Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Fundamental service reviews

Meeting: 29/03/2017 - Finance Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 45)

45 Fundamental Service Reviews pdf icon PDF 101 KB


Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services

Jan Heath, Business Development and Support Manager


The Council is undertaking a 4 year rolling programme of reviewing how all services are delivered in order to identify best practices and financial savings.  The Panel asked to consider the outcomes of the first round of reviews.

Additional documents:


The Business Development and Support Manager said that the Fundamental Service Reviews (FSRs) was a 4 year rolling programme which involved looking at how services were being delivered and what best practice looked like, with the aim of identifying savings.  The scheduling of FSRs had been led by Executive Directors and Heads of Service.  An internal board had been formed which had met three times during each FSR.  Most FSRs included in the first round were now complete although a final meeting for Building Services would be held at the end of the week.  £645k of cumulative savings over four years had been identified and built into the Council’s medium term financial plan (MTFP).


In response to a question the Panel heard that no savings targets had been set and that the budget balanced without and additional savings being identified and achieved.  Further savings would be reported during the budget setting process. 


The Panel commented that the savings were impressive and asked why this process had not been done before.  The Business Development and Support Manager said that the Council had gone through a similar process a few years ago.  The FSRs were about making sure the Council delivered services efficiently in a way that was fit for purpose and provided best value.  This involved exploiting the benefits of new technology, looking at other Councils for good practices and striving to be radical and innovative.


The Panel questioned whether the very high cost of housing was having a detrimental impact on recruitment and making it harder for the Council to achieve its objectives.  The Panel heard that the difficulties around recruitment were a common theme.  The Council was relying on temporary and fixed term staff to an increased extent and was turning to other incentives to attract good employees in to the city.


The Panel noted that the FSRs were taking place within given political and policy constraints and questioned the extent to which officers were challenging politicians.  The Business Development and Support Manager explained that this was happening, notably in terms of waste collection and leisure concessions. 


The Panel considered the FSR for each service in turn.


OD & HR - The Panel made a general comment that the FSR outcomes did not include much by way of collaboration with other local authorities.  The Panel heard that some shared services options had been considered as well as options for selling services, buying services, outsourcing and company models.  While there were some positive examples of collaboration, the detail had not always been convincing.  For example, it had been considered the best option for OD&HR to continue to be delivered in house.  That said the Council was collaborating with Kent County Council on the provision of HR advice to schools.  The Panel encouraged further exploration of these sorts of opportunities.


Building Services - The Panel questioned why the HRA workload was reducing and heard that this was partly due to the impacts of rent reductions and the forces sale of higher  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45