overview_and_scrutiny - Ealing Council

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					                                               Report to Scrutiny

                                           Item Number:   7

Contains Confidential Or    No
Exempt Information

                           Value for Money Service Reviews:
Subject of Report:
                           Progress Year end 2008-09 and Programme for 2009-10
Meeting:                   Overview & Scrutiny Committee, 19th March 2009

                           Jarvis Garrett, Improvement Manager
Service report author:
                  Ext. 7893
                           Karen Mawson, Improvement Officer
                  Ext 5198

Scrutiny officer:          Keith Fraser, Head of Scrutiny
                      Ext 7497

Cabinet Responsibility:    Councillor David Scott, Finance & Performance
                           Tel: 0208-932 2497

Director Responsibility:   Graeme McDonald, Director Policy and Performance,
                  Ext 7485

                           To update members on the progress of the VFM review

                           To continue to receive an annual update on the VFM

1.    Value for Money Service Reviews:
      Progress at year end 2008-09 and programme for 2009-10

 1.1 Ealing residents have consistently identified council tax as a top concern and as a
     priority for improvement. In recognition of this, the Council continues to have
     achieving value for money and low council tax increases as one of its top three
     priorities. The Council has demonstrated significant progress in this regard
     achieving improved resident satisfaction and performance in service delivery
     across the Council, whilst being able to keep council tax increases to a low 1.9
     per cent for the last two years. For 2009-10 the Council decided to deliver a 0 per
     cent increase and because the Greater London Assembly levy on council tax also
     remains the same, Council tax bills in Ealing are frozen during this period of

 1.2 Council performance and progress continues to be externally assessed by the
     Audit Commission. On 5th March, Ealing Council’s Comprehensive Performance
     Assessment (CPA) Star rating and Direction of Travel judgement for 2008 were
     published. The Audit Commission judged that:

     ‘Ealing Council is improving strongly and demonstrating a 4 star overall

     ‘Nearly four out of five of all performance indicators have improved during the
     year, an impressive achievement. Investment in the priority areas of cleaner
     streets, safer communities and value for money has seen strong improvements.
     The Council is effective at delivering improvement across a range of service areas
     such as adult social care, services for children and young people and vehicle and
     violent crime. Resident satisfaction with recycling and waste collection has

     The Council is performing well in securing value for money and in its overall use
     of resources.’

 1.3 From April 2009, the Organisational Assessment element of the new
     Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) includes a judgement by the Audit
     Commission on the Council’s ‘Value for Money in the Use of Resources’, which
     will be scored 1 to 4. The CAA expands the existing Use of Resources
     assessment, which has been undertaken on a yearly basis under the
     Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) regime. The Council must
     continue to achieve a balance between ensuring the cost effectiveness of its
     services, whilst at the same time continually improve service quality to meet the
     expectations of Ealing residents and service users.

 1.4 Building on a three year track record of achieving efficiency savings that have
     exceeded government targets, on 13th January 2009, cabinet agreed the
     Improvement and Efficiency Strategy outlining key activities the council will
     undertake in the coming three years to continue to deliver to this agenda. The
     Improvement and Efficiency Strategy outcomes are delivered through the
     supporting strategies and their action plans, or through mechanisms such as
     value for money reviews.

    1.5 The Value for Money reviews are service-led reviews which ensure particular
        focus is made by a service on how its is delivering its service (or specific parts of
        its service), looking at and comparing to others, how much the service costs and
        how well the service is performing. Corporate Board has agreed a 2009-10
        programme of value for money reviews, which have been put forward by the
        responsible service directors. Reviews are delivered by services with support from
        relevant finance, internal audit and improvement teams. Where appropriate,
        external challenge will be provided from partners and other services users.

    1.6 The purpose of carrying out these reviews is to allow a systematic self-evaluation
        of service performance and costs and to enable the Council to make a judgement
        about the value for money that the service under review provides. However, the
        wider benefits of these reviews are also to help inform service development,
        better alignment of resources to priorities and for financial planning. One of the
        key drivers of this process is the need for the council to demonstrate value for
        money in everything it does and how it is making the best use of its resources in
        delivering services to the community.

    1.7 For the 2008-09 programme of reviews, the process has been strengthened
        taking a more rigorous approach to ensure quality and robustness of reviews and
        delivery against outcomes. The process is detailed below at 1.15 and 1.16.

