Corporate Services Cabinet Member – minutes – 29 September 2008
173 (40) ESTABLISHING A NATIONALITY CHECKING SERVICE IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted a report seeking approval for start-up and delivery of a Nationality Checking Service (NCS).
The NCS initiative was a partnership between the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) and local authorities across the United Kingdom. It was aimed at people wishing to apply for British citizenship.
The service now accounted for over 30% of citizenship applications. It was proven to speed up the processing time for new applications and cut the refusal rate. The NCS was also associated with promoting active citizenship and building cohesive communities.
For an administration fee customers had their applications checked for accuracy by the local authority. Documents were checked, photocopied and forwarded to the BIA. Customers kept their original documents while their application was processed.
Resolved – (a) That approval be given for the start-up of the Nationality Checking Service (NCS) in North Lincolnshire, and (b) that Scunthorpe Register Office be the site for delivery of the NCS.
174 (41) HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICE PLAN 2008/2011 – The Service Director Human Resources submitted a report seeking approval for the Human Resources (HR) Service Plan 2008/2011, and to update on achievements and successes of the HR service during 2007/2008.
The HR Service Plan set out the aims, priorities and areas of development for HR over the next three years. It recognised HR’s contribution to the council’s priorities and how the service joined up with those priorities.
The action plan, at Appendix 2 to the report, showed actions and developments planned over the next three years. The Annual Improvement Summary, also appended to the report, provided a summary of progress against key priorities, results achieved, performance and successes of the service during 2007/2008.
Resolved – (a) That the 2008/2011 Human Resources Service Plan be approved and adopted, and (b) that the achievements and successes of Human Resources during 2007/2008, as set out in the Annual Improvement Summary, be noted.
175 (42) QUARTERLY WORKFORCE MONITORING APRIL TO JUNE 2008 – The Service Director Human Resources submitted a report giving details of the workforce monitoring statistics for April to June 2008.
A number of key workforce indicators were included in the attached quarterly workforce monitoring report. These covered:
- Workforce profiles
- Employee turnover
- Sickness absence
- Recruitment and selection
- Learning and development.
Detailed workforce information covering the areas was also provided to services on a quarterly basis. The information supported aspects of service area quarterly performance reviews, as well as assisting managers in carrying out workforce planning.
Issues raised within the report would be addressed through actions included in the Human Resources (HR) Service Plan and People Strategy. Service specific issues were considered as part of quarterly performance reviews, with individual services areas taking appropriate action to improve performance in key areas. The HR Diversity Plan focused on specific employment related diversity issues on a councilwide level.
Resolved – That the Quarterly Workforce Monitoring report for April to June 2008 be accepted and key issues noted.
176 (43) ESTABLISHMENT OF POSTS – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FIELD WORKERS – The Service Director Community Planning and Resources submitted a report seeking approval for the establishment of two part time posts of Community Engagement Field Worker in the Community Planning division of Community Planning and Resources.
Over the last year Central Government had released two White Papers, Strong and Prosperous Communities and Communities in Control, which stated that mainstream agencies such as the Local Authority needed to develop systems to encourage people to raise issues of concern and become involved in local decision making.
This was reflected in the targets North Lincolnshire had agreed with Government Office in the Local Area Agreement and on which North Lincolnshire would be judged against in the Comprehensive Area Assessment.
To assist the authority to meet these targets the Community Planning Team had recently been restructured, with additional resources allocated from the area based grant. Officers would have responsibility for the following agendas:
- Stronger Communities (Stronger Communities Manager);
- Creating a thriving Voluntary Sector (Voluntary Sector Relationship Manager); and
- Community Engagement (Community Engagement Officer).
They would be supported by a Community Planning Co-ordinator, in line with the targets. All of the above posts had already been established and recruited to.
The Community Engagement Officer was charged with identifying developing ways for community members to raise issues of concern in their locality and a new role of Community Engagement Field Worker was proposed. It was felt that it would be necessary to have two part time posts, one concentrating on the urban areas and one the rural areas.. Ensuring that those concerns went to the appropriate person or group and closing the loop by developing effective ways of informing community members of what had been done.
Resolved – That approval be given for two part time posts (18.5 hours each) of Community Engagement Field Worker to be established at Grade 5.
177 (44) ADULT EDUCATION STAFFING REVIEW – The Service Director Learning, Schools and Communities submitted a report seeking approval develop the support for learners with additional needs through the appointment of Learning Support Assistants.
The Adult Education Service received funding from the Learning and Skills Council to support learners with additional needs on accredited courses. The service currently used the funding to provide additional tutors in delivering one to one support in the classroom. It was felt that it would be more effective and a better use of tutor resources if this role were delivered through peripatetic Learning Support Assistants.
The value of peripatetic support would be in the flexibility of where and when such support may be required and in the administrative support they could give to centres at critical times of the year, i.e. enrolment.
Resolved – That the establishment of three posts of Learning Support Assistant, as set out in the report be approved.
178 (45) ESTABLISHMENT OF THE POST OF STRATEGIC ACCESS MANAGER AND DELETION OF THE POST OF SENIOR EDUCATION OFFICER (SCHOOLS) – The Service Director Children, Strategy and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval for the creation of the post of Strategic Access Manager and to delete the post of Senior Education Officer (Schools).
In December 2006, Cabinet approved the establishment of a single service for children and young people (minute 616 refers). It was agreed that the existing structures for Education Learning and Achievement (ELA) and Children’s Services (CS) were realigned to achieve the integration anticipated by Every Child Matters (ECM) and the Children Act 2004 and that the single service for Children and Young People be organized and managed within the divisions of Children, Strategy and Partnerships and Learning, Schools and Communities.
In April 2008, the Corporate Services Cabinet Member approved the second phase of service realignment to create a single service for children and young people, in which personnel and resources were realigned across Children, Strategy and Partnerships and Learning Schools and Communities (minute 119 refers). The line management of School Support Services was transferred to Children, Strategy and Partnerships.
The role of Senior Education Officer was established as part of the traditional establishment of a Local Education Authority. This post was no longer required in this form in the new Children and Young People’s Service. In order to best meet the needs of Children and Young People’s service, under the Every Child Matters Agenda a new post of Strategic Access Manager was required to provide a more strategic lead in support of schools.
Resolved – (a) That the deletion of the post of Senior Education Officer (Schools) be approved, and (b) that the creation of the post of Strategic Access Manager be approved.
179 (46) ESTABLISHMENT OF THE POST OF STRATEGIC CO-ORDINATOR – WORKFORCE REFORM – The Service Director Children, Strategy and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval for the creation of the post of Strategic Co-ordinator – Workforce Reform.
In December 2007 the Department for Children, Schools and Families published the Children’s Plan ‘Building Brighter Futures’. A key focus of this document was on Children’s Workforce Reform.
Building Brighter Futures: Next Steps for the Children’s Workforce was published in April 2008, to focus on delivery of the reforms. In order to make progress on delivering the aims of the Building Brighter Futures action plan, local Children’s Trusts were asked to build on their Children’s Workforce Strategy. The Children’s Workforce Development Council had made a grant available to support the delivery of the workforce reforms.
Although the council had developed a Children’s Workforce Strategy, the capacity did not exist within current structures to deliver the required workforce reforms and action plan. It was proposed to create a post to develop and co-ordinate activity in the development and delivery of a workforce development strategy for the children’s workforce across North Lincolnshire.
Resolved – That the creation of the post of Strategic Co-ordinator – Workforce Reform be approved.
180 (47) VIREMENTS 2008 – 2009 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report seeking approval for changes to the revenue budget for 2008-09.
On 20 February 2008 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for 2008/2009 financial year (minute 1545 refers). Since then various developments had been approved which needed to be reflected in the budget to assist proper financial control. The report gave details of virements approved by the Service Director Finance under delegated powers and those that required Cabinet Member approval.
Resolved – (a) That the virements at paragraph 3.1 and 3.2 of the report, approved by the Service Director Finance under delegated powers be noted, and (b) that the permanent virements outlined in paragraph 3.3 of the report be approved.
181 (48) EXTENT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF CONSULTANT USAGE ANNUAL REPORT 2007 – 2008 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report on the extent and effectiveness of consultancy usage across the council.
In February 2007 Cabinet approved an action plan produced by the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Committee regarding consultant usage (minute 635 refers). The principal recommendation and action required the submission of an annual open report on the extent and effectiveness of consultancy usage across the council.
The key points in the report were that around £1.04 million was spent on consultancy in 2007/2008. Expenditure on consultants had reduced by around £1.6 million compared to 2006/7. Service areas have reported that the use of consultants overall has been effective.
Detailed information was set out in the report.
Resolved – That the findings set out in the report for 2007/08 be noted.
182 (49) CONTRACT AWARD INFORMATION 2007 – 2008 – The Service Director Finance submitted a report setting out details of contracts awarded by the council and partner organisations.
Contract Procedure Rules detailed that Service Directors must report annually on all contracts let over £100,000. The report set out a summary of the contracts tendered and let by the council and partner organisations procuring on its behalf during the financial year 2007 – 2008.
A total of 38 tendering exercises were conducted in financial year 2007/8 resulting in the award of 85 contracts to 79 companies. Almost a third of all successful tenderers were based within North Lincolnshire.
A successful Supplier Engagement Programme was helping local companies to compete for council and wider public sector contract opportunities.
Resolved – That the findings set out in the report be noted.
The following items contain exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
183 (50) PROPERTY TRANSACTION SCHEDULE – The Service Director Asset Management and Culture submitted a report for consideration, and where necessary approval, of a schedule containing the terms of all recently negotiated property transactions.
Resolved – That the schedule appended to the report be approved.
184 (51) COMMUNITY SERVICES AND YOUNGER CHILDREN TRANSFER OF STAFF FROM PRIMARY CARE TRUST TO NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL – The Service Director Learning, Schools and Communities submitted a report seeking approval to transfer staff currently employed by the North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust (NLPCT) working in the Surestart Children’s Centre, to the employment of the council, under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) or TUPE regulations.
The posts that currently existed in Surestart Children’s Centres were created historically for the two Surestart Local Programmes (SSLP) in partnership with a range of other agencies to meet the requirements of SSLP funding. The arrangement shared the funding ‘risks’ across agencies, as secure longer term funding was not available at that time. Surestart Local Programme monies funded all posts. Staff were employed either by the council, NLPCT, New Life Church or Crosby Employment Bureau.
In 2005 with the development of Phase 1 Children’s Centres, all staff went through a jointly managed transition process where some staff were allocated new roles, and new posts were developed. Responsibilities for employment however, remained as above. The current arrangements for staff management were fragmented, inconsistent and operationally challenging for managers and staff employed within the service. A five percent management fee was currently added by the NLPCT to invoices.
Transfer of employment to the council would ensure that the future development of the staff team and services across thenetwork of Children’s Centres was consistent, equitable and of high quality.
Resolved – (a) That the transfer and establishment of posts, as detailed in the report be approved.
185 (52) COMMUNITY SERVICES AND YOUNGER CHILDREN PROPOSED REGRADING OF FINANCE FACILITIES AND MONITORING CO-ORDINATOR – The Service Director Learning, Schools and Communities submitted a report seeking approval for the regrading and redesignation of the post of Finance Facilities and Monitoring Co-ordinator to Operations Manager, Service and Finance Delivery.
The post of Finance Facilities and Monitoring Co-ordinator held responsibility for the line management of operational support staff in the Children’s Centres, responsibility for the Children’s Centre buildings, oversight of budgets, training of managers and responsibility for the collection and collation of monitoring information.
During a recent review of the Childcare Development Service and Family Information Service, it was agreed that there would be a discreet group of staff whose duties were administrative and financially linked. The review therefore proposed that to fully integrate teams and meet overall wider needs of the services, these posts would fall under line management of the Finance Facilities and Monitoring Co-ordinator post.
Resolved – That the regrading and redesignation of the post of Finance Facilities and Monitoring Co-ordinator, as set out in the report be approved.
186 (53) REGRADING OF DIVERSITY STANDARDS OFFICER POST – The Chief Executive submitted a report seeking approval for the re-grading of the diversity standards officer post to reflect line management responsibilities for one part-time post.
In January 2004 a corporate diversity post was created within the Strategy and Customer Communication service to take a strategic lead in developing diversity across the council in accordance with legislative changes.
Over time the roles and responsibilities of the post widened and it became apparent that the position required some additional support. A part-time member of staff began supporting the position and in 2006 following restructure the diversity standards officer was given line management responsibilities for the part-time diversity support officer.
Resolved – That approval be given for the post of Diversity Standards Officer to be regraded as set out in the report with effect from 1 October 2008.
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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.