Pay for council ‘standby’ duties could more than double in £125,000 proposal

Payments for council staff on ‘standby’ duties in Barnsley could be more than doubled from less than £11 a day to more than £28 because the authority has problems in attracting staff willing to take on out of hours responsibilities.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 1:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 3:58 pm
Financial decision: Councillors will choose how to tackle out of hours pay problem

The change – which members of the council’s ruling Cabinet will be asked to approve – does not affect gritting crews, who are covered by a separate agreement which sees them getting an allowance of either £239 or £116 a week between mid-November and early March in case they are called in to salt the roads.

A flat fee of £10 a day was introduced for other staff who may be needed out of hours in 2013 and that has risen to a current payment of almost £11.

But managers have struggled to find candidates to take on the role, with some services such as IT managing needs on an informal basis.

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A report to the Cabinet states: “A number of services are having difficulty in attracting employees to undertake standby arrangements due to the low rates of remuneration.”

Changes in the way councils operate mean more officers are now likely to be needed to answer emergencies outside conventional working hours, with a suggestion of increasing those receiving standby payments from 76 to 99.

Councillors will be given three options, of rounding the current payment up to £11, increasing it to around £19 or the recommended change to more than £28 a day.

That, along with the increase in qualifying staff, would lead to an increase in costs of around £125,000 a year.

The higher payment is already in place for staff working at South Yorkshire’s other three councils, though rates vary between authorities across the wider region.