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Controversial four-day week trial to stay at South Cambs

Councillors have confirmed that a 12-month four-day week trial at South Cambridgeshire District Council is continuing.

The trial will expand to waste collections next week, with more bins being collected on Tuesday to Friday, and no collections from homes on Mondays. This will also reduce the confusion of changes to collection days when there is a bank holiday Monday.
 
The Council began a three-month trial in January this year after only being able to fill around eight out of every ten of its vacancies.

Last week, Council Leader Cllr Bridget Smith received a letter from Minister Lee Rowley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety, regarding the four-day week. The Minister reiterated his request for the Council to cease its four-day week trial.

The initial trial for desk-based staff took place between January and March this year, then councillors reviewed an independent assessment of performance data and agreed to extend the trial until the end of March 2024.
 
Although the three-month trial wasn’t expected to see improvement in recruitment, because there was no certainty about whether it would continue, a saving of around £300,000 annually would be achieved after the Council recruited to four of 23 posts identified as ‘hard to fill’ which could not previously be filled.
 
The initial trial was extended until the end of March 2024 to test whether a four-day week could positively impact on the Council’s recruitment and retention issues over a longer period.
 
A report to be discussed at Friday’s Employment and Staffing Committee shows the Council has now filled nine of the 23 posts that could not permanently be recruited to before the trial began. Filling these posts means the Council expects to spend around £550,000 less on agency cover this year, because that is the saving from permanently recruiting to nine of the 23 ‘hard to fill’ posts so far.
 
Bin collection days will change for approximately 80% of local households next week (Monday 18 September) as waste crews begin their trial.

All residents who are affected by next week’s changes have been sent a letter and can also check their bin collection arrangements online. These changes also follow a review of bin rounds which are typically completed by all councils every few years. This considers new homes that have been built across the area and ensures bin collection rounds continue to be carried out as efficiently as possible.

 

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