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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 24th April 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.

Recommendation

1.             That the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) note the progress to date.

Reason for the Recommendation

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

Background

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 fourth 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.

Report went to cabinet on 14th March 2012, Reference C1669. A special report went to Council on 16th April 2012.

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

This has been built into the final 2012/13 budget which was approved by Council on 7th March 2012, Reference 951

                   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, although three directorates have not achieved some of the targets and are explained in detail below.

 

Learning & Development - Lifelong Learning

The closure of the Community Enterprise Centre has not gone ahead but is due to be progressed in 2012/13, however the financial saving of £14k for 2011/12 was found from within the service.

 

Social Services - Adult Services

The shortfall for Social services has moved from £286k to £461k.

 

Review and 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 was not achieved in 2011/12.  The full savings target will be achieved during 2012/13.

 

Reconfigure staffing structure in residential homes - The streamlining of management has not yet taken place and £121k of the savings target was not achieved during 2011/12.  It is, however, anticipated that the full saving will be made in 2012/13, and will be taken into account as part of the Savings Plan.

Stopping transport to day services for clients who are in receipt of DLA mobility allowance has not been progressed.  Changes in Welsh Government regulations have meant that this service provision must remain free to the client, therefore the full £130k proposed saving was not achieved as planned, and has now been built into the final 2012/13 budget which was approved by Council on 7th March 2012, Reference 951, following settlement from the Welsh Government for 2012/13.

 

Relocate Day Services from Woodlands to Gardenhurst – This part of the Day Services reorganisation was due at the beginning of 2012, however by 31st March 2012, the move still had not commenced therefore £55k of the savings target was not achieved in 2011/12.  A full saving will be achieved in 2012/13.

A review of high cost Learning Disability packages & renegotiation of 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, this will be taken into account in the Savings Plan.

Environmental & Economic Regeneration (E&ER)

 

Leisure Centres

E&ER is not expected to reach its saving of £500k.  The contract should be in place during the spring, £500k saving in 2011/12 was met by General Policy. 

 

Visible Services

Reduction of Street Lighting - the financial saving of £200k was met from reserves, a report is due to Cabinet in spring 2012 setting out proposals on savings

 

The table below summarises the Directorates’ positions as at 31st March 2012

 

 2011/12

Total Budget

£ 000’s

Savings Target

£ 000’s

Savings Achieved

£ 000’s

Savings Not Progressed

£ 000’s

Learning & Development

96,581

2,993

2,979

14

Social Services

46,738

1,634

1,173

461

 E&ER

31,280

1,744

1,044

700

 LPP&H

5,587

590

590

0

Finance, ICT & Property

21,172

830

830

0

Chief Executive

678

 

349

349

0

General Fund Reserve

-500

0

0

0

 Total

201,536

8,140

6,965

1,175

 

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

A report titled Council Insurance Review 2011/12 will be reported to this Committee on 24th April 2012.

                   Recommendation 11 - The Director of Social Services incorporate within his Change Plan a review of the service areas under Business Management and 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.  Work continues on a joint project with Bridgend for training with a draft structure being developed.

                   Recommendation 12 - The Director of Environmental and 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.  Savings were factored into 2011/12 savings from not filling posts and looking at other means of undertaking essential areas of work within the staff structure remaining.  The process of combining the Policy and Conservation and Design Units into one manager is underway.

 

Whilst savings are being made due to retaining vacant posts, the full 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 and 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 2012/13, moratorium on non-essential expenditure re-emphasised during 2012/13, including a review of car mileage payments.

 

- 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 will be reported to Corporate Management Team

- 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. 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 have been 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 fourth 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 during 2012/13 by 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 initial review has been carried out with the Building Cleaning & Security Manager, a full review will be undertaken following the Senior Management Restructure, during 2012/13.

 

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 was £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

 

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