Issue - meetings


Meeting: 11/01/2023 - Finance & Performance Scrutiny Panel (Item 4)



RECEIVED the report of Julie Mimnagh, Head of HR Operations.




1.    The report provided an update on actions taken to address sickness absence and interventions to support staff back to work or to remain at work. The update was provided at the request of the Panel further to the quarterly performance monitoring report presented at the last meeting.

2.    Officers highlighted recent increases in the Council’s workforce, including as a result of insourcing of services and transfer of adult social care services back to the Council. Those services contained high numbers of manual staff, and sickness absence was typically higher for that category of workers.

3.    More recently, sickness levels had started to decline, but this was not yet reflected in the data.

4.    Informal benchmarking against other London Councils put Enfield’s staff sickness rates into context; similar to neighbouring boroughs with in-house services.

5.    Paragraph 26 of the report set out the actions and interventions put in place.

6.    In response to Members’ queries, officers described management actions around long-term sickness cases. There had been a conscious effort by the HR team to tackle long term absence first, and that cases were managed in a more timely manner. Intervention and training had led to improvement.

7.    Officers confirmed the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on sickness absence.

8.    Officers clarified Council policies, and that on the eighth day of continuous sickness absence, staff were required to produce a fitness for work certificate. There was the same consistent approach for all types of sickness. Medical evidence was still required for pregnancy-related illness; appropriate actions were taken and reasonable adjustments and support given if needed.

9.    Members welcomed the bespoke training for managers to manage sickness absence for areas where absence levels were typically higher. It was confirmed that the HR team were looking at ongoing improvement, intervention and training. Managers were given the knowledge and skills to manage staff sickness absence.

10. Officers were optimistic that a trend of reducing sickness absence would continue to be seen.

11. The Chair thanked officers for the update and for their attendance this evening.