Agenda item

Verbal update from Robert Ling, Director of Transformation on LGR progress


Robert Ling, Director of Transformation, attended to update the committee:


·         Following a review of service plans, meetings are now taking place to discuss the budget proposals for 2024/25 and future years.


·         On the broader transformation programme, a key period of convergence is coming up, to bring service teams together.


·         The challenge now is to bring these service teams together so they can work as one. Restructures are taking place to focus on how teams need to operate in the future.


·         Work to bring the IT systems together to be used by one team is ongoing at pace. As the restructures move forward and teams align into one, this will become more of an issue. As this work is carried out, it will have knock on effects early next year, for example the different policies and fees and charges of the predecessor authorities not aligning, so these will need to be resolved.


·         The Target Operating Model will put the customer at the heart of the process. There are elements of this that are not quite right at the moment, from the website to face to face, but work is agreed and being carried out.


·         The way we work as a council, with teams located in different offices and in different ways, is another key focus for the months ahead. In some areas there are currently eight ways of carrying out tasks, so it is important that we learn the best practice from each of the predecessor councils, agreeing the best way of working and then rolling that out across the service delivery teams


·         Trying to resolve these issues is important for officers to work as effectively and efficiently as they can.


·         Bringing the service teams together (convergence) and tackling the budget deficit is the biggest areas of work at this time.


·         The next stage following this is aligning the resources and the approach to decide which programmes and projects move forward as part of this.


·         Staff with multi-disciplinary roles is a challenge to unpick and it isn’t straightforward. Extra investment has gone into HR teams and the job evaluation process to facilitate the restructures as quickly as possible.


·         Although the garden waste and bulky waste service have been centralised at the front end on the website, the customer services and systems in each locality area to process the applications are currently all using different systems to administer that.


Following this, questions and comments raised by the committee included:


·         The time taken for the convergence process of bringing together staff under one umbrella was raised as a concern, and whether there was any benchmarking data available around corporate buy-in. In response, it was noted that some teams are having restructures quicker than others, but there is an understanding that colleagues want certainty. The challenge of rewriting job descriptions and making sure the new alignment of teams works is one that does take a bit of time.


·         On bringing in external support, it is important to get the balance right between the improvement in the pace of delivery that extra support will bring against the expected cost.


·         The delays with answering phone calls from residents, sometimes up to 8 to 10 minutes to get through to an advisor was highlighted as a concern. Further information was to be sought into the examples raised.


·         The importance of getting the customer services approach and performance levels right was highlighted. The customer is a cross cutting theme across the Target Operating Model, as it is fundamental that the first point of contact at the front door with citizens is the right one to deliver the experience and level of customer satisfaction required.


·         The timelines for the transformation process were queried. In response, it was noted that there is a lot of focus at the moment on convergence, but there are also opportunities once one team and one system is in place to start making transformative change, initially through getting every area of the county up to one service standard. In some areas this will mean no change, as their previous service standards and processes are adopted across North Yorkshire, but in other areas they will see the benefits of an improved service through the standardised approach.


Resolved – That the verbal update be noted.