The report presents the Business Change Period 5 (P5) finance information extracted from the P5 (end of August) Cabinet report presented to Cabinet on 1st November 2016.
The Commission to consider and comment on the report.
The Commission considered a report from the Interim Service Director, Finance. The report set out the relevant Business Change/Resources extracts taken from the Period 5 Finance Report that went to Cabinet on 1st November 2016. Service Directors presented additional commentary on their respective service areas in the slide deck appended to the report.
HR Savings 16/17 to 17/18
In discussion and in response to Members questions the following points were raised:
a. Members recognised that service levels had been maintained for a significant period in the face of budget reductions.
b. Members registered their concerns that Bristol’s benchmarking performance highlighted that the organisation was in a phase of crisis management. the Annual HR activities budget per employee, identified a lack of investment in staff, mostly related to learning and development, which could cause problems for the organisation in the future. Preventative action needed to be taken to mitigate against the cycle of staff not being developed to meet the future challenges ahead.
c. Officers confirmed that statutory and mandatory training was being maintained with a third of the budget allocated for this. Officers confirmed that the organisations future learning and development need was part of a wider conversation about the organisation’s culture and the results of the staff survey would feed into these discussions.
d. It had not yet been resolved whether Learning and Development spend would sit corporately or in individual departments. Specific areas such as the Benefits Service had its own training budget to enable teams to stay abreast of ongoing legislative changes. A member expressed concern that a devolved budget could mean that the opportunity to scrutinise these issues could be lost.
e. A member suggested that the organisation required a Learning and Development Strategy and that this should be a matter for the Human Resources Committee.
f. The Interim Strategic Director, Resources would share the Commissions concerns with the senior leadership team but stated that any increased investment for learning and development would need to be found from other budgets. Action: Anna Klonowski
ICT Savings 16/17 to 17/18
In discussion and in response to Members questions, officers confirmed that
g. A reduction in staff would not result in an increase in consultant fees. Transition arrangements were progressing, to move from a reliance on agency staff to permanent core staff.
h. Advances in technology had resulted in more efficient processes and a reduction in back office staff. Teams to relocate from Romney House to City Hall. There were plans to trial a drop in ‘Geek Bar’ to provide a more efficient response to requests for service or repairs.
i. A single ICT strategy was in development and had commenced with a review of the organisations current applications. There would be increased governance around ownership of technology at service level to enable ICT enable to deliver more effectively.
Finance Savings 16/17 to 17/18
In discussion and in response to Members questions, the following points were raised:
j. There was a need to achieve a balance between back room and front line finance services, with recognition that cuts that were too extreme could amount to asset stripping and jeopardise the organisations ability to deliver some services. Lessons had been learned from previous finance restructures and service managers would need to be equipped to take advantage of a self-serve finance model. Members requested that officers confirm how many people currently work in each of the areas listed under the revised finance structure. Action: Anabel Scholes
k. The Interim Strategic Director confirmed that there was a priority to understand the technology available across all services and make it work effectively. There was a role for members to challenge officers to do more to deliver savings and at the right pace to ensure the benefits are realisable.