Thursday, 14 September 2017

Glasgow - Equal Pay Update

One of the names mentioned in Glasgow's EDC Steering Group which I highlighted on the blog site yesterday was Elma Murray.

Now could this be the same Elma Murray who is now chief executive at North Ayrshire Council and who chaired a meeting of Glasgow's Steering Group back on 5 September 2007?

If so, I suspect Elma would be more than happy to help jog Glasgow's memory about the Employee Development Commitment since its own senior officials seem to be having such problems remembering anything about the controversial scheme (so they say) which led to hundreds of male dominated bonus earning jobs being given more favourable treatment than their female colleagues.

Here's an article which appeared in the Daily Record back in 2014 and says that Elma was previously Head of Service Reform at Glasgow City Council and if this is indeed the same Elma Murray, she must surely know where all the 'bodies are buried' in terms of the EDC scheme.

So I think I'll send a copy of this blog post to the Leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr Susan Aitken, with a suggestion that Elma is invited up to the City Chambers for a special briefing session on the EDC.

I suspect this would really set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Council's chief executive to remain in role to help North Ayrshire 'prosper'

Elma Murray was linked with a move to the top job at Glasgow City Council but decided against applying for the post.

BY SANDY CLARKE - The Daily Record

Elma Murray says being chief executive of North Ayrshire Council is a privilege

Elma Murray may not be a name recognisable to many people — but that’s how the energetic North Ayrshire Council chief executive likes things to be.

Her role, she insists, is behind-the-scenes, creating an environment that allows her staff to develop opportunities that benefit the public.

In her own words, overseeing 6500 members of staff in an area that has been in economic decline for the past 30 years is a “compelling challenge” and one that the bolshie council chief has no intention of shirking.

It’s no real surprise, then, that when the top job at Glasgow City Council came up earlier this year, she didn’t apply for the post despite being tipped by many as the ideal candidate to take over from outgoing chief, George Black.

You’d be forgiven to question why an able and competent candidate, who served as head of service reform at Scotland’s largest authority, didn’t leap at the chance of taking on the job, but, for Elma, there was no question over where her future lay.

She said: “I think that it was a fair assumption for a lot of people to make that I would go for the Glasgow council job, and I suppose if I was outside looking-in, I would have made the same assumption.

“North Ayrshire is an area that has been in economic decline for 30 or 40 years and, since I came here, I’ve had three main priorities. The first has been to halt or reverse that decline; the second is to deal with the inequalities that exist in what is a very diverse area; and third, I want to lead and push for having the best child services we can have.

“I’m part way through that work and when you think of the combination of those priorities, they form the most compelling challenge — what’s not to like about staying and trying to sort that out?”

She went on: “While Glasgow’s a bigger authority and I’ve spent most of my local government life there, working to help make North Ayrshire a better part of Scotland is something much bigger than looking to any personal progression. I thought hard about it, but my personal progression lies in helping North Ayrshire prosper.

“I’m really proud at where we are right now and I’d like to be clear that my role is more about creating an environment for things to happen — the best I can be is the best of the people around me.

“We’ve got some fabulous senior officers and I would say they were some of the best in Scotland. There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t think about how brilliant it has been to work with someone on something.”

Joining North Ayrshire Council from Glasgow City Council in 2009, Elma has worked across a Labour administration and an SNP administration as of 2012, and despite the challenges that kind of shift can bring, there has been a smooth transition in working relationships.

Said Elma: “Being chief executive of North Ayrshire Council and working with the elected members is a privilege. Part of my job is to act as principal advisor to the leader, the cabinet, and all the members of the council in order to support them in a range of areas.

“I have to be seen as somebody with integrity and ability, and someone members can trust regardless of what political side they are on.”

“Without going into the politics of it, Labour held a minority administration when I came here in 2009 and there were some struggles getting to grips with how a minority administration works. I would discuss a number of issues with members in terms of getting votes to back policies, who they might approach for support and so on.

“Having been the administration for a time, Labour had some clear views with regards to the direction of the council.

“When the SNP formed the administration in 2012, initially there were some challenges to overcome, to address any concern that the same heads of services who had spent many years working with the Labour administration would now be able to work as well alongside the SNP.

“But we worked with the new administration and quickly overcame that hurdle, and it became clear to them that they too were being offered solid, clear and professional advice. It was about discussing where the council was, what direction it was headed in, and the policies the administration wanted to develop and how that could be done.”

A woman praised by council leader Willie Gibson as making “a highly valuable contribution to the running of the council” and often being “the first to arrive to work and the last to leave”, it’s clear that she has a genuine passion to help make North Ayrshire the best place it can be.

She’s also keen to stress the value of the council’s staff across all levels, revealing that she’s often left surprised at the level of work that comes from her employees.

She said: “The council has 6500 staff and clearly I won’t know them all personally, so it’s an amazing feeling when I’m told about all the wonderful things members of staff do. It leaves me on such a high to know that across the board we have such a committed and caring staff who are genuinely working to make a difference.”

As well as her duties in her role as chief executive, her guidance is highly-sought and well respected up and down the country.

Asked to describe a typical day, she explains: “I don’t have one as such; what’s typical is the variety, where I have so many things to do in a day. So I could be looking at child protection issues, housing issues, employment, schools, dealing with an elected member’s query and so on.

