Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Town Hall, Queens Square, Attleborough

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 85 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 17 March 2010 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




To receive apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Mr T Lewis (South Norfolk).



Urgent Business

To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There was none.



Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.


Dr C.J. Kemp (South Norfolk) declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 6 (Business Case) by virtue of his son working for Capita.



Shared Services pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:


South Norfolk’s Chief Executive presented the report and explained that it had been adopted by both Councils.


The report had been presented to South Norfolk Full Council meeting first, together with some tabled amendments.  The report subsequently presented to Breckland Council had included those amendments and they had made some further changes.  It was confirmed that these changes had been due to constitutional anomalies and were not material differences and that Breckland had excluded the recommendation relating to payments due to those differences.


A South Norfolk Member said that it was important to record that although there were differences in terminology there was no difference in the substance of the reports.


The Breckland Chief Executive concurred and explained that the tabled amendments at Breckland had been to bring the recommendations in line with South Norfolk’s.  The only other area of change concerned the recommendation for sharing of costs.  The Chief Executive costs would be a separate contract, all others would be a 50/50 sharing of salary costs.



Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider passing the following resolution:


“That under Section 100(A)4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.





It had been agreed that the following item would be discussed in open session therefore no resolution to exclude the Press and the Public was moved.



Breckland and South Norfolk Councils Shared Services Business Case pdf icon PDF 741 KB


The Chairman introduced this item.  He said that there was a lot of detail in the report and suggested that the Committee went through the Executive Summary page by page with the Consultants initially, followed by a more in depth examination of issues arising.


Mr J Brooks, of Sector Solace Consultants, presented the Executive Summary.  He said there were clear similarities and important differences between the two Councils.  The Consultants had looked for the capacity to form a more sustainable and more powerful operation.  He was proud of the analysis which had used a complex model and which gave both Councils the means to make informed decisions.  He said the key question was “Do you want to be Partners?”


The Chairman asked why the Consultants believed that the figures quoted in the report were achievable and Mr K McNeil explained that a lot of detailed work had been carried out and the figures were a robust and conservative estimate of savings from shared services.  They had looked at the characteristics of each authority, at the resource levels and the demands on services.  It had not been an easy exercise.  They had also looked at benchmarks and comparisons with other authorities.  Some savings had been obvious: one Chief Executive, one Head of Paid Services and one law library for example.  They were confident about their projected figures for the Management Team and believed that economies of scale would be found in the back office services.   In other areas savings would be much more limited.


Speed was important, but too much speed could lead to increased redundancy costs, therefore these had been spread over the first two to three years.  The projected savings would be dependant on having a single integrated Management Team and achieving the critical mass to move forward.  It was a powerful financial case.


There was discussion about the savings and how they would be split between the two authorities.  A South Norfolk Member suggested that the split was not the main concern, what mattered was the fact that there were overall savings to be had for the residents of both authorities.


A Member asked if the savings assumed a similar level of service and Mr McNeil confirmed that it had been assumed that services would be maintained and improved.


During discussions two areas of concern that were raised were the lack of a framework agreement and the need to agree governance arrangements.  A Member also raised the potential problem of the partnership being a servant to two masters.


The Breckland Chief Executive said that governance meant different things to different people and he suggested that the CIPfA Guidance was a useful model.  He also felt that each authority already successfully worked for more than one master.  He said that work was underway to develop a framework and he suggested that Members should test the Business Case.


Mr J Mooney (South Norfolk Member) speaking from the floor, said that he hoped the project succeeded because it would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Next Meeting


It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Friday 11 June 2010 at 2pm at Ketts Park Centre, Wymondham.