Surrey County Council is undertaking a large scale transformation programme to address identified performance, financial and organisational culture issues to improve service delivery to residents and value for money.
The key components of the programme include a Vision for Surrey in 2030, a refreshed approach to partnership work, the development of ‘Deals’ with the community, full business cases for critical service areas and enabling functions, revised financial systems, processes and practices and a culture audit and change programme.
Declarations of interest:
Michael Coughlin, Director of Customer, Digital and Transformation, Surrey County Council
Kevin Foster, Chief Operating Officer, East Sussex County Council
David Kuenssberg, Executive Director of Finance and Resourcing, Brighton and Hove City Council
Adrian Stockbridge – Head of Strategy, Performance & Change, Surrey County Council
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Committee received an introduction to the report from officers who provided an overview of Surrey County Council’s (the Council) Transformation Programme. Members heard that there was a significant challenge to the SCC’s financial sustainability over the coming years and that the Transformation Programme aimed to address this through a rapid and fundamental shift in both culture and service delivery across the organisation. £40 million of savings were required for the 2018/19 financial year to avoid drawing on more of the Council’s reserves.
2. Officers advised that SCC had temporarily paused the integration of its HR and Finance teams into the Orbis partnership. This was to ensure that SCC had the resource and capability within these services to support delivery of the Transformation Programme. SCC’s HR and Finance Teams would continue to cooperate and collaborate with its Orbis partners but further integration of these services would be on hold until late 2019/ early 2020.
3. Further information was requested on what impact this pause would have on delivery against agreed savings for the financial year 2018/19. It was confirmed that originally budgeted savings within Orbis HR and Finance functions had been achieved. It would be necessary to adapt the integration process in order to deliver the savings targeted to be made in 2019/20.
4. Members were informed that ‘bridge roles’ had been created for HR and Finance to ensure their continued co-ordinated management across the partnership, which would help to facilitate the integration of these services into the partnership when SCC was in a position to do so. Officers also highlighted the development of an Action Plan to support a process of integration that incorporated the requirements of the sovereign partners. Members requested that the Action Plan be brought to the January meeting of the Orbis Joint Committee to keep them informed about the progress of the integration agenda.
5. The conversation turned to the publication of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) report on the financial sustainability of SCC. The Committee heard that comments made about the Orbis Partnership included within the report had been taken out of context and did not reflect SCC’s view of its Orbis partners. It was acknowledged that the report had caused some consternation at BHCC and ESCC due to the phrasing of parts of the report relating to Orbis and because Orbis partners hadn’t been offered the appropriate opportunity to comment on and suggest amendments to the final report.
Actions/ further information to be provided:
1. The Orbis Partnership Integration Action Plan to be included on the Joint Committee’s forward work programme for its meeting in January.
That the Orbis Joint Committee noted the detail of the transformation programme in Surrey and the key areas of focus.