Integrated Shared Management Structure and Joint Working Arrangements Review – Preferred Option for Breckland and South Holland District Councils.
Meeting: 25/02/2021 - Council (Item 25)
Report of Nathan Elvery, Head of Paid Service & Strategic Advisor.
- Appendix1 SHDCSummaryScore, item 25 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix2 BDCSummaryScore, item 25 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix3 SHDC Interim Structure, item 25 PDF 91 KB
- Appendix 4 - Breckland District Council - Interim Structure, item 25 PDF 584 KB
Nathan Elvery, the Head of Paid Service & Strategic Advisor presented the report.
The report was familiar to most Members as it had been debated at the Joint Strategy Board, Cabinet and at the Overview & Scrutiny Commission. He thanked all Members for those debates and the comments that had been made both formally and informally.
Members were asked to note the four additional recommendations from 5 to 9 that had stemmed from those conversations, debates and comments that should provide further reassurance to Members about how these decisions would be made in terms of implementing some of the recommendations. He thanked Members once again for their contributions.
It was noted that the recommendations at the recent South Holland Full Council had been approved.
The recommendations were proposed and seconded.
Councillor Birt had made previous representations to Cabinet and to the Overview & Scrutiny Commission and he had explained why the numeric representation within this report to quantify a very wide linear parameter did not work. He did not agree with the scoring methodology for this new local strategic partnership as it had clearly been given a score on something that Breckland did not have. He could support some of the recommendations, but he could not agree to the delegation of some of these decisions based on the poor evidence that had been provided. He had no difficulty in supporting the separation from South Holland DC as the distance between the two and the carbon cost of that clearly meant it was more difficult than first thought. Members had already seen that it was possible for joint working to happen without the necessity for it to be completely tied up with one particular council or group.
He asked whether recommendation no. 5 had been worded correctly as he felt that it should be a recommendation to Council to make an appointment rather than the Joint Appointments Committee.
He also proposed an amendment to recommendation no. 1 and asked for it to be amended to read: “the Council seek new working partners wherever that provides benefit to Breckland residents without specifically tying the Council to any one partner”.
The proposal was seconded.
Subject to two votes to approve the amendment and 4 abstentions, the vote to amend recommendation no. 1 was lost.
Councillor Birt asked for a response to be provided on recommendation 5.
The Executive Manager for Governance advised that in respect of the powers of the Joint Appointments Committee, this Committee did have the authority to appoint all chief officers and deputy chief officers with the exception of the Head of Paid Service and the Chief Executive. In addition, statutory designations remained with Full Council as it was not the same as making appointments.
Councillor Borrett felt that the recommendations should be taken enbloc as there did not appear to be much support for Councillor Birt’s opinions on this report.
Councillor Birt felt that he was being put in a position where he would be unable to vote on some of the ... view the full minutes text for item 25
Report of Nathan Elvery, Head of Paid Service and Strategic Advisor.
- Appendix 1 SHDC Summary Score, item 22 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix 5 - Options Appraisal, item 22 PDF 1 MB
- Appendix 2 BDC Summary Score, item 22 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix 3 SHDC Interim Structure, item 22 PDF 91 KB
- Appendix 4 BDC Interim Structure, item 22 PDF 99 KB
- Appendix 5 Terms & Conditions – Alignment between Breckland and South Holland DC’s, item 22 PDF 75 KB
The Head of Paid Service and Strategic Advisor, Nathan Elvery, presented the report.
The Integrated Shared Management Team and the joint working arrangement between Breckland District Council and South Holland District Council had been in place for nearly a decade and the partnership had been successful in terms of delivering improved outcomes for local communities and making substantial savings for both organisations.
There had been three reasons behind the commissioning of the review. In October 2020, following the departure of the Chief Executive, both Leaders had agreed that now would be a good time to review the Strategic Partnership. The Joint Strategy Board had reviewed the arrangements in 2015 and it was good practice to review such an arrangement every five years. Additionally, since COVID-19 both Councils had been working on a place-based way of operation to ensure the response to communities had been as effective as possible. Furthermore, it was also felt, as both Councils sat geographically within different counties, it would be a good time to review the situation in line with current Government planned Local Government re-organisation.
The review would be delivered in three stages - to recommend a preferred option, to develop a business case for the preferred option, and to implement that business case for the preferred option.
The report evaluated four available options; to remain ‘As is’, to improve the existing partnership, to continue as a Standalone Authority, or to form a New Local Strategic Partnership. All options had been evaluated with a summary of the options evaluation and ranking detailed in the report with reasons for the recommendations. For both Councils the preferred option had been to form a New Local Strategic Partnership.
The Head of Paid Service felt that after achieving substantial savings as well as the knowledge and wisdom that had been gained over the last ten years working in joint partnership, this would be a natural evolution for both organisations.
Councillor Birt felt that it would be a sensible move to part with South Holland at this time, he said that the geographical distance of being 54 miles apart was a serious problem with the carbon footprint in a climate emergency. However, he felt that the evidence in the report was insufficient and that the calculations were not substantial enough to balance the recommendations and also felt that it would be unreasonable to evaluate the option of a New Partnership when there was no evidence to build a calculation on the unknown. However, he agreed that it was the right time to end the partnership.
The Head of Paid Service explained in detail how they had arrived at the evaluation methodology and had considered and analysed the data and quantified calculations. He added that in terms of assessing the New Local Strategic Partnership or Stand-Alone options, this would prove difficult without a business case; therefore, it had been evaluated on which opportunities might be available to the authority moving forward, if it was to forge a new partnership with a ... view the full minutes text for item 22
Meeting: 01/02/2021 - Cabinet (Item 26)
Report of Nathan Elvery, Head of Paid Service and Strategic Advisor.
- Appendix 1 SHDC Summary Score, item 26 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix 2 BDC Summary Score, item 26 PDF 36 KB
- Appendix 3 SHDC Interim Structure, item 26 PDF 91 KB
- Appendix 4 BDC Interim Structure, item 26 PDF 99 KB
The Head of Paid Service introduced the report and reminded Members that in October 2020, both Councils had commissioned a strategic review of the integrated shared management and joint working relationship between South Holland and Breckland District Councils and the report had set out recommendations from the first stage of that review.
There would be three stages to the strategic review, with the first providing both Councils a signal of direction going forward through the preferred option. The second phase would see a separate set of decisions that would include a business case based on the preferred option. The third stage would be to implement of the preferred option.
Members were informed that since the publication of the report, a fourth recommendation had been circulated to Members as the report had continued to develop and adapt. The recommendations of the report had been unanimously agreed at the Cabinet meeting of South Holland on the 26 January.
Following a set of criteria as detailed within the report, the preferred option for both Councils was to form a Local Strategic Partnership within the Council’s own County.
The Chairman added that since the pandemic both Councils’ had operated within a place-based model which he felt was the right thing to do to respond to the emergency position. It had formed the catalyst for both Councils to consider what the best option would be going forward for the residents and businesses of Breckland. The partnership had, for over a decade been working well, and he reminded Members that we were the first in the Country to set up a Strategic Partnership expanding across two counties. Both Leaders had a mutual respect and trust for each Authority with a moral obligation to ensure that no single Authority would be left without being able to provide the ongoing services.
Councillor Sherwood thanked the Head of Paid Service for the detailed report. He went on to say that the partnership had worked, where many had failed, and that had been down to the trust of both Leaders, Officers and Members across the organisations. In addition, as a result of the partnership Breckland had been able to redirect the savings made to support the frontline services.
Councillor Hewett also added that it had provided an opportunity to allow the Council to adapt to the future needs of the residents and Businesses across Breckland.
Councillor Webb asked what the savings had been of the Partnership and if there would be an additional cost of the interim place-based structure. The Head of Paid Service reminded Members of the report in 2015 that saw savings across the Partnership of £4.4m with ongoing savings of £500k per year. Further savings could be made as new partnerships were created within Norfolk. He confirmed there would be no additional costs to the interim Structure, however the safe landing of Officers was still to be finalised. In addition, there had been an assumption that moving forward there would not be a Chief Executive appointed at ... view the full minutes text for item 26