COUNCIL bosses have moved to reduce sickness levels at County Hall.

Senior managers at Flintshire Council have introduced a series of measures in a bid to improve sickness-related absence figures, in efforts praised by members of the local authority’s executive yesterday.

As the Leader reported recently, an average of 10.83 sick days per employee were taken in 2009-10.

In 2008-09 that figure was 11.61 days and Helen Stappleton, the council’s head of human resources and organisational development, said: “We have developed a new attendance management policy and approach for managers, implemented from April 1 this year, focusing on improving the performance and consistency of attendance management.

“We are applying challenging targets for all services and are focusing particularly on areas where attendance levels are a concern. We are not complacent in recognising the extent of the work that still needs to be undertaken.

“We know that the ‘best performing’ local authorities perform significantly better than Flintshire currently.”

Deputy council leader Tony Sharps told members at the executive meeting yesterday  that the majority of staff were hardworking.

He said: “We have a lot of good, hardworking people who come here when they are not well or are suffering from a terminal illness.

“They come here and they do their best and some have 100 per cent attendance records, but these so called ‘sickies’ are giving these hardworking staff a bad name and it’s time we flushed them out.

“We will not tolerate this any more.”

Members are now calling for the figures to be broken down day-by-day in a bid to tackle repeat offenders.

Ms Stappleton said: “We aspire to achieve the same high levels of attendance and with our new policy and a renewed focus we have greater confidence that real improvements will be achieved.”