Meeting documents

Shared Services Joint Committee
Thursday, 24th January, 2013

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

 Present: Councillor Mr A Bradley (Chorley BC) (Chairman),

Councillors Mr C J Clark (South Ribble BC), Mr C P Hamman (South Ribble BC) and Mr S M Robinson (South Ribble BC)
 In attendance: Garry Barclay (Head of Shared Assurance Services), Susan Guinness (Head of Shared Financial Services), Gary Hall (Chief Executive-Chorley BC), Mike Nuttall (Chief Executive-South Ribble BC) and James Wallwork (Democratic Services Officer-South Ribble BC)
 Public attendance: No members of the public were present
 Other Officers: No other officers were present.

Councillors W Bennett, Forrest, Mrs M Smith and P Smith were present (all South Ribble BC)

Item Description/Resolution Status Action
17 Apologies for Absence

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Wilson (Chorley BC).

Concern was expressed by the committee that Councillor Wilson had not attended any of the previous meetings and Councillor Joyce had not attended for some time. The Chairman agreed to raise the matter at the next Council meeting at Chorley BC.

18 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

19 Minutes of the Last Meeting
Minutes attached

Councillor Clark indicated that he had only received notification of the change of date of the meeting recently. He emphasised the importance of giving members of the public adequate notice of a change to a meeting. The committee noted his comment.

That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2012 be signed as a correct record.

20 Performance Management Report
Report (271K/bytes) attached

The committee received a report demonstrating progress against the key service developments and performance indicators in the Business Improvement Plan as of the end of November 2012 which therefore covers the first eight months of the year. The report also set out the Partnership?s projected out-turn financial position to the end of this financial year. In respect of the key projects 25 out of 28 had been completed or were on track with plans in place to address the remaining three. Only one of the 31 performance indicators was at ?red? status. Full statements on the progress with the key projects and performance targets as at end of November 2012 were attached to the report. There was a discussion around these. The partnership was operating well within its approved budget and was currently expected to achieve an underspend for the year in the sum of ?55,000.

In respect of the key projects for Shared Financial Services (SFS), three out of the 11 were amber and explanations were detailed on pages 2 and 3 of the report. These related to the development of the current level/programme of financial training packages for members and budget holders, improve current practice and secure financial data within both councils and a review of the Management Accountancy processes. In addition, out of the 17 performance targets, two were amber, one was red and three had not been measured. The amber targets related to the percentage of supplier payments by electronic means and the statutory grant claims and returns to be submitted on time. The red target related to an over/underspend within 1% of manageable/cash revenue budget. These were detailed on pages 4 and 5 of the report. A discussion took place regarding the staff satisfaction survey results and in particular how the staff engagement results could be addressed.

The Head of Shared Financial Services was pleased to report that again there had been no errors in the Statement of Accounts.

In respect of Shared Assurance Services (SAS) all 14 key projects were green and out of the 14 performance targets only one was amber and one was not measured. The amber target related to the audit of New Income Streams at Chorley which was due for issue but was still at draft report stage.

Reference was made to the Review of Internal Audit?s Performance Indicators and the review had shown that the indicators were appropriate and challenging. It also identified that they were measuring targets which weren?t being measured by other councils. Therefore, there wasn?t a need to bring these performance indicators back before the committee except if there was a specific issue.

The variations to the approved budget as detailed on page 6 of the report were noted.

That the progress on overall performance be noted and the proposed changes to Internal Audit performance indicators detailed within the report be approved.

21 Business Improvement Plan & Budget 2013/14
Report (2M/bytes) attached

The committee received the Business Improvement Plan & Budget 2013/14 and was informed that it was recently Shared Services? fourth anniversary. To date ?500,000 recurring annual savings were now being delivered in the running costs of the services covered by the partnership, compared with the equivalent costs when the partnership commenced. Work was on-going and the targets and projects were rigorous, with new challenging targets being set each year.

The main service level successes in 2012/13 were indicated on pages 5/6 of the report which included:

1) Receiving excellent customer feedback from St. Catherine?s Hospice and the extension of the Internal Audit contract into 2013/14.
2) Successfully invoking the emergency plans at both host authorities in response to a range of significant events.
3) Closure of Accounts and production of both Councils? statutory Statement of Account to the tight required statutory deadlines and with no errors. An achievement recognised in the external auditor?s reports.
4) Driving the initiative to support small and medium sized businesses by paying our invoices quickly. During 2012/13 to date, over 98% of our invoices had been paid within 30 days and over 80% within 10 days.
5) Efficiency savings achieved for both councils through reduced partnership running costs and procurement activity.

Whilst the majority of original risk issues had been mitigated, the updated risk register detailed in Appendix 1 to the report detailed those where 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:

1) Delivering sustainable services in light of public sector funding cuts, including seeking out viable opportunities to grow the services.
2) Further developing managers and staff and planning for succession.
3) Further developing the management accounting function at both host authorities to increase added value, including developing the Financial Management Information System (FMIS) to maximise the potential benefits.

Since the partnership had been launched in January 2009, significant budget efficiencies had been secured by working in partnership, making the best of new technology and proactively reviewing the ways in which the partnership works. The committee was informed that to date over ?550,000 worth of budget efficiencies had been achieved on a recurring basis from the original budget position which was now less than ?2m. Looking towards 2013/14, appendices 2 and 3 attached to the report identified the projects and performance targets for the new financial year.

In response to a question from the Chairman regarding the new banking arrangements, the Head of Shared Financial Services indicated that there was a risk with the implementation of any new financial system. However, they were currently on track and they had plenty of time to carry out testing. She added that the only complication was that the implementation date of 1 April was during the Easter weekend. Subsequently, discussions were taking place with the bank.

The committee referred to the potential for creating a larger shared Internal Audit service involving Preston City Council. The Head of Shared Assurance stated that it was still on the agenda and that discussions were continuing with Preston.

(1) That the Joint Committee recommends to the Executives to adopt the required resources to deliver the Shared Services Partnership in 2013/14; and
(2) That the Committee agrees to delegate the ability to incorporate any residual information or amendments to the BIP and Budget to the Chief Executives of both host authorities in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee.

22 Forward Plan
Forward Plan attached

The committee received and noted its Forward Plan.

23 Exclusion of Press and Public


That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following item of business as it involved 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 and in which the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing it.

24 Shared Assurance Services

The committee received a report outlining proposals for a review of Shared Assurance Services.

That the Joint Committee recommends that the proposals in the report be approved by both host authorities in accordance with their individual approval arrangements.


  Published on Thursday 28 February 2013
(The meeting finished at 6.59pm)