Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert, 020 8583 2064, Email: ainsley.gilbert@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from members

Decision:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Tina Howe, Luke Kirton, Gavin Mott, and, Esther Rey. Anne-Marie Scott, Assistant Director for Transformation and Human Resources, and Mary Harpley, Chief Executive, had also sent their apologies to the meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Councillor Tina Howe, Luke Kirton, Gavin Mott, and, Esther Rey. Anne-Marie Scott, Assistant Director for Transformation and Human Resources, and Mary Harpley, Chief Executive, had also sent their apologies to the meeting.

 

Councillor Grewal welcomed members to what was her first meeting as Chair of the Health and Safety Committee.

 

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Decision:

Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26th February 2014 were agreed subject to the following changes:

a)    The correction of the spelling of occupational, (page 2, paragraph 1).

b)    The removal of the word ‘with’ from the sentence ‘Mr Robinson said that he had met with officers’.

 

Matters Arising

It was agreed that:

a)    The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Strategy would be sent to newly appointed members of the Health and Safety Committee.

b)    Councillors ought to be offered Health and Safety advice regarding surgeries.

 

Members noted that:

a)    The new Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Strategy would be published online during August 2014.

b)    The licensing of security guards at the Civic Centre had been investigated, and the arrangements had been found to be satisfactory, with all those needing Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences holding them.

c)    Hounslow Highways’ health and safety training arrangements were being monitored by relevant officers.

Minutes:

Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held on 26th February 2014 were agreed subject to the following changes:

a)    The correction of the spelling of occupational, (minute 10, paragraph 3).

b)    The removal of the word ‘with’ from the sentence ‘Mr Robinson said that he had met with officers’, (minute 10, paragraph 4).

 

Matters Arising

It was agreed that:

a)    The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Strategy would be sent to newly appointed members of the Health and Safety Committee.

b)    Councillors ought to be offered Health and Safety advice regarding surgeries.

 

Members noted that:

a)    The new Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Strategy would be published online during August 2014.

b)    The licensing of security guards at the Civic Centre had been investigated, and the arrangements had been found to be satisfactory, with all those needing Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences holding them. One officer did not have a licence but they only worked from 9am-5pm and did not undertake duties which required a licence.

c)    Hounslow Highways’ health and safety training arrangements were being monitored by relevant officers.

 

Jane Boyd asked whether a breakdown of the types of violent incidents had been prepared. Jon Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Safety, explained that further work was needed before the breakdown was made available. Councillor McGregor asked how many incidents had resulted in police reports. Mr Robinson explained that very few police reports had been made, and that these were generally for relatively minor offences.

3.

Health and Safety Update and Performance Report pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Decision:

The report was noted.

Minutes:

The Chair explained that there had been weaknesses in the old Health and Safety Management Strategy, and clarified that the report referred to four of the new performance indicators in the as yet unpublished Health, Safety and Wellbeing Strategy. Jon Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Safety, explained that publication had been delayed because of the recent local elections.

 

Jon Robinson informed members that the design of health and safety controls across the Council was good, however, the testing of these controls was poor. Mr Robinson explained that the Health and Safety Team intended on making the required improvements as part of their plan for the year. Three priority one recommendations had been made, the first of which was the drafting of new governance documents. He noted that the Corporate Health and Safety Policy was already being prepared.

 

The second priority one recommendation was that internal health and safety audits be completed by the corporate health and safety team, and Mr Robinson explained that gaps in the audit programme had existed. The audit programme had been reviewed, and he was monitoring that these took place. Follow up audits were now being undertaken by officers who had not been involved in the original audit. Councillor Foote asked if health and safety audits were linked with staff side inspections. Jon Robinson explained that this was planned, but was not taking place yet. Trend analysis from the audits would, however, be presented to the Occupational Health and Safety Management Group.

 

Mr Robinson told members that the third and final priority one recommendation was that health and safety performance be reported regularly. Mr Robinson explained that reporting now took place at not only the Health and Safety Committee, but also at directorate level meetings, and Corporate Leadership Team meetings.

 

Mr Robinson explained that two priority two recommendations had been made. The first of these was that the health and safety team improve its communications, in order to raise the profile of health and safety amongst staff. Mr Robinson explained that promotions were planned for Health and Wellbeing Week, and the launch of the new Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Strategy, whilst the team’s intranet pages would also be updated.

 

The second priority two recommendation was for training to be improved. Mr Robinson explained that he was working to improve training for staff, and a programme of courses, many of which would be delivered by the Council’s health and safety team, was being developed. Jane Boyd asked whether Health and Safety training in priority posts might be included in the personal development appraisal (PDA) process. Jon Robinson explained that he didn’t think that the PDA process ought to include mandatory training. However, he explained that he would look into seeing if a tick box could be added to the PDA as a prompt for managers to check that all statutory health and safety training had been completed.

 

The report was noted.

4.

Health and Safety Action Plan 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Decision:

The report was noted.

 

Councillor McGregor suggested that Mr Robinson be invited to attend the Audit Committee, as his role was closely linked to the work of that committee.

Minutes:

Jon Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Safety, referred to the Corporate Health and Safety Action Plan 2014-15, and explained what progress had been made against the objectives contained therein.

 

He told members that the new Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Strategy had been approved by Borough Council on 25th March. The final document was due to be signed by the leader, and launched in August 2014.

