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PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPER REVIEWS SERVICE DELIVERY AT CUMBRIA CC - REPORT PUBLISHED

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WORK CONTINUES ON COUNCIL'S PLANS TO INVEST TO SAVE AND IMPROVE ...
WORK CONTINUES ON COUNCIL'S PLANS TO INVEST TO SAVE AND IMPROVE

Cumbria CC is continuing work on the best way forward of developing both the quality and accessibility of services delivered by the council. A detailed study is examining options on how to improve and modernise what the council does for the public.

Mike Ash, deputy leader of the council said:

'Following the elections in June last year the new council commissioned a detailed study on whether we need to change how we organise and deliver services with the aim of both investing in and improving those services. That study is now reaching its conclusion. The study will examine options ranging from 'no change', partnerships with other public bodies or the private sector, through to, in a few cases, the merits or otherwise of trade sales. When finalised the study will be published and issued for widespread consultation with the public, service users, our staff, our many partners and public representatives. The report was published today with the consultation running throughout the summer, before firm proposals, are considered by a meeting of the county council in September.

Cabinet member Donald Jefferson said:

'This will be an important consultation that will shape the way this council goes about its business over the next few years and everyone will have the chance to contribute to the debate before any decisions are taken. It must be remembered that no report has yet been finalised nor any view formed as to the way ahead.'

Executive Summary

In April 2002 PricewaterhouseCoopers were appointed by Cumbria CC (the Council) to review the range of alternative service delivery models available to the Council.

The review took place during April and May 2002.

Following the County Council elections in June 2001, the Council's new Administration which consists of a partnership between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties made the following policy commitments :

'To explore partnership arrangements with the private sector. Applications will be invited from the private sector to join with the Council in providing a major share of the administrative and backroom services, whilst protecting Council staff.'

'In particular we will look closely at the benefits to be achieved from externalisation or looking at alternative ways of managing (for example, setting up a trust) the Port of Workington, Higham Hall and Cumbria Waste Management.'

'It is agreed that the Council will only proceed with a public/private sector partnership if such an arrangement will draw significant new investment into the County over a period of time, and or achieve substantial savings for the Council.'

In reviewing the options open to the Council we were given a wide remit to explore the full spectrum of options ranging from retaining and reconfiguring services in-house, joint ventures, outsourcing, partnerships to externalisation by trade sale. We were also asked to evaluate more innovative and radical options such as large scale secondment of staff under strategic partnership arrangements and the possibility of management and employee buy outs.

In our discussions with members and officers we have not been guided towards any preferred models and we have not encountered any preconceived views as to the outcome of our review. We have sought to approach the review in a logical and structured manner that is based on:

- Understanding the strategic context for the review (both nationally and locally);

- Understanding the needs of particular services within the Council;

- Identifying all of the alternative service delivery models open to the Council and highlighting their perceived advantages and disadvantages;

- Researching which models are currently used within the public sector and within local government in particular;

- Developing a structured approach to option appraisal based on political priorities and supporting the achievement of strategic objectives;

- Identifying which options are most relevant to particular services;

- Identifying major corporate issues that need to be addressed; and

- Assessing the Council's strategic capacity to take our proposals forward.

Having reviewed all of the options available to the Council we have set out below our recommendations covering both corporate and Directorate specific issues and provided suggestions with regard to priority and implementation timescales.

In making our recommendations we have taken into account the existing contract with CAPITAdbs for the provision of 'white collar' design and business services.

For certain parts of the County Council's operation such as Cumbria Contract Services (CCS) we have recommended significant change, for other Directorates our recommendations focus on particular service areas.

No one single service delivery model emerges as the preferred way forward for the County Council as a whole. Instead our recommendations point towards the need for a 'mixed economy' of delivery models comprising:

- Retaining services internally;

- The establishment of two strategic partnerships for the provision of ICT and office accommodation respectively;

- Continued use of outsourcing (Capitadbs and others);

- Joint ventures (both public/public and public/private);

- Use of secondments;

- Use of 'framework' or 'call-off' contracts;

- Establishment of NPDO's; and

- Trade sales.

In making our recommendations we are conscious that a move towards a mixed economy of service delivery models will place greater demands on the 'corporate centre' and individual Directorates in terms of the need for:

- Clear policies and strategies which articulate the desired social outcomes to be achieved;

- Effective corporate governance arrangements,

- A corporate performance management framework which supports Comprehensive Performance Assessment and which links performance management and measurement to corporate policies and social outcomes and also ensures congruency between corporate objectives and the personal objectives of staff;

- Partnership working that is based on shared objectives, strong business ethics, sound governance principles, transparency of business, sharing of risks & rewards and skills & knowledge transfer between parties; and an

- Effective procurement and commissioning function.

Before the Council begins implementing the agreed way forward with regard to the alternative service delivery models outlined in our report we strongly recommend that it strength is its corporate management resource through the creation of a limited number of additional posts to deal with the increased workload that will necessarily flow from the implementation of our proposals.

