To consider a brief summary presentation on the progress of each review within the Transformation Programme.
The supporting information will be circulated as soon as it is available.
Kellie Williams, Deputy Transformation Programme Manager updated the Commission on the progress of the Transformation Programme since the last update in March 2018. The programme’s original savings target of £11m on-going savings had now been delivered, with one-off programme costs totalling £2.2m. Although there remained significant momentum across the programme the Adults and Children’s programmes were the key focus due to the significant increases in demand for services.
She advised that the Corporate Management Team (CMT) were looking at prioritisation of ‘sub-projects’ to focus on greatest financial and strategic gain. It was explained that internal capacity to deliver the programme remained a challenge which made prioritisation of projects crucial.
Additional recognised achievements included excellent non-executive member engagement in the programme and that there had been no significant opposition or challenge to the changes from residents and very limited adverse press/reputational damage. It was noted that four projects were due to close shortly and two have already been closed.
The Deputy Transformation Programme Manager highlighted features within a selection of projects:
· Within the Libraries project there had been technical issues but the team were working closely with ICT and the external provider so that the Council could be confident in the service being offered. Self-service kiosks were now installed and in use at Binfield, Birch Hill and Harmans Water branches. The remaining libraries would go live by October/November.
· Within the Adults programme the increasing demand was a challenge but there were positive indicators. A projected overspend of £0.5m was lower than previously experienced. The change in practice was driving savings and targeted demand profiling was helping the service identify and prevent demand that has not yet happened.
· Within the Children’s programme there was a potential overspend of £1.5m and demand was difficult to predict. £400K of savings had been achieved and this was due to increase to £880k by the end of the financial year. The updated position on Edge of Care was that nine young people were being supported and eight remained at home with one was in respite care. Of six young people with the potential to move out of residential care: one had moved out, two would move imminently and three were planned for before Christmas. The restructure to the Early Help team was due at the start of the financial year but was not implemented until December and therefore savings were delayed. The Family Safeguarding Model was not delivering the anticipated savings. There had been significant senior leadership changes and it was recognised that unrealistic targets had been set given the current social worker caseloads.
In response to questions raised by Members the following points were made:
· Transformational projects were spread across the Council and could be delivered quicker if centralised and reprioritised to achieve more financial and strategic gains.
· It was clarified that the figures related to what the transformation team could deliver by the end of the financial year and other projects with savings attached to them would deliver savings earlier if were delivered sooner.
· The resources references related to having people with the skills and knowledge to deliver the projects. The initial discussions by CMT were about focussing the resources available onto projects with the most financial and strategic gain when considered against the time, resources and political impact. It was not yet possible to put a value on the cost of delivering all of the proposed programme.
· Social worker caseloads had been reduced to 15 cases but not to the ideal level of 13 cases. Recruitment had been successful but now retaining staff had become an issue.
· It was clarified that the resources issues for social work was about the capacity to commission services to the correct placements rather than Social worker caseload.
· In relation to the property review update the future use of Easthampstead House had been reconsidered and the Council was pursuing ‘meanwhile use’ rather than demolition.
· Action: Steve Bruce, Assistant Director: ICT agreed to circulate a response to the query of the cost of relocating ICT training facilities (Education Centre/Stables/Commercial Centre) to go to the Ground Floor Library.
· Action: Kellie Williams, Deputy Transformation Programme Manager agreed to follow up with Councillor Mrs Temperton regarding the response to a planning enquiry she had made which was delayed due to ‘lack of resources’.
· There had been improvements seen in Planning and Building Control with cashable savings and positive feedback.
The Chairman thanked Kellie Williams, Deputy Transformation Programme Manager for the update.