Practices When Castle Point Borough Council in Essex was given a “good” Audit Commission rating, all staff were thanked with two days’ extra leave and a Christmas party. Other ways that managers recognise staff achievements include team lunches, awaydays and boxes of chocolates on completion of successful projects.
Charitable work at Castle Point includes monthly dress-down days to raise money for local charities, as well as the collection of Easter eggs and Christmas presents for local children in hospital. Regular fundraising events are held by the mayor, and free use of council buildings is provided to organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau and Open Door Counselling.
The chief executive and senior managers hold roadshows to provide information to staff. During the meetings, staff divide into smaller groups allowing everyone an opportunity to say what they think works well and what they believe could be improved.
In addition there is a section on the intranet allowing staff to ask questions directly to the chief executive. He also has a regular column, Chief Chat, in the council newsletter.
The council provides lunchtime learning sessions that are 30-40 minutes long and include a free lunch. They are hosted by staff members and provide an opportunity for staff to develop public speaking and presentation skills.
A health and wellbeing programme is being rolled out to all employees including sessions on healthy diet and lifestyle, massage and meditation.
Pause for Thought sessions are organised by the mayor and involve a local chaplain. These give staff an opportunity to take a moment to reflect on their life and work. Free counselling and stress awareness courses are offered to all employees.
Pay and benefits Flexible working options available to some staff include job sharing, home working, reduced and compressed hours, term-time and school-hours contracts and flexitime. The council has a flexible benefits scheme that includes free sports facilities, shop discounts, a health and wellbeing programme and a free, 24-hour nurse-run telephone advice line for health questions.
Male to Female ratio: