Laura Sharman 18 June 2019

Northern Ireland council staff sickness at highest level in nearly 30 years

Northern Ireland council staff sickness at highest level in nearly 30 years image

Sick leave at Northern Ireland councils is at its highest level since 1990, with nearly 15 days lost per employee a year, auditors have warned.

The report, by the Northern Ireland Audit Office, found on average 14.89 days were lost to sickness absence per staff member in 2017/18.

It said that increases in absenteeism were a result of long-term conditions such as severe depression, musculoskeletal problems and stress.

Local government auditor, Pamela McCreedy, said: ‘The monitoring and management of sickness absence levels continues to very challenging for councils. Staff welfare must be protected, along with the efficient and effective delivery of front-line services to the public.

‘With no indication of overall improvement, I have decided that councils could benefit from a more detailed report in this area and I will work with the comptroller and auditor general of the NI Audit Office to commence a study in this area this year.’

The report also found that ‘heavy’ reliance on agency workers meant councils spent £1.7m more on temporary staff compared to the previous year.

Despite the challenges around absenteeism and reliance on agency staff, the report did conclude that local councils in Northern Ireland are in a financially strong position.

Mrs McCreedy said: ‘Overall councils are in a financially strong position and managed their finances well in 2017-18. Reserves have increased since the new councils were formed and it is important councillors are clear about the reasons for the level of reserves being held and what they may be used for.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Chief Finance Officer

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
£91,209 per annum
You will join a high performing, thriving Council, which developing next practice in health and care integration and playing a lead role in... Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Commercial Customer Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£39,880 to £43,857
Are you someone who is innovative and has the drive to increase revenue for the Council whilst ensuring excellent service provision to our customers? Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Social Care Lead Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£35,745 - £40,876 pro rata per annum
A vacancy has become available for a part time Social Care Lead Officer, to cover in... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Communications & Corporate Affairs Manager

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£47,845 - £50,900 per annum
To apply for this role please upload your most recent CV that sets out your relevant experience against the job description. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Career Grade Planning Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27978 - £37722 per annum + n/a
Career Grade Planning Officer - West Area and East Area Team The Royal Borough of Greenwich continues to faces an unprecedented growth agenda in terms England, London
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue