Joint Committee on Shared Services – 15 January 2016

Chairman:    Councillor Baroness Liz Redfern
Venue:         Function Room1, Civic Centre, Scunthorpe
Time:           2.00 pm


1.  Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests.

2.  To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the joint committee held on 4 December, 2015.

3.  Shared Services – Progress Report – Report by the Shared Services Board.

4.  Accountancy Shared Services Structure – Report by the Shared Services Board.

5.  Procurement (PANNEL) Shared Service – Report by the Shared Services Board.

6.  Draft Legal Agreement – Report by the Shared Services Board.

7.  Any other items which the chairman decides are urgent by reason of special circumstances which must be specified


PRESENT: –  Councillor Patrick (Vice Chairman) in the chair.

Councillors Hannigan, C Sherwood, Waltham and Watson.

Sally Jack, Helen Manderson, Mike Wedgewood, Jason Whaler and Mel Holmes also attended the meeting.

The meeting was held at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

17  DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, personal or personal and prejudicial interests made at the meeting.

18  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 4 December 2015 having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the chairman.

19  (11)  SHARED SERVICES – PROGRESS REPORT – With reference to minute 11, the Shared Services Board submitted a report detailing progress on the shared services programme between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The report referred to the programme plan of actions that had been developed to implement shared services between the two councils for Information Technology, Finance, Internal Audit, Human Resources and Legal Services with each of the above workstreams producing business plans.  The report set out progress against the overall programme plan which had been closely monitored by the Programme Manager and the Programme Board throughout using standard programme management techniques.  The programme remained on track for implementation on 1 April 2016.  Key points arising from each of the workstreams referred to above were set out in paragraphs 2.5 to 2.10 of the report.

The report set out details of the resource implications and indicated that the shared back office services which were planned to begin on 1 April 2016 would make significant savings.  In addition, changes to team structures and staffing numbers were planned in the business cases to deliver the savings and other efficiencies outlined in the Transformational Challenge Award (TCA) bid and staff at both councils would continue to populate existing buildings to similar levels as now with an increase in agile working.

To facilitate joint working across the two councils, investment of £0.725m from the TCA Grant had been assigned to standardise, join up and streamline existing IT infrastructures as previously noted.  Additionally the Human Resources and Finance Workstreams included capital spend on back office systems to support the integration between the two councils.  The remainder of the TCA Award had been allocated for staff exit and programme costs.

Resolved – That the joint committee note the progress made against the Shared Service Programme Plan and savings projections, and note that the project remained on target for implementation on 1 April 2016.

20  (12)  ACCOUNTANCY SHARED SERVICE STRUCTURE – A report was submitted by the Shared Services Board which considered the proposed structure for the Accountancy Services shared service between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The report referred to the shared back office services initiative between the two councils which had grown out of the need to provide efficient and effective support services at minimum cost in order to protect frontline services for local people in North Lincolnshire.  Arising from that work the report now submitted set out the proposed structure for the Accountancy Services element of the proposed shared service.

The report detailed the current responsibilities for Accountancy Services at both councils which were set out in paragraph 2.3 and indicated that both functions were led by appropriately qualified and experienced Accountancy Managers reporting to a Group Manager at North East Lincolnshire Council or Assistant Director of Financial Services at North Lincolnshire Council.

Paragraph 2.5 of the report set out the vision of the Accountancy Shared Service with paragraph 2.6 detailing the advantages of the proposed structure identified in the business case.  The proposed structure for the service was shown in appendix A to the report. The service would be led by an Accountancy Shared Services Manager, supported by six strategic leads each managing a team of staff.  These teams would be the Finance Service Desk, two Business Partnering Teams, a Financial Planning and Treasury Team and a Financial Systems and Accounting Team.  Details of these were provided within the report.

Resolved – That the Accountancy Shared Service Structure as set out in the report be approved.

21  (13)  PROCUREMENT (PANNEL) SHARED SERVICE – The Shared Services Board submitted a report which considered an enhanced vision for the Procurement (PANNEL) shared service between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The report indicated that the Procurement Alliance North and North East Lincolnshire – PANNEL – had been launched on 1 April 2006 as one of the first procurement shared services in the local government sector.  Its primary aim was “to deliver better value for procurement through existing resources.”  The initiative recognised the significant range of synergies that existed between the two councils at that time, details of which were set out in paragraph 2.2 of the report.  In addition, the specific outcomes sought from the shared services were detailed in paragraph 2.3.

The report also indicated that for a number of years PANNEL had operated effectively with progress reports provided to both councils’ cabinets at annual intervals evidencing a wide range of significant financial and non financial outcomes through collaborative working as detailed in paragraph 2.4 of the report.  In addition, the team’s efforts had been recognised at regional and national level through various awards.  In recent years a number of changes had impacted the model, notably the creation of a centralised commissioning procurement structure at North East Lincolnshire Council and management and other associated staffing changes at North Lincolnshire Council.  Despite these challenges the arrangement had continued and significant outcomes were still being realised demonstrating the strength of the relationship, the value of the benefits it delivered and the general cogence of the original business case.  Latterly, the service had shaped its operation around a modern category management model with specific category managers managing portfolios of procurements across both councils in common areas such as transport, fleet, agency staff and office solutions.

Recent reorganisation of corporate functions at North East Lincolnshire Council alongside the wider North East Lincolnshire Council/North Lincolnshire Council Shared Service Programme had presented opportunities to review and re-launch PANNEL. Accordingly an enhanced vision had been produced informed by the strategic objectives of the wider programme.  Details of this enhanced vision were set out in paragraph 2.9 of the report. Further work was necessary in order to implement the new vision and a further report would be presented to the joint committee in April 2016.  The vision had been developed across both councils drawing on experience in the last ten years together with the objectives of the wider shared services programme.

Resolved –  That the joint committee notes the emerging vision as detailed within the report and receives a further report in relation to the implementation of this vision in April 2016.

22  (14)  DRAFT LEGAL AGREEMENT – The Shared Services Board submitted a report updating the committee on the progress being made in drafting a legal agreement to underpin the shared services programme between North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

One of the programme plan of actions developed to implement the shared services programme had been identified as the need to ensure that a legal agreement was prepared to regulate the relationship between both councils under the shared services programme.  Specialist external solicitors had been jointly instructed by the Monitoring Officers of both councils to draft a legal agreement which would set out the legal basis for the joint committee and the shared services programme and comprehensively detail and regulate the responsibilities of each council under the programme.

A draft legal agreement had been produced and was currently being considered by the shared services board.  Many of the provisions were relatively standard in nature and were to be found in most legal agreements of this type.  However, some of the provisions required a bespoke approach and paragraph 2.3 of the report set out a summary of the key provisions that the board was currently working through for inclusion in the final agreement.  By definition, the legal agreement would be legally binding on both councils and the intention was that it would be in place by 1 April 2016.  In readiness it would be necessary for both councils to take a report to their respective cabinet and full council meetings to approve some consequential constitutional amendments arising from the governance related issues referred to in the report.  Thereafter, it was proposed that the Monitoring Officer of both councils, having been authorised, sign the agreement to bind their respective councils.

It was essential that a legal agreement was in place to underpin the shared services programme as detailed in the report.  The report contained further information in relation to this matter.

Resolved – That the joint committee notes the progress made in drafting the legal agreement and authorises the Monitoring Officers of each council to sign, once settled, the legal agreement on behalf of their respective councils.