Meeting documents

Shared Services Joint Committee
Monday, 18th October, 2010

Place: Cross Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland PR25 1DH

 Present: Councillor Mr K Joyce (Chorley BC) (in the Chair)

Councillors Mr C J Clark (South Ribble BC), Mr A Cullens (Chorley BC) and Mr S Robinson (South Ribble BC)
 In attendance: Garry Barclay (Head of Shared Assurance Services), Susan Guinness (Head of Shared Financial Services), Gary Hall (Chorley BC), Andy Houlker (South Ribble BC) and Mike Nuttall (South Ribble BC)
 Public attendance: 1
 Other Officers: Councillor Hamman (South Ribble BC)

Item Description/Resolution Status Action
16 Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.
17 Minutes of the Last Meeting
Minutes attached

That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2010 be signed as a correct record.
18 Performance Management Report
Performance Management Report attached

The committee received the second performance management report for the current financial year, as at the end of August 2010. It illustrated the progress made so far against the key service developments, performance indicators in the 2010/11 Business Improvement Plan (BIP) and the 2010/11 budget.

This period had been very challenging yet successful during which the three separate Statements of Accounts were prepared for the two councils plus this committee. All these had received unqualified audit opinions and officers had also contributed extensively to the successful value for money judgements at both authorities.

At the same time, 27 of the 34 key projects for this year had been completed or were on track and plans were in place to put those remaining to be brought back on course. Similarly only 9 of the 43 performance measures had ?red? status (more than 5% off target) for which there were mitigating circumstances in each case. The partnership was also in line to deliver a balanced budget for the year (2010/11) which included a savings target of ?50,000.

The committee was also informed of the work being carried out on the ?amber? projects at partnership level and within financial services to improve their status. These included the Workforce Development Plan (WDP) and introduction of a new common core Financial Information System (FIS). There was a discussion and explanation on the apparent disparity between customer survey results between the two councils. As the committee focussed on the areas of least satisfaction there was a request for some more explanation in future.

The Head of Shared Financial Services acknowledged that during the process of closing the councils? accounts resources in accountancy services had needed to be diverted from providing managers with budget monitoring information. This had been identified within the WDP and would also improve following implementation of the new FIS.

It was suggested and agreed that an update be presented to the next meeting indicating the actions being taken to address the issues (low scores) contained in the report.

1. that the committee notes the progress made and looks forward to receiving a further update at the next meeting; and
2. that the committee at its next meeting receives a Customer Satisfaction Improvement Programme indicating actions to improve customer satisfaction.
19 Partnership Budget and Business Plan Proposals for 2011/12
Partnership Budget and Business Plan Proposals for 2011-12 attached

The committee was presented with outline business planning considerations and draft budget for the next financial year. This was mindful that the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review had yet to be announced but the coalition government had previously stated there would be substantial reductions in local authority funding from 2011/12.

Therefore the partnership would be subject to these pressures and the proposals made provision for an assumed 20% reduction in funding in 2011/12. The existing functions, responsibilities and roles of both Shared Assurance and Financial Services had been thoroughly examined and the proposals were considered achievable. It was also felt that there was now added flexibility following the cessation of work on Use of Resources and the introduction of the new common core Financial Management System. As part of the process Chorley and South Ribble councils? respective Audit and Governance committees, Section 151 officers and the External Audit would be consulted on the proposed changes to Assurance Services before being presented to their Executives for approval.

In response to an enquiry it was not felt the coalition government?s move from key targets towards self regulation would increase pressure on Internal Audit as a lot of this data was already gathered as part of existing processes.

It was suggested that as the implications of the coalition government?s funding review took effect, communication with Cabinet/Executive members was critical and provision needed to be made for providing them with timely information for the budget process and the start of the new financial year.

1. That the committee notes the proposals in the report which would form the basis of the draft budget and business plan for the Shared Services Partnership in 2011/12 for subsequent approval by the Cabinet/Executive of both Chorley and South Ribble borough councils; and
2. That Chorley and South Ribble borough councils? respective Audit and Governance committees be requested to consider the corporate governance implications of the proposed structural changes to the partnership.
20 Forward Plan
Forward Plan attached

The committee received a copy of the Forward Plan.

That subject to the inclusion under min. no. 20(2) above of ?Customer Satisfaction Improvement Programme? for the next meeting, the committee's Forward Plan be noted.
21 Exclusion of Press and Public

RESOLVED: that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item of business as they involve the discussion of information which was defined as exempt from publication under paragraph 4 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
22 Shared Financial Services Budget Implementation Plan for 2011/12

Further to min. no.21 above the committee considered a report detailing proposed structural changes to the partnership. The partnership had been operating for nearly two years and it was now appropriate for a detailed review to ensure that it was fit for purpose to address future challenges. It was noted that the changes proposed were as a consequence of the natural evolution of the Partnership and the opportunities presented by the introduction of the new Financial Management Information System (FMIS).

That the proposed changes to the structure of the partnership as detailed in the report be recommended to the Cabinet/Executive of both Chorley and South Ribble borough councils.

  Published on Tuesday 2 November 2010
(The meeting finished at 4.40pm)