Agenda Item No. 7
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION): 10 SEPTEMBER 2014
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 11 AUGUST 2014
C2433 RESHAPING SERVICES – A NEW CHANGE PROGRAMME FOR THE COUNCIL (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –
Approval was sought for a "Reshaping Services" strategy and associated change programme for the Council as outlined in Appendix 1 as attached to the report.
Central government’s austerity drive had created a period of unprecedented financial pressures in the public sector. The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s budget had already been squeezed for 2014/15, with further substantial savings necessary in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18. The latest draft Medium Term Financial Plan now estimated that this would equate to a reduction of over £10million in 2015/16 and £32 million in total over the next three years. Failure to deliver the required level of savings would not be an option for the Council. According to many analysts, a period of "permanent austerity" was now likely for Councils for the foreseeable future.
It was clear that the scale of the challenges to come would mean that "business as usual", however well managed, would not be enough. Continued incremental cuts to budgets would 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.
The challenge was therefore to consider alternative delivery models for services across the Council. Only in this way can we hope to maintain a broad range of services and to an acceptable standard.
However, given the Council's traditionally low funding base (20th out of 22 local authorities in terms of funding per head of population) the authority was well-versed in working together to find savings and had a long-established track record of achievement in this respect which should stand it in good stead in tackling future challenges.
A strategy encompassing the various models for service delivery and how it was proposed they were considered was set out in Appendix 1 as attached to the report. The delivery of the strategy, which would be very challenging, would be done through the means of a comprehensive change programme involving the Council, its staff, our partners, service recipients and other stakeholders.
It was anticipated that the programme as outlined would be driven and largely conducted in house with existing staff. However, additional external expertise would be required to advise in areas where in-house expertise is lacking, particularly in untried (for the Council) models of service delivery. It was not possible at this preliminary stage to estimate what the costs would be, but it was anticipated they would be met from existing resources.
The latest draft Medium Term Financial Plan estimated that the Council would need to find savings of over £10 million in 2015/16 and £32 million over the next three years. This would be a major challenge for the Council which this change programme aimed to help address.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(1) T H A T it be agreed in principle to institute a "Reshaping Services" strategy and change programme.
(2) T H A T the report be referred to all Scrutiny Committees for consultation, with Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) being the lead Scrutiny Committee.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to the Vale Local Service Board, Community Liaison Committee and Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee for consultation.
(4) T H A T engagement with Trade Unions on this report be instituted.
(5) T H A T briefing sessions on the issues raised in the strategy be arranged for Cabinet, Corporate Management Team, senior managers, Scrutiny Committees and the Vale Local Service Board
(6) T H A T a further report be presented back to Cabinet in the Autumn proposing a more detailed way forward and apprising Cabinet of comments received as a result of initial engagement with stakeholders.
Reasons for decisions
(1-6) To enable the Council to respond constructively to significantly diminishing resources by developing alternative means of service delivery in partnership with stakeholders.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 11 AUGUST 2014