Whilst we believe that capital receipts and revenue savings will result from the implementation of some of our recommendations there is a need for investment 'up front' to be able to drive the programme forward and also manage any new service delivery arrangements on an ongoing basis.

Whilst specialist advisory, financial and project management resource can be 'bought in' where appropriate we believe that there is a real need to strengthen the Councils own management resource prior to the implementation programme beginning.

Once members and officers have considered our report and agreed the way forward for each service, the service delivery models to be pursued need to be evaluated in more detail with regard to legal and financial considerations, consultation process to be followed, implementation timescales etc.

Recommendations

Our detailed recommendations are that:

Corporate Issues

1. The Council does not enter into one overall strategic partnership for the provision of all Council services. Given the limited number of such partnerships at present, and the short period of time over which such partnerships have been in existence, we consider that the benefits arising from all-encompassing strategic partnerships of this nature have yet to be proven. In addition we believe that there are significant risks in the Council putting all of its services 'in one basket'.

2. The Council considers entering into two separate and smaller strategic partnerships, one covering the provision and maintenance of Information, Communications and Technology infrastructure (ICT) and the achievement of its e-government agenda and another to support the rationalisation and development of the Councils portfolio of office accommodation (High priority-early implementation).

3. The Council considers the potential of creating Non Profit Distributing Organisations (NPDO's) as a corporate initiative (possibly within one corporate NPDO for the Council as a whole) rather than as discrete service specific initiatives

(High priority-early implementation).

Cumbria Contract Services

1. Cumbria Contract Services be restructured (High priority-early implementation).

2. Learning Support Services and the Music Service be transferred back into the Education Service (Medium priority-early implementation).

3. The Premises Business Unit and the Construction Business Unit (with the exception of Cumbria Industries) be externalised through trade sales, either separately or jointly (High priority-early implementation). Whilst trade sale is our recommended way forward for both Business Units consideration should also be given to entering into a joint venture arrangement with the private sector.

4. Fleet Management (workshops) be externalised together with the Construction Unit (High priority-early implementation) .

5. Cumbria Care be set up as a separate business entity possibly as an NPDO with subsidiaries serving each of the six District Council areas within Cumbria and that opportunities for each subsidiary to engage with the NHS, Local Authority Housing Departments and Registered Social Landlords in each area under joint venture agreements be explored (High priority-implement in the medium term).

6. The Port of Workington be transferred into a public/public partnership between the County Council and Allerdale District Council (Medium priority-implement in the medium term)

Community Economy and Environment

1. Consideration be given to using the Private Finance Initiative to support the Street Lighting service (High priority-early consideration of opportunity-implement in the long term)

2. Consideration be given to transferring the Libraries Service and Archive Service into a Non Profit Distributing Organisation serving the whole of Cumbria (Medium priority-implement in the long term).

3. Consideration be given to establishing a new Cumbria-wide Economic Development and Regeneration Agency to serve the whole of Cumbria and that economic development /regeneration functions currently resting within the Chief Executive and CE&E Directorates be transferred to this new body. (Medium priority-implementation in the medium term)

4. The Client-side function for Waste Management be retained in-house but that external support of specialist advisors be retained to develop a Waste Management Strategy for the County (Medium priority-early implementation).

5. All other functions be retained in-house.

Finance and Central Services

1. The work of CIS be encompassed within a strategic partnership for the provision and maintenance of the Council's ICT infrastructure and the achievement of the County's e-government agenda (High priority-early implementation)

2. Consideration be given to establishing a public/ public joint venture with the District Councils and other public sector bodies where appropriate for the provision of internal audit and legal services (Low priority-early implementation)

3. Members services be retained in-house.

4. Corporate purchasing be retained in-house but that greater use is made of public sector purchasing consortia where appropriate.

Safety Services

1. Consideration be given to using the Private Finance Initiative to support the provision of a new Divisional HQ and Station within Carlisle (Medium priority-implement in the long term)

2. The Fire Service remains as a Directorate within the Council and that a separate Fire Authority is not created.

3. That Health and Safety and Emergency Planning remain in-house.

Social Services Directorate

1. The Social Services Directorate and Education Service explore the opportunities for much closer working in relation to Children's Services under the 'Shaping Learning and Care Services' project (Subject to separate review-High priority-implement in the medium term)

2. That Children's Homes, Child Protection and Adoption Services remain in-house.

3. Social Services continue to develop relationships with NHS Trusts in the County for the joint provision of services for older adults. At this stage we do not recommend the creation of a Social Care Trust but would not rule this out in the longer term.

