Agenda and minutes

Orbis Joint Committee
Friday, 19 January 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: East Sussex County Council, County Hall, St Anne's Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1UE

Contact: Emma O'Donnell 

Items
No. Item

1/18

Apologies for absence

2/18

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 131 KB

3/18

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 no declarations of interest.

4/18

EY MARKET INSIGHT pdf icon PDF 141 KB

    Orbis was created as the ‘compelling alternative’ for back office service delivery in Surrey, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, with an ambition to pioneer new models of service delivery. EY has been engaged as a strategic partner to Orbis to support the ongoing development of the partnership and to enable Orbis to learn from market leading practice in order to remain sustainable.

     

    To raise awareness of the wider operating context, in August 2017 EY launched a quarterly market insight bulletin tailored to Orbis. This aims to share ‘snap shot’ insights from the local, national and international arena to bring fresh perspectives, share examples of where new initiatives are being introduced and raise questions for Orbis to consider as part of its ongoing evolution. The second iteration of the quarterly market insight bulletin is shared for information.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered a report introduced by Kevin Foster on the work done with EY, and welcomed Neil Sartorio and Hayley Stearn from EY to the meeting.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Hayley Stearn, EY

    Neil Sartorio, EY

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

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

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Committee’s attention was drawn to the State of Shared Services report, which identified that the majority of organisations had an in-house model and were not outsourced, and that there was a growing trend towards customer-centric services. The focus tends to be on the sustainability of the operating model, rather than whether it is created to generate profit or to break even.

    2.    Members asked questions about how to define a measurement of Value Added. It was acknowledged that this is more of a challenge than transactional metrics, but it was set out that proxy measurements on agreed areas of shared value are the most illustrative way of achieving this aim.

    3.    Neil Sartorio highlighted some of the projects set out in the Quarterly Market Insight. This included the EYC3X project, which uses data analytics to identify where early intervention could assist children in care and the homeless, in the light of the growing challenge of the current funding situation.

    4.    Officers illustrated how Orbis would assist staff in front line services implement the learning from the EY insight, such as shared learning between the authorities or shared back office services such as Finance teams, but acknowledged that it could be hard to quantify in terms of avoided future costs.

    5.    Members asked questions about the Cyber Security insight, and were informed that it is managed as an Orbis function, and that each partner authority receives its own update. It was also confirmed that cyber security will feature on the performance dashboard.

     

    RESOLVED:

    Members noted the presentation.

5/18

NOVEMBER BUDGET MONITORING pdf icon PDF 194 KB

    To provide an update to the Joint Committee on the financial position of Orbis at the end of November 2017.

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the Budget Monitoring position for November 2017, introduced by the Chief Operating Officer.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Louise Lawson, Senior Principal Accountant, Surrey County Council

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

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers set out the projected over-delivery of savings, together with the spend on agency staff and absence levels, as requested at a previous Committee meeting.

    2.    Officers clarified that the budgets had been set two years ago with estimates of the technology input that would be required. This work had been delivered within budget and so the declared underspends had been returned to the sovereign authorities to fund further change programmes.

    3.    Other savings had been achieved by using secondments to the programme teams (rather than recruitment) and using existing resources.

    4.    Members asked questions about the absence levels, and were informed that BHCC will be adopting First Care, using the learning from ESCC and the purchasing power of the Orbis partnership.

     

    RESOLVED:

    Members noted the updated budget position

     

6/18

ORBIS OPERATING BUDGET 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

    To provide an update to the Joint Committee on the 2018/19 Orbis Operating budget, in order for the Joint Committee to recommend an estimate of the 2018/19 contributions to be made by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Surrey County Council (SCC).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the Orbis Operating Budget introduced by the Chief Operating Officer.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

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

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members queried the assumption of 1% pay inflation in the light of recent developments, and were advised that further modelling work on enhanced contributions to Orbis would be needed if partner authorities decided higher rates. It was confirmed that none of the authorities had set their pay awards.

    2.    It was confirmed that the ratio of contributions would be finalised and written into the Inter Authority Agreement.

     

    RESOLVED:

    (1) Members recommended an estimated level of 2018/19 contributions to the Joint Operating Budget to Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and Surrey County Council of £65.3m, in a ratio of 21:24:55, noting that this may alter following review.

    (2) approved the transfers between the operating budget and the East Sussex County Council and Surrey County Council managed on behalf of budgets.

7/18

BUSINESS PLAN pdf icon PDF 460 KB

    A three year business plan for Orbis is now complete following a review of work in progress by the Joint Committee in October 2017.  The Joint Committee is asked to review and approve the business plan.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the revised Business Plan introduced by Kevin Foster.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager

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

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

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers introduced the Plan which had been produced in the Orbis style to tell the story of what Orbis is and why it is different, together with the culture and values that underpin it. The report also provided a draft Performance Framework and benchmarking information, requested by the Committee at a previous meeting.

    2.    Members remarked that a key consideration was an ability to demonstrate the value added to services by Orbis, particularly when the more straightforward efficiency savings have been realised.

    3.    A timetable, setting out the state of services that have been and are to be integrated was suggested. Officers advised that, at a Head of Service level, they were aware of the timescales for integration and the steps required to reach those targets.

    4.    Officers advised that the aim of the partnership was to adopt as much consistency as possible, with the recognition that there would be areas that would remain particular to each authority partner.

    5.    Officers set out the engagement with staff that was planned, and highlighted the material at Appendix 2, to assist Heads of Service and other managers enthuse their staff. A meeting with the new Surrey Chief Executive has been scheduled.

    6.    Officers confirmed that the focus had been on ensuring that Orbis functioned efficiently in assisting the partner authorities deal with business as usual in the face of increasing service demand and reducing budgets, rather than expanding its client base.

    7.    Officers set out the public service ethos behind Orbis, and the desire for staff to be able to concentrate on delivering services rather than producing metrics. The integration of BHCC as the final founding partner now allows their staff to focus on business as usual, rather than the process of integration.

    8.    Members asked questions about the maturity assessment, and in particular the processes and control element. Officers set out that the criteria used to measure that are the same as for leading edge private sector companies. Historically, local authorities have had a high tolerance of user error when customers access services: this is time-consuming to correct but keeps complaint levels low.

     

    Actions/further information to be provided:

    Spectrum of Integration of departments

     

    RESOLVED:

    Members approved the Business Plan for 2018/19-2020/21.

8/18

ORBIS HUMAN RESOURCES AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT SERVICE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 120 KB

    The Orbis Human Resources and Organisational Development (HR&OD) Function is progressing its integration journey required to deliver the efficiencies identified in the original Orbis Business Plan.

     

    Following Brighton & Hove City Council joining the partnership, a three years transformation plan was considered as the more sustainable approach by the newly appointed Director of HR&OD in consultation with the Orbis Leadership Team.

     

    This report produces an update of the progresses made to-date and an outline of the key outcomes expected for the Financial year 2018/19.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the presentation on the Departmental update on the Human Resources and Organisational Development team, introduced by Sergio Sgambellone.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager

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

    Sergio Sgambellone, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, East Sussex County Council

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Sergio Sgambellone ran through the presentation slide deck which set out the progress made towards integrating the Human Resources and Organisational Development functions (HROD) of the partner authorities.

    2.    Members asked questions regarding the relationship with Unions, with particular reference to Brighton & Hove. It was acknowledged that BHCC brought a new dynamic to the partnership but confirmed that the Orbis leadership had been consistent throughout the integration period. Relationships with the Unions are based on listening to the needs of members, and it had been acknowledged by the two major Unions that the partnership was a preferable outcome to outsourcing, given the public sector ethos of Orbis.

    3.    In response to questions about staff engagement, Sergio Sgambellone set out the HROD policy of quarterly meetings at each authority that are recorded and shared with the partner authorities. Staff are encouraged to submit ideas to improve performance and share best practice across the partnership.

     

    RESOLVED:

    Members noted the presentation.

9/18

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    The Joint Committee is asked to review the Forward Work Programme and suggest any future items for consideration.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the Work Programme introduced by Adrian Stockbridge.

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council

    Adrian Stockbridge, Orbis Programme Manager

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

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members discussed which Service update to include on the April agenda: Property, Procurement or Business Operations.

    2.    Officers confirmed that an indicative Budget Outturn would be available for the April meeting.

    3.    The Staff Survey and officer actions will be presented at the April meeting.

    4.    The Spectrum of Integration of services will be presented at the July meeting.

     

    RESOLVED:

    Members noted the Forward Plan as amended.