Benefits of working for the Council
We pride ourselves on being a good employer with a range of benefits and employment terms and conditions to suit you. Here are just some of the reasons why West Lancashire Borough Council is a great place to work:
We offer competitive salaries on an incremental salary scheme, paid according to locally agreed pay grades using national spinal column points. You will receive an increment on 1 April each year, or when you have completed six months service if appointed between October 1 and March 31, until you reach the top of the band within your pay scale.
Salaries are paid in 12 equal installments on the 15th day of each month by BACS transfer into a nominated bank account.
Working Week and Flexi Time
The Council benefits from a 36 hour working week, between the hours of 7am to 7pm, with a minimum lunch break of 30 minutes per day as part of a flexi time scheme.
The current flexi-time system supports employees to maintain a good work-life balance by allowing a variation of start and finish times in accordance with the business needs of the service; enabling accumulation of flexi-time of up to two flexi days in every four week period.
However, Service Managers must ensure that arrangements are in place to give effective cover during the hours when the office is open to the public:
9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. Monday to Thursday
9.00 a.m. - 4.45 p.m. Friday
Whilst the standard working week and flexi time scheme is available to most employees, due to the nature of some positions within the Council, not all roles support this form of working.
For positions where there are alternative working arrangements, these will be specified on the job advert.
Smarter Ways of Working
We promote smarter and flexible working for all of our employees and will agree to an employee working partly or wholly from home or remotely, where appropriate.
We have devised four work styles for our former office-based roles, as outlined below, with details about the characteristics of each work style and the equipment that will be provided with each work style. This information does not apply to site-based roles.
Work style 1: Fixed office-based worker
Characteristics: the requirement is that the staff member has to be physically present at a particular office to undertake the work required, for example, direct face-to-face contact with the public or with staff members. 100% of the working time is spent at a single designated office base. There may also be requirements to attend training at other sites. There is no requirement for work to be undertaken anywhere else except at their designated office. It is not possible for them to carry out a substantial number of their duties from home. They will not be categorized as a car user and will not normally claim expenses except for attending training.
Provision of equipment: Desktop computer or laptop, with keyboard, mouse. monitor and lap top riser. Access to a shared workstation, which is shared or designated depending upon the layout of the office and current working conditions at the designated office base. There is access to administrative support if appropriate to the post. There is access to a printer, supplies and storage at the designated office base.
Work style 2: Flexible office-based worker
Characteristics: The staff member will be required to work across a variety of council offices and may be required to attend meetings at a variety of council or partner offices. Some of the work they carry out may be possible at home. They will have a designated office space which will be the usual place of work for claiming travelling expenses etc. This is probably the work style into which most staff members fit and would cover, for example, Communications, HR, Legal etc.
Provision of equipment: Laptop, access to a desk / workstation equipped with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and laptop riser within a designated office space (not a designated desk, under COVID-19 conditions). These workers will have keyboard, mouse, screen and riser for us whilst working at home. A mobile phone will be made available and will have access to Skype. An office chair can be made available if determined via a DSE assessment. There will be access to a printer, supplies and storage at the designated office space.
Work style 3: Mobile office-based worker
Characteristics: The staff member will work predominantly in the community and will be required to access and update information whilst working in the field as well as at a variety of council and partner sites. They will be able to carry out a proportion of work from home. They will have a designated office space which will be the usual place of work from which they can claim travel expenses. When it is the most efficient solution, they will be required to work from home, for example at the start or end of the working day to save an unnecessary journey into the office. Surveyors, planners, building estates operatives etc. benefit from this style of work.
Provision of equipment: Laptop / tablet which is appropriate for them to use out of the office, on site etc. They will have access to a desk / workstation equipped with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and laptop riser within a designated office base for some of their time (not a designated desk, under COVID-19 conditions). They will have a mobile phone, a keyboard, mouse, screen and riser for working at home. An office chair can be made available if determined via a DSE assessment. There will be access to administrative support if appropriate to the role, with access to a printer, supplies and storage at the designated office space.
Work style 4: Home-based worker
Approximately 100% of their working time is spent working from home. There is no requirement for work to be undertaken outside of the home base other than to attend an office base or other venue for meetings, training etc. These workers will not be categorized as car users and will not normally claim expenses other than for training if at a different site further away from the office. There are currently limited roles within the council that would fit into this work style.
