Implementing the Commission s Transformation Plan

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1 Commission for Local Administration in England Implementing the Commission s Transformation Plan Update on progress Introduction This paper provides an overview of how we are progressing with the Plan. Some significant progress has been made since the last report to the Commission; agreeing and finalising the business designs, building the new operational teams; implementing the Assessment and Investigation pilot scheme, finalising the new COIN2 requirements and gaining partial approval from DCLG for our recruitment and accommodation business cases. Several supporting strands of work concerning the staff training programme, drafting new guidance and reviewing our external documentation and information have now been resourced and initiated. Some notable challenges still exist. They concern the ongoing work with DCLG to obtain timely approvals, ensuring business continuity and the timely recruitment to new posts. Reconciling the TP budget against the potential level of reduction associated with losing the housing work is a major uncertainty and risk. This report looks at some of this activity in more detail. An overview of activity across the key Transformation Plan work strands, to the end of March 2013, is provided at the end of this update. Sponsor / DCLG approvals We continue to meet regularly with the Sponsor team and DCLG through the JTG. We have however reduced our resource commitment to these meetings due to the reduction in cases now requiring approval. There are three remaining business cases to be resolved. These concern the two accommodation related cases (Coventry Lease and London alternative site) and the approval to go out to external recruitment to fill vacant posts. A summary of activity for each approval case is provided below: Recruitment. We now have approval to advertise all 15 posts we may require both internally and across the Civil Service and ALBs. The overarching recruitment case includes the provision for us to go out to external recruitment should this first and narrower campaign be unsuccessful. This case was included in papers to the Secretary of State for his review during w/c 15 Oct. We are awaiting the outcome. Our ability to recruit more widely has suffered delay and we may now need to fill some positions far later in the programme than we had intended and planned for. Contingencies will be deployed where possible eg with the CSM role. Accommodation Coventry Lease DCLG s property team have now provided a provisional response to our submission for an extension to the Coventry office lease when it expires in 2015.

2 In responding DCLG concluded that they were unable to support an extension of the lease at the Oaks. Their main concern was that the case did not adequately satisfy the criteria required for an extension to be granted whilst following current Government property controls. The DCLG Property team are now looking at possible alternatives for our consideration. This will focus on existing DfE estate in central Coventry. Patrick White, Chair of the Joint Transformation Group, was asked in October to formally confirm DCLG s response to CLAE. We are awaiting this confirmation. Accommodation London office We have also received a response from the DCLG Property team confirming the suitability and practicalities of using Eland House as our London accommodation. We have been told that David Rossington, Finance Director, would formally confirm DCLGs considerations and address our concerns regards using this accommodation. We are awaiting this confirmation Housing There has been little movement evident by DCLG to resolve this very pressing issue. The TP Implementation Group has pursued this matter at the JTG and has regularly requested updates, both without notable response. CLAE have tabled a revised and final figure of 573K against the DCLG proposal of 930k. These figures are for further discussion and final agreement. Paul Rowsell is managing for DCLG. Human Resources Phase 1 of the HR programme has now been largely completed. This phase covered the selection, interview and allocation of staff to the new teams to support the three new operational units. A minor delay occurred finalising some posts due to the extended time it took for an appeals process to be concluded. One-to-one consultations have continued with staff and, where appropriate, interim working arrangements put in place for those not selected. Another formal invitation for VR has been made to staff and three applications have been received. Key recent appointments include: Tim Miller, as Head of Policy and Communications; Paul Conroy, as Head of Assessment; Anne Flegg, as Professional Practice Co-ordinator; and Heather Lees, as Commission Operating Officer Phase 2 of the HR programme is now underway which covers the recruitment campaign to support posts in the Policy & Communications and Corporate Services teams. Several posts have been advertised and the interview and selection programme scheduled. A potential area of concern is that we have a notable reliance on agency staff during this next period and could face a number of unscheduled departures, of London staff in particular.

