The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 That the Committee confirm support for a 2-year extension to the current contract for the partnership liaison officer (PLO) post until the end of the 2023/2024 financial year to enhance collaborative working between the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and district councils.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Approve the continued funding for the H&S PLO post until the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.
3.0 Main report
3.1 The Committee will be aware that the post of Partnership Liaison Officer (PLO) is a joint resource created to ensure the effective partnership working relationships and operational delivery of the joint Health and Safety strategy between the local authorities across Northern Ireland and the HSENI. Please see Appendix 1 for H&ES Committee minutes of 3rd March 2010 providing background to necessity for the post.
3.2 A letter has been received from Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council seeking support from Belfast City Council to continue funding the post (Appendix 2).
3.3 The post has been of significant benefit to Councils by providing a point of contact between The Executive Office and other statutory agencies dealing with the global pandemic. It has afforded Officers from the 11 Councils to filter information, co-ordinate advice in relation to the Covid regulations, share data, best practice and statistics. This post provided a role in terms of influencing the content of the regulations on behalf of Councils with the Executive Office which eased the burden for Councils as the Covid regulations were changing at pace bringing new challenges with each update in terms of interpretation and enforcement.
3.4 Now that the Covid restrictions are easing, the PLO will continue to build on the partnerships between HSENI and Councils to deliver the required Health and Safety needs across the Province in a co-ordinated manner.
3.5 The main purpose of the Partnership Liaison Officer is to:
· Assist in the continuing development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Partnership Working by building effective working relationships and processes.
· Co-ordinate the delivery of specific aspects of partnership arrangements such as joint planning, joint enforcement initiatives and campaigns, joint training and innovative ways of targeting resources more effectively.
· Monitor the output of these defined areas of joint work.
· Liaise with district councils and their representative bodies and partners on issues relating to workplace health and safety and provide a district council perspective on the Partnership Team.
· Support district councils in meeting their partnership commitments, particularly when developing business plans etc.
· Act as an effective communication channel between District Councils and HSENI.
· Ensure that district council interests are fed into the joint planning processes.
3.6 All 12 partners (11 Councils and HSENI) are committed to the post;
· Costs associated with the post must be divided equally amongst the 12 partners.
· HSENI will continue to host the PLO in Ladas Drive and give day-to-day management support.
· Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council will continue to be the employing authority and recover costs as before.
· A review of the effectiveness of the PLO will be conducted in the second year to inform whether the post should continue and if so in what form.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.7 Belfast City Council’s contribution to the funding of this post will be £4000 per annum which is included within existing budget. There are no human resource implications as Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council will continue to be the employing authority and recover costs from the 10 partner Councils.
Asset and Other Implications
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
The Committee approved the continued funding for the Health and Safety Executive Joint Partnership Liaison Officer post until the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.