Provision of equipment: Laptop / tablet, which is appropriate to use out of the office / on site with access to a desk or workstation equipped with a keyboard, mouse, monitor and riser within a designated office base for some of their time (but not a designated desk, under COVID-19 conditions). Where appropriate, they will have a mobile phone and a keyboard, mouse, screen and riser for working at home. An office chair can be made available if determined via a DSE assessment. These workers will have access to administrative support if appropriate to their role. They will have access to a printer, supplies and storage at the designated office base.
Our leave period operates from 1 April to 31 March. All full time employees are entitled to a generous allowance of 24 days; rising to 27 days after five years' continuous local government service. On top of this allowance, if you are employed with us at the time, you will also receive national bank holidays and three further discretionary local days to facilitate a close down between Christmas and New Year, subject to service needs. Any employees whose specific role requires them to work some of the bank holidays, on one or more of the local days, will receive the equivalent time back at a different date.
The Council offers some flexibility in how staff choose to manage their annual leave entitlement, allowing up to 4 days to be carried forward into the next leave year, as well as the ability to ‘bank’ 2 further days per year for a period of up to 5 years, which staff may wish to save up for ‘a holiday of a lifetime’.
Special arrangements exist for the carry over of excess leave accrued due to COVID-19.
For those employees who work with us part time, allowances are calculated pro rata for leave entitlement, local days and bank holidays.
There are ample car parking facilities at all of our sites and all Council employees receive free car parking.
Car Mileage Allowance
If you are using your car for business purposes at the request of the Council, we will pay a car mileage allowance. Alternative allowances are also payable for motorbikes and bicycles used for business travel.
Local Government Pension Scheme
The LGPS is a valuable part of the pay and reward package for employees working in local government and is often viewed as one of the most valuable financial rewards of the job. The scheme is available to eligible employees under 75 years of age and membership provides numerous benefits, including:
- We top up your pension - something that would be unlikely to happen with a personal pension;
- You get tax relief on all your contributions - even on extra payments you make to top up your benefits;
- No hidden fees or charges - you simply contribute a percentage of your pay;
- You get a guaranteed package of benefits which are backed by law;
- Protection for your loved ones - in the form of pensions for dependents if you die;
- Life cover of three years pay - from the second you join;
- No medical required - unlike other forms of life insurance, it’s open to all;
- All members can take a tax free lump sum as part of their benefits package;
- Protection - in case you have to draw your benefits early through ill health; and
- Your pension will go up in line with inflation, protecting you from rising prices.
Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
We have an agreement through Prudential which allows employees to make Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) on their pensions. When you save AVCs, you aim to build up a pot of money, which is then used to provide additional benefits to your Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) benefits.
Being part of the Local Government Pension Scheme has the added benefit of providing an opportunity for employees of the Council to apply for flexible retirement; which allows scheme members who have attained the age of 55 years and reduced their hours or grade, to draw all of their retirement benefits even though they have not retired.
Long Service Award
The dedicated service of our employees is acknowledged through a Long Service Award for those employees who reach 25 years’ service with West Lancashire Borough Council. This is currently a lump sum of £254.
Work Life Balance and Family Friendly Policies
We are committed to providing family friendly policies which allow employees to balance work life with family life, and we take pride in the number of Council employees who benefit from flexible working arrangements.
There are a number of options which our flexible working and family friendly policy offers, including reduced hours, career breaks, secondments, job sharing, compressed hours, annualised hours, staggered hours, term time working, revised work patterns, home working, flexi time, and time off for dependents.
In addition, we also have excellent maternity, paternity and adoption leave schemes, as well as maternity support and shared parental leave schemes.
We offer membership to two health benefits schemes which provide a low cost health plan designed to help with the rising costs of everyday healthcare, together with those unexpected health costs along the way and payments are deducted directly from your salary.
There are a variety of packages to suit individual needs, providing different levels of insurance cover up to a yearly maximum cost for various everyday healthcare as well as emergency cover. The different schemes offer several cover options, but can include:
Homeopathy and Reflexology
Hospital Inpatient Care
Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic Treatment
Specialist Consultations and Diagnostics Tests
Birth or Adoption of a Child
Hospital Day Case Surgery
In addition to these both schemes also provide:
- A Telephone Helpline
- Discounted Gym Membership
- Personal Accident Cover
Medicash Active Scheme - Starts from £6.95 per month for ‘Bronze’ cover for you and up to 4 dependent children, up to £76.50 per month for ‘Platinum Plus’ cover for you, your partner and up to 4 dependent children.
BHSF THS Corporate Scheme - Starts from £1.92 per week for ‘Level 1’ cover for you and your dependent children up to £14.28 per week for ‘Level 7’ cover for you, your partner and your dependent children.