    1.8 Scrutiny involvement has enhanced the process over the last year. Completed
        VfM reports are submitted to the Scrutiny executive who will decide if the report
        should be presented to a Scrutiny panel. This adds impetus to improving the
        robustness of reviews.

Progress 2008-09 programme:

    1.9 A report to Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 18th March 2008 included a
        programme of Value for Money reviews for 2008-09. The following table
        summarises progress and current ‘plan to complete’ for continuing reviews:

      Review        BE PMG1:          BE PMG:         Corporate     Scrutiny           Internal
                    Interim           Final           Board         Executive          Audit
      CCTV2         29 Aug 08         24 Oct 08       19 Nov 08     1 Dec 08           May 09
      Repairs &     26 Sept 08        30 Jan 09       4 Mar 09      Once               6 months after
      Adaptation                                                    completion         review agreed
                                                                    agreed by CBrd     by CBrd
      EOTAS &     30 Jan 09           27 Mar 09       Apr 09        As above           As above
      Clean &     27 Mar 09           1 May 09        May 09        As above           As above
      Local Land 27 Mar 09            1 May 09        May 09        As above           As above
  Business Effectiveness Programme Management Group – comprising relevant Ealing Directors from
across the Council.
  Closed Circuit Television
  Education Otherwise than at School (EOTAS) and Social Emotional and Behaviour Difficulties (SEBD)

      Two reviews, Property services and Parking services, were deleted from the VfM
       programme during the year. Property services VfM review was superseded by
       the Total Facilities Contract to be in place from April 2009 and the parking review
       by the Parking Services Improvement Programme. A third review of Fostering
       Services was due to start in March 2009 but is now deferred to the 2009-10
       programme. The reason for deferral is to enable a newly appointed Operations
       Manager for the service area to start and settle in post.

 1.10 A summary of progress, key outcomes and improvements proposed through the
      VfM review work undertaken to date in 2008-09 is provided at appendix 1.

 Programme for 2009-10:

 1.11 The following table sets out the planned programme of seven VfM service reviews
      for 2009-10 as agreed by the Council’s Corporate Board on 4th March 2009.

        Service area                                 Director              Start date
        Legal Services                               Helen Harris          May 2009
        Noise nuisance                               Susan Parsonage       June 2009
        HR Shared Service Centre                     Anthony Kemp          Sept 2009
        Dealing with Anti-social Behaviour           Susan Parsonage       Sept 2009
        Finance Teams (Service and Corporate)        Simon George          Nov 2009
        Children social care - Fostering             Judith Finlay         Jan 2010
        Community Buildings                          Peter Lipman          Jan 2010

      The selection of service areas for review was informed by Star Chamber
      information, council priorities, risks, policy imperatives and other improvement and
      efficiency projects. Decisions were also informed by discussion within
      Departmental Management Teams of nominations forwarded by Directors
      responsible for the services.

      The timing to start reviews, whilst indicative, has been negotiated with the
      responsible Directors to ensure services make appropriate resources available to
      complete the reviews, taking account of service priorities and complementary work

The Councils approach to VfM Reviews

1.12 For 2008-09 the VfM review process changed to increase the robustness of the
     reviews and improve how the reviews would be used to deliver savings and
     improvements in terms of performance, economy and efficiency.

1.13 The reviews have been conducted by in-house teams and have included relevant
     parties as appropriate i.e. Directors, managers, finance team representatives,
     partners, project managers from other service areas (LLC) and external
     consultants (Clean and Green and CCTV). Review teams have been supported by
     the corporate Improvement and Research and Consultation team.

1.14 Review teams have worked to a methodology and toolkit developed by the Council
     in line with Audit Commission guidelines for carrying out these reviews outlining
     the review process, the objectives of each stage and the suggested tasks to be
     incorporated including templates to use to help inform the process. The
     methodology runs from the point of planning and scoping the review, to conducting
     it, implementing its findings and realising and monitoring its outcomes.

1.15 Robust support and challenge to VfM reviews has been delivered through the
     Business Effectiveness Programme Management Group, which is made up of
     relevant Service Directors from across the authority. This group meets monthly
     and includes VfM Reviews as a standing agenda item.

