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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting 3rd November 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Reshaping Services – A New Change Programme for the Council

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Cabinet with an update on the development of the Reshaping Services Change Programme.

2.         To report the outcomes of consultation and engagement with Scrutiny Committees and other stakeholder groups.

3.         To propose an updated version of the Reshaping Services strategy and associated change programme for the Council based on consultation and engagement activities completed to date.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet consider the views of Scrutiny Committees and other stakeholder groups as outlined in this report.

2.         That Cabinet approves the Reshaping Services Strategy and change programme as set out in this report and associated appendices.

3.         That further reports are brought to Cabinet in due course to provide updates on the progress of the Reshaping Services corporate change programme.

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable Cabinet to consider the views of Scrutiny Committees and other stakeholder groups in reaching a decision.

2.         To enable the council to respond constructively to significantly diminishing resources by developing alternative means of service delivery in partnership with stakeholders.

3.         To ensure Cabinet is kept fully informed of the progress being made on the programme.

Background

4.         In August 2014, Cabinet agreed in principle to instituting a Reshaping Services strategy and change programme.

5.         The Reshaping Services programme is the Council’s proactive response to central government’s austerity drive that has created a period of unprecedented financial pressures in the public sector. The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s budget has already been under pressure for a number of years with £28.8million in savings identified since 2010/11. Further substantial savings are 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 £32million 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 the period of austerity is likely to continue for councils and the public sector.

6.         It is clear that the scale of the challenges to come will mean that “business as usualâ€, however well managed, will not be enough. A strategy that consists solely of 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.

7.         The challenge is therefore to consider alternative delivery models for services across the Council. This is essential to mitigate the impact of cuts and assist in continuing to provide priority services.

8.         Nevertheless, 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

9.         Cabinet’s approval in principle to instituting the Reshaping Services strategy and change programme was subject to further work being undertaken on the strategy. This work involved consultation and engagement activities being undertaken with key stakeholder groups, the delivery of briefing sessions to members and officers and the development of further detail on the way forward.

10.      This report and the updated Reshaping Services Strategy (Appendix 1) provide details of the work undertaken to date and how it is proposed the strategy be implemented.

 

Consultation & Engagement

11.      In developing the Reshaping Services programme, the Council recognises the importance of working with a range of stakeholders to identify alternative approaches to service delivery. A key aspect of the work completed since August 2014 has been to consult and engage with a range of stakeholder groups in order to refine both the Reshaping Services Strategy and the approach to mobilising and implementing it. The consultation process has been extremely valuable and the Leader would like to express thanks to all those who have been involved to date.

12.      The following groups have been consulted:

·               All Council Scrutiny Committees (with Corporate Resources being the lead Committee)

·               Community Liaison Committee

·               Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee

·               Trade Unions

·               Local Service Board partners including Health and the Police

13.      Consistent themes arising from the consultation exercise included:

·               The importance of clear governance and reporting;

·               The need to open up the challenge process to a range of stakeholders;

·               The requirement for a clear two-way communications plan to be put in place;

·               The recognition of the organisational development and learning that is required to support a programme of such significant change.

·               Recognition that appropriate resources will be required to deliver change on this scale.

14.      The strategy has been updated to incorporate these themes. Detail has been included in the strategy relating to the way in which the Reshaping Services change programme will be governed, including a description of the functions of the Cabinet Working Group (the “Challenge Groupâ€), the Council’s Corporate Management Team acting as a Programme Board and the role of Scrutiny Committees and partners in the process.

15.      The process for challenging council services to identify different ways of delivering is described in further detail in the strategy (Appendix 1). The process describes how the initial short-list of potential services to be reshaped drawn up by the Challenge Group will be subject to consideration by the Council’s Scrutiny Committees and other partners such as the voluntary sector.

16.      A high level communications plan is included in the strategy, highlighting the key stakeholder groups that will be communicated with and engaged throughout the delivery of the programme. A description of the methods and frequency of these activities are also included.