Costco Wholesale Membership
Costco Wholesale is a membership warehouse club, providing members with quality goods and services at lower prices. As an employee of West Lancashire Borough Council, you will qualify for individual membership (annual membership fee of £33.60 inclusive of VAT), which includes a complimentary card for your spouse or domestic partner.
CSSC Sports and Leisure
As an employee of West Lancashire Borough Council, you will be able to become a member of CSSC Sports and Leisure at a minimal monthly cost, which can be deducted directly from your salary. As a member you will benefit from:
- A huge range of events and activities for all abilities at local, regional, national and even international level organised by CSSC. Activities range from football, netball, tennis, rounders, angling, surf camps, sailing, and hill walking to tenpin bowling, shopping days, theatre trips, cinema discounts and cookery schools, to name a few.
- Shopping with CSSC through the My Savings+ discount scheme and CSSC's online shop with access to hundreds of local and national offers, family days out, dining, and gym membership - the discounts are endless.
- Subsidization in certain non-CSSC events and coaching, umpiring or refereeing training costs towards accredited sport training.
- Vouchers from CSSC’s website to exchange for tickets to gain free entry into some Historic Royal Palaces (present together with CSSC membership card and photo ID).
Discounted Membership with West Lancashire Community Leisure
As an employee of West Lancashire Borough Council, you will be able to become a member of West Lancashire Community Leisure for a discounted rate. There is a non-contracted membership package to use 4 leisure facilities for £17.50 per month (instead of £20.00).
You can take advantage of a 7-day free trial without committing to any membership.
Corporate Rate of Membership for Edge Hill Sport
Edge Hill Sport’s facilities are situated to the East of the main Ormskirk campus, offering excellent provision for both indoor and outdoor sports and a wide and varied activity programme. The facilities include sports hall, swimming pool, fitness suite, exercise studio, sauna and steam rooms, to name just a few.
As an employee of West Lancashire Borough Council, you will be able to join Edge Hill Sport at the corporate rate of membership which provides a discounted rate compared to members of the public.
Health and Beauty
The Imagery Hairdressing and Beauty Academy at West Lancashire College offers employees of West Lancashire Borough Council a discount on hair and beauty treatments. A further 15% off is offered on all colouring services and a free conditioning treatment with all hair services as an exclusive offer for Council staff for their first visit
A staff ID card must be shown to be eligible for the discounts.
Unify Credit Union
Credit Unions are a not-for-profit alternative to banks, building societies and other lenders who provide a facility for members to save and to borrow in a relatively inexpensive way compared to alternative commercial lenders and providers.
Unify provides a range of loans to suit different needs and offers a preferential rate loan to employees, as well as providing members with free life and loan insurance. By joining the Unify Credit Union through the Council, employees also have the ability for payments and/or contributions to be deducted from net salary.
We aim to ensure that all new employees settle down quickly and effectively into a new post by becoming familiar with the working environment as soon as possible. For this reason, we invest time in providing a comprehensive corporate and local induction to all new staff, as well as regular support and review throughout an employee’s probationary period.
Staff Development Appraisal Scheme
The Council is committed to developing and valuing employees because it recognises that this supports the delivery of the best possible services with the resources available, will help to enable continuous improvement, and because it delivers personal satisfaction and benefits.
One of the key processes that the Council has in place to effectively carry out its role is the Annual Staff Development Appraisal Scheme by creating a two-way dialogue between employee and manager at which achievements, non-achievements, strengths, areas for improvement and training, development and support needs are identified and work programme agreed to ensure that individual, service and corporate objectives are accomplished. This process helps to ensure that employees feel adequately equipped to play their part in meeting the Council’s corporate objectives, vision, values and priorities.
Learning and Development
Learning and Development is essential to the success of the Council and will help us meet our objectives and address the challenges we face over the coming years. This is an on-going process and one which should therefore be continuous throughout the year. There are many opportunities in the course of day-to-day work for learning and development to take place and service-specific training is provided appropriate to the needs of the job.
The Council also has an extensive array of corporate face-to-face courses to support your development which are listed in our ‘Corporate Learning and Development Directory’ and cover a number of topic areas; including interpersonal skills, written communication, customer care, personal development, management/leadership, and IT skills, alongside other specialist training and HR courses. Training needs are identified during staff development appraisals.
We also have an e-learning portal, 'Emerge' which provides employees with access to a range of on-line courses and resources at a time that suits you; designed to help you enhance your professional development and refresh your learning, with new courses being added regularly.
