Decision details

Future Council Process

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


A report proposing the process for transforming the Council and thereby achieving the budget savings required for 2015/16


Councillor Phil Davies presented a report by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources which provided the Cabinet with a proposal for transforming the Council during the next financial year, delivering the major savings targets which were required whilst ensuring that remaining, significant resources were used effectively to achieve the outcomes needed by residents and the Council’s priorities.


Contained within the proposal was an indicative timeline as well as a strategy for ensuring effective, meaningful and comprehensive engagement with Members, external experts and stakeholders, partners, people who use services, the Council workforce and Wirral residents.


Members noted that this was an opportunity to fully reconsider how the Council invested the remaining £250M to meet the vision of its agreed Corporate Plan, whilst ensuring the streamlining of the Council and its processes, ensuring value for money and targeting resources at those most in need.


The Strategic Director’s report informed that a “concordat” for a shared corporate service had been signed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Wirral Council in July 2013.  This had been the first step towards exploring a shared service including HR, Payroll, Legal, IT, Procurement and Finance. The ultimate aim had been to establish a single corporate service for both councils which could enable both authorities to be more efficient which in turn would create cash savings and improved performance.


It was noted that in order to review whether setting up a shared corporate service between Wirral Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council would provide efficiencies and savings, a programme team on behalf of both councils, had come together to review their current operating model and identify opportunities for improvement that would result from the partnership.  A key element of this work had been to develop a business case, identifying the potential cost benefit of such a development.


In February 2014, a draft business case document provided by the joint team had been shared with the Chief Executive and senior representatives of both Councils.  However, the Cabinet was informed that, regrettably, the business case as it was currently articulated had not provided a sound basis to recommend that the Council proceed at this moment in time.  Whilst the level of eventual benefit (£4m estimated) was attractive, the level of investment (over £8m) meant that the payback period (three to four years) was not fast enough to meet the budget timescales.


The Cabinet noted that this had been an incredibly useful piece of work and had served to get the Council to this position as it would be vitally important for Future Council work.  It was logical that there must be a saving accrued when two organisations shared. However, at this point in time there remained too many assumptions that required further evidence. Generally, the return on investment and the ultimate payback period of up to four years reduced the scope for early savings.


The Cabinet was informed that Shared Services was an opportunity that the Council should still actively consider, especially around schools traded services and leisure functions, but in light of the above and the identified savings opportunities in the Future Council Model, it was recommended that further work on sharing services with Cheshire West and Chester/CoSocius be put on hold until October 2014 and then re-examined when the Council was clear on the implications of its remodelling work.


Councillor Ann McLachlan informed the Cabinet that this remodelling process was the most important piece of work the Council had ever undertaken.  It was a root and branch review looking at better and more cost effective ways of providing services and the commissioning policy and strategy would go hand in hand with this.  Funding had been earmarked for this huge amount of work which would dramatically change the face of the Council




(1)  the Chief Executive be authorised to proceed with the project outlined within the report, engaging with Members and External stakeholders as proposals for the ‘Future Council’ are developed;


(2)  further progress reports be requested to be prepared at regular stages throughout the project; and


(3)  the completion of the work around the development of the Shared Services Business Case be noted and having taken into account the details in paragraphs 2.11 to 2.16 of the report (included in this Minute), it be agreed to pause further work in this regard and that this be integrated into the Future Council developments.

Report author: Strategic Director: Transformation and Resources

Publication date: 18/03/2014

Date of decision: 13/03/2014

Decided at meeting: 13/03/2014 - Cabinet

Effective from: 26/03/2014

Accompanying Documents: