City Hall has finally ruled out exploring the potential of introducing a four-day working week for its staff. 

Norwich City Council came under fire from some quarters after it agreed to investigate the idea following a motion put forward by Green councillors in September.

This would see employees reduce their working hours but remain on full pay in the interest of being fresher and more productive.

Norwich Evening News: City Hall made the decision after the motion was discussed by cabinetCity Hall made the decision after the motion was discussed by cabinet (Image: George Thompson)

An amendment from the Labour-controlled cabinet added that any change would need to be “based on evidence”.

The discussions came at a time when national debate was swirling around Lib Dem-led South Cambridgeshire District Council for implementing four-day weeks, amid criticism over the value for money for taxpayers.

The Norwich motion, which was passed without debate, drew criticism from members of the public and was followed by Michael Gove making clear that the government was opposed to the idea.

Four-day weeks were also previously dismissed by the Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council.

However, city council leader Mike Stonard has now confirmed to this newspaper that the authority would "not be doing any further work" to explore the idea.

“Cabinet has considered the motion to council about exploring the benefits of a reduced working week," he said.

“The constructive discussions with cabinet colleagues means I can be very clear on the way ahead – as things stand we will not be doing any further work to explore a four-day working week at the city council.

“We know what our key area of focus is and we are firmly committed to that: continuing to work hard on remaining financially stable so we can provide practical results for our residents.”

Norwich Evening News: Norwich City Council leader Mike StonardNorwich City Council leader Mike Stonard (Image: Newsquest)

The motion to City Hall was put forward by Green councillor Josh Worley, who said it was clear that the Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm working week does not fit with the modern age.

He argued that organisations which have undertaken four-day working weeks across a variety of sectors - mostly in the private sector - have sent increases in morale, staff satisfaction and productivity.

Speaking on City Hall's decision, Mr Worley said: "The evidence is very clear that a four-day working week boosts productivity and gets better value for money and for taxpayers.

"Many forward-thinking organisations are adopting this approach as it helps them to achieve more, with a motivated workforce. 

Norwich Evening News: Green councillor Josh WorleyGreen councillor Josh Worley (Image: Josh Worley)

"Norwich City Council is currently desperately trying to recruit and retain skilled staff, while spending millions of pounds on interim contracts.

"The chaos in the leadership at the council means they are missing opportunities to get a grip on critical issues like repairs in council housing or the blight of graffiti and flytipping.   

"A four-day week could cut dramatically the bill for interim staff and make sure we have skilled staff on a permanent basis.

"It is a real shame that, having agreed to support the four-day week proposal, the Labour cabinet at Norwich City Council has now bowed to pressure from the Conservatives who are simply trying to score political points out of this.

"A four-day week could bring huge benefits to the city, with more efficient working, and we need political leaders who are willing to try and improve things for the city."

The update arrives as David Thomas, Tory MP candidate for Norwich South at the next election, publishes results of a survey he conducted which found 75pc of locals either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea.

65pc of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the council should consult residents before forming a plan.

Norwich Evening News: David Thomas, Tory candidate for Norwich SouthDavid Thomas, Tory candidate for Norwich South (Image: Norwich Conservatives)

Mr Thomas surveyed more than 2,000 households in Norwich South and 121 responded.

In an open letter to Mr Stonard, he said: “Survey responses also highlighted specific worries, such as the fear of reduced accessibility to council services, decline in service quality, and the fairness of maintaining full pay despite reduced working hours whilst council tax payers continue to work full hours.

“These concerns are not just numbers; they represent the genuine anxieties and expectations of the people we serve.”

Norwich Evening News: Norwich South MP Clive LewisNorwich South MP Clive Lewis (Image: Office of Clive Lewis)

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, has previously described four-day weeks as "an absolute no-brainer". 

He said: “I hope that a four-day working week becomes the norm.”