Agenda and minutes

Orbis Joint Committee
Monday, 16 October 2017 2.00 pm

Venue: County Hall North, West Sussex County Council, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham, RH12 1XH

Contact: Emma O'Donnell 

Items
No. Item

14/17

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

15/17

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 20 JANUARY 2017 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

16/17

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

17/17

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

17/17a

Members' Questions

17/17b

Public Questions

18/17

ORBIS JOINT COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE pdf icon PDF 94 KB

    To share the updated Terms of Reference for the Orbis Joint Committee and obtain approval.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Chairman suggested that due to the challenges being faced by each of the partnership authorities, it would be beneficial to have quarterly meetings in 2018.

    2.    There was some discussion about whether the additional meeting should be formal or informal.  Members were in agreement that quarterly formal meetings would be most appropriate.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    Officers to arrange an additional formal meeting for the Committee in April 2018.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Committee noted and approved the Terms of Reference, with one amendment to the frequency of meetings in 2018.

     

19/17

ORBIS BUSINESS PLAN REFRESH pdf icon PDF 201 KB

    This report provides an update to the Orbis Joint Committee on the development of a revised business plan and progress made on the key elements developed to date.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Sheila Little, Director of Finance for Orbis and Surrey County Council

    David Kuenssberg, Executive Director of Finance and Resources, Brighton & Hove City Council

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager, Surrey County Council

    Gail Perryman, Orbis Programme Co-ordinator, East Sussex County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers introduced the report and explained the key components of the refreshed business plan.  It was highlighted that there were currently no financial details within the business plan, although officers recognised the ongoing austerity with local government funding and were therefore working on an assumption that further savings options would be required by each of the Sovereign Partners.  Areas of search for a further 2-8% saving being required in 2019/20 and 2020/21 will be firmed up during the Medium Term Financial Planning process.

    2.    Members noted that by the end of 2019, the partnership will have delivered 20% saving on gross costs without impacting on service delivery and that there would come a point where it would not be possible for further efficiencies to made in some areas purely through the creation of the shared service and service integration.

    3.    Members questioned the management structure and suggested there was a lack of clarity about the challenges ahead and direction of leadership.  Officers explained that each partner authority had ownership with three sovereign leads.  The leads work together to provide strategic direction, whilst acting individually to address sovereign-specific challenges.

    4.    Members suggested added granularity in the business plan with greater detail would be more useful.  The inclusion of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would allow Members to assess whether the partnership was on track. 

    5.    Members acknowledged that within Business Operations, there were over 100 KPIs to measure performance, whilst in areas such as finance, as the nature of the business was different, those KPIs were less relevant and developed.  The Orbis Programme Director explained that performance metrics across finance, people and risk management were being developed with a view to pulling them into a balanced scorecard document to be able to review easily.

    6.    Members were informed that benchmarking was possible in some services, for example IT & Digital, however in other areas, services were working to develop their own.

    7.    Officers explained that delivering Centres of Expertise was core to the business model and would enable efficiencies to be delivered. 

    8.    Members noted additional income was expected to be generated by Business Operations winning additional business through accounts payable and receivable and pension administration services.  It was acknowledged however, that this was a difficult market with tight margins.

    9.    Members suggested that the business plan required consolidating into a smaller, more focussed document, including financials and for this to be reviewed at the next meeting in January 2018.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    Officers to amend the Orbis business plan refresh document based on Member feedback and bring back to the Committee in January 2018.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/17

20/17

AUGUST BUDGET MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 250 KB

    This report provides an update to the Joint Committee on the financial position of Orbis at the end of August 2017.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Sheila Little, Director of Finance for Orbis and Surrey County Council

    David Kuenssberg, Executive Director of Finances and Resources, Brighton & Hove City Council.

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers highlighted that Brighton and Hove would be integrated into the budget from the start of the financial year 2018/19.

    2.    Members noted that Orbis are forecasting an over-delivery of savings in 2017/18 with all areas rated at either green or amber and acknowledged that some early delivery of 2018/19 savings had also been achieved.

    3.    Members questioned the nature of the £350,000 budget for external advice which was approved as part of the original Orbis business plan.  Officers explained that this was a budget provision for the services of EY as part of creating the Orbis integrated shared service and there was no commitment to spend the full provision.  This was not contractual, but typically bought quarterly and is priced based on need using the partnership framework.  EY consider working with Orbis to be of value to them and as such, charge a reduced rate for their services.

