Agenda and draft minutes

General Purposes Committee
Tuesday, 22nd March, 2011 7.00 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions

Contact: Ayshe Simsek  2919

Items
No. Item

99.

Apologies for Absence (if any)

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Bloch.

100.

Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late reports in relation to the items shown on the agenda.

 

(Please note that under the Council’s Constitution – Part 4 Section B paragraph 17 – no other business shall be considered).

Minutes:

 There were no items of urgent  business submitted.

101.

Declarations of Interest

A member with a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of that consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent.

 

A member with a personal interest in a matter also has a prejudicial interest in that matter if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member's judgment of the public interest and if this interest affects their financial position or the financial position of a person or body as described in paragraph 8 of the Code of Conduct and/or if it relates to the determining of any approval, consent, licence, permission or registration in relation to them or any person or body described in paragraph 8 of the Code of Conduct.

 

Minutes:

 There were no declarations of interest put forward at the meeting.

102.

Deputations/Petitions

To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.

Minutes:

 

The Committee received deputations from Chris Taylor and Andrea Holden (Employee side Representatives) on agenda items: 5) – Summary of Urban Environment Restructuring proposals and delivery of a Place and Sustainability directorate. 8) Procurement Service Function Review 9) Travellers Education service 10) Vulnerable Young person’s drugs worker. Details of their comments are recorded under the relevant minute below.

 

103.

Summary of Urban Environment Restructuring Proposals - Delivery of a Place and Sustainability Directorate pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The committee to consider an overview of the proposed restructuring of the Urban Environment Directorate and the creation of a Place and Sustainability Directorate. The report will seek agreement for some restructure decisions  in this service to be made by delegated authority by the Chair of General Purposes Committee and the Director following consultation and consideration of the equality impact assessments.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Anne Lippitt, the newly appointed interim Director of Urban Environment to the meeting.

 

The Director provided an overview of the proposed restructuring of the Urban Environment directorate and further provided information on the plans for the new directorate to be named Place and Sustainability. The Committee had received   reports on the constituent parts of the Urban Environment restructure, namely disestablishment of Neighbourhood Management and on Property services. This report detailed the future decisions required by General Purposes Committee on the restructure of the directorate and included those decisions already taken by delegated authority.

 

The Director referred to the directorate structure charts for phase 1 of the restructuring process and phase 2, to provide Members with a picture of which services will be located in the directorate and the number of senior officers managing these services.

 

One of the key services was the creation of the single frontline service, a report on this would be considered by the Committee on the 29th March. There were currently 56 vacancies across frontline services and 65 new posts being created as part of the new service with 107 posts for deletion.

 

 A further report would follow to Committee on developing a shared economic service with Waltham Forest Council. Cabinet had endorsed the development of this shared service which would focus on priorities around employment, skills and attracting investment for business and enterprise.  The Committee also learned that a Carbon Management service would be created  which would comprise of  the services in UE and Housing that  need to work together to meet the key  Council policy of managing the borough’s carbon footprint. A further detailed report would follow on this to Committee in May which would list the services and post holders coming together to form this service.

 

The significant restructures detailed above would involve changes to the establishment of 20 posts or more and were programmed to be considered by the Committee at future meetings.   Further restructures,   where there were less than 20 posts significantly affected, and where there no substantial issues raised in the consultation period, were proposed to be agreed by the Director in consultation with the Chair of the Committee.

 

 

Members sought clarification on the management of the Property services as this area was not listed as being covered by a senior post in phase 2 of the reorganisation of the service. Members learned that following the implementation of phase 1 of the reorganisation, as outlined by the Rethinking Haringey report, there would be a further review of functions entailing a reduction in the number of assistant director posts. This would mean that an assistant director post would be managing asset managements and direct services.

 

 In relation to the restructure of the Culture Libraries and Learning understanding was sought on the reduction in library staff as there would be a need to staff this continuing service.  It was noted that there were currently 3 vacant senior posts, two of which, the Assistant Director for Culture Libraries and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Review of organisational Development and Learning Services pdf icon PDF 166 KB

The committee to consider proposals for the re-organisation and refocusing of the Council’s Organisational Development and Learning function.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

The Assistant Chief  Executive presented the Committee with the proposals  for the re-organisation and refocusing of the  Council’s Organisational Development and Learning function in order to deliver 50% budget reduction in back office services and 35% budget reductions in what were ABG grant funding streams for social work and social care development .  The reorganisation would deliver a total saving of £908k. Members were asked to consider paragraph 7.4 of the report which set out the current number and future number of posts in the service. This included posts which were funded by ABG funding and overall meant that 14 posts would be deleted in this service.   The Committee were advised that as the posts in the new structure had changed substantially from the old structure, the proposed recruitment method for most posts was by a series of open ring fence interviews.  This was with the exception of the OD Consultant for E- learning. 