Post Entry Training
Subject to any financial or operational constraints, the Council will support properly authorised and approved post-entry training and development relevant to the post holder’s job role by providing financial support and leave of absence with pay (as appropriate in each individual case) in line with the provisions of the Post Entry Training Policy.
Secondments are flexible work processes where members of staff transfer from their established post to undertake a different role for a temporary period of time. We recognise the value of secondments in supporting the development of employees and helping meet future needs and improving the performance of the organisation.
As such, where possible, temporary positions are open for internal members of staff to apply for roles on a secondment basis, providing prior permission is granted from the immediate Line Manager or Head of Service, which can provide valuable development opportunities for employees to further their knowledge, skills, and abilities, and ultimately their careers.
Sickness is actively monitored within the Council, in accordance with the sickness management policy, and we aspire to a wellness culture. However, we do recognise that illness and injury do sometimes occur and, in line with national conditions of service, there is a provision for employees to receive one month’s full pay in the first year of local government service and, after completing 4 months' service, an additional two months' half pay. After five years’ service this provision rises to six months' full pay and six months' half pay.
We provide our employees with an Occupational Health (OH) service. Line Managers or employees can make a referral for an OH appointment at any time to request advice on a medical issue. Where recommended and appropriate, the Council will look to support employees with any supplementary services such as counselling.
The Council promotes the health and wellbeing of all staff and the Able Futures Service, delivered in Partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, delivers free Mental Health Support to those staff who are experiencing mental health issues, whether these be short or long term. The Council launched this exceptional service on 6th February 2020 on Time to Talk Day.
This service is an early intervention mental health support service and if staff experience anxiety, stress, depression or any other mental health issue, Able Futures could give the support that is required. There is no need to get approval from a manager to access this service, it is entirely confidential, but of course employees would be further supported by their manager if they did wish to divulge any mental health issues. Besides employees this service can be used for :-
- Family and friends of working age and who are in work
- Residents of West Lancs of working age and who are in work
The Council is ambitious for Health and Wellbeing and hopes that this service will contribute to both staff and the people of West Lancs leading healthy and fulfilling lives and experiencing more enjoyable days at work.
Employees may register for this service by contacting Able Futures on Freephone 0800 3213137 8.00 am to 10.30 pm Monday to Friday or visiting the Able Futures website (external link).
In addition to Able Futures, Zurich offers confidential support for mental health at work. Call free on 0800 542 5519, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Council recognises the important role that trade unions play in fostering good industrial relations and improvements to the Council's services, and we support the system of collective bargaining in every way. We believe in the principle of solving industrial relations problems by discussion and agreement and are therefore associated with other local authorities, represented on the National Joint Council for Local Government Services. Locally we regularly meet with the trade unions GMB and Unison both informally and formally at the Corporate Consultative Group.
Continuous Local Government Service
An advantage of joining us here at West Lancashire Borough Council is that, as an organisation who are covered by the Redundancy Payments (Local Government) (Modification) Orders (which covers local authorities and related bodies), if you join us with previous continuous service from another organisation covered by this legislation, you will benefit from this additional service being included in calculating your entitlement to a redundancy payment, annual leave, a sickness allowance, and maternity pay.
Cycle to Work Scheme
The Council takes part in a Cycle to Work Scheme which allows staff to make tax and NI savings on purchases of bicycles and cycling accessories.
Car Lease Scheme
The Council takes part in a car lease scheme which is a salary sacrifice scheme that allows staff to make tax and NI savings on the lease of one vehicle, which includes insurance, vehicle maintenance and road tax within one easy monthly payment from your salary.
Staff Intranet and News Updates
We like to keep all our staff up to date on Council news and events as well as those of West Lancashire in general, and these are formally communicated to staff fortnightly via our e-newsletters ‘Team West Lancs’ and 'In the Loop'.
In addition to this, our intranet pages are filled with a wealth of information for employees, providing easy access to many guidance documents, including all our policies and procedures.
Sell, Seek, Swap
A forum on the Council's intranet pages allows employees to easily post about items they wish to sell or swap, or items they are looking to buy and share this with other employees across the Council.
Staff Suggestion Scheme
We are committed to continuous improvement and development and really value the contribution our employees make as the eyes and ears of the organisation; the opinions of our staff really do matter. For this reason, our Chief Operating Officer operates a staff suggestion scheme; encouraging employees to submit any ideas, however big or small, for how our Council services can be improved.
The Book Swap Shop
A book swap facility operates from the staff room on the ground floor of the Council Offices at 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk, and is available for all staff to use. Employees are invited to bring along a book to swap and take away another one to read from the book case.