Employment Advice

The Hampshire ALC has its own Employment Advice and HR service, LCPD People which is led by Dawn Hamblet. For more information, including how to subscribe, please see the Local Council People & Development (LCPD) web pages.  

Further and bespoke advice is available from qualified HR Professionals and a Desktop Employment Law Service from East Hampshire District Council/Havant Borough Council upon subscription to LCPD People.

The information on this page has been compiled from information found on the following websites:

ACAS

.GOV.UK

 

HM Revenue & Customs

The Pensions Regulator

 

More information is written at a national sector level. Hampshire ALC does not always endorse the information provided, especially regarding the NALC/SLCC National Agreement and Model Employment Contract.
 

Employment status

A local council needs to understand who does work for them and the type of relationship it has with these people, with appropriate written agreements/contracts in place. It is likely that a council will use volunteers and there is some useful information on how to attract, recruit and retain these people on the GOV.UK website. A local council will usually also pay people to do work. The council must know the employment status for each of these people to ensure it treats them in the correct way and complies with its legal duties. Are they a worker? Are they an employee? Are they self-employed? More information about employment status can be found on the GOV.UK website. HM Revenue & Customs has declared that a clerk of a local council, as an office holder, can never be considered self-employed for tax and National Insurance Contribution purposes. Further information can be found on the HMRC website.
 

Managing employees

The way in which a local council manages its employees is different from other organisations. As the body corporate, a local council (i.e. all of it's councillors) is the employer for all of its employees. In fulfilling its role as an employer a local council must, as a minimum, comply with both employment and local council law. However, if a council wants to get the best out of its people, it will need to go beyond legal compliance and ensure that it follows good practice. This will of benefit to both the council and the employees. It is important to remember that this is as relevant to a local council that employs only one employee to those with a team. To effectively manage its employees, a local council should have:

  • Good knowledge and understanding of employment and local council legislation, and effective employment practices.
  • The right management structure in place, with clear lines of communication. A local council needs to look at how they can use standing orders, committees, subcommittees and delegated authority to make this work.
  • Clear and simple employment policies and procedures in place that are legally compliant and follow good practice. These should be accessible and understood by the employer and the employees.

It is fundamental that a local council understands that decisions relating to employment cannot be delegated to individual councillors, including the chairman. However, as with other decisions, employment matters can be delegated to a committee. One option for a council is to appoint a personnel committee, with the option of a subcommittee, to deal with employment matters. This committee should have relevant and proportionate terms of reference and adopt appropriate standing orders.
 

Managing the council's most senior employee (often has the job title Clerk or Executive Officer):

Decisions relating to the council's most senior employee's employment cannot be delegated to another employee. Therefore they must be managed by the council, either full council or by a personnel committee. It may not always be possible for full council or personnel committee to meet to make a decision, therefore, the council or committee’s standing orders should specify the member, such as the chairman of the council or personnel committee, who can authorise requests from the most senior employee, for example, the request to take leave. The standing orders must provide for reporting this back to the committee for ratification.
 

Managing other employees:

Decisions about employment matters relating to employees other than the most senior employee can be delegated to other employees. However, if a council does not delegate all management of its employees to an employee, the council or personnel committee should still take responsibility for the remaining duties.
 

Employment policies:

As a minimum, a local council should give to all it's employees a written statement of employment particulars or an employment contract, with a separate job description and person specification. In addition to this a local council should have adopted disciplinary and grievance procedures, which are in line with the ACAS Code of Practice 1 - Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. Further suggested policies are in the National Training Strategy publication: Being A Good Employer (although this is a useful starting point, please note that this was written in 2010 and therefore some of the information is now out of date. This publication was written at a national level and Hampshire ALC does not endorse all of the information provided, especially regarding the NALC/SLCC National Agreement and Model Employment Contract).

NALC/SLCC National Agreement:

Each local council needs to be aware that if it uses the NALC/SLCC Contract of Employment 2011, it is contractually committing to the collectively agreed terms and conditions for wider local government - The National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services - The Green Book (Updated June 2005) and also the collectively agreed terms that NALC and SLCC have produced - The National Agreement on Salary and Conditions of Service of Local Council Clerks in England and Wales 2004 PART ONE and PART THREE (PART TWO is the contract). This means that as these terms and conditions change, a local council that has signed up to The NALC/SLCC Model Contract of Employment has to automatically implement them.

As a local council you have the choice to use this framework, alternatively, you are able to set your own terms and conditions and employment policies, which meet the needs of the organisation, employee and the taxpayer. As your county association, Hampshire ALC did not play any part in the formulation of the National Agreement and we are very keen that each parish council understands what they are signing up to when using the NALC/SLCC Model Contract. When the latest version of the NALC/SLCC Contract of employment was issued in 2011, NALC/SLCC issued guidance as to how to use the contract. In addition to this Hampshire ALC wrote a paper for councils explaining the liabilities of the NALC/SLCC Contract of Employment so that councils can make an informed choice about whether to use it or not.  

