Bright Ideas 2018
What did you suggest?
The Council recognises that the people who know our business best and who have the greatest impact on what we do are our employees. Our staff suggestion scheme Bright Ideas! has now closed for 2018 and we would like to share the suggestions received with you:
Holiday buy back
Suggestion: Make the holiday buy back scheme mandatory for all employees, to generate savings on staffing costs
Outcome: Making the holiday buy back scheme mandatory for all employees would have contractual implications and would change our nationally agreed terms and conditions. This in itself has much wider implications and is unlikely to be supported by unions as it is a detriment, compared to our current agreement.
The enforcement would also have a direct impact on the resources available to provide our services and assumes that there’s capacity to absorb the service pressures that would result. Unfortunately we can’t make this assumption across all services and individual service consideration is needed. The option of holiday buy back remains voluntary and is open to all employees, should they wish to participate in the scheme.
Staff Car Parks
Suggestion: Restrict the use of the staff car park, make it free for staff who need to use their own car for work purposes and charge everyone else £1 a day
Outcome: There is merit in charging for parking, however it will also attract some challenges. The overall parking strategy is currently being looked at where a similar proposal is being considered and staff will be consulted with later in the year.
Suggestion: Reduce the number of weeks our festive lights are switched on for, to save on energy costs
Outcome: The festive lights are not actually a cost to the Council. We do pay the bill in the first instance, however these costs are fully recovered from local community councils meaning that there is no cost to the council.As the local community councils pay for the festive lights, they also make the decision on when they are on and for how long.
Suggestion: Condense working patterns so that the council closes at Friday lunch time generating savings on energy and improving morale.
Outcome: In theory it would be possible to make energy savings from closing a significant building for part of the week. However, consideration needs to be given to continuing to run critical services and so some staff would likely have to decant to an alternative location when their normal location was closed. While that might be feasible, we intend to review the councils requirements for buildings with a view to condensing further and we would want to know the outcome of that project before amending the operating hours of our current significant sites. It is also worth noting that Council buildings all have varying energy consumption, for example the Annexe is high as it maintains electrical supplies to the ICT servers 24hrs a day so a complete closure would not result in significant savings. Every office will have different energy consumption depending on age and type of mechanical and electrical systems and detailed work and resources would be required to produce figures. Any individual request to change working patterns can be submitted through a Flexible Working application.
Integrated Joint Board
Suggestion: Transfer all staff who are part of the IJB to the IJB for wages so this could be a saving for the council
Outcome: From an employment perspective, the IJB are not an employing authority and do not have that status in legal terms. The board is a partnership arrangement and are therefore not in a position to manage staffing and take on the associated tasks such as payment of salary
Hire out pool cars
Suggestion: Pool cars are unused at the weekends. Allow staff to hire a car and generate some income rather than have the vehicles sitting doing nothing for 29% of the time.
Outcome: This is not as straightforward as it may appear. The main challenges are insurance, personal tax and the fleet management. Our current insurance policy would not cover this, it is likely that an upgraded policy would cost more negating any additional income. In terms of personal tax, HMRCs pool car legislation forbids any personal use of a pool car and it cannot be kept at or near an employee’s home. The Council would have to pay Class 1 National Insurance charge on each use of it. From a logistical perspective it would be challenging to monitor who was driving the car, how would we deal with any committed offences, who would check the car for damage and cleanliness and ensure there was sufficient fuel for the next user etc.
These are just a selection of some of the suggestions received but you can view the full list. Bright Ideas has now become an established part of our Employee Engagement calendar so look out for it opening again Summer 2019!
In the meantime if you have any suggestions for service efficiencies or financial savings please make sure that you share them with your manager - Bright Ideas is supplementary to what should already be happening at service level.