     All reviews are presented to BE PMG for discussion at the key stages of the
     project: scope and project plan; interim report and draft proposals for action; final
     report and action plan. BE PMG provides feedback and will identify areas for
     further work at each stage. Having reviewed the final report, BE PMG produces a
     set of recommendations/ comments for Corporate Board e.g. to approve the report
     and action plan.

     Should BE PMG identify significant gaps in the review, the report may be returned
     to the review team to request further work before it is presented to Corporate

1.16 Following agreement of the final report and action plan by Corporate Board the
     next steps for the review are:


     - The final report is sent to Scrutiny Executive who will decide whether the service
       needs to present the review report to a scrutiny panel.

     Planning and monitoring:

     - Managers of the services affected by action required are to update their
       Business/Service plans and their performance targets as required.
     - Managers will monitor improvements and targets and take action as necessary
       to make sure that the service continues to improve and achieve the targets set
       and secure the cost savings agreed.

     Internal Audit Follow-up:

     - 6 months after Corporate Board has signed off the review, Internal Audit will
       undertake a follow-up piece of work with the service to ensure that the review
       actions are being implemented as agreed and that targeted improvements and
       efficiencies are being achieved. E.g. Internal Audit has been advised that follow-
       up work is due for CCTV from mid May 2009.

Reflection on progress to date:

1.16 Overall, the review methodology and support / challenge process is supporting
     reviews teams to progress reviews.

       -    Formal review of methodology and process will be undertaken for April by
            which time we will have experience of 5 reviews to learn from. The report
            template will revisited in the near future as strict adherence to answering all
            questions is leading to unhelpful duplication of information in draft reporting.

       -    VfM Review support / challenge structures were not fully agreed until about
            July 2008 and progress was delayed. This will not recur for 2009/10.

       -    Reviews have taken longer to reach completion stages than planned with
            delays occurring for numerous reasons including the need to gather more
            information / undertake more analysis.

       -    Two planned reviews have not gone ahead, though in both cases the work to
            improve Value for Money was being undertaken through improvement
            programmes / procurement routes. A third review is deferred to the coming
            year (see 1.9).

       -    The Council continues to develop its positive culture of service self-evaluation
            and review. Services are focused on finding how to improve and deliver value
            for money using many vehicles such as VfM reviews.

2.         Legal Implications

     2.1 There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

3.         Financial Implications

     3.1 The Value for Money review process is one mechanism for delivery of the
         Improvement and Efficiency Strategy and contributes to the Council achieving
         future efficiencies and improved services focused on the delivery of the
         Council’s vision and priorities.

     3.2 There are no direct financial implications as a result of this report. Resources
         for the reviews themselves will be within services current agreed budgets.
         It may be deemed appropriate, depending on the service under review, to
         engage independent or external resources to conduct or support the review. In
         such cases, services are required to arrange necessary funding from within their
         current budget.

4.         Other Implications

           There are no other direct implications as a result of this report.

5.   Background papers

      5.1 Appendix 1: Summary of progress, key outcomes and improvements
      proposed through the VfM review work undertaken to date in 2008-09 is
      attached to this document.

      5.2 Value for Money Service Reviews: Report to Overview and scrutiny
      Committee 18th March 2008

      5.3 Ealing Council Improvement and Efficiency Strategy 2008-11: Report to
      Cabinet 13th January 2009


Name of            Department                       Date sent    Date         Comments
consultee                                           to           response     appear in report
                                                    consultee    received     para:

Graeme             Director Policy & Performance    9th March    9th March    none
McDonald           Chief Executive’s                2009         2009
Helen Harris       Director of Legal and            5th March    6th March    none
                   Democratic Services              2009         2009
Kim Marrow         Finance Officer                  5th March    6th March    none
                                                    2009         2009
Councillor David Cabinet Member for Finance         5th March    N/A          none
Scott            and Performance                    2009


       Report History

Decision type:                                            I.      Urgency item?

EITHER: Key decision [state the date it     Yes/No (delete as applicable)
was first entered into the Forward Plan     [Yes if it is a general or special urgency key
OR Non-key decision                         decision, which was not included in the
OR For information (delete as applicable)   Forward Plan with at least one months’ notice]
                                            [If yes, set out the reasons both why the item
                                            was not included and a decision cannot be

Authorised by Cabinet      Date report      Report deadline:           Date report sent:
      member:               drafted:
     XX.XX.05              XX.XX.05               XX.XX.05                   XX.XX.05

     Report no.:        Report author and contact for queries:
                        First and surname, job title

Appendix 1:

Summary of progress, key outcomes and improvements proposed through the
VfM review work undertaken to date in 2008-09.

