Agenda and minutes

Resources and Performance Select Committee
Friday, 18 October 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Huma Younis 

Items
No. Item

8.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

9.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 107 KB

10.

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); and

     

    ·         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:

    None received.

11.

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

12.

CABINET MEMBER PRIORITIES UPDATE pdf icon PDF 115 KB

    Purpose of the report:For the Select Committee to receive an update from the Cabinet Member for Corporate Support and Cabinet Member for Finance on progress against their priorities and objectives.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Dr Zully Grant-Duff, Cabinet Member for Corporate Support

    Mr Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Finance

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Committee heard from the Cabinet Member for Corporate Support, who provided Members with further information on work that had been completed since the last Committee meeting, as well as her ongoing projects.

    2.    Discussing the implementation of the digital strategy, the Cabinet Member explained that she had hoped the strategy would be in place by October 2019 but that the delay was a result of the appointment of Rainmaker Solutions as partners in the design phase. As a result, the revised deadline was now February 2020.

    3.    The Cabinet Member went on to talk about the preparation of the forward procurement plan for the next financial year. This was expected to come to Cabinet in December 2019, and an interim procurement plan had already been approved by Cabinet for Q3 and Q4. Both plans listed the intentions for strategic commissioning and had been drawn up in conjunction with all of the Council’s services.

    4.    Members heard that the third piece of ongoing work was concerned with the improvement programme in business operations, with a particular emphasis on pensions administration. The service needed to be modernised and work had started but there was still much left to do.

    5.    Referring to the design phase of the digital strategy, a Member questioned whether between two and three weeks was a enough time to get a realistic view of the thoughts of residents and partners. He also asked for further information regarding the dates associated with the Digital Business and Insights Programme. In response, the Cabinet Member explained that the digital strategy design phases were “proof of concept phases”, with the idea being to select around five of these cases so that there was a high-level sign of what needed to change. This would allow changes to be made in response to obstacles, issues that users have and matters relating to efficiency. The idea was to get feedback on those five proof of concept cases and develop the strategy within 15 weeks. With regards to the Digital Business and Insights Programme, the Cabinet Member informed the Committee that a paper was going to that month’s Cabinet meeting and would include an outline of the business plan and a request to proceed to the procurement stage. It was expected to come back to Cabinet with the responses to the tendering exercise, and approval would be sought to begin implementing a new system from April 2020.

    6.    A Member asked about the improved online reporting for highways and asked for absolute numbers to be provided alongside the percentage changes, as this would better indicate to the Committee how big the problem still was. It was then agreed that the Cabinet Member would provide the Committee with a written response that included the required numbers relating to the percentage figures used in the report.

    7.    Discussing the digital strategy, the Vice-Chairman asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REPORT (Q1 2019/20) pdf icon PDF 115 KB

    Purpose of the report: To invite the Select Committee’s comments and suggestions in respect of the Q1 Performance Report 2019/20, regarding the format and nature of the presentation of the information, as well as any of the indicators and/or measures reported.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Anna D’Alessandro, Director of Corporate Finance

    Mr Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Finance

    Dr Zully Grant-Duff, Cabinet Member for Corporate Support

    Nicola Kilvington, Director of Intelligence, Analytics and Insight

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Committee heard from the Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence, who explained that the report represented a snapshot in time and that officers were currently in the process of collecting information for Q2 but were not yet in a position to share that.
    2. Members examined in detail the service delivery measures as outlined in the Q1 performance report. Discussing indicator ASC 05, the Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence explained that this was a primary focus of the adult social care transformation programme. The Director of Corporate Finance added that adult social care was travelling under the trajectory of a balanced budget and there was currently no underspend being identified in the budget. Responding to a question from the Chairman about the identification of alternative ways of reaching the budget, the Director of Corporate Finance explained that all services were focusing on the transformation plan and the £82m of transformational savings that had been identified in the last budget. Each service was striving to deliver on the red risk savings. From a financial perspective, adult social care were not overspending and were focusing on the delivery of the savings they had been allocated as part of the budget.
    3. Moving to indicator ASC 07, the Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence explained that recently compiled data indicated that the risk would be shown as amber in the Q2 performance report. The service had undertaken a diagnostic of their direct payment performance and practice and had been putting improvements in place.
    4. The Vice-Chairman spoke about the difficulty of understanding the seriousness of issues without benchmarking figures that indicated the actual financial cost associated. In response, the Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence said that benchmarking information could be provided for indicator ASC 07 but that the aim was to try and keep the quarterly performance reports as concise as possible. It was agreed that the Select Committee would request information on specific indicators as and when they felt necessary.
    5. Responding to a question about the gaps in RAG ratings relating to children’s services indicators and whether ratings would be provided in the Q2 performance report, the Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence told the Committee that that was the intention but that they might end up being presented only in Q3 due to complications with the data.
    6. The Chairman highlighted indicator CTE 06, ‘Delivery of SFRS Safe and Well visit programme’, and the related red RAG rating, and it was agreed that he would raise the issue with the Chairman of the relevant select committee. The Director of Insight, Analytics and Intelligence informed the Committee that the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service had explained that Q1 tended to be much busier operationally than Q4 and the Safe and Well visits were completed on top of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME UPDATE pdf icon PDF 374 KB

    Purpose of report: To provide the committee with an update on current progress regarding transformation of the council, to seek their input to the next phase of work, and identify approaches to ensure effective ongoing scrutiny.

     

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Marie Snelling, Director of Transformation

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Committee heard from the Director of Transformation, who introduced the report and explained that good progress was being made. Positive changes were being seen within the Council and the transformation portfolio, and they were on track to deliver savings. The Director of Transformation also asked for Members to consider how best the Committee could be engaged in scrutiny work going forward.

    2.    The Vice-Chairman questioned the lack of dates, targets and benchmarks contained within the report and asked for the service to explore whether these could be provided in future reports so the Committee could be informed if the transformation project fell behind schedule in any way.

    3.    A Member of the Committee suggested that the service undertook a deep dive to ascertain how staff members felt about the new technology they had been provided with, and whether they felt they required any further training, as well as speaking with those members of staff who had been involved in a move to greater agile working. In response, the Director of Transformation informed the Committee that an exercise had been undertaken with social workers who had recently moved from Leatherhead to Ashley Park House in Walton-on-Thames. This allowed officers to speak directly to staff members, and the Director of Transformation said that the resulting report would be shared with the Committee. A discussion was also had about the potential for the Committee to undertake a deep dive into agile working and for Members to speak with members of staff directly, and it was agreed that the agile working task group would look into this.

    4.    A Member of the Committee sought clarity on the Fig. 3 graphic included in the report and asked for more information on the organisational model following the implementation of the new methodology. In response, the Director of Transformation explained that the intention of the graphic was to try and show the shape of the organisation rather than the specific details. The Council was moving towards a more streamlined and delayered structure, and this change could already be seen within the Highways department.

    5.    Referring to the Fig. 1 graphic, which related to the transformation governance structure, a Member of the Committee asked for more detail so the Committee could better understand what roles were embodied within the individual sections of the structure. The Director of Transformation said that the diagram was a highly simplified version of a detailed and robust architecture and the assurance framework would be shared with the Committee.

    6.    The Committee turned its attention to the recommendations as set out in the report and considered the overall progress that had been made to date. The Chairman asked for red and amber items to be traced through into the future programme and for the Committee to have sight of this. The Director of Transformation explained that the current transformation programme ran until 2021 but they were looking at how best  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

ORBIS VALUE FOR MONEY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 368 KB

    Purpose of report: To update the Committee on the development of the Orbis Partnership, the benefits delivered to date, and an overview of future plans

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Anna D’Alessandro, Director of Corporate Finance

    Mr Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Finance

    Nikki O’Connor, Strategic Finance Business Partner (Improvement & TPP/Resources)

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Director of Corporate Finance introduced the report and explained that the Orbis Partnership had been running for around five years and had, from inception until 2018/19, achieved savings of approximately £16m, and £3.2 was expected for 2019/20. She went on to explain that 31ten had undertaken a review on the Orbis Partnership, which was prompted by the fact that all three of the partnering authorities were moving in different directions. The review concluded that the partnership as a whole had changed its strategic direction, and the review represented a forward-looking view of what each of the councils wanted to achieve in the future. Even though the Orbis Partnership had helped the Council achieve savings, the rationale behind the recommendations was to allow the Council to invest in the back office and support the transformation programme. A lot of the savings came as a result of the three councils coming together and the efficiencies that arose from this, as well as a reduction in headcount.

    2.    The Director of Corporate Finance went on to explain that the new target operating model was keeping the procurement, business operations and IT functions as part of a future Orbis Partnership. All three were pulling out their property functions, and the Council had removed themselves from the majority of the HR function. With regards to finance, the only arrangement that it was planned to maintain was the series of “centres of expertise”, which were integrated teams that covered financial accounting, tax, treasury management and insurance. A review was currently being undertaken to analyse whether it was right for the Council to remain as part of this partnership.

    3.    Referring to the Director of Corporate Finance’s point that savings had been through headcount reduction and not integration, the Chairman questioned whether the headcount would increase when services were moved back into the Council. In response, the Director of Corporate Finance said that one of the areas they were looking at as part of the review was how the Council could deliver savings from integrating its services. A lot of work had been done in the finance department around process integration, and HR was doing the same.

    4.    The Vice-Chairman asked about the savings of £1.7m that were outlined in the report, as well as the £1.4m black savings in the Q1 performance report, and questioned whether other sectors in which Orbis was operational were at risk in terms of their ability to achieve further savings. In response, the Director of Corporate Finance explained that, in order to balance the budget, the Council had to find the savings, so whatever was not being delivered by Orbis would have to be found using another method, which was the premise behind black savings. The Strategic Finance Business Partner went on to explain that the £1.7m as outlined in paragraph  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

SELECT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 114 KB

    Purpose of the item: For the Select Committee to review the attached recommendations tracker and forward work programme making suggestions for additions or amendments as appropriate.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Committee reviewed the recommendations tracker and noted that all actions had been completed.
    2. Regarding the forward work programme, the Chairman informed the Committee that items discussed during the meeting would be added to forward work programme for consideration at future meetings.
    3. An update was provided by the Vice-Chairman on the agile working and moving closer to residents task group. He explained that agile working plans were scrutinised by the task group during the summer but that it was difficult for it to scrutinise the move out of County Hall until a new building had been identified. Once one had been identified and announced, the task group would quickly begin the scrutiny process.
    4. A Member suggested that the Committee kept a close eye on the property portfolio. The Vice-Chairman informed the Committee that his budget scrutiny and asset task group would be undertaking a review of Halsey Garton and Council-owned properties. In terms of budget scrutiny, the Committee would look at Q2 at its next meeting and would examine how exactly it wanted to scrutinise the 2020/21 budget.
    5. The Chairman spoke about the budget process and explained that preliminary budget papers were going to each of the other three select committees before the end of the year. The chairmen of those select committees would be invited to the next meeting of the Committee and budget scrutiny would be the primary focus.
    6. It was agreed that Rachael Lake would join the budget scrutiny and asset task group.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Committee reviewed the recommendations tracker and forward work programme.

17.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING: 16 DECEMBER 2019