due to the working situation then consideration will be given to how their time is split between home and office.
|The policy should highlight the need for a clear division between work time and personal time to ensure good mental wellbeing.
||Further information has been added about working hours – making sure you take a break, updating your diary to ensure others know when you will be working and likely to respond to emails.
The policy wording has been updated.
|There were suggestions that a contribution towards heating/lighting for working at home should be considered, especially for those who are in in-work poverty.
||The 'Tax Relief when working from home' section signposts how to apply to HMRC for an adjustment to your tax code to allow for working from home expenses. If you are not eligible for this and the cost of heating/lighting your home is a concern then a discussion needs to take place with your manager about working from an office/other location.
|There was a suggestion that a contribution towards home improvements to create a suitable work space at home should be considered.
||If it is impractical to work from home due to space constraints then a discussion should take place with your manager. It may be the case that a larger percentage of your working time, or all of your working time, will be in the office/other locations.
|Comments were received in relation to the £100 towards a desk and chair being inadequate.
||This will be reviewed in due course, but £100 limit will remain at present.
|Does the £100 for desk and chair apply to temp employees or only permanent employees?
||This applies to permanent employees who are hybrid/flexible workers. Temporary employees and casuals should discuss any requirements with their line manager in the first instance.
The policy wording has been updated.
|It was noted that there was nothing in the policy to account for additional costs incurred ie purchasing stationery.
||There will continue to be stationery available from office locations – this can be taken home for use there.
|If an orthopaedic chair is necessary will the Council fund the additional cost as these chairs alone usually cost more than £100?
||Consideration will be given on a case by case basis if there are specific equipment requirements recommended based on an assessment by Occupational Health.
The policy wording has been updated.
|It was asked whether Falkirk Council would pay for Broadband or pay extra for quicker speeds/more data.
||No this will not be the case. If broadband speed/data is an issue then you need to speak to your manager and discuss options, it may be the case that a larger percentage of your working time will be in the office/other locations.
|It was suggested that Falkirk Council could provide information to employees with advice on domestic energy for employees working from home.
||We will work with our colleagues in Development Services to provide advice for employees on domestic energy use.
Desk booking/Hot desking
|There were lots of queries and uncertainty in relation to how this will work in practice – can you reserve a specific desk, can you book a block of desks for a team, who books the desks, what happens if someone goes over their time limit, what happens if desk is not clean when you arrive, what locations are available to book.
||Guidance is being developed for the Desk Booking app. This should address the queries raised.
|Concern that all desks in a building may be booked on a day you want to go to the office.
||This is a possibility. There will be 0.5 desks available per full time employee so there is not a desk per person as was previously the case in most offices. Alternative locations may need to be considered on occasion as you may not get first choice of office.
|If there is an emergency and a desk in the office is required urgently – what happens?
||You will need to access the Desk Booking app and see what space is available.
|Will I have space for my folders and trays?
||At your base office location there will be allocated storage for you.
|Will my fob work to access all office locations?
||No – there will be instructions available for accessing buildings that are not your base location when you book a desk on the app.
|If hot desking is being implemented will I be notified to clear out my desk and drawers in the office?
||Yes – employees will be provided with time to clear out any personal effects if this is necessary.
|Issues that home printers cannot be linked to FC laptops/equipment.
||We are trying, where possible to reduce paperwork and work digitally. However, when this is not an option you will need to attend your workplace to print. Please refer to the Corporate Print & MFD Policy - internal document.
|Can I only print from my 'base' office?
||If using Citrix then you can print to your base location as your profile will be set-up to connect to the printer you would normally use if working from your regular office. If using Zscaler then you can access any of the network printers to print from your laptop. Simply choose printers from the start menu to be offered the list of network printers.
|Various concerns raised that not all software can be accessed from laptops, modems are required for access to particular packages/data/sites, licence issues mean only limited PC’s and not laptops allow access to a particular package.
||These concerns need to be addressed Corporately and raised with the Anytime Anywhere – mobile and flexible working project team. Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with specific details of packages that cannot be accessed remotely and these can be added to the agenda for the AA group to consider.
|Suggestion that using own phone for work purposes should be recompensed.
||There are options for communications to be through MS Teams or Jabber. If there is a need for a mobile phone then you need to speak to your line manager about this.
|Query about replacement strategy for laptops/ mobile phones.
||The modern workplace specification will be online soon and regularly reviewed. Where appropriate updated equipment will be made available and rolled out. Devices will be replaced on a needs basis ie laptops will be managed and maintained by IT and would be replaced when the device fails. There are no hard and fast rules about how long a device will last, generally changes to operating systems, peripheral etc will have an impact on the lifespan of the device.
The policy wording has been updated.
|Queries as to how PAT testing will work logistically.
||We always provide advance notice of PAT testing and this will continue to be the case. Information will be issued to employees at the appropriate stage on how this will be managed.
|My work phone was diverted to my personal mobile during initial lockdown. I continue to receive work calls to my personal mobile even when on holiday.
||Please speak to your manager to have this issue resolved.
|Will IT help to set up home working computer equipment?
||IT will prepare laptops for use at home and can provide instructions for updates to your software. Members of the IT team will not attend your home address to assist in setting up equipment.
|Consideration needs to be given to security of wifi connection used when in public spaces.
||The technology we use manages access to the system securely so there is no issue using public wifi. Users should however be aware of their surroundings and ensure that access to data on their laptop screen is not compromised by anyone viewing their screen.
|A number of respondents raised concerns about the storage of confidential paperwork at home.
||We are trying, where possible to reduce paperwork and work digitally. However, depending on the nature of your work, we acknowledge this is not always an option. When you do need to store confidential documents at home these should be in a locked cabinet. Due to office closures/moves there are lockable pedestals and filing cabinets currently available for employees to take home for this purpose. For more information please contact email@example.com by 10 September 2021.
|Concerns were raised about transporting confidential documentation from home to office and vice versa.
||Guidance is available relating to this on the Data Protection Olle course that everyone is required to complete on an annual basis.
|Concerns were raised about content of screens being visible if working from a cafe.
||Obviously, as with any work location, you need to be aware of your surroundings and what you are working on/viewing on your laptop. A café will not always be an appropriate work location.
The policy wording has been updated.
|Can secure/confidential waste bags be provided to transport confidential waste from home to office?
||We are trying, where possible to reduce paperwork and work digitally. If you do need to have confidential paperwork at home and transport it back to the office for destruction then you should transport it in the same way you do your laptop, ie don't leave it unattended and be cautious/aware.
|The policy does not make it clear that the Data Protection Olle course is to be undertaken annually.
||The policy wording has been updated.
Mileage / Pool cars
|Comments were received about pool cars not always being the best option ie if home to meeting location is quicker than home to meeting location via office to collect a pool car.
||It accepted that this may take more time, however claiming mileage in this way is taxable and also increases council costs. Pool cars need to be considered in the longer term to ensure best usage. In the meantime, the normal rules apply. In some situations it may make sense to go direct although this needs to be agreed with your manager.
|It was asked whether mileage could be claimed from home to work
||You will still have a work base location and any mileage for meetings should be calculated from there. For example, if home to work is 10 miles and work to meeting is 17 miles. You could claim mileage of 7 miles (the difference between home to work and home to meeting location). This would only be the case if you were unable to pick up a pool car en-route, for example, if the meeting location was in the opposite direction to the office.
|Concerns re use of pool cars:
- Responsibility for charging cars/moving them once charged?
- Is there a minimum battery level/petrol level the vehicle should be left with?
- Can you park your own car in pool car space?
|This policy does not go into that level of detail regarding the use of pool cars. Separate guidance is available for using pool cars and this is currently being reviewed/updated.
|If someone takes public transport due to lack of parking facilities at their office - does the travel time count towards their working day?
||No. Travel to and from work does not count as working time.
|Would expenses for public transport be provided if there is not space to park your car at the office?
||No. It is your responsibility to get yourself to your workplace location. Any expenses incurred whilst at work, eg train fare to attend a meeting in Edinburgh can be claimed.
