Cllr Bridget Smith, the leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, has responded to a formal request from local government minister Lee Rowley for the authority to end a four-day working week trial. Cllr Smith said she had been “surprised” by the letter, and has requested a meeting with ministers to “discuss the matter,” pointing to “strong independently assessed evidence” showing that the pilot, in which the council’s desk-based staff have trialled a four-day week since January, had seen performance “maintained, and in some cases improved, in the first three months,” while cutting spending on agency staff and helping fill a number of previously “impossible to fill” vacancies in areas like planning. But Mr Rowley said such a model is inappropriate for local authorities. In a letter to the council, he argued that “councils are expected to ensure that finite and valuable taxpayers’ money is used in a way which demonstrates value for money – something which paying employees for an extra day of work that is not carried out is unlikely to demonstrate.” The minister noted that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities will “shortly be issuing clear guidance” on the matter.
Our Comment: – Council defends four-day week trial.
Matthew Pinto-Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: – “The Four day working week! what are your views on it? This is a very interesting article in the news about a local Council trying this out and must admit, I do not see the problem as long as long as they ensure all the services they are required to provide are provided and to an exemplary standard but understand it is a major change to the culture of Government and public services. Times seem to be changing since the Pandemic and what employees are now seeking when looking for employment as we have written many times before in our blogs which can be seen below. Is your business looking to change to a four day week?”
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