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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 11 August, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Reshaping Services - A New Change Programme for the Council

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To propose a “Reshaping Services†strategy and associated change programme for the Council (Appendix 1).

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet agree in principle to instituting a “Reshaping Services†strategy and change programme

2.         That this report is referred to all Scrutiny Committees for consultation, with Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee being the lead Scrutiny Committee

3.         That this report is referred to the Vale Local Service Board, Community Liaison Committee and Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee for consultation

4.         That engagement with Trade Unions on this report is instituted

5.         That briefing sessions on the issues raised in the strategy are arranged for Cabinet, Corporate Management Team, senior managers, Scrutiny Committees and the Vale Local Service Board

6.         That a further report comes back to Cabinet in the Autumn proposing a more detailed way forward and apprising Cabinet of comments received as a result of initial engagement with stakeholders 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1-6  To enable the Council to respond constructively to significantly diminishing resources by developing alternative means of service delivery in partnership with stakeholders  

 

 

Background

2.         Central government’s austerity drive has created a period of unprecedented financial pressures in the public sector.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s budget has already been squeezed for 2014/15, with further substantial savings necessary in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.  The latest draft Medium Term Financial Plan now estimates that this will equate to a reduction of over £10million in 2015/16 and £32 million in total over the next three years.  Failure to deliver the required level of savings will not be an option for the Council.   According to many analysts, a period of “permanent austerity†is now likely for Councils for the foreseeable future.

3.         It is clear that the scale of the challenges to come will mean that “business as usualâ€, however well managed, will not be enough.  Continued incremental cuts to budgets will simply lead to a steady decline in the quality and availability of public services, dissatisfaction among those who use the services and poor staff morale. 

4.         The challenge is therefore to consider alternative delivery models for services across the Council.  Only in this way can we hope to maintain a broad range of services and to an acceptable standard.   

5.         However, given the Council's traditionally low funding base (20th out of 22 local authorities in terms of funding per head of population) the authority is well-versed in working together to find savings and has a long-established track record of achievement in this respect which should stand it in good stead in tackling future challenges.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         A strategy encompassing the various models for service delivery and how it is proposed they are considered is set out in Appendix 1.  The delivery of the strategy, which will be very challenging, will be done through the means of a comprehensive change programme involving the Council, its staff, our partners, service recipients and other stakeholders.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

7.         It is anticipated that the programme as outlined would be driven and largely conducted in house with existing staff.  However, additional external expertise will be required to advise in areas where in-house expertise is lacking, particularly in untried (for the Council) models of service delivery.  It is not possible at this preliminary stage to estimate what the costs would be, but it is anticipated they will be met from existing resources.

8.         The latest draft Medium Term Financial Plan estimates that that the Council will need to find savings of over £10 million in 2015/16 and £32 million over the next three years.  This will be a major challenge for the Council which this change programme aims to help address.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.         The Council has a Sustainable Development checklist which is completed when projects are scoped and then delivered.  This checklist would be completed at all stages in the proposed change programme.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.      It is proposed that a legal representative would be included in the support team to be set up as part of the change programme.  That representative would advise on the legal implications of options being considered.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.      To be considered as part of each individual service review conducted as part of the programme.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.      It will be a major undertaking to consider the equal opportunities implications of the change programme since each service has its own clientele and the "protected characteristics" of each clientele's members will have to be assessed in detail in Equalities Impact Assessments (EIAs) as changes are proposed.  In addition, the change programme as a whole will need to be subjected to an EIA.  The "Consultation" section below describes how the Council intends to develop the strategy in association with stakeholders, and scoping the programme in that sense has already commenced.  A fuller scoping EIA will accompany a further report to Cabinet in the Autumn.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.      The Council’s Corporate Plan for 2013-17 provides the overall set of objectives within which the change programme will happen.  The Corporate Plan may however require a review as the programme progresses.  The changes that occur as a result of the programme and any potential changes in the Corporate Plan will be reflected in the appropriate Service Plan. 

Policy Framework and Budget

14.      This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.      Given the scale and scope of the change programme it is essential that the public, our partners, our staff and other stakeholders are fully involved in its development.   Proposals for undertaking engagement are outlined in Appendix 1, under "Engagement with Stakeholders".

16.      The report has been discussed with the Trade Unions; however, as set out in the report, continuing engagement will be crucial to the success of the programme.  Exact mechanisms for engaging with staff and Trade Unions will be brought back to Cabinet in the Autumn.

17.      This report does not directly affect schools

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.      Corporate Resources is the Lead Scrutiny Committee

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

01446 709760

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

 

 

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