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Models of delivery for a planning service Alice Lester, Programme Manager May 2011 www. pas. gov. uk
Reasons for change Financial Ideology Practical Planning
Financial LGA figures • Total central government formula grant funding for councils falls by 12% in 2011 -12 to £ 24. 9 bn • Estimated funding gap of £ 6. 5 billion in 201112 (the difference between what English local authorities would need to spend to maintain frontline services in their current form and the income they will be able to raise from grants, fees/charges, business rates and council tax)
Financial “Councillors at East Lindsey and South Holland district councils have given the go-ahead for the creation of a new merged service organisation which will save the councils £ 1. 5 m a year” “Liverpool City Council has become the latest authority to announce job cuts with plans to lose 1, 500 posts over the next two years…. . Last week Norfolk CC announced that 1, 000 jobs could go because of spending cuts and Hampshire said it could lose 1, 200 posts in order to cut costs.
Practical • • Shared Head of Services Evidence base and studies Expertise & capacity building Efficiencies & service delivery – avoid duplication • Can do better together • LEPs
Planning reasons • Cross boundary, strategic, issues • Enables solutions one authority couldn’t deliver alone • Shared strategies – in the best interests of the area/sub-regions • City Regions • Joint planning units
What we know Databuild research • 225 interviews with responsibility for DM/DC • 234 with responsibility for planning policy • 250 authorities ( partial info) • 205 authorities (info on both functions)
Development Management • About half of authorities deliver all DM in house – especially the larger authorities • Outsourcing (to other authorities or private sector): – specialist skills – legal advice – processing certain types of applications – general case working
Many variations • Sharing services internally (eg Building Control and Development Management) • Outsourcing, parts or whole, to other LPA or private sector • Merging/sharing externally • Unitaries – last round of LGR – locally focussed and designed around needs of the users • Joint working on projects/strategies
Evaluation (Databuild info) • Mostly ‘successful’ and ‘good value for money’ • But also not enough monitoring and evaluation
Challenges Sharing – – – Different processes Back office systems Political buy in Aligning timescales Different costs Outsourcing – Writing a good brief – Disputes over contract value – Performance targets/management – Quality control/work not meeting brief – Back office – file sharing etc – Delays
What we know PAS/Cipfa Benchmarking work • 3, 000 people in 100 benchmark authorities who recorded how they spent their time to gave us a detailed look at more than £ 72 m of cost dealing with 140, 000 planning applications.
Bigger Is Cheaper (for districts, London boroughs, Mets and Unitaries)
Size matters? Our benchmarking data highlights: • bigger LPAs deliver cheaper unit costs • bigger LPAs are less popular with applicants than small LPAs • adding back-offices together makes things "peakier and troughier" than they were
Success tips • understand your motivation • understand your options • Understand your costs, your priorities, your value, and where the time goes • remember the customer - maintain the link between the officers and applicant and community, and remember the outcomes you are aiming for • have a flexible resourcing plan, so you can move people around as work demand changes • manage external suppliers well • maximise income, minimise costs
Success tips • Planning is different (political) but don’t try to use “statutory” as a weapon • Planning is changing – don’t get “locked into” contracts • The evidence shows that larger volumes lead to cheaper unit costs (within the same organisation). Don’t just bolt different LPAs together. • Evaluate, evaluate. Begin with evaluation.
Why options appraisal? Typically, an options appraisal is used to assist authorities take the right decisions by ensuring that no policy, programme or project is adopted without first answering these key questions: • Are there better ways to achieve our objectives? • Are there better uses for the resources available? • Is this the best way to achieve our desired outcomes?
Options Appraisals – key issues • Establish: • • • the strategic need. range of resources available. key outcomes/objectives to meet strategic need. ‘do minimum’ or “baseline” position on risk transfer. evaluation criteria for the long-and short-listing process.
Options Appraisals – key issues • short-list from a high level option appraisal • Identify the full range of options, which may be available to deliver your desired outcomes and objectives. • Evaluate fully the short-listed options against the evaluation criteria. • Progressing the preferred option
Examples of options appraisal criteria 1. Design and scope 2. Accountability, governance and participation 3. Financial assessment 4. Quality of service 5. Local/Regional economy and community well being 6. Quality of employment 1. Sustainability development 2. Ability to address social justice and inequalities 3. Capability, management and intellectual knowledge 4. Organisational arrangements 5. Added value 6. Corporate impact on the authority
Beware of appraisal bias Options appraisal can sometimes reflect an overly optimistic view of the effect of a particular option. However there is evidence of ‘appraisal bias’ in which options appraisal is carried out with a predetermined option in mind.
Common themes • • • Vision and leadership The team Stakeholders Legal help Politics Ongoing public sector reform
Six Potential Models In house: service continues to be managed with direct employees and funding Fully externalised: transfer provision to private contractor/ trust Shared services: 2+councils jointly running/ managing services
Six Potential Models Mutual's/Spin outs/Worker co-operatives: Staff taking control of a facility or service they have been working on Consortium: Working with one or more partners including private sector (separate legal status, control limited to activities) Joint Venture: Working with one or more partners including private sector (equity is contributed and control is shared – less rigid arrangement)
Waveney & Suffolk Coastal in partnership
First Steps…… • Meeting with all staff – together, to explain process; • Vacant posts frozen; • Draft Outline Business Plan by December 2010; • Voluntary Redundancy process across both Councils; • VR Opportunities – decision January 2011; • In house solutions only, as first phase; • Detailed comparison of both sets of services; • Note – this is two council services integrating, not a merger. in partnership
Structures – Current Thinking • One DC Manager for both sites – saving £ 50 k • One Planning Policy Manager for both sites – saving £ 50 k • Three Area Teams of 5 Officers – savings, see below • Two Major Delivery teams – savings, combined with above, £ 120 k • One Support Services Team, on one site –saving £ 60 k • Planning Policy – no reduction and no savings So • Potential annual savings of £ 280 k. But some re-investment in the service may be required. Salary harmonisation! in partnership
Other Issues • Cultural differences between each Council; • The World of Politics plus elections in May • Potential de-skilling of some roles • Alignment of processes – review under way • Accreditation to ISO 9001: 2008 a distinct advantage • Finance –saving apportionment, District Audit in partnership
To Conclude • Ensure Members fully supportive • Communication and trust are key • Don’t make it an industry • Stick with one partner (at least to begin with) in partnership
Take away messages • • Understand your key drivers Understand key outcomes Robust options appraisal Evaluate throughout the journey
Contact us email [email protected] gov. uk web www. pas. gov. uk phone 020 7664 3000