3 Business Design The major deliverables of the recent period have been; the approval of the new Business Designs, the formation and staffing of the new operational teams and the successful introduction of the early adoption pilot in London. Activity over the next period will concentrate on the production of revised operational guidance and advice, defining and embedding our quality standards and practices for the new teams. We will finalise the requirements for the staff training programme and review and amend our external documentation to reflect the new service. New management arrangements will be introduced. The release containing the TP COIN2 changes will be delivered by CAS in early Jan 13 in readiness for our testing and acceptance. Office accommodation will be prepared for the new units. Early Adoption Pilot for Assessment and Investigation The Assessment and Investigation Pilot went live on 29 Oct. This is a key element of this phase of the programme. The Pilot is being conducted in the London office and will run until the new units go live in April Using a single location was considered preferable in order to focus maximum attention on one site rather than across all three sites simultaneously, which could have diffused the results and learning. The pilot involves two Assessment teams and three Investigative teams. The teams are now working together in a new office location in MBT and applying the new business design and principles. Whilst the pilot has some unavoidable limitations eg the COIN2 system has yet to be modified to reflect the new arrangements, we are confident that it will provide the necessary test of how the new business model will operate for these two units. Issues are being monitored weekly and, where necessary, adjustments are being made to the designs. Formal reviews are scheduled to more fully explore the operational aspects of the new working arrangements. The first of these reviews was held on 26 Nov. As the pilot is in a single office every effort is being made to ensure that the York and Coventry office staff are kept well informed of progress and made aware of any issues that arise. An opportunity to visit the London office to discuss progress with colleagues during the pilot has been made to both York and Coventry staff. IT / COIN Complaints Database A significant activity during Sept and early October was the development and completion of the specification for the new complaints database. This was done in close collaboration with CAS and their senior management. Agreement was reached at the CMT to reduce the scope of Sprint 12 to the most pressing business fixes required. This action was recommended to reduce the pressure on the delivery of the TP related changes. Key activity is; The budget to support the COIN changes was discussed at the CMT on 16 Oct and approved.

4 The business requirements for TP related changes were finalised and submitted to CAS/IPL on 19 Oct. CAS have produced a Delivery Plan and associated costs which have been reviewed at the TP Implementation Group and approved. The ongoing management of the TP changes will be handled via the TP Implementation Group. The Head of IT now regularly attends these meetings to provide updates on progress. A formal change control process has been agreed with CAS / IPL and implemented. This will be used manage any changes to the requirements. The first part of the operation to move IT equipment out of Millbank and up to Coventry began in Nov. This work will be completed by early The new name for the system, chosen by staff, is ECHO (Effective Complaint Handling by the Ombudsman). Project Management Risk Management Strand Managers continue to regularly review risks associated with the TP. During the reporting period a number of risks on the Transformation Programme Risk Register have been closed or reduced. This reflects the progress made with the business designs, COIN requirements, Accommodation and some project management areas. The approvals process with DCLG continues to have a significantly negative impact on our activity and is our greatest source of risk. We have been unable to gain timely approval to go out to external advertising for posts as noted earlier. This has delayed the timescales for recruiting to the Customer Services Manager position, which is now very pressing and has impacted the development of the new Intake Unit. It should be noted that the CMT has progressed the issues raised at its meetings with a speed and urgency that has matched the needs of the programme. This support has been critical in allowing important areas of the programme to move ahead. Potential risk at this point in the programme is the possibility of staff leaving the business outside of the VR or CR redundancy programmes. We are also heavily reliant on agency staff, particularly in the Finance section. DCLG have recently advised that we need to submit a business case when recruiting any temporary agency staff. This is a new requirement which will immediately impact our ability to quickly fill positions should they become vacant. Other activity Attendees at the TP Implementation Group meetings has been extended to reflect the new phase of the project. The Head of IT and Facilities Manager now regularly attend to provide an update on their respective areas of work. During October KPMG examined the TP governance and risk management approaches. We await their findings.

5 Communications Tim Miller took up the post of Head of Policy and Communications on 12 November. Tim will assume overall responsibility for all Communications risks related to TP activity. Staff Survey Following the completion of the staff survey, and the communication of the main findings to staff in early November, a follow up series of meetings have been held in all offices. These had the aim of gaining a better understanding of how information about the Transformation Programme can be managed more effectively, and explore how the communication channels we use can better meet the needs of all staff. Local Authority Seminars Arrangements are now in place for a series of information seminars aimed at Link Officers in all Local Authorities. The seminars are intended to provide an overview of the new LGO organisation and the impact it will have on some current working practices from April They will be held in seven cities during mid to late January 2013 and will be internally funded. Venues booked are in Newcastle, Leeds, London, Manchester, Peterborough, Birmingham and Bristol. There will be a second event in London due to high demand. Nigel Ellis and Mick King will lead on the planning and delivery for these events. Delivery may involve a small group of staff. The Local Authorities affected by the early adoption in London were notified before the pilot went live. Nigel Ellis Chris Haygarth 3 Dec 2012

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