30% lost time rate drop saves £300,000

Headquarters of Derry City & Strabane District Council on the Strand Road.
Headquarters of Derry City & Strabane District Council on the Strand Road.

Derry City & Strabane District Council has made huge strides tackling absenteeism over its first term with a 30 per cent lost time rate reduction over the past three years.

Paula Donnelly, the Council’s Lead Human Resources Officer, advised its Governance & Strategic Planning Committee that this worked out as a saving of £300,000.

“The absence rate for the Council continues to decrease with a lost time rate of 5.5 per cent for the period April 2018 - September 2018,” reported the local authority’s personnel chief.

“This represents a significant reduction of almost 30 per cent compared to the first year of the new Council 2015/16 when the lost time rate was 7.8 per cent,” she said.

In the first six months of the current financial year around 70 per cent of Council workers recorded full attendance.

Councillors were advised that the improvements were making a material difference to the Council’s finances.

“It is estimated that the reduction in absence from 7.8 per cent to 5.5 per cent should result in a saving to the Council in the region of £300,000,” said Ms. Donnelly.

Sinn Féin Colr. Caoimhe McKnight hailed the “significant reduction” that had been achieved by the “good work that’s been done by the Council over several years”.

DUP Ald. Drew Thompson said: “I congratulate the officers on the work they have done and continue to do to get absence reduced.”

SDLP Colr. Brian Tierney also praised officers and staff for achieving the reduction.

He said his party would continue to support efforts to further reduce abseenteeism.

“If we can get it down even further, that would be even better,” he said.