Questions over effectiveness of leadership at Broxtowe Borough Council following staff survey

The survey of staff was conducted by Broxtowe Borough Council.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

A councillor described staff survey results from a local council as “very alarming” after only around six in ten respondents said they think the authority’s senior figures lead it effectively.

Conservative Councillor Philip Owen made the comments following results of the research at Broxtowe Borough Council.

He spoke during the Personnel Committee meeting on November 30 – during which other councillors suggested that the survey produced ‘encouraging’ results.

The survey, which was filled out by 43 per cent of staff at the council (206 people) in April/May 2021, showed that 57 per cent of respondents believed that the General Management Team demonstrates effective leadership.

The Chief Executive of the authority Ruth Hyde said “there is clearly more work that we need to do on that front”.

But she added that the figures do not include neutral responses.
A total of 59 per cent said the General Management Team sets and communicates clear priorities and 49 per cent said change is managed effectively at the authority.

All of the figures were an improvement on the previous year’s results.

But 95 per cent of respondents said they understood how their work contributes to the success of the organisation and 80 per cent of respondents said they liked their job.

Philip Owen (Con) said: “Three figures make very alarming reading.

“Not far off half of the employees of this authority don’t think senior management demonstrates effective leadership.

“It is of some considerable concern that is the perception of our workforce.

“Our workforce are saying that the senior leadership team don’t provide effective leadership and they don’t set and communicate clear priorities.

“I think those are fairly devastating figures and you might argue that the rest are wonderful and everything is fine. But everything is not fine.

“I know there are concerns amongst staff. For the first time ever in my time as a councillor I have had a member of staff write to me complaining about the situation in their department, the lack of support and pay.”

Chief Executive of the authority Ruth Hyde responded: “The general management team is always seeking to improve, we are not complacent.

“The figures do not include people who were neutral. I think you have to bear that in mind as well.

“I am not going to be overly defensive about that figure, but I would say although we in the general management team have a reasonable level of contact with people at all levels of the organisation, some people will not perhaps feel that they have intimate knowledge of what we do.

“Nevertheless, they should feel that we demonstrate effective leadership so there is clearly more work that we need to do on that front and we certainly will address that. It is one of our areas for improvement going forward.”

Councillor David Watts (Lib Dem) added: “On the whole, this makes very encouraging reading.

“I was delighted that we got a 43 per cent return rate because so often surveys get 5, 10 or two per cent if we’re lucky.

“There are one or two worrying figures. A fall of 4 per cent of staff who feel that the council is committed to equality and values diversity is very disappointing and I hope we will see that reversed in future years.

“Less than half of staff felt that change was managed effectively. It is up but it is still less than half which was disappointing.”

Councillor Hannah Land (Lib Dem) reminded the members that 43% of staff responded to the survey, “not the entire workforce”.

She added: “Let’s get a bit of perspective on this. I understand that in response, quarterly question time meetings were started.

“Let’s see if we get an improvement in that figure in next year’s survey.”

She added that the quarterly “question time” sessions have been introduced for employees from across the Council to ask questions of the General Management Team directly.

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