Agenda item

Shared Services 2020/21 Business Plans

The covering report for the Business Plans precedes the ICT Business Plan (agenda item 5) in the agenda pack.


The Deputy Leader (non-statutory) introduced the Shared Services Business Plans which were discussed in turn by the committee.


Legal Shared Service Business Plan


The committee was informed by the Deputy Head of Legal Practice, that Cambridge City Council was the primary employer for the service and as such ran the recruitment process with support from HR. He informed the committee that there was difficulty in recruiting legal officers, which was likely due to competing with private sector salaries. The other benefits of working in Local Government, which were not financial, were promoted during recruitment. The use of paralegals and trainee solicitors was being looked at.

It was clarified that Tom Lewis was the Head of Legal Practice and Monitoring Officer for Cambridge City Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Rory McKenna was the Deputy Head of Legal Practice and Monitoring Officer for South Cambridgeshire District Council.


The committee noted the Legal Shared Service Business Plan.


Shared Planning Service Business Plan

The Lead Cabinet Member for Planning presented this business plan which the committee discussed. The committee was informed by the Lead Cabinet Member of the following:

·         The career development opportunities offered by this large service were being recognised. Officers had the opportunity to work on exciting projects due to the large number of strategic sites in the district.

·         A significant number of new staff appointments had been made to the service after it had been featured in two articles in key Planning publications. 

·         The service’s customer service had improved.

·         Training on the new planning portal had been provided for parish councils, all of which had access to their own portal account.

·         The new software project was discussed, and the committee was informed that all data had been transferred to the new system.

·         The Chief Executive explained the financial arrangements for the shared planning service, which were complicated. Income from planning applications remained with the relevant council to which the application had been made. The costs for the Joint Local Plan would be split equally between the relevant councils.

·         The service was looking at bringing in extra resource when needed for conservation area appraisals.


The committee noted the business plan.


Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service (GCSWS) Business Plan


The Head of Environment and Waste and Lead Cabinet Member presented the business plan.


Committee members provided some positive feedback regarding the service.


Communications around recycling was discussed. Members thought the information on recycling provided on the website was useful, however the website was difficult to navigate. Members suggested that some further communication around items that could be recycled, was needed. The Head of Environment and Waste explained the action that had been taken regarding this.


The Head of Environment and Waste outlined to the committee the measures that were being taken to reduce the service’s carbon impact. He informed the committee that the service’s biggest carbon impact was from its waste vehicles. The detail of the timing of the new electric bin lorry would be announced in due course and moving the rest of the fleet to electric vehicles would be worked on.


The committee was informed by the Head of Waste and Environment that a food waste trial had started with 1000 properties split between South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City Council. This had been well used by residents. Food waste collection was likely to be part of the new waste strategy.


The committee was informed that over 400 litter picking kits had been given to parishes that had been proactively using these.


The Lead Cabinet Member informed the committee that cleaning out recyclable plastics was an education issue and that fresh water was not needed for this.


The Head of Environment and Waste informed the committee that:

·         Some people were moving away from the use of highly recyclable materials, such as plastic, to other materials that were more difficult to recycle.

·         The service had historically suffered from high levels of staff sickness due to the nature of the work. Staff were being supported with their sickness and work was being done to ensure extra burden was not put on remaining staff.

·         Officers were working with waste teams to mitigate against Covid-19 and the service had an extensive business continuity plan.


The committee noted the business plan.


Shared Internal Audit Service Business Plan


The Head of Finance informed the committee that the process of auditing the Council’s accounts was nearing completion. A full report would be presented to the next meeting of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee.


The committee noted the business plan.


3C Building Control Business Plan


As agreed by the committee at agenda item 6, the committee discussed the 3C Building Control Business Plan in closed session. The Head of Building Control explained the figures which demonstrated the saving that had been made by the service. She explained the enforcement model and that it was anticipated there would be more enforcement and powers to recover the cost of this activity. There was a risk related to the competency and numbers of staff required if the service had to increase enforcement activity to the extent that was expected. The head of service informed the committee that a successful bid for funding had been submitted to Cambridge City Council to help support training for the Building Control team.


The Lead Cabinet Member for Planning highlighted to the committee the transformation of this service, which was award-winning, since it had become a shared service. The Lead Cabinet Member was confident that the same would happen with the new Shared Planning Service.







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