South Cambridgeshire District Council extends four-day week trial

Cambridgeshire Council four-day weekSouth Cambridgeshire District Council has extended its four-day week trial by 12 months to March 2024, after data revealed that the initial pilot was a success.

The pilot began in January and was intended to last until March 2023, with around 450 desk-based staff involved. A health and wellbeing survey measured the impact on staff in August 2022, finding that they completed 100% of their work in 80% of the time for 100% pay. A follow up survey was carried out last month.

According to the council, the trial was launched to combat recruitment and retention issues. Before the trial, it was spending £2 million a year on agency staff, which it found could be halved if all posts were filled permanently. Its annual wage bill decreased by £300,000 throughout the pilot, which saved costs while still maintaining quality public services.

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South Cambridgeshire District Council also pledged to expand the four-day week trial as of this summer to its bin crews, which are part of the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste service with Cambridge City Council, pending agreement.

Councillor Bridget Smith, leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The data from our trial, which has been robustly analysed by a highly qualified team at the University of Cambridge, has shown that our services to residents and businesses have been maintained, or in some cases, improved, and there has been a positive impact on staff wellbeing. We can therefore confidently say that this trial has been a success.

“It is now time to see whether a four-day week can have a positive impact on the critical recruitment and retention issues that we face over a longer term. The savings we make will help support the delivery of frontline services, especially for those impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. This is all in line with our aim to be a modern and caring council. It is about working smarter and becoming more productive. That is exactly what we have done in the first part of this year.”