Issue - meetings
Future Council Process
Meeting: 13/03/2014 - Cabinet (Item 163)
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 ... view the full minutes text for item 163