The NJC has aligned the National Agreement Car Mileage Rates to those set by HM Revenue & Customs.

Recruitment:

It is good practice that whenever a local council recruits they do a review of the role i.e. is the job the same, do you need someone with the same knowledge, skills and experience as last time, are the terms and conditions still suitable? One of the key questions is are the hours set at the right level to get the job done?

It is advisable to begin the recruitment process by developing a current job description and person specification.

Once you are confident that you have dealt with these matters, you need to produce an advertisement and you need to decide where this advert will be placed.

Advertisements should be worded so as to give sufficient concrete information to potential applicants about the council and the job to enable them to decide whether they have the right background for the job.
 

An advertisement should:

  • give a clear and accurate description of the job and its level of seniority, where applicable
  • describe the type of person the council is seeking to recruit in specific terms e.g. obtained or willing to work towards the Certificate in Local Council Administration
  • neither overstate, nor understate the level of the job
  • be pitched at the right level
  • include any features of employment that are likely to be attractive to potential applicants, for example, if the council operates flexible working or offers regular opportunities for career and personal development
  • briefly describe the council's activities
  • if possible, provide an indication of the salary, rather than meaningless and pointless expressions, such as "NJC Scale Point X",  "excellent pay and conditions" or "generous benefits package"
  • state clearly how potential candidates should apply and by when

It is free for member councils to put an advert on the Sector Vacancies Page.

Through LCPD People, Hampshire ALC can support a local council with the recruitment and selection of an employee. NALC/SLCC have produced some template documents for the Clerk and RFO, which you may wish to use:

Pay:

Apart from the National Minimum Wage, there is no legislation that sets out what a local council must pay its employees and when payment must be reviewed. However, a local council may write this into an employee's contract of employment. If a local council signs up to the NALC/SLCC National Agreement pay scales and increases are negotiated nationally by the National Joint Council. Having said this, each council must still determine what pay scale to place its employees on. The National Agreement on Salary and Conditions of Service of Local Council Clerks in England and Wales 2004 PART ONE, may provide some guidance to councils with this task.

The Hampshire ALC, through LCPD People, is able to provide a more comprehensive job evaluation and benchmarking service for all employees within a local council. For further details, please see the LCPD People webpages.

In addition to the National Minimum Wage, there are other statutory provisions relating to employment, for example, statutory sick paystatutory holiday with pay and statutory shared parental leave and pay. Each local council, as an employer, must understand and act upon its duties to minimise risk and ensure that it fulfils its role as a good employer.

Please note: The National Living Wage replaced the National Minimum Wage on the 1 April 2016. Please see LCPD Briefing Note here.
 

Pensions and payroll:

The law on workplace pensions has changed and will have an impact on ALL local councils that have one or more employees. In order to provide member councils with the information they need to make informed decisions on this, Hampshire ALC has worked with partner organisations to run a workshop:

In addition to this we have produced a guidance note:

There is an extended guidance note to include a step by step guide for LCPD members.

There are many organisations offering services to support employers with the changes to workplace pension legislation. Hampshire ALC has worked with Enrol My Staff and DCK Beavers to run the workshop for member councils and have provided their contact details for you below. Please be advised that Hampshire ALC are not able to recommend service providers and any contract entered into will be between the service provider and the individual council.

Enrol My Staff offers a complete auto-enrolment service
and will take your council from your first steps through to
a fully compliant solution

John Le Poidevin

Email: john@enrolmystaff.co.uk

Web: http://www.enrolmystaff.co.uk/

Mobile: 07774 228537

Office: 01329 559 130

Enrol My Staff Schedule of Services

DCK Beavers offers a payroll service that will support your
council with its ongoing duties under workplace pension legislation

Sandy Leppan

Email: admin@dckbeavers.co.uk

Web: www.dckbeavers.co.uk

Tel: 01793 739110

DCK Beavers Payroll Prices

 

Subsequent to the support package that Hampshire ALC has put in place to help member councils, NALC and the SLCC have issued a joint supplementary guidance note regarding the changes to workplace pensions legislation, which should be read in conjunction with NALC’s Legal Topic Notes on this subject. You will need to login to the NALC website to view this note.
 

Further information and support

You can find further employment guidance on some of our other advice pages covering topics such as DBS checks, equality and discrimination, health & safety and data protection and information management:

Hampshire ALC also offers the following employment/HR related training sessions:

If you cannot find what you are looking for regarding employment or HR please contact us about our LCPD service.