Agenda item

Minutes of Previous Meeting

To consider a presentation by Andy Couldrick (Chief Executive) on the 21st Century Council organisational change programme, followed by Member questions.


The Committee received a presentation from Andy Couldrick (Chief Executive) and Heather Thwaites (Director of Environment) on the Council’s “21st Century Council” change programme. The programme had been developed in the light of a very challenging four year financial settlement from the Government. Members and Officers had concluded that further incremental savings would be increasingly difficult to achieve and, therefore, more fundamental changes were required to the shape and size of the organisation.


The key principle underpinning the 21st Century Council programme was that improved interaction with service users could improve the customer experience and, at the same time, deliver significant savings to the Council. The presentation highlighted the main workstreams under way as part of the programme and the ongoing governance structure. An important milestone would be the submission of a business case to the Council’s Executive in September 2016.


The presentation highlighted the principles and assumptions which underpinned the programme, including:


·       More self-serve for customers and staff supported by refreshed and new IT;


·       Fewer hand-offs with more first-time resolution of issues;


·       Multi-skilled, multi-tasked locality facing staff;


·       Specialists released to focus on their areas of expertise;


·       Different roles and behaviours for staff and managers;


·       Training and support to develop “21st Century” Officers and Members;


·       Proposed investment in IT, implementation capacity, staff training and support would be delivered in order to ensure that the projected revenue savings were achieved within the three year timespan of the current Medium Term Financial Plan.


Andy Couldrick highlighted three issues submitted as potential items for Overview and Scrutiny review which would be addressed as part of the 21st Century Council programme, viz:


·       The collection, storage and reporting of corporate information – to be addressed via a new integrated Electronic Document and Records Management System;


·       Housing Benefits and Rents – removing silos and joining up through a new organisational model;


·       Multi-disciplinary wardens – to be investigated through the new organisational model.


Members welcomed the presentation and raised the following points:


·       It was important to build resilience into any new systems to reduce dependence on the knowledge of key Officers;


·       Back office systems must be able to talk to each other and support greater standardisation across the new organisation;


·       It was essential to have effective managers in place at the start of any new ways of working and new IT support systems;


·       It was important that staff from front-line services were involved in the design of new systems and processes;


·       New ways of working should be driven by the needs of residents and customers rather than the needs of service providers;


·       The Council should be clear about its statutory services and should explore alternative delivery models for its discretionary services;


·       New IT systems should be able to generate accurate and timely management information to support Members and Officers in their roles;


·       The proposed business model should be rigorously challenged to minimise the risk of overruns and overspends, especially on new IT systems.




1)    Andy Couldrick and Heather Thwaites be thanked for the presentation on the 21st Century Council programme;


2)    A further presentation/report be submitted to the Committee at its meeting on 7 November 2016.