Report of the Executive Head of Commissioning.
The Committee discussed a report that described the process for commissioning of both Sutton’s Regulatory Services and its Highways and Transport functions and presented a strategic business case for developing a shared service with the Royal Borough of Kingston. The project would focus on commissioning these services to achieve the following:
· Maintaining the current service performance and satisfaction levels
· Designing a more resilient service model for the future
· Creating a service model that was flexible and could respond to further change
· Achieving savings from 2015/16
· Supporting the transition of Environment and Neighbourhoods to become a commissioner of services.
It was explained that a full business case would come to this Committee in the Autumn of 2014 which would answer some of the Councillors’ questions regarding the implications of commissioning shared services. It was also reported that Sutton already had a shared protocol with RB Kingston and that they were interested and able to take this further at this time. Taking on more partners at this stage may slow the process down but may be an option to be considered in the future.
A range of options had been considered as part of the assessment of the strategic business case:
· Option 1 – Do nothing
The level of funding cuts would have a severe impact on resilience, service satisfaction and the ability to delivery service functions.
· Option 2 – Outsource
This option could deliver the benefits outlined; however it is not currently favoured because of concerns about the council’s control of these services and the opportunity to drive further efficiencies without externalisation.
· Option 3 – Shared Regulatory Services (5 Borough model)
This option was scoped and an independent feasibility study completed for regulatory services. Identified benefits were not sufficient to warrant the investment and the timescales of some partners did not align with our own. Nothing similar had been considered for Highways and Transport, although the London Highways Alliance Contract (LoHAC) was a regional contract framework that councils could join (alongside Transport for London).
· Option 4 – Shared service (2 Borough model)
There was a general agreement between LB Sutton and RB Kingston, at an officer level, to explore this and ongoing dialogue during the exercise to scope a five Borough model had helped crystallise the two councils requirements and share commonalities. A two Borough shared service with RB Kingston benefits from a track record of working together.
· Option 5 – Staff spin out
There is no current appetite amongst staff within the services or Members for these services to consider a spin out into a mutual, social enterprise or similar.
The recommended option (Option 4) was for a two borough shared service whilst keeping the staff spin-out option under review (Option 5).
It was noted that some of the Regulatory services being considered as part of the business case came under the remit of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee.
Resolved: (i) To agree the outline business case contained in the report.
(ii) To develop a full business case and receive an update report in September 2014.