1. CCTV: completed November 2008

Following the public safety CCTV VFM, it has been agreed that the review will provide a
baseline for further reviews in the future, and the service is focusing on improving
performance for the same cost to the Council. The findings of the Council’s VFM review
are currently of significant interest to the London CCTV managers Group who are
looking to use it as a benchmark report. (There are currently no national or London wide
indicator/comparators for CCTV). Following the VFM, service improvements are
continuing, digitalisation of the control room is near completion and a draft 5 year CCTV
strategy has been compiled.

Council Business and Community Partnerships Standing Scrutiny Panel considered the
VfM review as part of CCTV strategy reporting in February 2009.

2. Repairs and Adaptations Service (RAS): completed through Corporate Board 5th
March 2009. Executive Directors Pat Hayes and David Archibald to take forward work
by looking at how to structure the relationship between commissioning and delivery to
achieve the best outcomes for the customer.

Key points:

A key objective for RAS is to work with Social Services and Finance in order to further
reduce the waiting list and provide the service in a cost efficient manner that supports
the reduction in any backlogs impacting on social care performance.

Improvements made:

    Average cost of adaptations reduced by 53.3% from £30,817 in 2006/07 to
     £14,383 in 2007/08
    10 year stair lift contract / Recycling stair lifts. Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) will
     be cheaper (as the stair lifts will be re-used) and no repairs will be necessary for
     10 years
    Cases awaiting approval reduced by 35.5% from 388 (31/03/07) to 250 (31/03/08)
    CSCI approval time indicator target in 2007/08 was 37 weeks we beat the target
     and averaged 28.7 weeks. Currently we stand at 19.1 weeks.
    Staff costs covered by fee income – In 2007/2008, Income generated by RAS was
     £501k, Staff costs £364k resulting in an Over Recovery of £137k

Further improvements and associated actions planned:

    RAS to further reduce the average cost of a DFG, reduce approval times and
     introduce new initiatives to enable DFG’s to become more cost effective.

        In partnership with the West London DFG Working Group issues to be considered

     -       Framework for joint procurement to deliver savings e.g. fixed price shower
     -       Analyse current costs and compare with similar local authorities, with a
             possibility of sharing contractors
     -       Collate and compile benchmarking data introducing a standard of best

    It was also identified that further development is required to set up new ways of
    involving and consulting service users, in the process and delivery of the DFG
    programme and also in the on-going review of policy practice and performance.

3. Education Otherwise than at School (EOTAS) and Social Emotional and
   Behaviour Difficulties (SEBD) provision: Business Effectiveness Programme
   Management Group agreed that the interim report should be progressed to the final
   version with the inclusion of further detail in some aspects such as analysis of
   transport costs. Aiming to complete through Corporate Board in April.

VFM Review focus: Provision for children and young people Educated Other Than At
School (EOTAS) and those with statements of special educational needs (SEN) for
behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD).

Key points of improvements / impacts at interim stage:

Finance and cost comparison –

Costs of the unit for SEN / EOTAS differ quite considerably from benchmark neighbours
and Ealing’s costs may appear higher in these areas. However, ongoing research
indicates that this is due to inconsistent finance practice and presentation across Local
Authorities. Children’s Services Finance have joined a CIPFA benchmarking group to
ensure more accurate comparison.

        After a Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) increase to EOTAS budget in 2008-09
         there have been improvements in quality and range of service for pupils. Ealing’s
         EOTAS provision is now in a very good position to meet new statutory
         requirements 2009-11 evidenced by the recent Section 5 Ofsted Inspection
         (November 2008) where service provision achieved an overall grade of ‘good with
         many outstanding features’. The investment from the schools’ DSG to fund
         improvements has proved greater VfM overall for the Council because it has been
         achieved without the use of Council funds.

        Contextual school census data on SEN is significant as it forms a backdrop for the
         demand in the focus services and illustrates that Ealing high schools are inclusive
         and managing significant levels of need at the school level of intervention but
         although proportionally statements are in line with the national average the
         proportion at school action or school action plus is 7% points higher than the
         national average at high school, following a 1% point increase this year.

