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Agenda Item No. 4

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON : 11 FEBRUARY 2015

 

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET:  26 JANUARY 2015

 

C2615                        RESHAPING SERVICES – A NEW CHANGE PROGRAMME FOR THE COUNCIL (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -    

 

Cabinet was provided with an update on the development of the Reshaping Services Programme, and approval was sought to undertake detailed service reviews of those services identified for tranches one and two of the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

In August 2014, Cabinet agreed in principle to instituting a Reshaping Services strategy and change programme. The programme was the Council's proactive response to central government's austerity drive that had created a period of unprecedented financial pressure in the public sector. The Council's budget had been under pressure for a number of years with £28.8 million in savings identified between 2010/11 and 2014/15. Further substantial savings were necessary in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18. The latest projections now estimated that this would equate to a reduction of over £7 million in 2015/16 and approximately £24.6 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 the period of austerity was likely to continue for councils and the public sector.

 

The scale of the challenges meant that a "business as usual" approach, however well managed would not be enough. A strategy that consisted solely of 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 service and poor staff morale. The challenge was therefore to consider alternative delivery models for services across the Council.

 

Cabinet approved the Reshaping Services strategy on the 3 November, 2014. The Strategy was developed following a programme of consultation and engagement with key stakeholder groups, including briefing sessions for Members and Officers.

 

The Reshaping Services strategy provided a framework for the Council to work within for the next three to five years.

 

The aim of the strategy was 'to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.' The objectives were: 

  • To identify alternative ways of delivering services which provided better outcomes for citizens and/or more efficient means of delivery.
  • To meet the future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users.
  • To develop the Council and its partners to ensure they were able to meet future challenges. 

Stage one of the challenge process was overseen by the challenge group which comprised of the Leader, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder of the service area. The challenge group was supported by the Managing Director, Head of Finance, Head of Human Resources, Head of Performance & Development, the relevant Service Director and Executive Director of the Vale Council for Voluntary Services.

 

The challenge process was split into three stages that covered the following areas outlined below.

 

Stage One 

  • Service Area Baseline Assessments completed for all service areas.
  • Challenge group sessions.
  •  Scrutiny and engagement on identified opportunities.
  • Initial proposals to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees.

 

Stage Two

  • In-depth assessment of opportunities in tranches of projects.
  • Approval and scrutiny of business cases.

 

Stage Three

  • Implementation, monitoring and review.

The challenge group would meet to review all Council services and identify proposals for those services which should progress to stage two of the process. Cabinet approval would subsequently be sought for both the development of the detailed business cases at stage two and for those projects that were proposed to move to stage three (implementation). The challenge group met during September – November 2014 and it was intended that the challenge process would be repeated in September – November 2015.

 

The Programme Board would manage the overall programme in all its aspects. Members of the Board would consist of the Leader, Corporate Management Team, the Head of Human Resources and the Executive Director of the Vale Council for Voluntary Services. The sponsor of the programme was the Managing Director. Appendix A attached to the report illustrated the proposed governance arrangements for the Reshaping Services programme and projects.

 

The Council’s Corporate Management Team (CMT) would be responsible for the operational delivery of the Reshaping Services programme. Service Directors and Heads of Service would be tasked to use their expertise to challenge, review and identify alternative means of achieving objectives. Their role was to champion change and not to instinctively defend the status quo.

 

During the course of the Programme, update reports would be made to various stakeholders, including the Local Service Board, Community Joint Liaison Committee and Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee.

 

During Stage one of the Challenge process, Service Area Baseline Assessment and Cost Centre Analysis documents were completed by Service Directors for each service area (circa 70 areas were identified across the Authority). The documents highlighted the current performance, cost, risks, trends and opportunities as identified by Council service areas themselves. The Cost Centre Analysis documents included the existing savings targets which were contained in the initial budget proposals. These documents had been summarised into the following appendices: 

  • Appendix B – Development Services
  • Appendix C – Learning & Skills
  • Appendix D – Resources
  • Appendix E – Social Services
  • Appendix F – Visible Services & Housing

The Service Area Baseline Assessment documents and Cost Centre Analysis documents were presented to the challenge group by the relevant Service Director. This information, in addition to the group’s discussion and experience, was used to inform the development of the proposals outlined in the report as to how the programme should proceed.

