Acas. Business Plan 2015/16

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1 Acas Business Plan 2015/16

2 Contents Page Foreword Planning framework Management structure Strategic Plan Working with others Increasing Reach and Choice Value for Money Spending Controls Focus and outputs for 2015/16 - Expected volumes of customer facing services 7 - Deliverables by Strategic Aim Aim 1 Aim 2 Aim 3 Aim Funding 13

3 Foreword Acas exists to improve the world of work for the benefit of organisations, individuals and the wider economy. This high level plan sets out the work which we will do in 2015/16 to make a difference for the better and deliver our strategic aims. 2015/16 will see a continuing drive to reduce public expenditure. We know that for every 1 we spend there is at least 12 benefit to the economy. We will continue to work hard to improve still further the return we provide for taxpayers, through reducing costs and increasing our impact. While a significant part of our work is focused on dispute resolution, organisations and individuals are best served through the implementation of good workplace practice to manage conflict, secure strong employment relations and deliver sustainable growth, productivity and success. In continuing our evidence-based approach to this area we will build on the expertise and commitment of our people; the unique insight provided by our 7 million annual contacts with organisations and individuals; and our strong relationships with others working in this field. With a tripartite Council overseeing and directing our work, the perspective of employers, employees and independent experts will remain at the heart of everything we do. I look forward to leading the continued successful development of Acas and its work during the year. Anne Sharp Chief Executive 1

4 INTRODUCTION The Acas planning framework The diagram below illustrates the Acas planning framework in broad terms, showing how this Business Plan relates to the longer term Strategic plan, team plans and on individuals personal performance plans: STRATEGIC PLAN Sets the longer term, multi-year, strategic direction for Acas ANNUAL BUSINESS PLAN Sets the key annual priorities and performance targets consistent with the Strategic Plan. Monitored quarterly through the balanced scorecard /KPIs and strategic risk register. DIRECTORATE / TEAM BUSINESS PLANS Set out the contribution that each team and project will make to the success of the Business Plan PERSONAL PERFORMANCE PLANS Set out the contributions that individuals will make to the success of Directorate / Team Plans and therefore the Acas Business and Strategic Plans 2

5 The management structure of Acas Acas is governed by its Council, consisting of the Chair and 11 members, all appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Council is entirely non-executive and consists of members drawn equally from employer and employee representative groups, with further independent members. The Council sets the Acas strategic direction, policies and priorities. The Council holds the Acas executive to account through the Chief Executive Officer who chairs the Executive Board and manages the senior executive team, a description of which is given in the diagram below. Strategic Plan Acas has four key Strategic Aims, described in the Strategic Plan for as to: 1. Improve organisational performance and quality of working life by providing practical advice and expert support; 2. Resolve disputes at work at the earliest stage and help avoid conflict in the future; 3. Lead debates on employment issues using insight from its own experience and wider research; 4. Continue to develop as a flexible and resilient organisation that uses the skills of its people to provide value for money and excellence in everything it does. This high level Business Plan shows how, for the financial year ahead, Acas will meet these Aims. It describes briefly, aligned against each Aim, the activities that will be carried out and what will enable them. We monitor our performance by using a balanced scorecard which measures 11 key organisational outcomes, each of which aligns to at least one of the strategic aims. The scorecard uses management information to enable robust decision making and accountability and ensure that all of our activities remain business led. The scorecard includes Key Performance Indicators agreed with our sponsors in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). It is reviewed quarterly by the Executive Board, our Council and BIS We expect that the near to medium term future for public spending will continue to be one of managing demands within reducing resource. We work closely with BIS, and make sure we deliver value for money for the funding they provide. 3

