Cutting Executive Spending
The Conservative Group note the recent recruitment drive of the Council in the Joint Executive Team and ever-expanding cost of the Town Hall to taxpayers. This budget amendment radically reduces the cost of the town hall to enable more investment in our towns, communities, creating a first-class education system and protecting our beautiful greenspace.
The Office of the Chief Executive will be scrapped and replaced with a new Managing Director Post with a new responsibility in line but not limited to the Bury 2030 Strategy. The role will continue to act as Head of the Council’s Paid Service and undertake all duties and responsibilities as defined in Section 4 of the Local Government and Housing Act. (1989).
The ‘Chief Executive’ budget will be reduced by 10% as well as reducing the Corporate Core budget by £500,000.
The Joint Executive Team (JET) will be reduced by 2 posts saving £350,000. This change in the Senior Leadership Team structure will be part of a full review of pay and grading structure and terms and conditions for all Senior Managers at the Council. A new organisation structure will be drawn up along with a full review to gain an understanding all in-house skill. Any support required for this will be funded from the Transformation budget. Following this review Bury Council will be a Council fit for the future, more efficient and a slimmed down organisation that delivers high quality services to residents. The plan to reassess jobs and pay scales will help embed the Council become more efficient and bring an end to a top-heavy organisation.
Bury Council at present spends millions on Agency and Consultancy each year. Both of these budgets will be reduced by £250,000 and £300,000 respectively. A shift to having permanent staff instead of temporary, short term contracts costing hundreds of pounds a day will be implemented.
A shared service will be explored and implemented for Legal services and back office services. Any partner needed to explore this will be funded from the transformation budget. Sharing administrative staff with another authority would not mean any reduction in front line workers such as social workers or health workers. As a result of economies of scale, only the number of managers needed would be reduced, with clearer lines of accountability, ending waste, and the potential for fraud.
Transformation will be championed within the Council with full support to the £5 million capital programme for digital and IT. The Bury 2030 strategy will be fully supported to enable Bury to become a beacon digital Council. As part of the transformation there will be an enhanced focus for a paperless Council.
The digital improvements will improve the customer experience and will undertake a series of key projects to improve the way residents and visitors interact with the Council. Full Customer Journey mapping will be undertaken to improve the journeys and make them smoother. Where necessary, new technology will be harnessed to enhance the current offer but also improve, this includes a data-clense of all the Councils data both on and offline and an improvement to Councils servers, shifting from a local server to cloud based offer. Allowing the Council to build greater insight to understand demands and adapt services accordingly will be a key benefit.
The amendment proposes a full review into the Revenues and Benefits area of the Council, funded from the transformation reserve. This will provide investment in systems to improve Council Tax Collection, Business rates and overall debt management. It is anticipated that this would improve the Councils collections thus reduce the overall bad debt provision.
Capital Strategy Governance – No cost
The Conservative Group recognises that Governance at Bury Council has been weak in recent years, investments have been made which could have been negated with a thorough businesses case.
A Capital Strategy Review Group (CSRG) will be created to review all financial aspects of the Council’s capital programme. This Group will review and ensure the strategic direction of the programme to ensure the outcome are aligned with the Bury 2030 “Let’s do it”vision. The CSRG will ensure that all capital projects have over £250,000 have a viable Business case and that Value for Money is delivered by the Council for residents.
Following experience of recent years, the CSRG will ensure there is oversight and strict governance procedures, monitor the expenditure, funding requirements for the capital programme and the revenue impacts.
All significant projects include those with a minimal expenditure of £250,000, require residential engagement, may have issues due to sensitivity, involves matters which form part of the strategic aims of the Council, have an important historical context and/or carry a major risk.
To ensure there is governance in place, all developments and regeneration projects £250,000 and over will have to produce:
- Strategic Outline Case (SOC)
- Outline Business Case (OBC)
- Full Business Case (FBC)
All business cases must include the:
- The Strategic Case
- The Economic Case
- The Commercial Case
- The Financial Case
- The Management Case
All projects under the value of £250,000 will only require a Business Justification Case only. This must include, where possible, the level of residential engagement, sensitives, historical context of the project, strategic aim of the project. This will be reviewed and agreed by Senior Officers, The Cabinet Member for Finance and the Project Manager for the project.
All business cases will require the approval of the CSRG. The Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny will receive a briefing. Some projects may have a high-level budget with spend within the programme, detailed spends will be required for such projects and must be signed off by the CSRG.
Through introducing governance to all stages this will ensure Value for Money to the residents of Bury. Therefore, the Council will be able to gain a full understanding on how a specific scheme will influence the overall strategy, the local economy, officers and resources of the Council.