FORMER council staff could step in to help during the next few months with the chief executive given “free rein” to reappoint them.

Members of Ceredigion County Council approved an amendment from council leader Ellen ap Gwynn – made via video link from self isolation following a holiday – that Eifion Evans, in conjunction with a cabinet member, would be able to reappoint any retired staff required and willing to assist.

The move comes as attempts to reduce the impact of coronavirus across the UK have led to unprecedented demand on services.

Councillors at Thursday (March 19) full council meeting approved the pay policy for 2020/21 which included reference to reemploying staff who had left the authority due to early retirement, severance or voluntary redundancy.

A report to full council states that the permission of the chief executive and the cabinet member for people and organisation must provide permission for the reemployment of a chief officer under these circumstances.

This is to be extended to any other employee for five years after they leave, with the leader’s amendment postponing this rule temporarily.

Councillors voted in favour of the proposal “we provide free rein for the chief executive to redeploy retired staff as needs be to help in this period.”

The annual report includes pension contributions and job evaluation requirements.

Negotiations on the nationally agreed pay deal for 2020/21 that will come into effect on 1st April 2020 are ongoing and cannot therefore be included in the current statement, said deputy leader Cllr Ray Quant.

He added that first aiders will be paid £150 on completion of the necessary certificate and the telephone allowance for chief officers has now been removed.

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