Council saves £100,000 as staff absence levels drop over past year

The Council has saved �100,000 over the past year. (Picture Andrei Tsalko - Fotolia)
The Council has saved �100,000 over the past year. (Picture Andrei Tsalko - Fotolia)
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Sickness levels among staff across Derry & Strabane District Council have dropped over the past year, resulting in a saving of over £100,000.

It was confirmed this week that 70% of staff employed within the Council had a full attendance record at their place of work during the year from April 2016 to the end of March 2017. Of those who did fall sick, 40% were off for less than five days.

The figures were revealed by the Council at the June meeting of its Governance & Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday.

Council officials delivered an update on progress in relation to an Absence Management strategy implemented by the local authority for the year 2016/2017.

Absence Management and the Health and Wellbeing of staff have previously been identified as key strategies priorities for Council.

The committee was told that a “robust absence monitoring system” has been developed which enables us to provide regular and accurate reports.

A report presented at the meeting states: “There has been a decrease in loss time rate from 7.8% in 2015/2016 to 6.8% for the year ended 2016/2017. This means that the average days lost has decreased from 17 days 2015/2016 to 14.9 days in 2016/2017.

“Approximately 70 per cent of Council employees have had full attendance for the year ending 2017.”

Speaking at the meeting, Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly praised the efforts of the human resources team within the council, and said the figures were “very positive” and showed “a great work ethic by council staff”.

“I hope it continues and I would ask that you pass on congratulations to the staff,” he added.

The Council confirmed in answer to a questions from UUP Colr. Derek Hussey that there had been improvements across all departments.

DUP Councillor Drew Thompson said it was worth highlighting that 70 per cent of staff had full attendance.

Other measures to address absence levels have included A commitment to health and wellbeing through the councils BeWell initiative. Management are working with trade union officials, while the human resources department is working closely with managers to address the absence issues within their sections. A focus on reviewing employees with long term sickness has resulted in an increase in the number of employees who have availed of ill health retirement in recent months.