Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 24th January 2012


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

Proposals reported to Cabinet on the 19th October 2011, Reference C1483.  Cabinet subsequently accepted the supplemental recommendation of Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee.


  • 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.

Many targets have been achieved with some targets still in progress but expecting to reach the target required.  Two directorates are not going to achieve some of the targets and these are detailed below.


Social Services - Adult Services

The shortfall for Social services has moved from £286k to £447k.


Review & reorganise Adults Services senior management and professional posts – The OM post was vacated in November 2011 and the Hospital Social Work post has been vacated from January 2012, therefore £77k of the savings target will not be achieved this year.  The full savings target will be achieved next year.


Reconfigure staffing structure in residential homes - The streamlining of management has not yet taken place and £121k of the savings target will not be achieved this year.  It is, however, anticipated that the full saving will be made next year.


Stop transport to day services for clients who are in receipt of DLA mobility allowance - 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.


Relocate day services from Woodlands to Gardenhurst – This part of the day services reorganisation will take place at the beginning of 2012 therefore £41k of the savings target will not be achieved this year.  A full saving will be achieved next year.


Review high cost Learning Disability packages & renegotiate fees – A review of current packages shows that they are already at a competitive rate so there are no further savings to be made against the £78k target.

Social Services are presently endeavouring to reach their target savings and this shortfall has been incorporated into the Budget Action Recovery Plan.


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

E&ER is not expected to reach its saving of £500k.  The contract should be place for 1st April 2012 and £250k to be covered by policy leaving a shortfall of up to £250k (£170K being covered within EER as at the 30th November 2011). 


The table below summarises the Directorates’ positions as at December 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.


The Head of Strategic ICT has put forward a detailed report for consideration by Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on 24th January 2012.


- 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%.


- 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.


The Head of Performance & Development submitted a report to the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee on the 20th December 2011 where it was agreed that the current arrangements for Equalities, Improvement and Democratic functions be continued.


  • 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.  Work continues on a joint project with Bridgend for training with a draft structure being developed and further discussions taking place in January 2012.


  • 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.


Whilst savings are being made due to retaining vacant posts,, the review has not been undertaken due to the need to implement proposed senior management reduction changes in the first instance.  This process will have a bearing on the feasibility of the time scale of the review based upon the original recommendation.


  • 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; project team established by ICT to introduce new print strategy from 2012/2013, moratorium on non-essential expenditure re-emphasised by CMT via Staff net.


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


Protocol for use of agency staff developed by internal Audit in place including procedures for recording and monitoring: draft protocol for engagement of management consultants also developed and awaiting comments.


- 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 (ongoing).


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


Information has been collated and a workforce plan will be presented by the Head of Human Resources in the near future.


  • 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). The work is ongoing with the third sector to identify services and funding of services.  Work has progressed in relation to service for older people and is now starting in relation to adults with a learning disability.


  • 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 third 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 for consideration by Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee in April 2012.


- 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 in the new Financial Year 2012/13 by the Head of Human Resources.


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

Memorandum of Understanding signed with RCT, Bridgend and Merthyr on 23 December 2012. Collaboration to commence 1 April 2012


- 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 – 2014/15


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