Council developing new hybrid working plan for how it will work in future

The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has agreed plans for how the local authority could operate in future.

During the coronavirus pandemic, more council services have been delivered remotely or digitally, with staff who would normally be based within an office environment working from home instead.

Following an ongoing review, the council is developing a new blended model of working which will see staff dividing their time between both home and office.

In line with Welsh Government targets of enabling at least 30 per cent of the workforce to operate from home by 2024, the new model is intended to offer greater choice and flexibility, increase the efficiency of services for customers and continue to effectively target those who are most in need.

Delivering the report, Chief Executive Mark Shephard said: “We remain very proud of the way in which council staff have pulled together to meet the ongoing challenges posted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to ensure that residents have been able to continue to benefit from services.

“Moving into lockdown meant that as an organisation, we had to adapt very quickly to rapidly changing circumstances. We mobilised and equipped council staff so that the vast majority could work from home, and also adapted to provide a number of services remotely or digitally.

“From this, we have been able to study how we might learn from this experience to make fundamental changes to how the council operates in the future. Following an ongoing review, we are now developing a new blended model of working which could see staff dividing their time between both home and office.

“As well as offering greater choice and flexibility, the new model will focus upon increasing the efficiency of services for customers and continuing to effectively target those who are most in need.”

The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make fundamental changes and improvements to the working culture of the council.

“With more than 6,000 staff providing up to 800 different services, the new model will mainly affect employees who are office-based rather than those who work across areas such as schools, depots, care homes or care settings.

“In addition to potential financial savings and reductions in traffic, pollution and sickness absence levels, the benefits of adopting a new model include improved retention and recruitment within key service areas, greater alignment with the council’s ongoing digitalisation strategy, and improved well-being among staff.

“Engagement with staff and trade unions is underway and I look forward to seeing this initiative develop further. If agreed, the long-term plans are expected to be in place ready for spring 2022.”

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