    4.    Members sought clarity regarding the savings status of Business Operations in Table 3.  It was explained that £420,000 of savings were rated as on track, whilst £80,000 were at risk.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    Members noted the Budget Monitoring Report.

     

21/17

SERVICE UPDATE- FINANCE pdf icon PDF 31 KB

    This report provides an update to the Orbis Joint Committee on the integration of services across the Finance function.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Sheila Little, Director of Finance for Orbis and Surrey County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members received a presentation of slides from the Director of Finance.

    2.    Members noted that the finance teams across all three partners have been working together since last year and that an integrated finance leadership team was now in place to help ensure integration of the finance function develops and sustains an appropriate focus on sovereign specific compliance and control.

    3.    The Director of Finance explained that the Internal Audit team was further ahead in terms of integration, having worked together since October 2015 and audit reports have been remodelled so they are consistent to best practice and the same across all partners. The Internal Audit team’s integration has allowed data collection to be more streamlined and has provided opportunities for growth. 

    4.    Members were informed that a review of specialist services was underway which would involve a £2.5m spend across all partners and is aimed at developing Centres of Expertise leading to around 20% savings through the integration process.

    5.    Savings in the current financial year were mainly being delivered through vacancy management.

    6.    The Director of Finance update that the service had recently held a team away day to engage with staff, which feedback has indicated was very successful.

    7.    Members noted that all three partners currently have different external auditors for statutory account audits, however as of the start of 2018/19, all authorities would have the same external auditor, Grant Thornton.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    Members noted the content of the presentation.

     

     

22/17

SERVICE UPDATE- IT & DIGITAL pdf icon PDF 95 KB

    The Orbis Business Plan is predicated on the delivery of efficiencies achieved through service redesign and integration. This report provides an update on this process for the IT and Digital Service.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Matt Scott, Orbis Chief Information Officer

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members received a presentation from the Chief Information Officer.

    2.    Members noted that the IT & Digital (IT&D) service had undergone a restructure, with the leadership team having been reduced from 12 to five.  A 33% reduction of staff had already contributed to £1m savings in the current financial year.

    3.    The Chief Information Officer explained that following three years of service and team structure redesign, it was important that the changes have time to embed during the 2018/19 financial year, so to maintain staff morale and aid staff retention.

    4.    Members were informed that there were currently 133 IT&D projects underway, including piloting robotic systems within Business Operations. 

    5.    The Chief Information Officer explained that the IT&D spend across the partnership was below the industry average and therefore constitutes value for money.  Although there are risks associated with a lower level of investment, Members noted that IT&D supports over 15,000 users and trading customers provide a net contribution of £0.5m towards overheads.  Furthermore, it was acknowledged that IT&D was critical in ensuring the organisation could deliver all of its services. 

    6.    The Chief Information Officer explained that phase one of Hygiene factor delivery for equipping and enabling Orbis would be completed by the end of 2017/18.  Phase two will allow key systems to be shared and accessed across the partnership, including Property Asset Management System (PAMS), Sharepoint and SAP.

    7.    Members enquired about the contingencies in place for system failure.  It was explained that whilst contingencies were in place and were robust, disaster recovery systems operate using the last stored back up and can sometimes take a while to fully restore.  The focus going forward will be on ensuring high systems availability, therefore reducing the risk of requiring back up arrangements.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    Members noted the content of the presentation.

     

     

23/17

EY MARKET INSIGHT pdf icon PDF 139 KB

    The first iteration of the quarterly market insight bulletin is shared for information.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of Interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Neil Sartorio, EY

    Hayley Stearn, EY

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members noted that the Quarterly report provided was the first edition, therefore EY would have an update to present at each quarterly meeting of the committee.

    2.    Officers explained that EY invest across both UK & Ireland and on a global scale and are able to present their findings and practical examples of concepts that may be of benefit to the partnership.

    3.    Members noted that behavioural change was key in addressing challenges and that not all issues could be addressed by making savings alone.  A key example of this is demand management.

     

    Actions/ further information to be provided:

     

    Officers to circulate further information on behavioural science and relevant case studies to Committee Members.

     

    EY to present another update at the Committee’s next meeting and will be scheduled higher up on the agenda.

     

    Resolved:

     

    Members noted the update.

24/17

ORBIS JOINT COMMITTEE FORWARD PLAN pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    To review and agree the Committee’s Forward Work Programme

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members requested a service update from HR at the next meeting, covering absence levels and agency staffing levels.

    2.    It was suggested that EY present their next quarterly update to the Committee in January.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    Members noted the forward work programme.

     

25/17

DATE OF NEXT MEETING