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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 01/04/2003
RESTRUCTURING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE DEPARTMENT



This report outlines changes proposed to the structure of the Environmental Health section of the Environment and Leisure Department following on from the resignation of the Environmental Health Manager (Residential) and findings of the year 2 Fundamental Service Review of Environmental Health. It proposes a number of changes which are beneficial to the functioning of the Environmental Health Section and which can be contained within the existing staffing budget for the Environment and Leisure Department.

This report was considered by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on the 10th March 2003.
APPENDIX G

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 1ST APRIL 2003


Title:
RESTRUCTURING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SECTION OF THE
ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE DEPARTMENT
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and Purpose

This report outlines changes proposed to the structure of the Environmental Health section of the Environment and Leisure Department following on from the resignation of the Environmental Health Manager (Residential) and findings of the year 2 Fundamental Service Review of Environmental Health. It proposes a number of changes which are beneficial to the functioning of the Environmental Health Section and which can be contained within the existing staffing budget for the Environment and Leisure Department.

This report was considered by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on the 10th March 2003.

Background

1. The Environment and Leisure Department was restructured in 1997 following a fundamental review in keeping with the then Audit Commission’s best practice “Form Follows Function”. The outcome of this review was implemented during the later part of 1997 and early part of 1998. Since that time, the Environmental Health Section has been operating to that structure. Annexe 1 to this report details the diverse functions undertaken by this section. From this it can be seen that these services contribute to providing an attractive, sustainable environment and to enhancing the quality of life for those who live, work or visit the borough.

Reason for Change

2. The results of the more recent Fundamental Service Review in 2002 confirmed that the
Environmental Health Service was having difficulty meeting some statutory obligations, particularly in
respect of the inspection and enforcement of Health and Safety at workplaces and control of high
polluting Authorised Processes within the Borough. The Council is audited by the Health and Safety
Executive Local Authority Unit (LAU) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) to ensure that it is meeting minimum performance levels in these areas of enforcement
work.

3. The improvement plan developed as part of the fundamental service review recognised that a release
of resource from reducing the times of operation of the out of hours noise service should be utilised to provide greater focus on those areas of the Environmental Health service outlined in paragraph 2
above. This was approved by the Executive in 2002 for one year in the first instance and has resulted in additional focus in the area of Health and Safety at Work accident investigation.

4. The implementation of changes to the operating times for the noise service has allowed it to focus a
'react and respond' element to Saturday evenings when complaints of noise are most commonly
received. The reactive service is positively supported by a proactive investigation service utilising
prearranged officer visits and the installation of noise monitoring equipment into the homes of
complainants at other times in the week.

5. The resignation of the Environmental Health Manager (Residential), a senior appointment within the
section in January 2003 has now provided a further opportunity to redirect manpower resource
towards failing aspects of the service via the proposed restructure.

Proposed Changes

6. The current and proposed structures for the Environmental Health Section are shown in Annexe 2 and Annexe 3 respectively of this report.

7. The new structure would divide the Environmental Health Section in to three distinct teams (currently two), comprising the Housing Team, the Pollution Team and the Food and Health and Safety Team. The three teams would contain separate specialist officers. Redefinition of the teams in this way will assist in balancing the sections proactive and reactive workload as well as addressing the need to respond to statutory responsibilities, including new duties.

Environmental Health Manager

8. It is proposed to widen the remit of the existing Environmental Health Manager (Commercial) to include responsibility for the management of those work areas previously covered by the colleague who has recently left. These include management of the Housing Grants system, unfit houses and houses in multiple occupation, filthy and verminous premises, certain funerals, pest control and dog warden services, nuisance associated with residential dwellings, air quality, energy efficiency and contaminated land.

Section Leaders

9. In order to provide additional support to the Environmental Health Manager with this wider remit and to provide the high level of specialist technical expertise required in each of the teams, it is considered necessary to identify three section leader positions. It is envisaged that personnel will be recruited internally into these positions, drawing from the expertise the Department has already developed.

Senior Environmental Health Officer and Environmental Health Officer

10. The reallocation of resources from the Environmental Health Manager (Residential) post, together with the resource made available as a consequence of the review of the out of hours noise service, provides an opportunity to increase staffing levels within the structure and to improve overall service levels. It is proposed that two additional posts, for a Senior Environmental Health Officer and a part time (0.8 full time equivalent) basic grade Environmental Health Officer, be created. These posts would also provide additional focus on proactive Health and Safety at Work and Authorised Process inspections.

Resource Implications

11. The existing staffing budget, inclusive of employer’s costs, for the Environmental Health Section is 655,380.

12. Implementing the changes proposed in this report creates a revised staffing budget, at maximum pay points and inclusive of employer’s costs, of 655,671.

13. The proposed changes can therefore be implemented, even at maximum scale rates (not necessarily the case), negating the need for additional funds to be made available.

Environmental Implications

14. This report deals with staffing matters and there are significant environmental implications. Inspection of premises for Health and Safety at Work will inevitably result in safer commercial premises, reducing the risk of employees, visitors or members of the public being the subject of accident and injury. Inspection of Authorised Processes will additionally result in reduced pollution emissions improving air quality both locally and nationally.

Human Rights, Community Safety and "Opportunities for All" Implications

15. There are significant Human Rights and Community Safety as well as "Opportunities for All" implications for this report, in respect of the dignity, health, well being and uniformly improved standards for all of those enhanced service delivery requirements which will ensue.

Conclusion

16. It is considered that the restructuring proposals described in this report will enable the Department to best utilise its staffing resource in the Environmental Health Section to provide enhanced service levels, and to carry out the Council’s essential statutory duties.

Observations from Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee

17. The Committee wished to make the following observations to the Executive:-

a) in relation to use of the savings made by changes to the out of hours noise service, the
Committee made the point that should this not be successful it might require additional funds
at a later date; and

b) that measurable service improvements as a result of staff restructuring be reported to
Members at a later date.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the proposed staffing structure for the Environmental Health section set out in
Annexe 3 to this report be implemented and that;

Background Papers (DoEL)

Environment & Leisure Best Value Service Review 2001 –2002.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mrs S Robinson Telephone: 01483 523436
E-mail: srobinson@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/exec/2002-03/594