Retirement Policy (Non Teaching)
We had a reasonable response to this consultation with 23 responses received. The respondents were 60% managers and 40% employees.
79% of respondents did not foresee any difficulties with removing the 5 year limit on flexible retirement.
The comments received were varied. Many respondents thought that removing the limit was positive as it allows employees more flexibility to work for longer, especially given rising state pension ages. Some respondents felt managers might be more unlikely to approve applications where there is no time limit. It was also noted that this may impact on those job hunting as current employees may still be in post for longer.
Some of the comments relate changes made in 2020. Policy consultations have been published on this page since October 2018 and news articles are published to highlight when these are live. Policies are discussed with trade unions at Corporate Partnership Forum before referral to Executive for approval.
Some of the comments relate to questions about how applications are processed – these can be answered using the guidance/how to documents which are available.
Family Leave Policy
We had a very limited response to this consultation with only 5 responses received. The respondents were split equally between managers and employees. Overall the response to the consultation on Family Leave Policy was positive although there was a recognition that it is a complex subject matter.
Most respondents felt the policy was clear and easy to understand and that the payment arrangements for KIT days and Temporary employees were clear.
Redeployment Policy 2021
We had a very limited response to this consultation with only 4 responses received. Majority of responses (3) were from employees. Overall the response to the consultation on Redeployment Policy was positive.
Most respondents felt the policy was clear and easy to understand but did seek clarity on a couple of points within the policy relating to registration for vacancy alerts via MyJobScotland and redeployees noting their interest by closing dates of posts, both of which were updated within the relevant How to Documents. There was an additional suggestion from 1 respondent to separate out guidance notes for employees and managers but the majority of respondents felt the guidance notes were clear. Keeping them as one guidance note for both managers and employees would also be consistent with guidance notes for other policies.
Casual Employment Policy
We had a very limited response to this consultation with only 3 responses received. The respondents were split equally between managers, employees and trade union representatives. Overall the response to the consultation on Casual Employment Policy was positive.
Respondents felt the policy was clearer and easy to understand.
There was a comment received indicating that there was no reference to casual employment being considered ahead of overtime in the current Policy. The revised Policy is intended to provide clarity in this regard.
A comment was also received in relation to what would happen if an individual failed a PVG or criminal record office check. This is covered separately by the Criminal Convictions Checking Policy.
We had a limited response to this consultation with 5 responses received. The respondents were split between managers, employees and trade union representatives. Overall the response to the consultation on the proposed How to Guides to support the Grievance Policy were positive.
Respondents felt the guidance was clear in outlining how to raise a grievance, the process to be followed and roles and responsibilities.
There was a comment suggesting that an example completed grievance form may be useful however it was considered that this may be more confusing given the variety of different issues that can be raised under the Grievance Policy. The Guidance has been amended to suggest that the relevant trade union may be able to assist with the completion of a grievance form.
We had a limited response to this consultation with 4 responses received. The respondents were 50% managers and 50% employees. Overall the response to the consultation on proposed changes to the retirement policy was positive.
All respondents felt the policy was easy to read and understand and that options for retirement and associated terms and conditions are clear.
There was a comment questioning what will happen if the state retirement age rises, which may mean employees need to work longer, and yet our policy only allows flexible retirement for 5 years. This policy will be reviewed in line with any changes to legislation.
Family Leave Policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 8 responses received. The respondents were 50% managers and 50% employees. Overall the response to the consultation on proposed changes to the family leave policy was positive.
All respondents felt the policy was easy to read and understand and that how to apply for the different types of leave, the different entitlements and the guidance documents are clear.
There was a comment about the additional info section being a bit long and unstructured, this has been considered however these have been ordered to flow from information that applies before going on leave to being on leave and then returning from leave where possible.
We had 42 responses to this consultation. 22 were employees and 20 line managers. An average of 75% of people responded saying that the overall process was clear and that each stage was clear.