 

Members were asked to note that Appendix E of the report contained responses to the staff and union comments on the reorganisation. There was engagement with staff that were involved in more than one ringfence about how  they wanted their interviews to be managed. The key focus of the restructured service would be to support the transformation agenda within the whole of the organisation together with helping the implementation of the budget decisions.  The service would continue to provide short courses which would be commissioned externally.  Moving forward into later financial years, the Assistant Chief Executive envisaged a closer working relationship between Human Resources, HESP (Haringey Efficiency savings Programme) and Communications under the Chief Executive’s service.  There would follow a report to a forthcoming Committee about the transformation agenda of the Council. This would provide information on how the Council will manage its transformation and efficiency going forward with an explanation of how the CE’s services will work together.

 

The Committee learned that, where there was a position to be made vacant by means of a voluntary redundancy, and if there was a need to continue with this post then the service would seek to transfer the saving and find an appropriate displaced employee.

 

Clarification was sought on how the developmental aspect of the service could continue. In answer to this, the Committee were asked to note that the short Course programme, which staff relied upon to access to improve skills in their chosen area, was continuing with a manager to commission these courses for staff.

 

The Assistant Chief Executive continued to outline the changing function of the Organisational and Development service which would need to accord with the culture change in the organisation and support it. This was translated in the proposed new posts which were set out in Appendix D.  The Committee recommended that the term consultant should not be used to describe a Council employee post as  this was a term mainly associated with externally contracted staff and could also cause confusion when data  is collected and analysed on the use of  this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104.

105.

Restructure of Haringey Payments Service pdf icon PDF 143 KB

The committee will be asked to agree the proposed structure for the Haringey Payment Service.

Minutes:

The Committee considered plans for the restructuring of the Haringey Payments service which would occur subsequent to the closure of the Cashier’s service based at 247 High Road Wood Green. The closure was scheduled to take place by the 3rd of June. Members of the Committee were therefore asked to agree the proposed structure for the Haringey payment service and note the subsequent reductions in posts, to come into effect from June 2011.

 

The Committee were advised that the number of permanent posts affected was seven and following the restructure this would be reduced to four.

 

 Concern was expressed by some Members on the waiting times at the Cashier’s service. This as explained to be as a result of recent issues experienced with the issuing of parking permits which had recently been fully resolved.  Members highlighted the need to communicate effectively to residents the change in the payment policy of the Council which was that a majority of payments would need to be made online.  It was essential that this was communicated to the public before the closure of the payments service to ensure that residents were able to understand how they could make payments in future. The Committee further recommended that online forms for payments were simple and user friendly with clear information on the documentation needed to obtain permits or licences.  There should also be information provided on where payments can be made when there is not access to information technology.  The Committee were assured that a publicity campaign on the new payments online service was underway with communication of the online payment service planned in Haringey People.

 

RESOLVED

 

  1. That subject to formal consultation, the proposed new structure for the Haringey payments service be agreed.

 

  1. That delegated authority be provided to the Director of Corporate Resources, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee to make any amendments that may be agreed following the formal consultation process.

 

 

  1. That the timetable for implementation be noted.

 

 

106.

Procurement Service Function Review pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Members to consider proposals for the delivery of procurement functions following the service function review. Report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

Members were informed that as part of the Haringey Efficiency and savings Programme(HESP) a review of the Procurement function (including transaction processing across the Council had been undertaken in order to arrive at a revised Procurement structure and new model of delivery of the Procurement function .

 

The Head of Procurement provided Members with the context behind the proposals being made which was essentially to centralise the Procurement structure. The Council had currently 960 live contracts, therefore this was a high spend and high risk area where good management was crucial.  The department had been set the savings target of £416k which was to be achieved over the next two years.  They had previously enabled the Council to make 12 million of savings through the use of good contracts.  Their energy and sustainability team had been successful in jointly negotiating completive contracts for Gas and Electricity for the Council and schools and were part of a London Consortium negotiating competitive energy contracts. The department had previously made 25% reductions in staffing levels through a review of processes and systems efficiencies and had already a centralised construction team. To enable and assist the new structure there would be further recommendations to Full Council to amend the financial limits contained in Contract Standing Orders. 

 

 The proposed model for the Procurement function would include transactional processing, procurement of supplies and services, construction, property, commercial contract management, category management and energy management.  It was important to note that commissioning was delivered individually by services and would continue to be so. The Procurement service would no longer assist services with bill validation and would desist providing mediation and negotiating services for Supporting People Contracts. The Committee noted that the restructured team was designed to be flexible. They would continue working on category management to ensure that services were all using the same suppliers and limiting the uses of multiple contacts for goods and services as this had an increased cost for the Council.

