Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 6th November 2014
Title of Item/Report
Development and Neighbourhood Services Review
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report on the Review of Regeneration and Economic Development, Planning, Countryside and Green Spaces and Technical Services.

The report outlined proposals to bring together the four remaining service reviews. The reviews were agreed as part of the Council's Medium Term Financial Plan. The services included in the review were Regeneration and Economic Development, Planning Services, Countryside and Green Spaces and Technical Services. Technical Services had already been the subject of a detailed review, achieving the targeted savings in 2013/14.

As the proposed new arrangements impacted on Heads of Service roles, Cabinet were requested to consider the strategic aspects of the review, prior to full staff and trade union formal consultation on the detailed proposals.

It was proposed to consult on the following, subject to Cabinet's acceptance of the recommendations in the report:-

• the Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Services will take direct management of a redefined business engagement function "Business and Enterprise";

• the re-designation of the Technical Services to Economic Growth and Development Services, to include some functions from Regeneration and Economic Development, Planning Services and Countryside and Green Spaces.

• Proposals for services not within the re-designated Economic Growth and Development Services are:

- Community Transport to be move to Direct Services;

- Tees Achieve moved to Culture and Leisure Services, re-designated

- Culture, Leisure and Community Learning (Employability & Learning & Skills Strategy will remain the responsibility of the Economic Growth and Development Services);

- Visitor Information Centre and Services to Museums, Heritage & Libraries within Culture, Leisure and Community Learning.


The purpose of the review was to identify potential areas of integration and ways in which greater efficiency could be achieved, improving service delivery and meeting a reduction of 300,000 identified within the Medium Term Financial Plan for 2015/16. A further saving of 100,000 was required in 2016/17 and these plans contributed to the additional savings required.

The Council had experienced significant reductions in Government funding and in recent years had also seen a significant reduction in money available for local regeneration projects.

The review preparation work had benefited from a number of staff workshops, independent advice and staff interviews to inform the proposals, ensuring a full understanding of how all functions were delivered and how they were configured and funded was understood and reflected in the proposals.

A number of organisational / structure options had been identified; resulting in the development of this preferred option and subject to Cabinet's agreement would be the basis of a full staff consultation exercise.

During the review process, a recurring theme had emerged associated with the challenges of scheme and project cross-functional working. There was a need to redefine the working arrangements within major programmes / projects and regeneration schemes in general. This would further improve the processes between evidence - based strategy development, project and scheme identification, and feasibility studies / proof of concept, physical development and operational delivery.

There were real opportunities to achieve improved efficiency and outcomes by bringing together all staff who had a role in economic growth, related strategy development and planning policy / spatial planning.

The review had sought to redefine the functional responsibilities of many teams, informed by evidence, and influenced by appropriate input from key partners and staff.

The review had also taken the opportunity to reflect on what functions were provided at a Tees Valley level by Tees Valley Unlimited and looked to strengthen and reflect the capacity provided at the sub-regional level within the preferred option.

Attached was the organisational chart for Development and Neighbourhood Services and the proposed new arrangements that would form the basis of the staff consultation exercise.

Consideration had been given as part of the detailed implementation process to succession planning, an underpinning principle of "Shaping a Brighter Future" the Council's development programme.

Subject to the formal consultation it was proposed to implement the new arrangements in April 2015. However to allow for appropriate succession planning and to manage the reduction in senior capacity, it was proposed that the Heads of Service posts be reduced during 2015 and early April 2016.

In line with the Council's Management of Organisational change policy the two re-designated Head of Service posts would be eligible for "slot-in" of the current incumbents. The posts would be re-evaluated using the Hay job evaluation methodology on completion of the consultation and the final allocation of service responsibilities.

On implementation of this review the Head of Service posts in Development and Neighbourhood Services would have been reduced from 8 in 2011 to 4 in 2015.

RESOLVED that:-

1. The scope of the review be noted.

2. Consultation take place with staff and trade unions that:-

• responsibilities for Strategic Business Engagement move to the Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Services;

• the posts of Head of Regeneration and Economic Development and Head of Planning Services be deleted. The post of Head of Technical Services be re-designated as Head of Economic Growth and Development Services and the post of Head of Culture and Leisure be re-designated to include Community Learning.

3. The delegated authority to the Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Services to restructure the appropriate divisions following staff consultation and reflecting the key service priorities be noted.
Reasons for the Decision
To produce efficiencies and service improvements and meet the budget reductions already agreed as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
None
Details of any Dispensations
N/A
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on Friday, 14th November 2014
Attachment

Date of Publication: 10 November 2014


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