‘Significant drop’ in hours lost to staff sickness at Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council says it is losing less shifts from staff sickness
Northampton Borough Council says it is losing less shifts from staff sickness

The number of working days being lost due to staff sickness at Northampton Borough Council is ‘significantly dropping’.

That is the verdict of the latest corporate performance report, which details how the council is performing across all areas and services.

The figures were presented at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening (September 11) at The Guildhall. Ironically, an updated and ‘more accurate’ corporate report was circulated to cabinet members on the evening, as the original report included in the agenda had been compiled in haste ‘due to staff sickness’.

The report states that there has been a ‘significant drop in the amount of staff hours reported as lost to sickness’. It adds that work is continuing to ensure that such reporting is ‘accurate’.

According to the report, the average number of days lost to sickness, for a rolling 12-month period, was 11.2 days at this time last year. But this time around, the number is down to 7.76. The improvement appears to be a recent development over the last three months, as the figure was still as high as 11.36 as recently as March.

Deputy leader Councillor Phil Larratt said the new figures showed the council was ‘heading in the right direction’.

Back in October, the borough council had ditched an unpopular policy of not paying workers for the first day of sick leave. In 2016, it had been as high as three days.

The latest figures for the borough council prove better reading than their neighbours across the road at Northamptonshire County Council. Last week the authority predicted it would lose more than 40,000 working days to sickness this year, with each member of staff having an average two weeks off work due to illness. Unions and opposition councillors said this had been largely impacted by staff being ‘overworked’.