6 Working with others Engaging with others across the world of work is central to Acas governance and operations. Our success is founded on our impartial and expert work with employers, employees and their representatives. Insights from stakeholders help us understand the evolving needs of customers, maximise the impacts of services and influence thinking on employment relations and workplace issues. Throughout the year we will continue to build and share the insights we gain from our research, from evaluation of our services and from our millions of annual contacts with employers and employees. These provide the basis of the expertise we contribute to policy development and enable us to be clear and consistent about the wide-ranging benefits of good employment practice and workplace relations. Our collaborative approach to our work brings together insights from a wide range of backgrounds, for example in developing our authoritative guidance. During 2015/16 we will build on our stakeholder engagement at a local level and increase our knowledge of, and ability to support, key sectors. We will evaluate how we engage with our stakeholders by running a perceptions and reputation survey, which will inform plans for 2015 onwards. Our strategic aims help deliver the Government s priority to promote UK growth and productivity and contribute to BIS objectives of creating a positive business environment and boosting enterprise. Increasing reach and choice Helping even more customers to prevent and tackle workplace problems is a key objective for Acas and there are a number of ways we are planning to do so this year. Most customer access Acas information and advice through our website and we will continue to develop our online information and advice services so that our customers can find the support they need at any time and at the lowest cost possible to Acas. We are aiming to increase use by customers of our online guidance by 20% and to develop new tools and more varied content. We will develop the use of Helpline Live Chat, following a successful pilot in 2014, and so give customers a greater choice of channels through which to obtain advice and to provide an offer which is more attractive to younger workers. Similarly, we will build further on our engagement with customers through social media, an area that we have seen grow significantly over the last year, to further reach out to new and younger audiences. We intend to continue to grow our good practice services business in 2015/16 and are aiming for a 5% increase on 2014/15. This means more people will benefit from our training courses and problem solving support. We also expect to help around 10% more employers and employees to resolve disputes at an early stage through our Early Conciliation service than we planned to help in 2014/15. 4

7 Value for money We will continue to work on our own initiative, and with others within and outside the BIS family, to identify and capture opportunities for improvements and efficiencies across the business. For example, since the launch of our digital Helpline Online in 2013 we have increased the number of users rapidly and in 2015/16 we expect to see over half a million visitors to this service. This growth, together with a planned replacement of the supporting technology using more cost effective cloud-based services, will enable us to find the most appropriate balance between voice and digital services and further opportunities to meet customer needs cost effectively. 2015/16 sees us take over responsibility for the Pay and Work Rights Helpline and we will absorb the additional calls into our Helpline without incurring additional costs. By doing this we have played a key role in helping Government make savings of over 500,000 a year compared to the previous way of providing this service. We will continue to look for savings and efficiencies through smarter and collaborative procurement late in 2014/15 we completed a procurement exercise to replace our payroll service and this will deliver savings of 21% a year for the next 3 years compared to the previous contract. We also continue to make sure we align with central Government estates policies through sharing office accommodation, leaving private sector landlord properties and, where appropriate and possible, locating ourselves in Government hub buildings. We have made these types of changes at 7 of our 12 locations around Great Britain over the past two years and this is generating ongoing annual savings of over 600,000. In the coming year, we will undertake a work programme looking at how we can meet business, customer and future needs whilst reducing the size and cost of our estate and remaining a regionally based organisation. By doing this we will be in a position to make evidence-based decisions to identify further savings, based on what is best for Acas and our customers. Spending controls Like all central Government organisations, Acas complies with the controls put in place by the Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG). We also make sure we follow the requirements on spend and reporting that our sponsor Department, BIS, puts in place. The aim of all of these measures is to deliver transparency in public expenditure as well as significant and sustainable savings. We will work with BIS to ensure that these objectives are delivered whilst also seeking the right levels of delegation within the controls so as to streamline decisions based on robust business cases. 5

8 FOCUS AND OUTPUTS FOR 2015/16 The table below shows the planned level of delivery of our customer-facing services and, where applicable, the revenue we expect to generate as a result. This plan has been developed through a detailed review of the market and expected customer requirements, as well as our capacity to deliver. The services are delivered both digitally and by operational staff across Great Britain based in regions and in central teams. Delivery of these outputs and of the activities summarised below in relation to each strategic aim is supported by detailed business area plans. Business area Activity Outputs To Be Produced Units Revenue AIM 1 Advice and Good Practice Services Helpline Calls 897,000 Helpline online enquiry sessions 520,850 Helpline Webchat sessions 15,000 In depth advice 4,966 Web information visits (unique page views) 6,000,000 Guidance Publications - downloads 1,200,000 Model Workplace Users 3,000 E-learning modules visited 20,000 Workplace Projects ,000 Workplace Training 1,189 1,456,000 Open Access Training 1,406 2,090,000 Conferences and talks ,000 AIM 2 Collective Conflict Managements Collective Conciliation requests 912 Arbitration and Mediation requests 25 Joint working projects 163 Individual Dispute Resolution Conciliation in EC notifications 96,150 Conciliation in Tribunal cases 17,230 Individual dispute mediations ,000 AIM 3 Policy outputs Research papers 14 ER comments 4 Policy papers 8 Round table events 2 6