Education Service

1. Consideration be given to the use of secondments from both the public and private sector in relation to the provision of advisory and inspection services possibly through framework contracts with partner organisations (Subject to separate review-High priority-implement in the medium term)

2. The Social Services Directorate and Education Service explore the opportunities for much closer working in relation to Children's Services under the 'Shaping Learning and Care Services' project (Subject to separate review-High priority-implement in the medium term)

3. That Special Educational Needs function be retained in-house.

4. A strategic partnership be entered into for the provision of ICT in schools ( Medium priority- implement in the medium term)

5. The Council continues to support Cumbria Lancashire Education On-line (CLEO) and considers formalising the arrangement into a joint venture company (Medium priority-early implementation)

Chief Executive's Directorate

1. The Council seeks external support through three 'framework' or 'call -off' contracts with either public or private sector organisations for the provision of support in relation to the development of a corporate ICT strategy, performance management and policy formulation and evaluation of policy outcomes. (Medium priority-early implementation)

2. Consideration be given to establishing a new Cumbria-wide Economic Development and Regeneration Agency to serve the whole of Cumbria and that economic development /regeneration functions currently resting within the Chief Executive and CE&E Directorates be transferred to this new body (High priority-early implementation)

Cumbria Waste Management

1. The Council dilutes its stake in Cumbria Waste Management and that it considers entering into a joint venture with a private sector waste management company (possibly with the involvement of a number of the District Councils within the County) to provide an integrated waste collection and disposal service (High priority-early implementation)

Miscellaneous properties

As part of the review of alternative service delivery models we were also asked to explore options for the following properties within the Councils ownership:

- Higham Hall

- Talkin Tarn

- Birdoswald Roman Fort

- Eskdale Mill

- Cumbria Outdoors

We recommend that:

1. Higham Hall be set up as a NPDO to serve the adult education sector and that it develop stronger links with Higher and Further Education Institutions in the region.

2. The Council either sells Cumbria Outdoors as a going concern or enters into a joint venture with either a private or voluntary organisation specialising in activity holidays for children.

3. Made in Cumbria be transferred to a new Economic Development/Regeneration body serving the whole of Cumbria

4. Consideration be given by the Council to transferring ownership of Talkin Tarn to a voluntary organisation.

5. The Council give consideration to transferring ownership of Birdoswald- to a University with an Archaeology Faculty specialising in Roman history.

6. Eskdale Mill be sold with cottage an inducement.

All of the above are of high priority and should be implemented early.

Suggested Implementation Timetable- indicative timescales only

Recommendation2002/032003/042004/05

1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months

High Priority/early implementation

1. That the Council to enter two strategic partnerships, one for the provision of ICT infrastructure and another for the provision of office accommodation/ redevelopment of the Council's property portfolio.

2. That the Council considers a corporate approach to the establishment of NPDO's

3. That Cumbria Contract Services (CCS) be restructured.

Suggested Implementation Timetable- indicative timescales only

Recommendation2002/032003/042004/05

1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months

High Priority/early implementation (contd)

4. That the Premises and Construction Units of CCS (with the exception of Cumbria industries) be externalised.

5. That Fleet Workshops be externalised with the above and that vehicle leasing be either retained in-house or outsourced possibly as part of the Capitadbs contract

6. That the Council considers the possibility of using PFI to address the investment needed in street lighting.

7. That the Council establish a new Cumbria-wide body to promote and support economic development/ regeneration within the County.

8. That the Council establish a joint venture with the public and private sectors which will include Cumbria Waste Management Ltd

9. That Higham Hall be set up as an NPDO

10. That Cumbria Outdoors is either sold as a going concern or forms part of a joint venture with a private sector or voluntary sector partner.

Suggested Implementation Timetable- indicative timescales only

Recommendation2002/032003/042004/05

1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months

High Priority/early implementation (contd)

11. That Talkin Tarn be transferred to the voluntary sector.

12. That Birdoswald be transferred to a University with a specialist Archaeology Faculty

13. That Eskdale Mill be sold

Medium Priority/early implementation

14. That Learning Support Services and Music Services be transferred to Education Service

15. That the client side of Waste Management continue to retain consultants for the development of Waste Management Strategy

16. That the Council continues to support CLEO and considers formalising this arrangement into a joint venture

Suggested Implementation Timetable- indicative timescales only

Recommendation2002/032003/042004/05

1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months

Medium Priority/early implementation (contd)

17. That the Council enter into three 'framework' or 'call off' contracts for the provision of support for the development of 'a corporate ICT strategy', performance management and policy formulation

Low Priority/early implementation

18. That consideration be given to a public/public joint venture with other public sector bodies for the provision of internal audit and legal services

High Priority/implement in the medium term

19. That Cumbria Care be established as an NPDO and explore opportunities on a District by District basis to form joint ventures with NHS Trusts, Registered Social Landlords and Housing Departments of District Councils

20. That the Port of Workington be transferred into a public/public partnership between the Council, Allerdale District Council.

Recommendation2002/032003/042004/05

1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months1st 6 months2nd 6

months

Medium Priority/implement in the medium term

21. That Made in Cumbria is transferred to a new Cumbria-wide body to promote and support economic development/ regeneration within the County

22. That a strategic partnership be entered into for the provision of ICT in schools (possibly linked into the corporate ICT partnership recommended earlier)

Medium Priority/implement in the long term

23. That consideration be given to the use of the PFI for the provision of Divisional HQ and new fire station in Carlisle

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