There was difference of opinions on certain aspects of the Good Conversations process. Below is a response to the comments made:
Check–ins: some thought 2 was too many and some thought it was not enough. We have therefore decided to recommend that a minimum of 2 should be carried out and if more can be achieved then that is positive.
Timing of carrying out the Good Conversations and the check-ins – we have supplied a suggested timeframe however this should be flexibly used to suit the needs of the team eg if April to June is the team's busiest period then carry them out at a different time
Not suitable process for some teams – there are some teams that it is easier to get together than others. We recognise this and would welcome team's having different approaches to suit their needs. The ethos is that all employees and teams have the opportunity to talk about their job and that the Good Conversation process should be adapted to make that happen in the most appropriate manner.
Title of Good Conversations – some liked the name, some disliked the name. A number commented that it sends a positive message that it is a conversation and that it also reduces the formality. A Hackathon was carried out that didn't provide any decision on the name and suggestions were sought from the participants with a low number of replies. Following the Hackathon we received documentation from another Council and asked permission to call our process something similar. We have decided to go out for further consultation on the name as there is such mixed feeling.
Who carries out the "Good Conversation" – we will change the documentation so it is obvious it is a conversation between the employee and the line manager, regardless of the level of manager. It is not the Service Manager who carries out all the "Good Conversations"
Filing of documentation – we are not proposing to change what should happen to the filing of the documentation. We are proposing that they are filed in the same way as APDS, which are they go on MyView. This has been the case since January 2017.
Career planning – we realise that the question of where do you see yourself in 1, 3 and 5 years is confusing. We will change this to "Where do you see your career in the future?"
On-line form – we will ensure there is a word document available on the Learning Zone once the process has been finalised. We will also pursue the option of it being closely linked to MyView.
RITA – there was comment that RITA was not known. RITA is an acronym for Responsive, Innovative, Trusted and Ambitious which are Falkirk Council values. They are relevant to Falkirk Council and not generic values. They are closely tied into the Council's transformational change process "Council of the Future". We will therefore not be changing the documentation on RITA.
Employees not participating – some commented that there should be an employee opt out option. This is not something we think is appropriate. The ethos of the Good Conversation process is that it is a supportive process that involves having a conversation about work performance, health & wellbeing, improvements etc. This is of utmost importance at a time when the pressures to change the way we work requires more conversations and not less.
Training on Good Conversations – we are going to conduct training in the next couple of months for managers who report directly to Service Managers. The "Good Conversations" will also be incorporated into ILM qualifications where appropriate. We will also advertise that any requests for training on the process can be made by contacting the Organisational Development team. There was some comment that all managers are not comfortable giving feedback. Again this training can be requested and there is also the option of attending the Tough Conversations course which has been available for a number of years.
Dignity at work policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 5 responses received. All of the respondents were managers.
100% of the respondents thought that the policy was easy to read and clear in relation to the stages of the procedure. Some comments were provided in relation to the lay-out of the policy and the policy has been updated to reflect this.
Health & wellbeing policy
The feedback regarding this new Policy has been positive and there are no changes to the Policy.
How to Prevent, Minimise and Manage Stress at work policy
The feedback regarding this policy has been positive and there are now changes to the Policy. Further guidance relating to the role of Mental Health First Aiders within the Council is currently being developed.
Disciplinary & Capability Policies
Overall the response to the consultation on proposed changes to the Disciplinary and Capability Policies was positive. We received 9 responses, the majority of which were from managers. Managers, who responded, appear to be clear regarding their roles and responsibilities in relation to the implementation of the revised Policies.
There was some feedback from Trade union/ employee respondents regarding proposed changes to, for example, timescales. This has since been further discussed with Trade Unions who are content with the proposed changes.
Job Evaluation Policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 7 responses received. The respondents were 71% managers and 29% employees.
100% of the respondents thought that the policy was easy to read and understand. All respondents also stated that the process for grading and appeals was clearly outlined and the timescales within the policy were reasonable.
