William Eichler 08 July 2024

South Cambs’ four-day week trial shows ‘positive’ results

South Cambs’ four-day week trial shows ‘positive’ results image
Image: Sinseeho / Shutterstock.com.

A report into South Cambridgeshire District Council’s controversial four-day week trial found the majority of key performance indicators had improved or remained the same.

Under a four-day week, South Cambridgeshire DC officers are expected to carry out all of their work in around 80% of their contracted hours while remaining on full pay.

Analysis by the universities of Cambridge and Salford of the 24 key performance indicators monitored by the council found that 22 improved or remained the same.

Eleven measures were performing better during the trial, including in areas such as call answering times, timeliness of planning decisions, how long it takes to process benefits claims and speed of emergency repairs to council homes.

The two areas where there was a poorer performance during the trial period were housing rent collected and average days to re-let housing stock.

Daiga Kamerade, professor in Work and Wellbeing at the University of Salford, said: ‘The trial suggests that a four-day work week maintains the quality of public services as measured by key performance indicators, while attracting new staff and improving workers' wellbeing. The pioneering trial can inspire evidence-based innovations in local councils and other organisations.’

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for Resources, Cllr John Williams, described the findings as ‘positive’.

‘Coupled with the hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayer money that we have saved, improved recruitment and retention and positives around health and wellbeing – this brave and pioneering trial has clearly been a success.’

The trial attracted a lot of criticism from the Conservative Government. In February, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities threatened to ‘take further action to put an end to this experiment.’

Check out: Why the four-day week could solve the workforce crisis

Four-day working win image

Four-day working win

Cllr Bridget Smith, leader of South Cambs DC, reflects on the results of the council’s four-day week trial and calls on Labour to back the shorter week.
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