Agenda item

Shared Resource Service Monitoring Update



-       Matt Lewis Chief Operating Officer - Shared Resource Service

-       Kath Bevan-Seymour Deputy Chief Operating Officer - Shared Resource Service

-       Mike Doverman - Assistant Director (Operations) Shared Resource Service

-       Sarah Stephens – Schools Lead – Shared Resource Service

-       Rhys Cornwall Strategic Director – Corporate and Transformation

-       Tracy McKim - Head of People, Policy and Transformation

-       Mark Bleazard - Digital Services Manager

-       Councillor Dimitri Batrouni – Cabinet Member for Organisational Transformation


The Head of Service introduced the report and asked the Committee to reflect on last year’s performance and to discuss the partnership. The Digital Services Manager gave a brief overview of the digital role classed within the organisation. The Chief Operating Officer provided the Committee with a presentation which summarised the annual budget and figures such as their number of customers. Members were informed of the framework and were assured that there is a lot of representation on their boards. It was shown that the partners reflect on what their customers want. It was highlighted that their budget is lower than last year, the Chief Operating Officer noted that this is an achievement and proves much of the business case, by working collaborative that the costs have reduced. The Members were informed of the case study in the report which shows why those costs are lower going forward.


The Committee asked the following:


·         A Member made an observation that recruitment is difficult for the IT area and asked if the partners can see that improving in the near future.


The Chief Operating Officer (SRS) explained that the issues with employment are typically cyclical. It might be the case until 12-18 months later there may be a group of people ready for the roles. There are some examples of support work but the competition from the external market is hard to keep up with. The SRS team brings in apprentices and help internal staff to move through the organisation via training and development opportunities.


·         The Member asked if SRS liaise with universities to recruit people.


The Chief Operating Officer advised that they have a team to train individuals in university and a new scheme to link in people from other areas. An example was used where they would offer someone a role, and up to a day before, they have had applicants decline the job offer as they would have been offered something with a small difference such as more leave but however the officer noted most are going for jobs in the private sector to be offered a job worth around 20k more per annum. The Head of Service felt it was important to note the entry point work is good from an equality point of view as they are offering opportunities that they may not have had before; which is an advantage for the approach.


·         A Committee Member recognised there has been a lot of progress since 2016 and asked the partners to confirm their most significant item of progress.


The Chief Operating Officer stated that managing to get everyone in one place, such as the same Office 365 and infrastructure so the team can manage things in one way. That was the best benefit as it allowed them to move quickly into remote working. For neighbouring partners, the move to work from home from March 2020 was not so straight forward.


·         A Member queried how the partnership is working with other organisations and councils.


The Deputy Chief Operating Officer confirmed that they partner with the One Resource SRS which is a client function. They represented SRS for Newport on a monthly basis, to help understand what the priorities are for planning and prioritisation. It is also to ensure the resources are being aligned as each partner contributes a different amount and how to work with what they have in a more efficient way.


The Chief Operating Officer added that they received positive feedback from a discovery audit undertaken by Wales Audit. Which was a consultant approach where they met with the boards. It was noted there are things they can improve on such as connectivity between the boards. Around 5-6 years ago SRS had a negative audit but that was when the service was coming together so was not quite there at the time.


The Digital Services Manager wished to mention from a Newport perspective, for context, it has not always been positive as it was a big change for Newport and SRS. Blaenau Gwent joined the year before Newport and a lot of this reflects that these things do not happen quickly and working together in past situations has helped improve the performance and maturity is a big part of that. The Chair noted from a board perspective since he left, that it has matured and that it works very well with the partners understanding how each other works.


The Cabinet Member for Organisational Transformation wished to add his comments to pick up on the earlier comments regarding the wage competition. The skillsets are in great demand and niche – to add to a Member’s query, the relationship is adolescence and will have to change to meet the demands and ongoing pressures but the benefit of hard work from the partners and Leadership is at a stage where connected working is helping but they need to capture that to work on to deliver more complicated services which will be demanded. It was noted that it takes a while to get it working effectively but the Cabinet Member stressed he is aware of the discussions needed with regard to the pay model and was grateful for the committee’s views on their options.


