Helen Farrell, HR Officer, presented the Learning and Development Review 2019/20 to the Committee. She added that, whilst these figures were not available at the time the report was produced, it had been established that the Council delivered election training to 158 people, such as Poll Clerks.
Councillor Newton said that from a monetary viewpoint, the HR training budget appeared to be slightly overspent.
The HR Officer confirmed there had been a slight overspend in the training budget managed by Services, but the HR-managed budgets had stayed well within budget. However, there had been a positive outcome from this in that additional funds had been granted for that purpose. There were savings in other areas, such as use of the Apprentice Levy to contribute to funding training of a staff member who was studying for their qualifications at University.
The Head of HR and OD said that the key message was that the budgets had been managed very well, many budgets having an underspend.
Councillor Dumont asked how the Apprenticeship Programme had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HR Officer said that all nine of the Council’s apprentices had continued employment with the Council. All of the Apprentices’ college-based learning had moved online. The Council was duty-bound to delivering 20% on-job training to the Apprentices, but HR had been creative in achieving this in alternative ways, such as asking Apprentices to shadow online meetings.
The Head of HR and OD said there had been some difficulties, particularly regarding Planning Apprentices. Site visits had not been possible during lockdown. Further, the ‘pipeline’ of Planning Apprentices had been disrupted due to the framework for their development reaching the date by which it needed review and replacement. The new framework had not yet been established, meaning that the Council was not able to take on as many Planning Apprentices as planned – there was budget provision for six apprentices across Services, but only two were taken on. This was being reviewed to ensure sufficient levels of apprenticeships were re-established as this was a key element of creating suitably experienced Officers.
The Chairman thanked Officers for the provision of e-learning modules for Members and asked what the uptake had been.
The Head of HR and OD said the uptake had been poor, only around 30% of Members having engaged with the e-learning. A meeting had been arranged with the Executive Member for Communities, the Executive Member for Resources, HR and with Democratic Services to review how the level of uptake could be increased.
RESOLVED – that the report be noted.