     Over the 3-year period 2006/07 to 2008/09 the delivery of services to children and
      families has significantly improved, as endorsed by both the recent Annual
      Performance Assessment and Joint Area Review. This improvement has been
      managed within a sustained period of financial constraints including saving targets
      and Gershon efficiency savings. Throughout the three-year period the service has
      contained spend within budget, a picture not replicated across London.

Interim recommendations -
A number of interim recommendations have been made to achieve continuous
improvement in cost effectiveness and VfM. These include:

     a) Re-opening of the List of Approved Suppliers of Alternative Educational
        Provision-Added competition between providers offers opportunities for
        negotiation/cost cutting.
     b) Conduct (bi-) annual review of provision in benchmark neighbours. Will ensure
        that we are operating within local expectations.
     c) Develop Alternative Provision Group with neighbouring Local Authority and
        providers. Developing Opportunity for joint purchasing arrangements (cost/
        volume reductions) plus joint approach to improvement in quality of
        commissioned services.
     d) Strengthening links with Corporate Procurement in order to use their expertise at
        negotiation and cost cutting (e.g. recent meeting with SEN provider resulted in
        10% cost/volume discount for over 10 places).
     e) Ensuring block contracts are issued for three years at a time. Will hold
        increases to annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for duration
        of contract – avoid sudden increases in costs.
     f) A 0% offer sent out by each borough to all areas where increases are not already
     g) That a strategic and performance based increased approach be considered
        alongside and within existing West London working groups for future years.

4.    Clean and Green: update (early February) pre interim report stage aiming to
      complete through Corporate Board in May.

Scope and approach:

The Clean and Green Contract describes the partnership with our external contractor,
May Gurney, who deliver a domestic and commercial waste and recycling collection
service and, additionally, are responsible for street cleansing in the borough.

This VfM review will mainly be focusing on driving through efficiencies via reduction in
cost and adding value.

The Clean and Green contract with May Gurney (formerly ECT Recycling) is currently
valued at £14.5 million per annum (07/08). Fixed costs amount to £12.5 million and
variable items make up the remainder. Variable items include flytip removal; litter bin
maintenance and replacement; ‘day’ works and so on.

For the purpose of the review the service is evaluating the following areas of the
contract: Street cleansing; Refuse collection (domestic); Special waste collection
service; Flytip removal; Clinical waste collection; Recycling collections (all types: Food
and green, plastic and garden waste, estates); Re-use and Recycling centres.

These areas are being reviewed, as relevant, in respect of:
    Cost (including evaluation of May Gurney accounts)
    Performance (national and local indicators)
    Benchmarking against other comparable authorities
    Contribution to the three corporate and strategic objectives

The VfM review team has been set up to reflect the 'partnership' style of working with
May Gurney and has representatives from both Ealing and May Gurney.

Activity to date (early Feb.):

To date, the review team has collated data and information in respect of costs,
performance and benchmarking. May Gurney have given a complete breakdown of
charges plus indicated any profit margins. Performance and benchmarking data has
also been received and tabulated for the report.

The review team has also looked at the contract/service and documented savings and
efficiencies in the following three areas:

      1. Savings incurred during the review period/current activity (since introduction
         of new waste collection services -19th November 2007)
      2. Proposed cashable savings/efficiencies
      3. Non-cashable savings/efficiencies

Further work is currently being carried out in respect of item no. 2 (above) to calculate
actual values of savings and efficiencies.

Clean and Green current completion plan:

Interim VfM report to BE PMG 27th March 2009
Final report and action plan to BE PMG 1st May 2009
Aiming to complete through Corporate Board in May. It is intended that the activities
underpinning the action plan will commence at the beginning of 2009/10.

5. Local Land Charges: aiming to complete through Corporate Board in May.

The LLC VFM review commenced in January 2009 and is particularly timely following a
recent change to staff reporting lines and also the introduction of new legislation in
December 2008. The review is scheduled to run for around 8 weeks.

The Local Land Charges Service itself is a relatively small so the VFM review will look at
all aspects of the service and benchmark against other local authorities on cost, fees
and performance. It will also look at the communication links Local Land Charges has

with the other Council Services it relies on for data and information, including Planning,
Building Control and Environmental Health.
In particular the review will focus on the new legislation and guidance notes, the fee
structure, the quality of the data and information supplied to third parties and the
software package including possible alternatives.