SCHOOLS FORUM Agenda Item 10 WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL MAINTAINED SCHOOLS EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT

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1 SCHOOLS FORUM Agenda Item 10 4 TH DECEMBER 2014 WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL MAINTAINED SCHOOLS EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR OF WORKFORCE, ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY SUPPORT Executive Summary This report considers the delivery and renewal of the Employment Support Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided by the West Sussex Capita Partnership to schools. It highlights the difficulties that have been experienced by schools in relation to the quality and timeliness of the service delivery, the reasons for this and the actions being taken to address the issues. The report considers the risks both for the Local Authority and schools, should schools choose to buy employment support services from alternative providers. The report proposes that schools stay with the West Sussex Capita Partnership in 2015/16. This will ensure time for the Partnership to improve its services, but more importantly will enable the Local Authority to work with schools to help them identify the best model of service delivery to meet statutory responsibilities as well as the needs of schools going forward. The report proposes that the Local Authority works initially with a group of bursars/business managers/headteachers and governors to review employment services. The group would explore the different models of service delivery; how the services could be best specified and costed; how quality could be assured; the information that would need to be provided to the Local Authority; and the monitoring mechanisms that would need to be put into place. There would then be formal consultation with all schools during the autumn 2015/16 about future arrangements with details of service specifications to meet statutory responsibilities and the needs of the schools going forward. Subject to the views of Schools Forum, a letter will be sent to schools to encourage them to remain within the West Sussex Capita Partnership Employment Services SLA in 2015/16 pending the outcome of the review and formal consultation. Recommendation The Schools Forum is asked to comment on the proposal outlined above and to support the approach. 1. Introduction 1.1 The West Sussex Capita Partnership has received a number of enquiries from schools asking whether they can pick and choose from the different elements of the Employment Support Service Level Agreement (SLA), and what the cost of those options might be. Some schools have also indicated that they are considering sourcing services from other providers. 1

2 1.2 The West Sussex Capita Partnership recognises that the quality and timeliness of the services provided to schools needs to improve. In particular, errors of judgement have been made in reducing the staff resources (particularly in the payroll team) without ensuring that the supporting technology was in place to ensure satisfactory service delivery. This has resulted in frustration from schools and complaints being received. These issues are currently being addressed. 2. Background 2.1 The Local Authority (West Sussex County Council) is the employer of all staff in maintained community and special schools. The governing body is the employer of all staff at maintained aided and trust schools. The County Council has no employment responsibilities for staff in academies. However, academies may buy a separate Employment Support SLA from the Capita Partnership and several have taken up this option. 2.2 As the employer in the majority of maintained schools the County Council has statutory responsibilities in relation to employment matters. The County Council (through its partnership with Capita) provides advice and support to enable headteachers and governors to carry out their responsibilities in relation to the employment of staff. This is done under a subscription arrangement (SLA). 2.3 The West Sussex Capita Partnership has a joined up approach to the provision of SLAs. This means that schools have the benefit of easy access to other SLAs provided by the Local Authority and many of these interface with services provided by the Capita Partnership e.g. payroll and school finance 2.4 The budget for buying into support services (such as the Employment Support SLA) is delegated to schools, which then choose which services they purchase. In buying the Employment Services SLA, as long as a school follows the advice of the West Sussex Capita Partnership they are indemnified from costs arising out of HR issues, such as litigation. 2.5 Schools also have the flexibility to buy services from other providers, outside this Partnership. In doing so schools would need to ensure that they have a full understanding of the statutory responsibilities and how these would be discharged. A school would also need to be able to specify in detail the services it wishes to be provided and to robustly assess the quality of those services. This is not only to ensure that services are provided on a like for like basis and through a transparent pricing mechanism but also to ensure the quality of the advice that will be received from the provider. The Local Authority will not indemnify a school from litigation costs if advice is sourced from a provider other than the West Sussex Capita Partnership. 2.6 Schools would need to ensure that they (and their new provider) were able to provide the information required by the Local Authority both for reporting purposes to the Department for Education, the Teacher Pensions Agency and HMRC and to enable the Authority to respond to requests for information. 2