A comment was received in relation to pay protection not being in place for any posts that are downgraded and how this may be perceived. However, this is a Council wide decision that has been in place for a number of years and was made due to the impact on the gender pay gap and potential creation of inequalities.
Overall the response to the consultation was positive. We received 7 responses, the majority of which were from managers. Managers, who responded, appear to be clear regarding their roles and responsibilities in relation to the implementation of the revised Grievance Policy.
We asked if there was anything else you expected to find in the policy that wasn't there, there were several comments as noted below:
Examples of the types of grievance that would be "heard" by Service Manager/Headteacher level to be given and the types of grievance that require to be heard by a Chief Officer –It is not the type of grievance which determines who will hear this but rather the level of management involved in the decision making process at the informal stage. This will depend on the structure within the relevant Service. In general, grievance hearings will be heard by an appropriate senior manager, which in some cases, may be a Service Manager/ Headteacher or below. Appeals can be heard by a Service manager/ Headteacher or other more Senior Officer. Where a grievance appeal relates to a national condition of Service which does not allow for discretion/ local determination on the part of the Council then this should be heard by a Chief Officer.
More detail on what the investigation process consists of – it is not possible to be specific in this regard as it depends on the grievance matter being considered. In some instances, this may involve a review of paperwork only whilst in others it may require witness statements to be gathered. HR are available to discuss the appropriateness/ form of any investigation.
Clarification of what is meant by a non-discretionary national condition – this relates to national terms and conditions which do not allow for discretion or local determination on the part of the Council. Revised wording has been incorporated.
Health & Safety Policy
Results to follow.
Results to follow.
Recruitment & Selection Policy
We had a limited response to this consultation with 7 responses received. The respondents were 71% managers and 29% employees.
100% of the respondents thought that the policy was easy to read and understand and that the how to documents were helpful.
There was feedback given on the process for creating and amending posts, some of which related to the requirement for unique post ID's. This is not something that can be dealt with in the policy and is part of a separate review. It was also noted that some areas are supported by Staffing & Recruitment for this process but it is not felt necessary to amend this in the policy.
Whilst 100% of respondents felt that the changes to the requirements for recruitment checks are clear, there was feedback on how this could be improved. We have added a matrix to the policy for the different requirements of checks to make this clearer.
57% of the respondents felt the changes to the recruitment checks met their business needs and comments were provided. Some of the issues related to operational matters which cannot be covered by the policy and some of the issues have been clarified through use of the matrix for recruitment checks.
Some of the other comments received included the use of colour in the policy. As this is intended to be primarily an online document, this should not impact on printing costs however if being printed, we would recommend printing in black and white.
Another comment was that the policy should be rolled out through OLLE to confirm it has been read. There are recruitment and selection modules on OLLE but it would not be practical to use OLLE for policy documents.
Feedback was given to say it was unclear which area of HR should be contacted; this has been updated where possible.
Mobile Flexible Working Policy
We had a positive response to this consultation with 32 responses received. The respondents were 50% managers and 50% employees.
|Service||Number of responses|
|Corporate and Housing Services||13|
|Social Work Adult Services||2|
97% of the respondents thought that the policy was easy to read and understand. There was a comment suggesting that the quantity of work styles and the similarities between some could lead to confusion. This will be monitored with the roll out in Carronbank and we will take feedback from this location.
84% of the respondents thought the policy covered all that they would expect to find.
Of the 16% who thought that the policy could have contained more information most of the comments received were suggesting that the policy could provide more information in relation to what technology is available and the use of touch down spaces. As technology is constantly changing specific details of equipment will not be included in the policy, however we will add a reference to contact your Service IT Contact for up to date information in relation to available equipment. We also hope to have additional information on the type of IT equipment available with a managers guidance pack. With regards to the use of touch down spaces, the intention is that the different sites will be published on the intranet for easy access. The access arrangements and any relevant rules will be available on the intranet also.
In terms of comments on the new policy style it was noted that the new format is good, very user friendly and easy to read and understand. There was also a comment suggesting the document could be warmer, but there was an understanding of the need for it to be factual.