To update the Corporate Overview Select Committee on the new Surrey County Council Organisation Strategy 2019 – 2023 and ‘Our People 2021’ Strategy.
Tim Oliver, Lead Cabinet Member for People
Charlotte Morley, Cabinet Member for Corporate Support
Michael Coughlin, Executive Director for Customers, Digital and Transformation
Jackie Foglietta, Interim Head of HR & OD
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. Members were informed that the Organisational Strategy 2019 - 2023 would set out how the Council would support the delivery of the new ‘Community Vision for Surrey in 2030’. The ‘Our People 2021’ Strategy was noted to be a plan for the Council’s workforce which set out how it would develop the capacity to contribute to the Community Vision and achieve the Council’s Strategic outcomes. Officers further explained that the strategies laid out the initial changes to the authority to create a different type of council to better suit the needs of the residents. Both strategies would be considered at the Cabinet meeting on 30 October 2018 and then to County Council on 13 November 2018.
2. Members highlighted that some residents were concerned that the new organisational strategy was just a retreat from current service standards. Officers explained that the Council would need to explore new ways of providing services as there had been significant changes to demand. It was further stated that there were examples from across the country where similar strategies had proven to be very effective.
3. The Committee highlighted the cynicism of residents when transforming services and the importance of building trust in the Council. Following discussion, the Cabinet Lead Member for People explained that the Council no longer had the resource to deliver services in an improved way without partnership with other organisations. He further stated that work was ongoing to find the best way to deliver services and to explore how they can be funded.
4. The Committee highlighted that there had historically been other transformation projects in the Council that were never bought to a satisfactory completion.
5. Members sought clarification on how services would continue to be delivered if partners equally did not have the resource available to provide a high service standard. Officers explained the a key change of approach was to look at prevention and early intervention to deal with situations before they become issues. Along with this, It was noted that there had been some positive conversations with Chief Executive Officers and Leaders of district and borough councils to discuss future partnerships with the Council.
6. Members of the Committee were concerned as there were various examples of contradictions between the standards of services and partnerships outlined in the Vision and the actions planned to be taken to make savings. The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services noted that resident feedback had shown a transformation of services was need to deliver the service standard expected which would take time to come into place.
7. Officers noted Members comments relating to the consequences of over reliance on digital media to communicate messages of transformation to residents. It was felt that a significant portion of service users did not have the appropriate access and so other communication formats should be explored.
8. The Committee discussed the opportunity to reduce non-statutory services to make savings. Officers noted discussions and confirmed that detailed service and strategic plans would be created following the approval of current high level strategic plans present at the meeting.
9. A Member of the Committee sought clarification on how the Children Centre in their electoral division would continue to deliver satisfactory services with significantly less resource available. The Cabinet Lead Member for People was unable to comment on specific cases but reassured Members that services would still be provided in a transformed way with a focus on early intervention.
The Corporate Overview Select Committee:
• were made aware that a number of consultations with residents and partners would be taking place which would inform the future shape of services and urged that Members and residents be provided with details of future consultations impacting upon the delivery of services.
• recognised that the organisation strategy is designed to transform the way services are delivered to residents and that work would be required to enlist support and buy in from residents and partners.
• recognised the dependency of the organisation strategy upon working with partners.
• raised concerns around how strategic principles and activity within the organisation strategy would be met at a time of decreased financial resources.
• requested that the outcomes based performance management framework to monitor the organisation strategy be reported to the committee at the earliest convenience and annually thereafter.