Agenda item

Reward and Recognition Programme

To consider Report CFO/063/20 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning a proposal to procure a “Total Reward” Reward and Recognition Programme that is expected to provide benefits to the authority in relation to staff engagement, embedding organisational values, supporting staff and recognising desired behaviours and good practice.


Appendix A to this report, contains EXEMPT information by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972


At the start of this item, the Chair of the meeting highlighted to Members that Appendix A to this report, contained EXEMPT information. Therefore, should any discussion be required around the content of that Appendix, Members were asked to inform the Chair and the question would need to be considered in closed session.


Members considered Report CFO/063/20 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning a proposal to procure a “Total Reward” Reward and Recognition Programme that is expected to provide benefits to the authority in relation to staff engagement, embedding organisational values, supporting staff and recognising desired behaviours and good practice.


Members were informed that the proposed Reward and Recognition Programme would bring some significant, tangible benefits from an organisational point of view, in addition to rewarding individuals.


Members were advised that should the recommendations be approved, Officers will assess the expected benefits of the programme; and the outcomes will be reported back to Members via the Scrutiny Committee, prior to any extension to the programme.


It was highlighted to Members that the approach proposed, is somewhat different to that taken by other FRS’s, who have provided staff with additional days leave, in recognition of their contribution during the pandemic, which is very costly, and here in Merseyside, would likely cause additional issues. However, Members were informed that we would still want to recognise the significant contribution that our staff have made; and as such, there is an aspect of the Reward and Recognition Programme that is beneficial to staff.


Members were informed that staff would receive benefits such as discounts, in addition to employee assistance being embedded in the programme.

They were informed that it also enables the Authority and Officers to create pulse surveys, so that rather than undertaking a Staff Survey every 2 years, during which time, a lot can change, surveys can be conducted at any time, providing almost instantaneous responses. This will enable the Authority to gain feedback from staff around circumstances affecting them, or their responses to plans, ideas and policies, which can then be utilised to inform the Authority’s strategies and activities in the long term.

Members were also advised that the programme can be used as a communication tool, to allow for instant messages to be issued to staff.


It was highlighted to Members that the programme is affordable, on the basis of the cost being offset against other work in the long-term around employee assistance and staff surveys. As such, it was likely that a sustainable model could be devised in the first instance, rather than it simply being a one-year provision.

However, it was re-iterated to Members that the programme would be subject to scrutiny and review, prior to any extension being agreed.


Members were advised that the proposals will provide a real positive reflection of the contribution staff have made during the pandemic, whilst also providing a number of additional organisational benefits.


Discussion took place around the proposed programme, with some Members commenting that they would have preferred the option adopted by other FRS’s of providing staff with an additional days leave, as from personal experience, they felt that some Reward and Recognition Schemes can feel a little patronising.

Members agreed that the work undertaken by staff during the pandemic has been spectacular, and deserves to be rewarded in a meaningful way.

Some Members felt that providing staff with an additional days leave that they could spend with family, or however they wished, would be better than a Rewards and Recognition Scheme; and felt that ideally, we would provide staff with both.


Members were advised that officers did consider the provision of an extra days leave for staff, but felt that what tends to happen, is that it is received and then it is lost. Also, whilst staff are taking their extra leave, they need to be replaced by another individual. Therefore, although they get an additional days leave to spend with their families, another individual is required to work an additional day to cover for them.

Members were therefore informed, that what Officers sought  to devise, is something that is organisational cost effective and deliverable.


Members were also informed that staff were consulted to seek their opinions on the proposed programme and whether they would welcome it, with a significant number confirming that they would.


They were also advised that other organisations have provided absolutely nothing to their staff, and what Officers have tried to do, is source a solution that ensures the organisation can continue to function, whilst at the same time rewarding staff.


It was confirmed to Members that what is proposed, is far more tangible and beneficial, with some of the benefits as a result of the programme, being very positive. They were advised that it is the first time MFRA have sought to introduce something like this; and it was confirmed that if after 12 months, staff don’t feel it is worth continuing with it, that will be fed back to the Scrutiny Committee.


It was re-iterated that what this programme provides to staff, is a years’ worth of benefits, rather than one day.


Members were advised that should they wish for Officers to go back and review the provision of a Rewards and Recognition Programme, in favour of extra days leave, then Officers would do so.


A further question was raised around the consultation with staff; and whether the feedback received could be considered by Members.


Members were advised that the consultation was very informal, with a range of staff being informed of the proposals and then asked for their thoughts. They were advised that what Officers were trying to do, was to move the proposals through the Authority, so that staff would have access to the benefits of the programme prior to Christmas. However, it was confirmed that should Members wish for the proposals to be reviewed, it would be left for the time being and the options considered again in the new year.


The Chair of the Authority commented that although he agreed that he would like to see the fantastic work properly recognised, we are part of the NJC, therefore part of the National picture. He also made reference to the issue of the Scottish and Welsh Governments providing recognition for the FRS contribution, whilst our Government have stated that there will be a freeze on pay rises, hence the issue has a more political basis.

He stated that the Authority therefore need to ensure that they are doing the right thing; and he felt that what is proposed is reasonable.

The Chair of the Authority stated that he was still hopeful that there would be a National discussion in terms of recognition; and that an issue such as providing individuals with additional leave, is a matter for the NJC.

He confirmed his view that what the Authority are able to do locally, was contained within the report, but stated that the matter could be revisited as policy develops.


Members were advised that with regards to the suggestion that the Authority provide both additional leave, and the Rewards and Recognition programme, should Members approve the report today, staff can be provided with early recognition via the programme, whilst Officers will ensure that the issues raised by Members, are raised Nationally via the Home Office.


Members confirmed that they would be content with this proposal.


A further question was raised by Members with regards to personal data and what access to data senior officers will have, through Perkbox.


Members were advised that Officers will not have access to any personal data and that the information will be in response to pulse surveys. It was confirmed that the information will be akin to that received through the staff surveys, with information anonymised. However, they were informed that what can be drawn out of the data, is the amount of benefit secured by staff generally, but not down to an individual level.


Members Resolved that:


a)    the proposal to procure the Total Reward programme for one year, be approved.


b)    Officers assess the expected benefits of the programme with the outcome of the assessment reported back to members via the Scrutiny Committee prior to any extension.


c)    The Chief Fire Officer be requested to make representations at a National level, via the Home Office, around the recognition of Fire and Rescue Service staff, for their contribution during the pandemic.




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