3 2.7 The Local Authority would need to put in place monitoring arrangements to ensure that the statutory obligations are being discharged by the school (and through its provider) to the Authority s satisfaction. The Local Authority would charge the school for the cost of any such monitoring arrangements. 3. Statutory Obligations 3.1 Schools and the Local Authority need to ensure compliance with the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 ( the 2009 Regulations ) and other Acts and Regulations relevant to the employment of staff in maintained schools. This is summarised at Appendix A. 3.2 Schools would also need to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of school staff, the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document and the Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales (the Burgundy Book ) and National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (the Green Book ) for support staff. 3.3 The West Sussex Capita Partnership provides advice, guidance and support and model policy documents to enable schools to comply with the above requirements. 4. Current Position 4.1 The Local Authority does not believe that there is sufficient time before the start of the new financial year for the school and the Local Authority to undertake the necessary work to make an informed choice on any change of provider and to assure themselves in relation to statutory compliance, quality and value of service provision. 4.2 Changing providers at this stage would therefore bring significant risks to both the Local Authority and the school which would be difficult to mitigate. 5. Improvements to Employment Support Service Delivery Through The West Sussex Capita Partnership 5.1 The West Sussex Capita Partnership is working hard to improve employment services provided to schools. Examples of the improvements to services already in place, or planned for the near future are described at Appendix B. 5.2 Following feedback from schools, the Employment Support team is now adopting a whole school approach and providing a more personalised service. The team has recruited, trained and developed additional staff to ensure that the Partnership has sufficient resources to deliver services in a timely way and to the necessary quality. There is now a named main point of contact for each school. There is also a named schools employee relations (HR Professional Support) contact to help schools with employee relations issues. 5.3 Prices have also been frozen in recognition of the need to improve services. The schools HR/Payroll portal is almost complete and is expected to be launched in the first quarter of In the interim there will be web based access with adobe forms to ensure schools can submit changes to employee contracts, new starter information and notify Shared Services of leavers. 3

4 5.4 Work is also underway to look at how the West Sussex Capita Partnership better communicates with schools. In particular the Partnership is looking at how information is passed between the contact centre and the Capita support teams and how it can improve this experience and customer journey for schools. 6. Relationship with the Local Authority 6.1 Schools will be aware that the Local Authority intends to rebuild and strengthen its relationship with schools. The Chief Operating Officer has recently spoken to schools representatives about plans to achieve this. The new Executive Director Care, Wellbeing and Education has recently been appointed and the Local Authority is currently recruiting a new Director of Education and Skills. 7 Proposal 7.1 The Local Authority is encouraging schools to stay with the West Sussex Capita Partnership in 2015/16. This will ensure time for the Partnership to improve its services, but more importantly it will enable the Local Authority to work with schools to help them identify the best model of service delivery to meet statutory responsibilities as well as the needs of schools going forward. 7.2 It is proposed therefore that the Local Authority consult with schools on how best this is achieved. The intention would be to work with a group of bursars/business managers/headteachers and governors (membership to be agreed). 7.3 It is hoped that the membership of the group could be agreed prior to Christmas with the first meeting of the group taking place early in the spring term. The group would explore the different models of service delivery (Social vs. Commercial delivery models) and how the services going forward could be best specified and costed. It will also explore how quality can be assured and determine what information would need to be provided to the Local Authority if schools decided to buy their services from alternative providers. In addition the group could determine the monitoring mechanisms that would need to be put in place and carried out by the Local Authority. 7.4 The intention would be for the group to complete its work prior to the end of the summer term Formal consultation with schools would then take place early in the autumn terms 2015 with a view to new SLAs being in place either with the West Sussex Capita Partnership or other provider(s) for April NATASHA EDMUNDS Director of Workforce, Organisational Development and Delivery Support Contact Officer: Helen Kane/Tina Ashby Tel: / or 4

5 Appendix A: Overview of WSCCs and maintained schools statutory employment responsibilities Appendix B: Highlights of 2015/16 Employment Support SLA for West Sussex Schools 5

6 Appendix A Statutory Responsibilities in relation to Employment (Maintained Schools) Local Authority To send a representative to all proceedings relating to the selection or dismissal of any teacher (including the head teacher and deputy head teacher) and offer advice. To decline to appoint a person appointed by a governing body if they fail the relevant recruitment, qualification and vetting employment checks To make referrals (where appropriate) to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) (an executive agency of the Department for Education) To provide job profiles and associated guidance for appointment of support staff To ensure that the relevant information and contributions are provided to the Teachers Pension Scheme To appoint, suspend and dismiss members of staff as it sees fit in relation to staffing of new schools; to provide directions in relation to educational qualifications of teachers appointed for secular education; and in relation to the number and conditions of service of employees appointed for the care and maintenance of school premises. In addition, the Local Authority provides Governing Bodies with advice, support and guidance on best employment practices and model policies to enable them to discharge their delegated responsibilities in relation to appointment, promotion and dismissal of staff, including in relation to: contracts of employment; terms and conditions of service; safeguarding checks; safer recruitment training; performance management and appraisal of staff; discipline grievance and capability matters; compliance with employment legislation (including in relation to health and safety, diversity, equalities and equal pay) 6

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