17.      Further information relating to the organisational development activities that will be necessary to support the Council’s elected members and officers and partner organisations to adapt to the changing environment has been included in the strategy.

18.      Consideration has been given to the way in which the Reshaping Services programme will be delivered, including the resources required to do so. Details relating to resourcing arrangements are included in the strategy and financial implications section of this report.

19.      The following describes the specific feedback from consultees.

 

Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee

20.      The recommendations from the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee (Minute 378) were:

·               That the proposal for a “Reshaping Services†strategy and change programme to be instituted be agreed in principle.

·               That a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in the autumn providing the proposals for a more detailed way forward and apprising Members of comments received as a result of any initial engagement with stakeholders.

·               That Cabinet be requested to consider developing a Communication Strategy for the Reshaping Services programme in order to educate stakeholders and encourage engagement.

21.      It is proposed that this report, and future reports on the Reshaping Services programme, be referred to the Corporate Resources Committee as the lead scrutiny committee for the programme. This report provides a summary of the views of consulted stakeholders. The on-going role that scrutiny committees will play in the challenge process is described in the Reshaping Services Strategy at Appendix 1, including how future reporting on the programme will take place. When specific proposals have been developed for reshaping a service it is proposed that in addition to being reported to the Corporate Resources Committee these will also be reported to the relevant scrutiny committee(s) for that service.

22.      The suggestion to develop a Communications Strategy for the programme is welcomed to support education and engagement of all relevant stakeholders. A high level communications plan is included in the strategy at Appendix 1 and details of activities delivered to date and planned for the short term are set out in this report.

 

Economy & Environment Scrutiny Committee

23.      The recommendations from the Economy & Environment Scrutiny Committee (Minute 331) were:

·               That the “Reshaping Services†strategy and the associated change programme for the Council be noted.

·               That Cabinet considers options regarding the creation of either a Working Group or various Sub-Groups, the exact make-up and remit of which should be clearly defined and agreed by Cabinet.

24.      In order to manage the programme, it is acknowledged that an appropriate programme governance structure will be vital. A Cabinet Working Group has been established and is referred to as the “Challenge Groupâ€. The challenge process and role of the Challenge Group is described in the Reshaping Services Strategy at Appendix 1. In summary, the process will involve all services being reviewed to identify the potential for delivering differently in order to meet the aims of the programme. The Challenge Group comprises the Leader, Deputy Leader and the relevant portfolio holder for the service area. The Challenge Group is attended by the Managing Director, Head of Finance, Head of Human Resources and Head of Performance and Development as well as the relevant service Director(s).

 

 

Housing & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee

25.      The Housing & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee (Minute 365) recommended that the decisions of Cabinet be endorsed following discussion of the Cabinet Report and Strategy.

 

Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee

26.      The Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee (Minute 359) recommended that the report be noted in recognition that further consultation would be undertaken and a further report would be presented to the Committee in due course.

 

Social Care & Health Scrutiny Committee

27.      The Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee (Minute 321) recommended that the report be noted to enable the Committee to have oversight of a major Council strategy to reshape services over the next three to five years.

28.      The on-going role that scrutiny committees will play in the challenge process is also described in the Reshaping Services Strategy, including how future reporting on the programme will take place.

 

Community Liaison Committee

29.      The recommendations from the Community Liaison Committee (Minute 386) were:

·               That an audit is undertaken of the services currently provided by the town and Community Councils across the Vale of Glamorgan and that a formal request is made as to what services, if any, they would look to take on in the future.

·               That the views of the Community Liaison Committee and Town and Community Council representatives be forwarded to Cabinet for their consideration.

30.      The feedback from the Community Liaison Committee highlights the importance of working with Town and Community Councils in the delivery of the Reshaping Services programme. The recommendation to undertake a review of services currently provided will be taken forward. It is proposed that this exercise will also capture initial ideas on which services these bodies could provide and the way in which the Council could support this. In order to maximise the value of this exercise it is proposed that a seminar will be arranged for all elected Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and members of the Community Liaison Committee. The seminar will provide further information as to the way in which the relationship between the Council and Town and Community Councils could develop. Organisations with specific and relevant experience of this process would be invited to present at this seminar and answer questions that would then inform the data gathering exercise.

 

Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee

31.      The recommendations from the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee (Minute 424) were:

·               That it be recognised that the Third Sector were keen to engage in meaningful conversations about any proposals with the aim of contributing to Reshaping Services.

·               That involvement in discussions about Reshaping Services from the beginning would support the Third Sector contribution.

·               That having an identified person within the Council to liaise with the Third Sector about proposals submitted would help facilitate those conversations and they could ensure that other Council staff were involved in discussions as appropriate.

·               That additional resources [would be required] to enable the Third Sector to participate fully in the co-production and planning involved in this initiative.

32.      Working with the voluntary sector will be essential in taking forward the Reshaping Services strategy and this is demonstrated by the involvement of these organisations early on in the development of the programme. It is proposed that the voluntary sector be involved in reviewing the initial outputs from the challenge process. This will allow the experience and skills of the voluntary sector to contribute to final proposals for which services will undertake reshaping work.

33.      It is also recognised that the voluntary sector is a rich source of ideas for how services could be delivered in the future. The Head of Performance and Development will act as the single point of contact for the voluntary sector to submit ideas to the council in this regard. This officer will ensure that any ideas are given due consideration and investigated by the relevant service area and corporate support team and used to inform the ongoing work of the Reshaping Services programme.

34.      Once services are identified for reshaping activity, a business case will be required to identify the basis on which the project should proceed. This work will include consideration of the resources required to ensure projects are successful in delivering their stated objectives. The Reshaping Services programme will be inextricably linked with the Council’s budget process and this will ensure due consideration is given to the resources required and expected savings from individual projects.

 

Trade Unions

35.      A process of engagement on the strategy has also commenced with the Trade Unions via the Council’s Change Forum.

36.      As part of the initial engagement, the trade unions recognised the need for the overall reshaping services strategy but stressed the need for representatives to be consulted on the strategy as it develops and on any specific projects arising from the strategy.

37.      It has been agreed that trade union consultation on the overall strategy would continue through the Change Forum, supplemented as appropriate by a separate staff engagement process. Regular reports will also be submitted to the Council’s Joint Consultative Forum.

 

Vale Local Service Board (LSB)

38.      The LSB discussed the Reshaping Services Strategy at its August meeting. The Leader and Managing Director presented the strategy, sought views and offered to meet with partners individually to discuss the strategy in more detail. The LSB welcomed the opportunity to have these more detailed discussions, and it was agreed that it is critical for open and honest discussions to take place to ensure that all partners consider the impact of any budget cuts or changes in services have on others.

39.      The Council is mindful of the potential impact any changes to how services are delivered will have on partners. It is equally important any changes made by partner organisations take the Council’s Reshaping Services strategy into account. For this reason, the LSB agreed the need to ensure all partners are engaged in discussions and work together, especially given that it is a difficult time financially for all partners. There was agreement that there has to be a collective view on what the best choices are for communities.

40.      The LSB offers an ideal forum to identify potential ways of delivering services in a different way across the Vale of Glamorgan. As such it is proposed that the LSB receives regular updates on the Reshaping Services programme as it develops in order that opportunities can be identified and experiences shared between all partners. Additionally, the annual Local Service Forum will be chaired by the Chair of the Vale Council for Voluntary Services and consider issues related to the changing public sector environment and how partners, including the voluntary sector, can work together to respond.

41.      A series of externally facilitated co-production “master classes†are also being arranged for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Councils and partners to develop further understanding in this area.

 

Overall Conclusions from Consultation on the Reshaping Services Strategy

42.      The overall conclusion of the consultation and engagement activities outlined above is that there is widespread support for the Reshaping Services strategy. There is recognition that this strategy represents new territory for the Council and partners but the consultation process indicated a willingness to engage and work together in its delivery. The strategy has been refined to reflect the consultation process as described above. The specific activities that will follow in the coming months are described further in this report, with an accompanying delivery plan for tranche 1 projects.

 

Additional Activities, Research & Information Gathering

43.      The Reshaping Services strategy provides a framework for the Council to work within for the next three to five years. As such, there will be a need to continually review the efforts being made throughout the United Kingdom and other comparable countries in how public services are developing to meet the changing financial and social demands placed on them.

44.      Individual elected members have engaged with the consultation process, providing useful examples and case studies of work being undertaken elsewhere in the country. This information is being compiled by the Head of Performance and Development to complement the research also being undertaken by council officers and informed by the continued liaison with external bodies such as SOLACE, One Voice Wales and others. This body of work will be brought together to inform the decision making process regarding those services initially targeted for reshaping work and will be the subject of future reports to Cabinet.

45.      In addition, the Leader and Managing Director have met with representatives of Town Councils and the VCVS to discuss the role these organisations could play in the future delivery of services. These meetings have been very positive and where appropriate will continue.

 

Strategy Implementation

46.      The Reshaping Services strategy has been developed to deliver a corporate change programme for the whole authority. Change programmes of this kind are complex and comprise a range of different elements of work that are required to ensure success, including:

·               A robust implementation approach

·               On-going consultation and communications activities

·               The support of a structured organisational development plan

47.      The implementation of the strategy will be consistent with the Council’s project management toolkit, including consideration of sustainability, equality and legislative requirements.

 

Implementation Approach

48.      The process for implementing the Reshaping Services programme is described in detail in the Reshaping Services strategy, including a description of the proposed governance arrangements for the programme.

49.      The strategy will be implemented through a series of on-going reviews of all service areas. The initial stage will be the completion of service baseline assessments to identify current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing each service. These assessments, complemented by a cost centre analysis, will be presented by the service Director to the Challenge Group at challenge sessions. These sessions will identify potential areas for reshaping in addition to making links with the work of the Budget Working group regarding the potential to deliver additional savings. Following these sessions, the challenge group will engage partners (including the voluntary sector) and Scrutiny Committees in determining initial proposals for consideration by Cabinet. If approved, these initial proposals would be developed as full business cases for further approval and scrutiny prior to implementation.

50.      As the programme will be on-going over the medium term, the challenge process will commence again for subsequent tranches of projects in 2015-18, over which period all services will be the subject of on-going review.  This process will allow lessons learnt from projects in the Vale of Glamorgan and elsewhere to inform future projects.

51.      The following sets out the delivery plan for the first tranche of projects:

  

Tranche 1 Delivery Plan

 

Phase

Activity

Status

1

August – October 2014

 

Outline strategy to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees

Outline strategy to Local Service Board

Outline strategy to Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee Outline strategy to Community Liaison Committee

Outline strategy to Change Forum with Trade Unions

 

Completed:

Consultation and engagement activities completed on the outline strategy and strategy updated to include this feedback.

 

2

October – November 2014

 

Substantive strategy to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees.

Communications strategy including external and staff and Trade Union engagement/consultation agreed.

Challenge Meetings to review service area baseline assessments for all directorates.

Governance structure set up.

 

 

In progress:

The first series of challenge sessions is underway.

Engagement and communications plans have been drafted for discussion and agreement with stakeholders as appropriate.

The governance structure has been established.

3

November 2014 – March 2015

 

Challenge meetings completed in November.

The Challenge Group determines proposals for the first tranche of reshaping projects, engages partners and scrutiny committees in the process and identifies opportunities for other savings to inform the work of the budget working group.

Report to Cabinet on initial proposals for further development by February, for consideration by Scrutiny Committees.

Staff and Trade Union engagement/consultation programme implemented.

 

Not yet started.

4

March 2015 – September 2015

 

Approved proposals are developed into business cases for consideration by Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees in September.

Second round of service reviews commence.

 

Not yet started.

5

September 2015 – April 2016

 

First tranche of projects are implemented as part of a rolling programme.

 

Not yet started.

Further tranches of projects will follow the process described above, with tranche two identified by September 2015.

 

52.      It is recognised that there may be some projects that will require more time to develop business cases than the timetable above allows. In these cases, these projects would be subject to an individual timetable in order to ensure appropriate feasibility and planning work is undertaken whilst recognising the need to deliver change.

53.      The implementation of the programme will be assisted by a dedicated programme team, comprising council officers and supplemented with external expertise as required.

 

Consultation & Communication

54.      The Reshaping Services strategy has been welcomed by groups that have been consulted and engaged with to date. This demonstrates the importance of external communications to the successful delivery of the strategy. It is essential that residents and service users are involved and kept informed of the changes proposed as part of Reshaping Services. There is also a need to ensure Council staff are kept apprised of the programme’s development and involved in the way in which the work is taken forward.

55.      A high level communications plan is included in the strategy and describes the activities and stakeholder groups that will be communicated with.

56.      Over the coming months, two-way communication will continue via meetings and reports to the Committees and groups consulted with to date. A standing item has been included on the monthly Change Forum meeting with the Trade Unions.  Information will be provided to residents and service users as the programme develops. Staff will be kept apprised of progress through internal mechanisms such as the monthly staff newsletter, “Core Briefâ€, and team meetings.

57.      It is recognised and hoped that the strategy will continue to develop as a result of these communications.

 

Organisational Development

58.      There is recognition that the issues raised by the Reshaping Services strategy are new to many elected members, council officers and partners. The programme is intended to consider fundamentally different ways of delivering services and this will require a change in culture for the Council. For these reasons a series of organisational development activities will play a key role in delivering the Reshaping Services programme.

59.      For example, the Council’s External Auditors, Grant Thornton, provided a presentation to all elected members on Alternative Service Delivery Models during September. This was the first of a number of member development and information sessions that will continue throughout the duration of the programme.

60.      In August, the Managing Director briefed all Chief Officers on the Reshaping Services programme, with a particular emphasis on how the reshaping process will be delivered as described above. The reaction of Chief Officers was positive to the programme, in particular the planned level of engagement with managers in finding innovative ways to address the need to make significant changes to the way services are delivered. Further education and information was requested on some of the new forms of service delivery methods, and this will be developed as part of the organisational development element of the programme.

61.      Organisational learning from others such as the various local government working groups will be imperative to support the delivery of the programme and the step-change in how the Council works with and supports its residents and partners. Links will be made with the Council’s Workforce Plan to ensure this is supported.

62.      The Council’s annual workforce planning seminar in November will this year be centred around the theme of “reshaping services†and the specific implications for our current and future workforce. Links will continue to be made with the Council’s Workforce Plan to ensure this is supported.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

63.      There will be costs associated with delivering the Reshaping Services programme and its associated projects. Costs will be incurred in areas such as project/programme management, developing capacity and capability, and the procurement of specialist expertise. Activities will be delivered by a mix of internal and external resources. For the initial phase of work, these costs are not anticipated to exceed £150k and will be met from the Council’s Project Fund reserve.

64.      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.

65.      As identified in the Reshaping Services strategy, the change programme will have significant implications for staff and methods of working.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

66.      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)

67.      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

68.      These implementations will be considered as part of each individual service review conducted as part of the programme.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

69.      An Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) is appended to this report (Appendix 2). The EIA has been developed for the whole of the Reshaping Services strategy. 

70.      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 will have to be assessed in detail in Equalities Impact Assessments (EIAs) as changes are proposed.  

Corporate/Service Objectives

71.      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

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

73.      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".

74.      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.

75.      This report does not directly affect schools.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

76.      Corporate Resources is the lead scrutiny committee for the Reshaping Services programme. The role of scrutiny committees in the implementation of the strategy is described in the body of this report and at Appendix 1.

Background Papers

Appendix 1 – Reshaping Services Strategy

Appendix 2 - Equality Impact Assessment

Reshaping Services – A New Change Programme for the Council, Cabinet, 11th August 2014

 

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Head of Human Resources

Head of Finance

Business Improvement Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

 

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