Joint report of the Chief Executive’s of Chorley and South Ribble Borough Councils (to follow).
The Committee considered a joint report of both Chief Executive’s on the development of more extensive shared services between the two authorities.
Gary Hall and Heather McManus presented their report which looked at the rationale for the expansion of shared services; the ambitions of both councils in progressing the proposals; and the focus on back office services (specifically HR, Policy, Communications, Legal and Democratic Services) at this stage, with an intention to include ICT in the future. The longer term aim was to ultimately develop full shared services serving two independent and sovereign councils.
Consultation on proposals from both Councils had taken place with staff and councillors, and the report before the joint Committee was a suggested way forward. The proposals were based on a number of shared senior management posts which would improve resilience in both organisations and help ensure effective governance. Whilst there were no significant financial savings at this stage, it would establish the capacity to drive forward change for sharing other services and enable staff to increase their skills and experience.
The report set out the detail of the proposals for a number of shared posts within the overarching senior management structures of both Councils, to include:
a shared Deputy Chief Executive post (Transformation and Resources);
a shared Director of Legal and Democratic Services post (Monitoring Officer) and an Assistant Director (Deputy Monitoring Officer);
a shared Director of Financial and Assurance Services post (s151Officer) and an Assistant Director (Deputy s151 Officer); and
a shared Director of Policy, HR and Communications
The report further included detailed timescales for recruitment and delivery of the proposals by the end of 2017 and also indicated specific structural and senior post changes at each organisation.
During the debate on the proposals, Councillor Clark asked that the capacity to develop business opportunities be addressed as South Ribble was well on with the commercialisation of services. Councillor Bradley felt that the benefits were more likely to be in terms of savings and that the Joint Committee would need to establish a protocol at a future meeting to look at new business opportunities.
Councillor Foster expressed support in principle for further sharing of services between the two Councils, but felt the Councils were in different places at the current time. He was particularly concerned about the sharing of statutory officer posts (s151 and monitoring officer roles) and wanted to fully understand the risks involved before committing to the proposals, particularly in the light of identified weaknesses in corporate governance at South Ribble.
Gary Hall explained that with effective governance arrangements in place in both Councils, the statutory officer functions would not be diluted and both organisations would have a statutory officer function or deputy post specifically linked to their Council. There would be dedicated roles for both these functions at both Councils.
Councillor Bradley accepted that some councillors had concerns about the proposals and it was the Joint Committee’s role to help other councillors understand the importance of these proposals going forward in the long term and to help alleviate any doubts. It was important to have a consensual approach and that all councillors received the information they needed and in a timely manner.
There would be a need to agree business operating models through a new Shared Services Agreement by December and this was likely to require additional meetings of the Joint Committee before then. This could impact on the timetable for the recruitment of shared management posts.
RESOLVED – That the Shared Services Joint Committee recommends that:
1. The two Councils should agree a joint ambition to work to develop a close working relationship, with an ultimate aim to develop full shared services serving two independent and sovereign councils.
Shared Services Joint Committee Thursday, 14 September 2017
2. The two Councils should create shared posts as set out in the report and summarised below, including:
a. Create a shared Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Resources and Transformation)
b. Create a shared Director of Legal & Democratic Services (Monitoring Officer)
c. Create a shared Assistant Director of Legal Service (Deputy Monitoring Officer)
d. Create a shared Director of Finance and Assurance Services (s151 Officer)
e. Create a shared Assistant Director of Finance and Assurance Services (Deputy s151 Officer)
f. Create a shared Director of Policy, Human Resources and Communications
3. The changes to the terms of reference of the Shared Services Joint Committee are noted; but with an additional request to permit substitute Members to attend (one named substitute Member to be appointed, for each political group, at each Council)
4. The Chief Executives be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Executive Leaders and members of the Shared Services Joint Committee, to finalise and agree a new shared services agreement.
5. The Joint Committee should reconvene in December to consider proposals for the operating models for the shared functions, although it is likely that further meetings will need to be held before then.
6. A Joint Member Panel be appointed, drawn equally from both Councils (Leader, Deputy Leader and the Leader of the Opposition) to deal with the recruitment to the Chief Officer (Tier 2 and Statutory Officer) posts.
7. The Chief Executives of Chorley Borough Council and South Ribble Borough Council will jointly manage the recruitment to the Chief Officer (Tier 3 & 4) appointments.