Mike Sloniowski (Risk Manager) presented the report that provided members with an update on risk management and presented the Corporate Risk Register for consideration.
The Chair asked about risk work undertaken relating to the decant from the Town Hall. Mike Sloniowski said he was working closely with the information management team and the decant logistics teams. He said there were positive assurances there.
Councillor Jonathan Caleb-Landy noted that on recruitment of staff two ‘reds’ had been moved to ‘yellow’. He asked if Brexit was factored in to this assessment. Mike Sloniowski noted that the organisation had done a lot of work on its new people strategy which was why the risks had been downgraded – but Brexit did have an impact on concerns.
Mark Grimley said the risks reflected workforce planning and future need – the Council currently had a high use of agency staff and high staff turnover. HR officers were prioritising areas that were the highest risk – i.e. social care and some specialists. The risk will go down as some of this work comes through.
Councillor Alex Karmel noted that in paragraph 4.4 the Brexit risk was incorrectly labelled as risk 25 (not 26).
Councillor Karmel asked if, given the week’s events, officers keeping this area under review?Mike Sloniowski said he was in regular contact with the contingency planning team. David Hughes said there had been a thorough review of the business continuity plan and a service resilience group had been set up.
Councillor Rebecca Harvey asked if staff were being properly supported throughout the decant process.Mark Grimley said officers had set up a corporate programme management office and they had carried out dependency mapping every few weeks. A new corporate programme, ‘Hello Future’, was defining what it will be like working in this organisation over the next few years. The decant will help the Council learn how to work more effectively in a new environment.Staff have been incredibly resilient. Staff want these changes – i.e. better technology and more appropriate buildings and facilities.
Kim Dero noted that Adult Social Care and Children’s Services were primarily based in 145 King Street and wouldn’t be affected. The initial decant wouldn’t impact the whole workforce but the new mobile ways of working would be rolled out to everyone.
The Chair noted the increase in Children’s Services placements (risk 22) of 50. Steve Miley confirmed that numbers had increased from 185 to 244 over a three-year period. The Chair asked what was driving this increase. Steve Miley said it was a mixture of increasing social problems, particularly with adolescents – County Lines, sexual exploitation, social media fuelled violence. Austerity and poverty had a major impact. Steve Miley said there was a national increase in recent years.
The Chair asked officers if the recent increase in youth violence worried them. Steve Miley said it was a worry - some traditional social work ways of intervening didn’t work with this group. Officers were considering new ways of working, including setting up an adolescent unit that could work with young people to draw them away from these behaviours.
Councillor Alex Karmel, also on risk 22, noted there were significant financial implications for the Council when a child was taken into care. He asked if the Council had the resources to deal with the increase. Steve Miley said it would create a budget pressure but this was being dealt with internally.
Councillor Alex Karmel noted a link between risks 4 (Public Health funding reductions) and 10 (complexity of working with health partners). Mike Sloniowski said these were separate issues – but officers shared members concerns about the NHS and the impact on the social care system.
That the Committee noted the contents of the report – and reviewed and considered the contents of the Corporate Risk Register.