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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 20th December, 2011

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Council and its Services - Update on Task and Finish Group Recommendation 10

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To report on the feasibility of implementing the Task and Finish Group's Recommendation 10.

Recommendations

1.             That current arrangements continue for Equalities, Improvement and Democratic Support functions.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             In order to maintain high standards of performance.

Background

 

2.             The Task and Finish Group set up to review the impact of the economic downturn on the Council and its services made a number of recommendations which were endorsed by Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 24 January 2011 and taken into account by Cabinet in its final proposals to the Council on the 2011/12 revenue budget on 21 February 2011.  Quarterly monitoring reports now go to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on all the Group's recommendations.  The Committee in its meeting of 11 October 2011 asked for a further report on Recommendation 10, viz:

"The Chief Executive to 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%.

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

The quarterly update report had proposed that no changes should take place in how these services are structured.  This report provides a detailed rationale for that proposal.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             Significant savings have already been made in all the service areas listed above, and no further cuts could be made without damaging them. Scrutiny and Cabinet functions should remain separate, as good practice suggests. Performance and Regulatory work have not reduced; indeed, expectations by auditors continue to increase, while budget savings in all areas of the Council mean that officer time to devote to performance improvement continues to reduce. The Council on the whole receives positive external audit and inspection reports while operating on decreasing numbers of staff.  A pool for personal assistants to the Mayor, Leader and Chief Executive effectively already exists, with cover being provided from within existing staff in periods of leave and to assist with events.  Savings in the Equalities Team have already been made as a contribution to the reduction to the Chief Executive's Department 's budget.  Equalities is a matter of corporate policy, and rests naturally with the Policy and Communications section of the Council.

4.             Appendix A gives more details of the services provided by the sections concerned and outlines the savings they have already made.

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

 

5.             Significant savings have been found already in all the teams affected. There would be no financial savings in moving the Equalities function to HR, and in merging other teams.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

 

6.             The teams concerned are responsible for ensuring that the Council complies with significant amounts of legislation (Equalities, Wales Programme for Improvement, local government measures, etc.).

Crime and Disorder Implications

 

7.             Equalities assist in promoting fair access to Council services, which reduces social exclusion, a key factor in crime and anti social behaviour. Performance monitoring, improvement of services, decision-making and scrutiny, which assist in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, are undertaken by teams outlined in this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

 

8.             Equalities assist in promoting fair access to Council services. Performance monitoring, improvement of services, decision-making and scrutiny, which assist in promoting fairness and access to services, are undertaken by teams outlined in this report.


 

 

Corporate/Service Objectives

 

9.             Core values: customer focus, integrity, continuous improvement, involvement and fairness; Community leadership - tackling the issues that matter most to local people, provide leadership in promoting the interests of the local community and engage effectively with citizens and stakeholders.

Policy Framework and Budget

 

10.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

 

11.        None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

 

12.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

 

None

 

Contact Officer

 

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development, tel: 01446 709760

 

Officers Consulted

 

Operational Manager - Democratic Services

 

Responsible Officer

 

John Maitland Evans, Chief Executive.