A LABOUR councillor has been re-nominated in his role supporting Copeland council’s workforce after doing an “excellent job”.

Sam Pollen, who represents Egremont, has been the overview and scrutiny panel’s representative on the STTUG (Single Table Trade Union Group) for the past 18 months.

As part of the process, he was invited to act as an observer into the council’s STTUG meeting, reporting back to the scrutiny panel.

The role involves looking into the effect of staff changes and to help ensure fair working practices across all council departments.

Mr Pollen told a recent meeting of the scrutiny panel that he was happy to continue the role but was also happy to give another panel member an opportunity to assume the position.

Describing the role as “really interesting and worthwhile”, Coun Pollen said that he fully expected a recent staff survey would demonstrate that “things are being done appropriately and that staff are being treated fairly”.

He added: “But there is also an acceptance that these are changing times. The council is in the flux of change and, like all other councils, it’s got huge challenges. So it’s not easy for the workforce; and it isn’t easy for the officers we task.”

At the last meeting, Mr Pollen revealed that the group is in talks about the possible introduction of annualised hours – a system whereby employees work a certain number of hours over the whole year, but with a certain degree of flexibility about when they are worked.

Mr Pollen stressed that these talks were “ongoing”, adding that an annualised hours system “can be a positive step”.

He told the meeting that five out of the six seasonal staff are being kept on in the council’s Parks division.

He also revealed that councillors had raised a “number of concerns” following the devastating cyber attack which hit the council in 2017.

But the earlier STTUG meeting had received assurances that IT teams were working on making the council’s cyber defences even more “robust”.

There was also positive news about continuing work to improve the health and safety culture at the council, with plans developing to create the authority’s first dedicated health and safety committee.

John Kane, chairman of the scrutiny panel, said that Mr Pollen had done an “excellent job”, also recommending that he be re-nominated. The scrutiny panel agreed.