 

In relation to the changes in financial thresholds for officers making decisions on contracts, the Committee were informed that this was subject to consultation with Members and the figure being considered was 100k. This was noted to still be comparatively low compared to other borough’s financial thresholds for contract decision making. The Committee noted that formal tender process would remain unchanged.

 

The Committee asked that the second report to Committee, following staff consultation, should contain comments specifically from the Section 151 Officer.

 

RESOLVED

 

  1. That in principal the Committee approve the proposed new Centralised Procurement Structure.

 

  1. That following the completion of consultation on the proposed structure a further report be considered by the Committee to consider any required changes and finalise the centralised procurement.

 

  1. That the timetable for implementation be noted.

 

 

 

 

107.

Travellers Education service pdf icon PDF 570 KB

The committee to consider proposals for the future delivery of this service. Report to follow

Minutes:

The Committee considered proposals to close the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Education Team. This was a non statutory service affected by the budget savings required by the directorate and Council.  The service had been operating for many years and was valued for its contributions to the Traveller, Gypsy Roma communities.  The service provided advice, guidance, training and support to Children Centres, schools and colleagues and undertook casework with children and their families. The Committee were informed that over recent years much good work had been done to equip, the settings outlined above, to meet the needs of Travellers and Gypsy Roma children. In light of this and, given the need to radically reduce expenditure, the Committee were assured that these settings would have the capacity to meet the needs and responsibilities of this group.

 

Clarification was sought on the responsibility for children, from these minority groups, that were not attending school. It was noted that the Education Welfare service were the accountable service for ensuring that all children were in school and should be the point of contact for reporting any concerns on children seen not to be at school.

 

Members enquired about what the impact had been of the equalities assessment completed on this unit closure and whether the findings of the assessment had any bearing on the outcome of the recommendations in the main report.  Overall, concern was expressed on the length of the Equalities Impact Assessments attached to all reports considered by the Committee and their connection to the outcome of the restructures being considered. Clarification was sought on what  the information requirements were for an EQIA or whether a summary of the key information was allowable. The Assistant Chief Executive agreed to speak with Equalities team about how the assessments considered by Committee can be shorter without an impact on the due process.

 

The Committee noted that the displaced staff would be subject to redeployment process but it was unlikely they could be transferred to another service area with responsibility for this minority community.  In the responses to the consultation about the delivery of support services to this community, the Committee also learned that there were likely to be private organisations which schools could purchase this support need from if required.

 

The Employee side expressed their objections to the recommendations contained in the report and asked the Committee to consider the future capacity of Children’s Centres, Connexions and Education Welfare team, which were already part of separate restructuring exercises, and how they would take on the responsibilities of this team.   In the Employee side’s view, there was already a strong reliance on the traveller’s team for support on cases from the Education welfare team. The Employee side advised the Committee that one of the displaced post holders was from Gypsy Roma dissent and was able to effectively communicate with the community saving the Council the costs associated with translation. Although the team was small it was unique and provided a vital service. Members noted that no consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.

108.

Vulnerable Young Person's Drugs Worker pdf icon PDF 373 KB

  The committee to consider proposals for the future of this post.

Minutes:

The Committee were asked to agree the deletion of the vulnerable young person’s drug worker role. The purpose of this role was to reduce substance misuse among vulnerable young people and enable them to sustain and resume education, training or employment, and improve their personal safety. The worker acted as a link between schools and specialist treatment services. The worker carried out casework with individual young people, drop-in advice sessions for young people, awareness-raising sessions for parents/carers and training for school staff. However referrals to this worker have been low over a sustained period with 3 current cases open.

 

The Employee side communicated to the Committee their objections to the proposals to delete this post and provided some background to the post holder’s role and the process to commission this service externally. They referred to the linkage with youth services, which the post holder had, and associated the reductions in case load to the use of the Common Assessment Framework. The latter argument was disputed by officers in being a reason for a reduced workload.

 

 

 

RESOLVED

 

  1. That the Committee note that formal consultation on these proposals began on 20th January 2011 and was concluded on the 3rd March 2011.

 

  1. That comments received from staff and trades unions and the management response to these attached at appendix 2 be noted.

 

  1. That the deletion of the post, taking into account the outcome of the staff consultation and paying due regard to the Council’s public sector equalities duties be approved.

 

109.

New items of exempt urgent business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late reports in relation to the items shown on the agenda.

 

(Please note that under the Council’s Constitution – Part 4 Section B paragraph 17 – no other business shall be considered).

 

Minutes:

None