Bradford Council sick days still high in summer – report

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Councillor Glen Miller Councillor Glen Miller

Long-term sickness accounts for nearly three-quarters of sick days in one Council department, according to new figures.

And the Council’s sick pay policy has been branded “very, very generous” by the Conservatives, who are calling for it to be reviewed.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the proportion of people on long-term sick was on the up – from 52.91 per cent of total sickness absences in 2010/11 to 56.05 per cent in 2012/13.

And long-term sickness still accounts for 55.68 per cent of all absences, according to a new half-year update covering April to September 2013, a time of year where sickness rates are traditionally lower.

But the report, which goes before the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, reveals:

  • staff working in the Council’s Adult and Community Services have taken an average of 7.88 sick days in six months, the highest of any department and the equivalent of 8,039 working days lost
  • in contrast, staff in the policy programmes and change department have only taken an average of 1.86 days off sick, just 195 days lost
  • long-term sickness accounts for nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of all absences in the Chief Executive’s office, which includes communications and the West Yorkshire Pension Fund
  • in the six-month period, 60,413 working days have been lost due to sickness
  • the most common reasons for sickness are sprains, fractures and muscular-skeletal problems, depression or anxiety, non work-related stress and colds, flu or viruses.

Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, said the Council’s sickness terms and conditions were too generous and needed to be brought more in line with those in the private sector.

He said: “I have no problems with people being off ill, but our payments for people off sick are very, very generous. That needs to be reviewed.”

Council leader, Councillor David Green (Lab), said: “There have been changes to the terms and conditions over the last three years.

“Are they very, very generous? They are most probably more generous than some in the private sector but then that doesn’t make them wrong.”

He said in any organisation of the size of Bradford Council there would be a whole range of issues to address, and they were working hard on improving the sickness absence rate.

On the long-term sickness rate in the chief executive’s office, deputy leader Councillor Imran Hussain (Lab) said the department was small so the sickness rates from one or two individuals could have a big effect on the figures.

The report says next month a pilot project starts in which physiotherapists will work alongside staff such as street cleaners and environment officers to help them prevent injuries.

Department breakdown of sick days per employee: Adult and community services 7.88; Environment and sport 5.94; Children’s services 5.68; Regeneration and culture 5.57; Public health 5.52; Chief executive’s office 5.46; Human resources 5.44; City Solicitor’s office 3.97; Finance 3.24; Policy programmes and change 1.86.

Comments (6)

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6:36am Sat 14 Dec 13

Albion. says...

I'm getting "sick" of reading about this. Get it sorted.
I'm getting "sick" of reading about this. Get it sorted. Albion.

9:28am Sat 14 Dec 13

streetcar says...

Several years ago council staff needed a doctors sick note after three days of sickness, for some reason this was altered to seven days. It was noticed at the time how time of for sickness increased, perhaps a return to three days would if the unions would allow it.
Several years ago council staff needed a doctors sick note after three days of sickness, for some reason this was altered to seven days. It was noticed at the time how time of for sickness increased, perhaps a return to three days would if the unions would allow it. streetcar

9:56am Sat 14 Dec 13

Victor Clayton says...

Does anyone know the number of holidays they get at the council? Thanks
Does anyone know the number of holidays they get at the council? Thanks Victor Clayton

10:03am Sat 14 Dec 13

sorrow&anger says...

Overall City Hall sick days seems to average out at about 4.5%. In 2011 the national average was 1.8% on a sharply falling trend. Another league table, and Bradford's at the bottom.

Sickness on this scale is indicative, not of an abnormally unhealthy workforce, but of a deeper malaise and organisational discontent. Put simply, management is lacking in leadership and motivational ability. The responsibility for this lies with our stupendously overpaid Chief Executive. And Cllr. Green for not firing him.
Overall City Hall sick days seems to average out at about 4.5%. In 2011 the national average was 1.8% on a sharply falling trend. Another league table, and Bradford's at the bottom. Sickness on this scale is indicative, not of an abnormally unhealthy workforce, but of a deeper malaise and organisational discontent. Put simply, management is lacking in leadership and motivational ability. The responsibility for this lies with our stupendously overpaid Chief Executive. And Cllr. Green for not firing him. sorrow&anger

10:12am Sat 14 Dec 13

Joedavid says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
Overall City Hall sick days seems to average out at about 4.5%. In 2011 the national average was 1.8% on a sharply falling trend. Another league table, and Bradford's at the bottom.

Sickness on this scale is indicative, not of an abnormally unhealthy workforce, but of a deeper malaise and organisational discontent. Put simply, management is lacking in leadership and motivational ability. The responsibility for this lies with our stupendously overpaid Chief Executive. And Cllr. Green for not firing him.
Maybe Management are off sick too.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: Overall City Hall sick days seems to average out at about 4.5%. In 2011 the national average was 1.8% on a sharply falling trend. Another league table, and Bradford's at the bottom. Sickness on this scale is indicative, not of an abnormally unhealthy workforce, but of a deeper malaise and organisational discontent. Put simply, management is lacking in leadership and motivational ability. The responsibility for this lies with our stupendously overpaid Chief Executive. And Cllr. Green for not firing him.[/p][/quote]Maybe Management are off sick too. Joedavid

9:57am Sun 15 Dec 13

alive and awake says...

Clearly wrong people for the job, I have often thought this, the ones with stress related illness need to be sacked they are not up to the job.
Clearly wrong people for the job, I have often thought this, the ones with stress related illness need to be sacked they are not up to the job. alive and awake

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