 

Two workstreams had been developed to progress opportunities: a corporate projects workstream and a service specific projects workstream as described below. It was anticipated that the third (not for profit) sector would be involved across all corporate and service specific projects.

 

Corporate Workstream Projects - The challenge group identified a series of opportunities that would benefit from a corporate-wide response and these would be progressed as corporate workstream projects as follows.

 

  • Town and Community Councils
  • Demand Management
  • Effectiveness of Spend
  • Income Generation

 

Service Specific Projects Workstream - In addition to the corporate projects workstream described above, the challenge group considered specific service areas for possible projects.

 

  • Existing Service Analysis
  • Opportunity Analysis
  • Financial Appraisal & Prioritising Projects
  • Impact Analysis

 

Reshaping Services Programme Plan & Delivery Arrangements

Programme Plan

 

Appendix I as attached to the report described the various elements of the proposed initial overall Reshaping Services programme.

 

Whilst the service areas identified for inclusion in tranches one and two had been selected on the basis of the initial high-level assessment of their ability to benefit from reshaping via an alternative method of service delivery or to generate efficiencies, the business cases developed at stage two would consider the entirety of the opportunities offered within each of the service areas.

 

Subject to approval, the first tranche of projects in the programme plan would be developed as outlined in the following timetable. The timetable was indicative only as the time taken would depend on the service and complexity of the business case/implementation. The indicative timetable had been designed so that, as far as possible, savings resulting from projects were realised from the 2016/17 financial year.

 

Cabinet Approval to proceed to stage two

February 2015

Stage 2 Business Case development

February – August 2015

Cabinet / Scrutiny Committee Consideration of Business Case

Autumn 2015

 

Implementation of Approved Projects

January 2016 – July 2016

 

The challenge process had been designed to be repeated throughout the duration of the programme to ensure on-going and rigorous challenge of all service areas on a continuing basis. This process would allow lessons learnt from projects in the Vale of Glamorgan and elsewhere to inform future tranches of projects.

 

It was intended that the challenge group would therefore meet again next for the second round of challenge sessions in September 2015. The initial proposals resulting from these challenge sessions would form the third tranche of services to be reshaped and would be defined by February 2016 for Cabinet’s consideration.

 

The report also outlined the projects that, subject to approval, would proceed in tranche two. The indicative timetable for tranche two projects was outlined below and was subject to the same caveats as for tranche one. The indicative timetable had been designed so that, as far as possible, savings resulting from projects were realised from the 2017/18 financial year.

 

Cabinet Approval to proceed to stage two

February 2015

Stage 2 Business Case development

January – August 2016

Cabinet/Scrutiny Committee Consideration of Business Case

Autumn 2016

 

Implementation of Approved Projects

January 2017 – June 2017

 

There was recognition that the issues raised by the Reshaping Services strategy would be new to many Elected Members, Council Officers and partners. The programme was intended to consider fundamentally different ways of delivering services and this would require a change in culture for the Council.

 

At the meeting the Leader commented that the Council was committed to the reshaping of services and this was the next stage of this ongoing process.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the programme plan, governance arrangements and service reviews proposed for tranches one and two of the Reshaping Services programme as outlined in the report be approved as the basis for consideration by Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Local Service Board.

 

(4)       T H A T the detailed service review work be undertaken as outlined in the report and reported back to Cabinet for approval prior to implementation.

 

(5)       T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader, to procure external services as required to support the development and delivery of the Reshaping Services programme as outlined in the report.

 

(6)       T H A T further progress reports be brought back to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) in due course to provide updates on the progress of the Reshaping Services programme.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To consider the proposed approach to delivering the Reshaping Services programme and for work to commence on developing business cases for services to be reviewed following consideration by Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

 

(2)       To ensure any comments from the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) be referred back to Cabinet to inform a final decision on the implementation of the Reshaping Services programme as outlined in the report.

 

(3)       To refer the report to the Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and Local Service Board.

 

(4)       To enable detailed service reviews to be undertaken and documented in accordance with the Council’s project management methodology and ensure Cabinet approve implementation.

 

(5)       To ensure appropriate resources were available to undertake the work required.

 

(6)       To ensure Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) were kept fully informed of the progress being made on the programme.

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet –   26 JANUARY 2015