Laura Sharman 18 June 2019

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

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.’

Protection is a two-way street image

Protection is a two-way street

Russ Langthorne outlines how the workforce can be protected from the debilitating effects of HAVS and WBV through real-time, accurate and objective monitoring and measurement.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Administration Officer

The Coal Authority
£19,137 to £21,264
To apply please click the Apply Now link below. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: The Coal Authority

Programme Assistant

City of York Council
£11.37 per hour
We are WorkwithYork and we are working with our client to find a Programme Assistant working with the Homes for Ukraine project. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

IT Security Manager

City of Bradford MDC
£42,614 - £47,665 pa
This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic IT Security Manager Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Recovery Support Worker x 3

Wakefield Council
£12,963.50 - 14,113.00
We are seeking to appoint suitably skilled, motivated and caring recovery support workers Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Transport Craftsperson

Wakefield Council
£25,927.00 - £28,226.00
You will be joining us at a very exciting time as we move to Featherstone later this year to a state of the art fleet maintenance facility Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.