Meeting documents

Shared Services Joint Committee
Monday, 23rd January, 2012

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

 Present: Chairman Councillor Mr C P Hamman (chairman)

Councillors Mr P Mullineaux (South Ribble BC) (substitute for Councillor Mr C J Clark), Mr S M Robinson (South Ribble BC), Mr G Russell (Chorley BC)
 In attendance: Garry Barclay (Head of Shared Assurance Services), Susan Guinness (Head of Shared Financial Services), Gary Hall (Chief Executive-Chorley BC), Andy Houlker (Senior Democratic Services Officer-South Ribble BC), Mike Nuttall (Chief Executive-South Ribble BC) and Ian Parker (Director of Business Transformation-South Ribble BC)

Also present: Maureen Wood (Director of Corporate Governance-South Ribble BC)
 Public attendance: None
 Other Officers: None

Item Description/Resolution Status Action
OPEN ITEMS
16 Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Mr C J Clark (South Ribble BC) and P Wilson (Chorley BC).
Noted   
17 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.
Noted   
18 Minutes of the Last Meeting
Minutes attached

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2011 be signed as a correct record.
Agreed   
19 Performance Management Report
Performance Management Report (334K/bytes) attached

The committee received a report demonstrating progress to date against the key service developments and performance indicators in the 2011/12 Business Improvement Plan. 29 out of 38 key projects had been completed or were on track with plans in place to address the remaining. 14 out of 39 performance measures were ?red? with mitigating reasons for each. It was noted that many of these indicators were outside the control of shared services. Full statements on progress on key projects and performance targets as at end of November 2011 were appendices 1 and 2 to the report. There was a discussion around these.

It was confirmed that the expected under-spend in the sum of ?33,000 in the 2011/12 budget was in addition to the level of savings identified when that budget was set.

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
That the committee notes the progress being made and looked forward to receiving a further update at the next meeting.
Agreed   
20 Business Improvement Plan & Budget 2012/13
Business Improvement Plan & Budget 2012/13 attached

The committee received the Business Improvement Plan & Budget 2012/13 and was reminded that it was Shared Services? Third Anniversary. During this period the financial climate had changed immeasurably. To date significant savings had been delivered which would continue in the current financial year without reducing service standards. Work was ongoing looking at opportunities to expand. Whilst 2011 had been another challenging year with the climate remaining difficult there was huge optimism.

The main service level successes in 2011/12 were indicated on pages 5/6 of the report which included:
 closure of accounts and production of three statutory Statements of Accounts to most earliest timescales with significant change to comply with new International Financial Reporting Standards (recognised by the external auditor)
 successful implementation of the new Financial Management Information System (FMIS) with significant progress developing its functionality and reporting tool.
 significant procurement savings achieved (on track to achieve ?500k savings target)

Whilst the majority of original risk issues had been mitigated, the updated risk register detailed in Appendix 1 to the report showed those were action was still in progress along with emerging risks and opportunities. The key risks and opportunities at this stage were listed on page 6 of the report and included:
 deliver sustainable services in light of public sector funding cuts, including exploring
viable opportunities to grow the services
 further develop succession planning for managers and staff
 further develop the management accounting function at both host councils to increase
added value, including developing the Financial Management Information System
(FMIS) to maximise benefits

Looking towards 2012/13 and delivering efficiencies (page 9) there was an identified cashable savings opportunity within Shared Financial Services valued at ?100k. If it was subsequently felt appropriate to amend the service structure any proposals would initially be considered by this committee. Appendices 2 and 3 to the report indicated the projects and performance targets for the new financial year. These targets were at the same or a higher level.

On behalf of both councils the chairman thanked those responsible for implementing and managing the efficiencies that had had to be introduced over the three years. This had been noticeable at both South Ribble council?s Governance and Scrutiny Committees who were now interested to know what was next.

In response to an enquiry planning for succession didn?t necessarily lead to a structure change but that there would be other individuals within the service that could takeover. There was a project identified in the appendices relating to this.

It was confirmed that the projected ?500k procurement savings across 5 years were not simply ?100k per annum as this was profiled differently and depended on a number of factors such as the contract(s) and council(s).

Responding to a comment relating to the need to achieve continued efficiencies and sustaining levels of service, the committee was reassured that there were other opportunities to work better without adversely affecting service. Also service areas that had recently achieved significant efficiencies were not being expected to achieve similar next year.

In response to an enquiry if there were any benefits to be gained from BT One Connect being used by Lancashire County Council, the committee was informed that at the moment Chorley and South Ribble councils were not actively exploring opportunities but keeping a watching brief.

In addition to shared services delivering efficiencies it was also exploring income generation. The committee was advised that it had been successful in gaining some work in 2012/13 on behalf of St Catherine?s Hospice. It was agreed that in the future the format of the shared services accounts would need to be amended to include a column identifying income.

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
That the committee recommends the Executives of both Chorley and South Ribble councils adopt the draft Business Improvement Plan and Budget for implementation by the partnership in 2012/13.
Agreed   
21 External Auditor?s Certificate and Opinion ? year ended 31 March 2011
External Auditor?s Certificate and Opinion ? year ended 31 March 2011 attached
EA's certificate & opinion - year ended 31 March 2011 - App 1 attached
EA's certificate & opinion - year ended 31 March 2011 - App 2 attached

The committee received the external auditor's certificate and opinion for the year ended 31 March 2011.

It was noted that the external auditor had identified a discrepancy in the comparative figures by ?275.

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
That the committee approves the annual return and notes the issues raised in the audit report.
Agreed   
22 Forward Plan
Forward Plan attached

The committee received and noted its Forward Plan.
Agreed   
23 Exclusion of Press and Public

RESOLVED: that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following [number] items of business as they involve the discussion of information which was defined as exempt from publication under paragraphs [number] respectively of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
Agreed   
EXEMPT ITEMS
24 Shared Services

Further to min. no.15, 26 September 2011, the committee received a further progress update.

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:
That the proposed business model ? Revenues(+) as set out in the body of the report be implemented by South Ribble Borough Council in a way that allowed other councils to join at a future date(s).
Agreed   

  Published on Friday 3 February 2012
(The meeting finished at 4.56pm)