To consider an update on the Council’s Continuous Improvement Programme.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 27 to 34, which gave details of the Council’s Continuous Improvement Programme (CIP).
Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Services), Paul Ohsan.Ellis (Business Change Lead Manager) and Lewis Borges (Business Change Lead Manager) attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions.
The report stated that the Council’s 21st Century Council Programme had ended in March 2019. In order to continue on the improvement journey, the Council had formed the Business Change Service in May 2019 and embarked on the CIP.
The Business Change Team had developed CIP in each Council Directorate. In addition the team supported the directorates in ensuring that robust governance was in place which underpinned delivery of the savings outlined in the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan.
The Business Change Team comprised four main functions: project management, business change, business analysis, digital assessment and intelligence. The team adopted a multi-skilled approach which supported plans to work in themed areas across the Council. The team’s resource capacity was allocated to Adult Social Care (40%), Children’s Services (40%), Locality and Customer Services (10%) and Corporate Services (10%).
The report gave details of the projects supported by the team to date and the team’s areas of focus for 2020 onwards. For example, directorate “design” work was already underway for Adult and Children’s Services to develop a programme of work dedicated to service and structural design. Other corporate projects included Service Accommodation, Transport Review, Data and Insight.
In the ensuing discussion, Members made the following points:
In relation to the projects being supported by the Business Change Service, how many were high risk or rated Red in the RAG ratings? It was confirmed that the majority of projects were rated Green or Amber. One area of concern related to the Customer Portal as a result of Microsoft’s decision to withdraw support.
The 21st Century Council programme had delivered £3m in savings but the original target was to achieve a further £1m from People Services. However, it appeared that the model used was not appropriate for high risk, high demand, high specialist services such as adult and children’s social care. How did the change team mitigate the risk of destabilising services as CIP progressed? Graham Ebers commented that the 21st Century programme had delivered £3m savings. CIP was being implemented by Directors, supported by the Business Change team. This reduced the risk of change being imposed on services from outside. As an example, the recent Peer Review of Adult Social Care reported that positive change was happening at pace within a controlled environment.
In relation to specific projects, would the review of Home to School Transport include transport for over-16s? Lewis Borges confirmed that it would. Were there any plans to review the Council’s website as some residents found it difficult to find information? Susan Parsonage commented that the website would be looked at as part of the wider review of customer service.
Did CIP include innovation and learning from best practice elsewhere? Graham stated that the programme involved fundamental rethinking about issues such as prevention, demand management and market shaping. Success would require agile governance and the ability to work at pace. As an example, Impower had been commissioned to work on demand management in Adult Social Care through a 12 week contract.
Pauline Helliar-Symons referred to the Council’s previous target of answering telephone calls within 10 rings (around 30 seconds). The most recent performance management report indicated that the average wait time was well over one minute. The Committee had requested further information on call handling performance following the Q3 Performance Management Report to the January 2020 meeting.
1) Lewis Borges, Graham Ebers and Paul Ohsan.Ellis be thanked for attending the meeting to update Members on the Continuous Improvement Programme;
2) progress on the Continuous Improvement Programme be noted;
3) the Committee receive a further update on the programme in due course.