“That’s the stuff I do locally and then there are things I’m involved in at a national level. I sit on a number of boards and groups that support the government on policy development.

“What I do at a national level helps to bring North Ayrshire to the table and get involved in developments and have our voice heard, so I’m always very conscious that I’m an ambassador for the council when I’m taking part in discussions.”

Contemplating her vision of the council, Elma’s clear on the importance of focusing heavily on economic development and employment, particularly for young people.

She said: “We have one of the most incredible natural environments in Scotland. We also have fantastic transport and transport links, and exceptional housing.

“North Ayrshire is one of the best places in Scotland to live and work, and it is an immense privilege to serve as the council’s chief executive.”

Glasgow - Equal Pay Update (13/09/17)

Now here's an interesting document - one that might interest senior officials in Glasgow City Council, or at least those who claim to have little, if any, knowledge of the Council's controversial EDC pay scheme which gave a long-term guarantee on future earnings to male employees in bonus earning jobs.

According to this document Glasgow City Council established a high powered Joint Steering Group to oversee the operation of the EDC scheme which kept minutes of its meetings (as you would expect) and included representatives from every part of the Council: elected councillors, the chief executive's department, service departments and all of the trade unions (including Unison and GMB) were involved.

Mike Kirby from Unison was present at this particular meeting and Mike is now the union's regional secretary in Scotland.

So maybe Mike can help jog the City Council's memory about what deals were done to upgrade hundreds of male Gardener and Gravedigger jobs - while leaving all the female dominated jobs still stuck firmly at the bottom of the Council's pay ladder.  

Does anyone in Glasgow really believe that senior officials of the City Council can't find this information - maybe they are just not looking hard enough or could it be that they are looking in the wrong places?



in Café George, Parish Hall


Elma Murray
Carol Ball
Glenda McKendrick
Chief Executive Dept
Mike Kirby
L Norwood/W Stewart
John Murdoch
David Halliday
Eddie Sneider
Martin Doran

Apologies were received from Councillor McKeown, Mary Brown (UCATT) and Janice Irvine.

E Murray opened the meeting in Councillor McKeown’s absence.

1. Notes of Previous Meeting and Matters Arising

1.1 The Note of the previous meeting was accepted.

1.2 Confirmation was asked for regarding point 1.3, Training for TU representatives, which Councillor McKeown was to raise with N Aird.  E Murray advised that she would clarify action on this item and advise the group.

Action:  Clarify with Councillor McKeown E Murray

1.3 Clarification was asked for regarding point 1.4, consistency of information being issued to staff when invited to attend Review proceedings.  E Murray advised that she would ask I Drummond to raise at the next Governance Board meeting and issue a response to the group prior to the next meeting.

Action:  Raise with I Drummond E Murray

2. PDP Paperwork - L Norwood/W Stewart, DaCS

L Norwood advised the group of how the PDP process is conducted within DaCS and W Stewart explained all aspects of the paperwork which has been developed in line with the corporate approach.

C Ball expressed some concern at the lack of preparation time which would be given to staff prior to a PDP meeting.  She also pointed out that the DaCS paperwork has 4 levels of competency compared to the corporate 3 levels and asked if these points could be considered.

3. Council Wide Progress

E Murray explained the new format of the reports and the following points were discussed:

3.1 Based on the figures reported, the group asked for clarification of the actions being proposed. E Murray advised of the commitment given by the CMT that staff facing protection should have received a PDP before the end of this year.  Details of development options and service reform for individuals are to be looked at with Services.
Concerns were expressed regarding the timescale, particularly within Education, as the PDP rollout is still taking place.

3.2 The issue of Review results taking as long as 6 weeks to be issued was raised.

Action:  Raise with I Drummond E Murray

3.3 An issue was raised regarding 3 Parking Staff who lost their Review and have had no further contact from management.  There was also a point made that within LES a restructure of Senior Management based on salary has taken place although some of those involved are awaiting Reviews.

Action:  Clarify with R Booth E Murray

3.4 The group asked why the BS and CA Reviews have been postponed until November.  E Murray advised that this is due to the previous reviews taking longer and to allow Services to begin these job families at the same time.  C Ball expressed concern at this as Education is ready to proceed with reviews for these families.

300 reviews have already taken place for 7,000 staff, including group reviews.

1,600 reviews have still to be heard for 3,000 staff, a large number of which are individual reviews.

3.5 The group asked if the number of Reviews that have taken place could be updated for the next meeting.

Action: E Murray

3.6 The group asked if it is the intention for ongoing reviews to be heard by job family.  E Murray advised that this is necessary to maintain the integrity of the WP&BR.  A point was made that within Education someone had been advised at their Review that a review of the job was required.

4. Careers Scotland Progress

E Murray spoke to the report.

4.1 A point was made that the low take up of the Careers Scotland services may be due to staff perception that the service is to assist them in finding a job outwith the Council.

4.2 E Sneider asked for a demonstration of the mapping tool.  G McKendrick invited him to attend the next Process Workshop scheduled for 20 September.

5. Schedule of meetings 

The following dates have been scheduled:

12 December 2007
 5 March 2008
 5 June 2008

All at 2.30 pm in Café George.