Meeting documents

Shared Services Joint Committee
Thursday, 13th June, 2013

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

 Present: Councillors Mr A Bradley (Chorley BC), Mr C J Clark (South Ribble BC), Mr M Crow (Chorley BC), Mr C P Hamman (South Ribble BC), Mr P Leadbetter (Chorley 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 Andy Houlker (Senior Democratic Services Officer-South Ribble BC)
 Public attendance: 1
 Other Officers: Councillors W Bennett and Forrest (both South Ribble BC)

Item Description/Resolution Status Action
1 Appointment of Chairman

Councillor Hamman be appointed Chairman for the municipal year 2013/14.

(Councillor Hamman took the chair)

2 Appointment of Vice-chairman

Councillor Bradley be appointed Vice-chairman for the municipal year 2013/14.

3 Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

4 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

5 Minutes of the Last Meeting
Minutes attached

That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 January 2013 be signed as a correct record.

6 Financial & Assurance Shared Services Annual Report 2012/13
Annual Report attached
Addendum - Shared Procurement Service (334K/bytes) attached
Addendum - Systems Development Projects (3M/bytes) attached

The committee received its outturn report for 2012/13 which covered the fourth complete financial year of the partnership?s operation. Its attention was particularly drawn to the number of areas of success under highlights and achievements for 2012/13 on pages 5 and 6 of the report. Whilst another challenging year the partnership had continued to embed, maintain and improved service levels. It had also achieved significant savings despite a deteriorating financial climate. The partnership had to date since its creation achieved a recurring saving of circa ?553,000 and further savings had been identified for next year.

In respect of the performance relating to payment of councils? invoices, the committee was impressed that 82% were paid within 10 days. It was wondered if it was possible to progress along the supply chain to enable the monies to be re-used in communities sooner.
It was confirmed that the councils? emergency plans and documentation had been updated over the last 12 months and were tested in different ways. In respect of a potential emergency involving the transportation of nuclear material, this would be dealt with on a multi-agency basis and co-ordinated by the Lancashire Resilience Forum.

In respect of the key projects included in the Business Improvement Plan (BIP) 26 out of 28 were green. The remaining two projects were amber and within Shared Financial Services relating to training packages for councillors and budget holders, and review of the management accountancy processes after the implementation of the financial management information system. These had been carried forward to the 2013/14 BIP. Full details on all projects were in Appendix 1 to the report.

Turning to the key performance targets (pages 8, 9 and 10 of the report), 4 out of 14 for Shared Assurance Services and 2 out of 17 relating to Shared Financial Services were red (more than 5% off target). In respect of Shared Assurance Services these were mainly due to the reported reduced audit days in 2012/13, and for Shared Financial Services this related to underspend at both councils and also a planned breach of Prudential Indicators within the Treasury Strategy due to the fact that the Council had experienced a different cash flow pattern than that originally forecasted prior to the year beginning. It was clarified that there were no financial implications of this planned breach. Appendix 2 to the report contained details for each indicator.

Subsequently the committee?s attention was drawn to achievement of prudential indicators on page 10 and the planned breaches of two of these. It was felt on reflection that the current indicator was not relevant in respect of measuring the services performance at Joint Committee. It was suggested a more appropriate KPI would be compliance with the Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities.

The committee noted the financial out-turn for 2012/13 indicated an underspend of ?83,000.

The committee had also received two addendum papers providing some additional background information relating to activity/achievements during the year within the procurement team and systems development projects.

1. that subject to (2) and (3) below, the Annual Report be accepted and the continued good progress being made by the partnership was acknowledged and the hard work undertaken appreciated;
2. that the suggested change and adoption of performance indicator to the Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities be agreed; and
3. that in connection to the two addendums a paper be presented to the next meeting of the joint committee indicating the savings and improvements achieved and also outlining potential further savings.

7 Financial & Assurance Shared Services Annual Return 2012/13
Annual Return attached
Annual Return - Appendix attached

The committee received a copy of the completed Annual Return for the year ended 31 March 2013. Whilst considering the annual return the discussion included the amount of the external auditor?s fee (?3,000). In particular when compared to the level of work involved in conducting the audit of the councils? financial and assurance shared services.

1. that subject to (2) and (3) below, the Annual Audit Return 2012/13 be approved and signed off;
2. that the external auditor be requested to explain to the joint committee the rationale for the level of the audit fee (including how it was structured); and
3. that the external auditor be asked whether it would be possible for some of the tasks currently undertaken by the external auditor to be alternatively undertaken by the councils? Shared Assurance Services.

8 Exit Management Plan
Exit Management Plan attached

As part of the councils? shared services agreement there is a requirement to produce and review an Exit Management Plan (EMP). Following the creation of the partnership in January 2009, the original EMP was approved in 2010 and overdue a review. Whilst the partnership was fully embedded within both councils and had delivered considerable efficiency savings it was prudent to consider and plan for a potential failure of the partnership to meet its objectives in the longer term and the EMP would enable a smooth transition to alternate arrangements. The main principle within the attached EMP document was fair and equal treatment so both councils were restored to the same position should the partnership be dissolved. In any event in accordance with the agreement, the partnership could not have been dissolved within the first four years (before January 2013).

The report presented to the joint committee summarised and explained the content of the revised EMP.

The committee appreciated the report and revised EMP being submitted, but it was suggested more detail (ie timetable/programme) be provided in the document relating to items such as; consider timing issues, identify the key issues and, the separation of budgets and assets.

That whilst the contents of the report be noted, a further report on the Exit Management Plan providing more detailed information be prepared and presented to the next meeting of the joint committee.

9 Forward Plan
Forward Plan attached

That subject to the inclusion in September of the items mentioned during the meeting, the committee received and noted its Forward Plan.


  Published on Thursday 11 July 2013
The meeting finished at 6.57pm