The Chief Operating Officer also added that as salaries can decrease/deflate, the market would mean that more people would come in for employment and clarified that point. It could be a positive outcome for them and the collaborative work shows they are ready for what the organisations want to throw at the service. The Officer then advised that their data centre in Celtic Springs is the biggest data centre in Europe. Which is sound for them to store everything there as a shared cloud source.


·         A Committee Member asked how the partners foresee the future of the Shared Resource Services in terms of the number of partners to the partnership.


The Chief Operating Officer stated that his aspiration was for the service to be a separate entity, as a better way of delivering services in which the model could be used anywhere across Wales. The partners recognised there may not be a uniform delivery model for all but there could be a regional model. An example was used if 10 local authorities were in that deal where they do all of the technical and data services and explained that the partners are looking to work together on those services.


·         A Member commented that when looking at the cost advantages, he could not see why there could not be an all Wales service and asked if that is a technical or a political issue.


The Chief Operating Officer confirmed that it is not a technical issue and mentioned national service examples such as national network and networks for schools. It was acknowledged that there has been issues over the years but it is a national service and everyone benefits from it but the problem is if there’s a failure on the national service then everyone experiences that issue. With that comes considerable pressure but as the service is resilient they would be ok in the face of those challenges. The officer supported the all Wales body but accepted some may think not.


The Committee acknowledged that other regional authorities are not on the board when partnership is beneficial, which is why the Welsh Government want authorities to work with partners. It was acknowledged that the National Health Service is quite disjointed with their records also and it was acknowledged that the councils have not solved it all yet.


·         A Committee Member noted how the report mentions evaluation and that was from people getting together in meetings and asked how the partners become aware of those opinions on the other end of the service.


The Assistant Director (Operations – SRS) noted they have a new service task in which they push self-service with the portal. They have also introduced a simplified service with the smiley face rating function much like IKEA’s feedback function. With the negative feedback, the SRS team call or ask them what they disliked about the service.


·         The Committee Member then queried what happens with that data after it has been collected.


The Assistant Director for Operations explained that they put it all in a snapshot and look at the amount of people responding to the surveys. If they would not receive many responses, they assessed the survey; which led them to use the IKEA base model of smiley face rating. The SRS team also collect data for KPI monitoring to see if they hit their target and track how many people they phone back and the reasons for those calls. If there is an interaction, the service would not sit on it. In the sit in service desk the new recruits sit with a qualified person to learn how to take those calls and capture information and how they pass it on and monitor how long that takes.

The Partner advised Members with the first point contact on the SRS desk, they try hard to get the issue resolved at the first point, efficiently. It was noted that surveys go out to all of the councils they work with to assess how they deal with their calls.


The School Lead (SRS) added that for the curriculum side of things, there is an annual drop in session whereby anyone within the school can drop in to discuss anything good or bad and to review what may be working well or not. Those sessions are designed to develop the support. They had to scale these back to twice year because the SLA is running very well as they tend to have good feedback. It was highlighted that the partners being able to scale back demonstrates the work they do in addition to the services they offer to the schools as they work very closely with Education in Newport to facilitate the support.


The Digital Services Manager clarified from the Newport client side work in the partnership, they try hard with the delivery groups to see if there is anything they could do to improve. It was mentioned that they are the representation from the council and their role is to hold them to account in a professional and positive way. The service has matured in collective efforts and the representatives sit on the internal groups such as the digital city board and information governance boards for security.


The Committee thanked the Shared Resource Service team for their contribution and efforts and also for their time and presentation.





Members noted the update in the report, and wished to make the following comments and recommendations:

-       The Committee thanked the partners for their attendance and praised the comprehensive information that was provided in the presentation. The Committee felt they gained a greater understanding of how the partnership work and commented that this was one of the well-presented reports that they have currently received. Members also wished to comment that they have found the SRS to be extremely helpful when reporting problems.


-       The Committee were pleased to hear that the SRS team consider other ways to recruit through apprenticeships and developing their front line staff.


-       The Committee wished to commend the service on reflecting and changing the method of receiving feedback in a time effective way and appreciated that the service works closely with the different partner areas on the way that they can receive as much feedback as they can.


-       The Committee Members noted that they would like to have sight of the positive Audit Wales Report that was mentioned by the SRS Chief Operating Officer in the discussion.


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