Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Town Hall, Queen's Square, Priory Meadow, Hastings TN34 1QR
Contact: Michael Courts on 01424 451764 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Items No. Item
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2015 and the minutes of the Annual Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees held on 18 June 2015 be approved as a correct record
Update on the council's organisational transformation
The Director of Corporate Services and Governance and the Accommodation and Transformation Manager gave a presentation on the council’s ongoing organisational transformation programme.
The Director of Corporate Services and Governance explained that the vision for the council was to create a modern, flexible, learning organisation that is empowering, agile, enabling, customer focussed and works as one team by 2018. It was intended that the working practices introduced during this period would support the council in continuous improvement beyond the transformation programme.
The transformation programme included work packages to review and improve the council’s culture and systems, policies, technology and provide opportunities for staff development. The work packages would also draw on examples of good practice from other authorities. The programme was intended to help the council address the significant ongoing reductions in its funding and create capacity within the organisation to deliver the ambitious objectives set out in the corporate plan.
The Accommodation and Transformation Manager gave an overview of the digital by design work package. He explained that by providing transactional services online, the council deliver services more efficiently into the future; there was also scope to gather data on service users to support further improvement. Staff from the relevant service departments had been involved in process mapping the workflow of common enquiries and designing the new online processes. A test phase of My Hastings online had been launched, which enabled service users to carry out a range of common transactional enquiries online. It was important to gain as much feedback as possible from customers during the testing phase of My Hastings online to drive further improvements to the service.
Discussion took place about how issues around digital exclusion, particularly amongst BME and disability groups, could be addressed as an increasing number of services were provided online. The Director of Corporate Services and Governance commented that the council would continue to provide face to face and telephone interactions and that online services were intended to improve the flexibility of the council’s offer. Indeed, carrying out transactional services online will create additional staff capacity to deal with more complex enquiries. At their annual meeting in June, Overview and Scrutiny members had agreed to carry out a review of digital inclusion, which would complement work already underway elsewhere in the organisation.
Consideration was given to the mechanisms for staff engagement throughout the transformation process. The Accommodation and Transformation Manager noted that the refurbishment of Aquila House had begun to create an improved working environment for staff and better facilities for flexible working. The Director of Corporate Services and Governance highlighted that the transformation programme provided a range of opportunities for staff development, particularly around sharing expertise between colleagues and teams to support the one council ethos. This would also assist the council with succession planning, by ensuring knowledge was retained within the organisation. However, the additional workload created by the transformation programme may reduce staff capacity in the short term, and members were asked to be mindful of this when dealing ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
- Appendix A - Performance information , item 6. PDF 119 KB
- Appendix B - Transformation Programme , item 6. PDF 154 KB
The Senior Corporate and Democratic Services Officer presented a report to advise members of performance against the 2015/16 targets and performance indicators in the corporate plan during quarter 1. The report also provided a summary of financial information. As agreed at the Annual Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in June, the format of the item had been reviewed as the council trialled new methods of reporting performance monitoring information. The Senior Corporate and Democratic Services Officer sought feedback from members on the new format of the performance monitoring report.
The Director of Corporate Services and Governance gave an overview of performance in quarter 1, as well as other significant areas of work that had been undertaken in addition to the targets set out in the corporate plan. She noted that staff sickness and vacant posts had affected a number of council departments during this quarter. Moreover, the recruitment market remained very competitive and this had impacted on the council’s ability to fill some of the vacancies. These challenges had been shared by a number of other authorities in the south east and the People, Customer and Business Support team were exploring options to address staff shortages in the longer term.
Staff in the Electoral Services Team had also delivered additional by-elections in July, alongside planning for the annual canvass period which would run throughout the autumn.
The council was also inspected by the Assistant Surveillance Commissioner, which confirmed that the organisation was complying with its duties in respect of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 1996.
The Director of Corporate Services and Governance also updated members on activities undertaken as part of the transformation programme during this quarter. A number of key staff from Estates, Accommodation and Transformation and People, Customer and Business Support had been involved in preparing the Town Hall lease, ahead of the relocation of the council’s democratic and civic functions to Aquila House. Staff based in Aquila House had also completed successful relocations to the refurbished office space on the fourth and fifth floor of the building.
The committee welcomed the continued high occupancy rate of the council’s industrial units. The Assistant Director Financial Services and Revenues advised that negotiations were ongoing with a potential new tenant for a vacant unit at the Castleham Business Centre East. Members also considered efforts by the council’s partner organisations to let newly developed office space around the town. The Assistant Director for Financial Services and Revenues explained that he attend SeaChange Sussex board meetings with the relevant Lead Member for Regeneration, Communities and Culture and they had recently received an update on plans to attract businesses to take up the vacant units. The Leader of the Council advised that the industrial units and Queensway South were now fully let.
The Assistant Director Financial Services and Revenues updated members of the benefits customer first and efficiency service review, which was being undertaken by Shelter on behalf of the council. He explained that the review had proved more ... view the full minutes text for item 6.