Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall
Contact: Suzanne Price Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Paul Rogers and Sonia Benbow-Jones.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 June 2019
AGREED- That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2019 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Finance, Performance, Health & Safety and Governance
The Lead Member for Organisation, Finance, Performance, Health and Safety and Governance submitted a report (COFI/60/19S) to provide Members with the opportunity to determine whether the Council’s “Health and Safety Policy Statement” had been implemented effectively during 2018/19 including consideration of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Executive Summary regarding their audit of the Council’s Health and Safety Policy (H&SP).
The HSE had recently completed an audit of the health and safety management systems within the Council to assess how well health and safety was being managed. The HSE inspected the Council against its H&SP as well as a targeted intervention on the control of vibration.
The audit, which was carried out in partnership with the Council, followed the HSE’s successful prosecution of the Council in October 2017 for a failure to assess and control the risks to the health of employees from vibration.
In their report, the HSE acknowledged statements from the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive of their firm commitment to improve health and safety performance, together with the resource and effort to implement changes which were already in progress.
The Health and Safety Governance Framework (H&SGF) – Annual Report 2018/19 (Appendix 1) allows Members to assess whether the H&SGF has been effective together with the most recent HSE’s report that identified a number of material breaches of health and safety law.
The meeting focused on governance and mechanisms that would address the relevant issues identified within the HSE’s report and the H&SP.
Thereafter the Chief Executive addressed the Committee and acknowledged that the HSE had identified some contraventions with health and safety law but they also recognised the Council’s firm commitment to improve health and safety performance including a number of positive actions that had been put in place to strengthen the Council’s Safety Management System. The Council is taking the right steps to improve performance but needed to continue to ensure a sustained focus in embedding the necessary health and safety culture throughout the organisation.
The Chief Executive and the Lead Member had both given a firm commitment to improve health and safety performance through strong leadership and increasing levels of consultation with employees. Over 600 staff recently attended the Chief Executive’s “Moving Forward Together" employee briefings and this was a positive sign that consultation with employees is being taken seriously. Officers had met with Trade Union representatives to discuss the HSE’s report and further meetings were planned as the importance of the Trade Unions support to strengthen the health and safety culture within the Council was recognised. The aim was to further incorporate a health and Safety Culture within the organisation.
Members considered the report and asked questions of the officers present. In debate the following matters were highlighted:
· Identified that the Health and Safety Governance Framework diagram on page 25 Annex 1 was too complicated and requested that it be rationalised. Officers advised that in its current state the framework showed all interactions to help ensure these ... view the full minutes text for item 10.