Decision details

To commission the services of external consultants (legal and HR) to advise the Council on Local Government Reorganization (LGR) and Staffing Matters.

Decision Maker: Chief Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

In accordance with the Council's Scheme of Officer Delegation, and following requests from the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council to commission consultancy services, the Chief Executive decided to commission external legal and HR advice (and support) to assist the Council to understand the possible consequences of LGR on staff.

Reasons for the decision:

As a result of LGR the Council will be abolished on 1 April 2023. It is expected that the vast majority of staff will transfer to the new single-
tier authority in accordance with the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment Regulations 2006 ('TUPE').
However, there are differences of opinion about
the impact of TUPE and the Local Government (Structural and Boundary Changes) (Staffing) Regulations 2008 (the 'Staffing Regulations') as they impact on certain staff.

There is also concern about staff retention. Some key staff had already left the organization and had cited LGR uncertainties as a driver.

Leading members of the Council were keen to obtain accurate and independent legal and HR advice about the correct legal position regarding LGR and the impacts on relevant Hambleton staff. This was critical to ensure that the Council addressed these issues in a proper and proportionate manner.

Those Members were also increasingly concerned about staff morale and well-being and the impacts the current uncertainties might have on the delivery of services, not least because of the loss of key people and the concerns that other key staff will leave the organization before vesting day. Members were also concerned about ensuring the continued delivery of the Council's high quality services and the impact that the loss of key staff could have on this. Again, Leading Members had expressed a strong desire to obtain independent advice on how it might address these concerns.

It was recognized that it would be neither appropriate nor fair to ask in-house legal and/or HR staff to advise the Council on these issues,
that is in terms of the senior level of expertise that was required, and the need to ensure full independence and impartiality (of the advice and support).

Alternative options considered:

Not to obtain the advice and support and/or to provide the advice and support in-house. However, this would not meet the express wishes of Leading Members, both in terms of the need to secure experienced 'expert' advice on these matters and to show clear independence and impartiality from affected officers.

Declarations: None

Dispensations in respect of Executive Members: None

Contact: Justin Ives, Chief Executive Email: committeeservices@hambleton.gov.uk Email: justin.ives@hambleton.gov.uk.

Publication date: 21/06/2022

Date of decision: 20/06/2022

Accompanying Documents: