Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 11th October 2011


Report of the Director of Finance, ICT & Property


The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Council and its Services - Update on Progress of the Recommendations of the Task & Finish Group 


Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) with a quarterly update on progress against the recommendations of the Committee's Task & Finish Group set up to review the impact of the economic downturn on the Council and its services.


1.             That the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) note the progress to date and a further quarterly update report be presented to the January 2012 meeting of the Committee.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To assist the Committee in monitoring the implementation of the approved recommendations of the Task & Finish Group.


2.             The meeting of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) of 3rd June 2010 approved the setting up of a Task & Finish Group to review the impact of the economic downturn on the Council and its services (Minute no. 89 refers).

3.             The desired outcomes resulting from the review were seen as:

  • Identifying and mitigating where possible the impact the economic downturn will have on Council services.
  • Preparation of a detailed program on the proposed impact on Council services. Maintenance of up to date information on the Council’s position.
  • Ensuring relevant information / guidance is available for all.
  • Maintenance of appropriate services for the council tax payer and service recipients.

4.             The Recommendations of the Group were submitted for consideration to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 24th January 2011 (Minute no. 834 refers). The Committee endorsed the report of the Task & Finish Group and recommended to Cabinet that they have regard to its contents and the specific recommendations of the Group when making their final proposals for the 2011/12 budget and when setting the financial strategy for future years.

5.             One of the recommendations of the Committee was that 'The Director of Finance, ICT & Property bring a regular quarterly monitoring report, commencing in June 2011, to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on progress against the recommendations in the report'.

6.             Cabinet's Final Proposals to Council on the 2011/12 Revenue Budget, which took account of the views of the Committee, was approved at the Cabinet meeting of 21st February 2011 (Minute no. C1221) and Council meeting of 28th February 2011 (Minute no. 957).

Relevant Issues and Options

7.             This report constitutes the second quarterly monitoring report to Committee. Certain recommendations previously reported were deemed by Committee as having been completed. Progress against the remaining recommendations to date is as follows:

  • Recommendation 3 - Directors ensure that all specific measures required to achieve the above (savings targets of £12.617 million by 2013/14) are identified by June 2011 to be included in the Medium Term Financial Plan.

This was included in the Medium Term Financial Plan reported to Cabinet on 20th July 2011 and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 26th July 2011.

  • Recommendation 4 - One of the measures to be to reduce senior management structures achieving a minimum saving of £200,000 by 2012/13.

Proposals for a senior management reduction reported to the Cabinet meeting of 21st September 2011.

  • Recommendation 5 - Where inflation exceeds 2%, Directorates' savings targets be increased accordingly.

This formed part of the Medium Term Financial Plan which was reported to Cabinet on 20th July 2011 and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 26th July 2011.

  • Recommendation 7 - On the strict proviso that mitigating actions identified in the Service Implications are implemented, the areas for savings as detailed at Appendix F to this report (of the Task & Finish Group) be progressed by the relevant Directors and that the year indicated be regarded as the latest in which the saving could be realised.

Work is ongoing with some areas having achieved target and others still in progress.

Two directorates are not expecting to achieve their savings in the areas set out originally:


Social Services - Adult Services


Transport to Day Services - Changes in Welsh Government regulations have meant that this service provision must remain free to the client, so the full £130k proposed saving will not be achieved as planned.

Reorganise Day Care Services - Progress has been prolonged due to public consultation. However, Cabinet has now approved the reorganisation and there will be a reduced saving of £66k this year with full savings of £131k to be made next year.


Reconfigure staffing structures in Residential Care – The streamlining of management has not yet taken place and £90k of the £180k is still to be achieved.  However, it is anticipated that the full saving will be made next year.


Social Services are presently endeavouring to reach their target in other ways by the financial year end. The methods by which they are proposing to do so will be reported as part of the next quarterly monitoring report.


Environmental & Economic Regeneration (E&ER) – Leisure Centres


E&ER is not expected to reach its full saving of £500k which is presently expected to be short by £250k due to the delay in the Partnership Project for the Leisure Centres.  Tenders are expected to be returned in October 2011. An update on the position will be reported as part of the next quarterly monitoring report.


The table below summarises the Directorates’ positions as at September 2011.



Total Budget

£ 000’s

Savings Target

£ 000’s

Savings Achieved

£ 000’s

Savings In Progress

£ 000’s

Savings Not Progressed

£ 000’s

Learning & Development






Social Services


















Finance, ICT & Property






Chief Executive






General Fund Reserve













  • Recommendation 9 - The Director of Finance, ICT & Property carry out the following and report back to Cabinet:

- Consider the merger of the schools IT service into the Council's ICT Division to achieve 10% savings.


Discussions have taken place between the Head of Strategic ICT and Head of Strategic Planning & Performance in Learning & Development. It was concluded that a 10% saving could not be made by combining the two teams.  Further meetings are to take place with BPR to look at other opportunities and a report prepared for Cabinet.


- Review insurances within the Council to consider ways the Council can reduce the cost.


Property insurance has been obtained at a lower price than renewal and the rate is available for 5 years.  £1 million cost avoidance saving over 5 years is on track.


Training has taken place for Highway staff to help defend the Council in Court as claims exceeded £1.25 million last year. 


Council Liability Insurance is due to be re-tendered in April 2012.

  • Recommendation 10 - The Chief Executive carry out the following and report back to Cabinet:

- Consider an amalgamation of services for Cabinet Support, Scrutiny and Committee Services, Improvement & Development Team, Mayor's Office and Members' Services to achieve savings in the region of 10%.


Significant savings have already been made and good practice suggests that little value would be gained from merging Scrutiny, Cabinet and other teams.  The external auditor’s expectation is that work will increase in this area.


- Review the Equalities Team in order to ascertain future savings and whether the responsibilities for the staffing aspects should transfer to the Human Resources Division.


A meeting has been held with Head of Human Resources and Operational Manager (Corporate Policy & Communications). Further discussions to be held.


  • Recommendation 11 - The Director of Social Services incorporate within his Change Plan a review of the service areas under Business Management & Innovation and a review of the possibility of shared training on a regional basis.

The restructure has been completed, Staff are in post and the changes are working well.  Staff members in posts identified for deletion have been found alternative positions; one within the new structure and the other currently subject to a redeployment trial period elsewhere in the Directorate.


  • Recommendation 12 - The Director of Environmental & Economic Regeneration carry out the following and report back to Cabinet:

- Investigate the rationalisation of the service areas of Planning Policy & Transportation, Policy & Conservation, Road Safety and Public Transport to achieve savings.


- Investigate the rationalisation of the service areas for Urban Regeneration, Business Development and Town Management to achieve savings.


Both of these recommendations are currently under way in.  Savings have been factored into this year’s savings from not filling posts and looking at other means of undertaking essential areas of work within the staff structure remaining.


  • Recommendation 13 - The following areas be pursued by the Corporate Management Team:

- Eliminating non-essential expenditure (e.g. printing, publications, furniture, conferences, use of non-Council buildings for training purposes etc.).


Financial Procedure Note introduced for use of Council/external facilities for events; print strategy being reviewed by ICT to include details of publications, moratorium on non-essential expenditure re-emphasised by CMT via Staff net. This is ongoing.


- Developing a protocol for engagement of consultants and agency staff.


Protocols are currently being developed by Internal Audit and look to be completed by October.


- Seeking further ways to reduce the pay bill (e.g. voluntary reduction in working hour, use of the voluntary/third sector).


To be considered by individual services as part of the identification of target savings and a key factor within the progress of workforce planning within the Council.


- Building upon the current work to develop a robust program for workforce planning.

Information has been collated and a workforce plan will be presented in October.


  • Recommendation 15 - The Director of Social Services engage with the Vale Council for Voluntary Services and Citizens Advice Bureau on their ideas for more efficient and effective involvement of the voluntary sector, eliminating any areas of duplication and identifying savings, as part of the new Social Services Change Plan and report back on progress in this regard to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

Social Services Change Plan work stream entitled Co-Production of Services targets engaging with the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services and Citizens Advice Bureau on their ideas for more efficient and effective involvement of the voluntary sector and working with the Vale Centre for Voluntary Services in order to identify overlaps in Council funding of third sector social care services (completion date March 2012). Further to the meeting in June 2011, CAB agreed to produce a paper identifying proposals in respect of the above.  This paper is expected by October 2011.

  • Recommendation 16 - Equality Impact Assessments for each proposed area of saving be undertaken by the relevant chief officer.

Equality Impact Assessments are being prepared for each individual saving listed in Appendix E of the Cabinet report prior to implementation where relevant.


  • Recommendation 17 - Consultation is undertaken with the recognised trades unions.

A change forum has been set up with the trades unions to help co-ordinate the consultation process and deal with cross-directorate issues associated with the areas for savings.


  • Recommendation 18 - The Director of Finance, ICT & Property bring a regular quarterly monitoring report, commencing in June 2011, to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on progress against the recommendations in the report.

This agenda item constitutes the second of such reports.


  • Recommendation 19 - The progress on the actions identified with ** in section 3.6 of the (Task & Finish Group) report be reported to Scrutiny Committee as part of the usual recommendation tracking process:

- An assessment of the continued need to obtain external legal advice in order to realise possible savings.

The Director of Legal, Public Protection & Housing Services in conjunction with the Director of Finance ICT and Property is preparing a joint report.


- Consideration to the sharing of services with other local authorities’ e.g. occupational health, training & development, health & safety.


Meetings have continued to take place with Bridgend to explore collaboration opportunities in occupational health.  To be reviewed at the end of the Financial Year.


- Reviewing the Arts Development role and considering working with private partners or other local authorities.

Draft legal agreement between four authorities (Bridgend, RCT, Merthyr & Vale of Glamorgan) is under way. There will be a shadow merger of staff from 1st October and full merger due April 2012. Staff will be seconded to RCT and substantive posts to remain with ‘home’ authorities.


- A business case in respect of proposals regarding waste collection re-arrangement be considered.

The report to cabinet in July approved the change to co-mingled recycling collection from 19th September 2011.


- Revisiting the service area of Building Cleaning Services following the conclusion of the Housing Stock Transfer ballot.


An Option Appraisal is currently being undertaken and should be completed by the end of the Financial Year.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

8.             The 2011/12 revenue budget was approved by Council on 28th February 2011. This set savings targets of £12.617 million to be achieved by 2013/14 (plus £5.151 million for schools). The 2011/12 target for savings is £8.14 million.

9.             There are a number of potential redundancies over the next few years that will require the roll-out of a number of measures including the strengthening of the Council’s redeployment processes, outplacement support available to “at risk”  staff, the tightening of the Council’s vacancy control processes and, where appropriate the targeted search for voluntary redundancies/reduced hours. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.        In light of the staffing implications of the savings proposals it is essential to ensure that consultation with the trade unions is carried out in accordance with the Council’s Avoiding Redundancy Policy and related legal requirements.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.        None as a direct consequence of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.        Equality Impact Assessments will be required to be completed for each proposed area for saving where relevant.

Corporate/Service Objectives

13.        The work of the Task & Finish Group had regard to all of the Council’s objectives as set out in the Corporate Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

14.        This report is in accordance with the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

15.        The report of the Task & Finish Group was drawn up following extensive consultation with internal and external stakeholders.

Background Papers

Medium Term Financial Plan 2010/11 – 2013/14


Report of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) Task & Finish Group 24th January 2011


Final Proposals for the Revenue Budget 2011/12 (Cabinet 21st February 2011) 


Contact Officer

Alan Jenkins, Tel: 01446 709254


Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team


Heads of Service


Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies

Director of Finance, ICT and Property