 

The new Corporate Health and Safety Policy was being drafted, and would be launched in the Autumn of 2014. Directorate level policies and plans would be merged into the new structures and templates as they were reviewed.

 

Mr Robinson explained that the Council was now licensed to deliver Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Managing Safely Course, and that the first courses would run in the Autumn. A pool of e-Learning courses was also being developed. Councillor Foote asked whether these would be used as preparation for more traditional training courses. Jon Robinson said that they would indeed be used to build up basic knowledge before face to face courses.

 

Mr Robinson informed members that he was proposing a number of changes to the way maintenance inspections were carried out in the borough. He felt that centrally managing these inspections would improve their quality and consistency, whilst also having the potential to reduce costs.

 

Councillor McGregor asked how many sites the Borough carried out inspections at. Jon Robinson explained that excluding school sites, the borough managed between 60-80 buildings, and that inspections took place at all of these sites. Councillor McGregor asked whether Mr Robinson’s team could effectively check all of these sites. Mr Robinson explained that by centralising the inspection and facilities management functions, his team would be able to audit their performance more effectively.

 

Jane Boyd asked whether Mr Robinson was looking at the issue of new kitchen equipment being installed in schools, and the resulting need for training for catering staff. Mr Robinson said that he expected the company supplying the equipment would deliver any necessary training to staff. He also noted that a centralised maintenance service could be offered to schools, on a buy back basis.

 

A new audit cycle had been developed, and a new tracking tool had been introduced to ensure audits, and re-audits, took place. Councillor Foote suggested that the Staff Side would also need to monitor the progress of audits, to ensure that the programme was followed.

 

Jon Robinson said that a new style of performance report had been produced for the meeting, and that he also hoped to deliver quarterly reports, which tracked progress against the key performance indicators, to both senior managers, and the Health and Safety Operational Management Group.

 

A core risk assessment was required for all services, however, it was apparent that some had not maintained an up to date risk assessment. He was passing information back to senior managers about gaps in their directorates, and would be monitoring their completion.

 

The review of asbestos management procedures had unfortunately  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Health and Safety Performance Report Quarter One (April to June 2014) pdf icon PDF 419 KB

Decision:

The report was noted.

 

Members asked that Jon Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Safety, investigate whether those working with potentially violent children had adequate training in correct methods of restraint.

 

Councillor McGregor suggested, and members supported, the introduction of an award for work in the field of Health, Safety, and Wellbeing, be introduced at the annual Valuing and Recognising Staff event. Councillor McGregor suggested that this could be named in honour of Rick Rescorla, who he explained was responsible for evacuating thousands of people from the World Trade Center in New York, following the attack on it in 2001. He had died whilst trying to save more people from the building. Members asked that this be looked into.

 

Councillor McGregor noted the ‘Managing Safely’ training to which Jon Robinson had referred. He requested that the handbook accompanying that training be circulated to members of the Health and Safety Committee.

Minutes:

Jon Robinson, Head of Occupational Health and Safety, explained that the report was focussed on the seven key performance indicators identified in the Corporate Health and Safety Strategy.

 

The first indicator was to maintain the Council’s BS OHSAS 18001 standard accreditation. He was pleased to report that a good report had been received from the external auditors, with only two minor problems identified. Western International Market in particular had improved since the last inspection. Mr Robinson explained that he would attempt to make the indicator a Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related (SMART) one before the next report. The second indicator related to risk assessments, and the third related to health and safety reviews, both of which he had spoken about as part of the Health and Safety Action Plan. The fourth indicator was the total number of staff injury incidents. He noted that the Children and Adults’ Directorate was likely to exceed the target incident rate. He explained that this was likely to be because of the nature of some of their work, and suggested that he would create a more achievable target for the directorate before the next meeting. Councillor Foote agreed that this was a sensible way forward, as the current target was clearly unrealistic.

 

Indicator five related to incidents reportable to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Council was performing well against this indicator, with the national reportable incident rate being 0.31, and the Council’s estimated annual rate being 0.27, although he noted that this was still 0.03 above the Council’s target. The HSE had not requested any follow up action in any of the cases reported. As with indicator four, the Children and Adults’ Directorate target rate would need to be amended.

 

Referring to indicator six, Councillor Foote asked that Jon Robinson investigate whether those working with potentially violent children had adequate training in correct methods of restraint. Councillor McGregor said that benchmarking against other boroughs might allow better comparisons to be drawn from statistics. Jon Robinson said that this was quite challenging, as reporting methods were different across authorities. Councillor Foote asked whether the details of incidents were reported for learning purposes. Jon Robinson explained that details of the service and type of incident were passed to directors, to show them where they needed to improve.

 

Jane Boyd suggested that a system allowing staff to flag properties which should not be visited alone be introduced. Jon Robinson said that the principle was a good one, however, it would be difficult to introduce because of the numerous I.T. programmes used by different Council departments, and also because of the difficulty in ensuring information was kept up to date. Councillor Foote suggested that whilst data protection would obviously be an issue, a way of sharing information, so as not to put staff at risk, was needed.

 

Councillor McGregor asked whether staff not reporting incidents appeared to be a problem in Hounslow. Jon Robinson said that he felt staff had a moral duty to report incidents, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Urgent Business

Any business accepted by the chair on grounds of urgency.

Decision:

There was no such business.

Minutes:

There was no such business.