9 FOCUS AND OUTPUTS FOR 2015/16 BY STRATEGIC AIM The following sections describe, at a high level, the activities we are planning to undertake in the year ahead to deliver the strategic aims set out in our Strategic Plan. The activities are presented against each of these aims, along with the enabling activity that will be needed to make sure they happen. The aims interlink and work together in a way which delivers more than the sum of each individual aim and provides a coherent customer journey for those who use our services. The activities described in this plan are dependent on available resources. Should any significant changes be necessary, we will publish an amended version of this Business Plan during the year. Strategic Aim 1: improving organisational performance and the quality of working life through our practical advice and expert support Deliverables: - Impartial and expert telephone based and online Helpline Services that meet customer needs and performance standards. - Programmes of training on employment issues around the country and tailored training in workplaces which are relevant, in demand and recover costs. - Tailored advisory and facilitation services which support organisational success and growth. - Timely and high quality expert guidance and tools which address workplace issues with more developed digital content and channels to better meets customer expectations. - Increased reach and engagement with customers using social media channels, an updated and easily navigated package of discrimination guidance and new guidance aimed at young people. - New tools to help employers grow their business and improve productivity by adopting good workplace practice. Enabler initiatives: - Developing our Helpline LiveChat channel alongside increasing use of our selfhelp service, Helpline Online. - Integrating advice services previously provided by the Pay & Work Rights Helpline into the Acas Helpline service. - Reviewing the balance between telephone based and online Helpline Services in the light of customer demands and making best use of opportunities offered by the scheduled replacement of our telephony infrastructure. 7

10 - Increasing our support for workplace good practice by growing our training services by 5%. - Increasing awareness of Acas products and services, in particular amongst managers and employees under the age of Increasing customer insight to support continued development of on line and digital products. - Monitor and evaluate the performance and effectiveness and impact of Acas' advisory services and disseminate evidence. Strategic Aim 2: resolving disputes at the earliest stage and helping avoid conflict Deliverables: - Effective conciliation which meets performance standards, is valued by users and is successful in resolving disputes between individuals and organisations at the earliest stage possible. - An effective and respected service used by trade unions and employers, which resolves collective workplace disputes through conciliation, mediation or arbitration as appropriate. - Tailored services for organisations facing potential workplace conflict, which enables effective conflict management, the avoidance of disputes and improved employment relations. Enabler initiatives: - Monitoring and evaluating the performance and effectiveness and impact of Acas' dispute resolution services and disseminating the evidence. - Building on the knowledge gained from the first year of operating Early Conciliation, to ensure that improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the individual dispute resolution process continue to be made, and working with BIS to refine the legal framework. - Exploring how we can better support people to access self-help tools for dispute resolution, in particular the benefits that may be provided through Online Dispute Resolution systems. - Reviewing Acas approaches to Collective Conciliation, including service resilience, practices and management information, and developing the service in the light of this. - Promoting the benefits of active conflict management in the workplace, and of early steps to resolve individual and collective disputes where they arise. - Providing improved and new guidance on conflict management and dispute resolution through a range of channels. 8

11 Strategic Aim 3: leading debates on employment issues informed by our experience and wider research Deliverables: - Authoritative and impartial evidence on current and future workplace issues and trends which informs Acas commentary and the development of its services. - Published research on key employment relations issues, including adding to the body of research on the handling of workplace conflict. - Publish new insight into addressing Britain s productivity deficit. - Timely and relevant insights based on Acas expertise and research which reach key audiences nationally and regionally through policy and research papers and other written channels; through digital channels such as facebook, blogs and tweets; speaking engagements, stakeholder conferences and face to face fora for stakeholders, including breakfast briefings on topical issues. - Authoritative, impartial and influential responses to calls for evidence and consultations, which support the development of Government s employment policy. Enabler initiatives: - Focussing on the following key themes: Productivity, growth and managing workplaces Employee voice, participation and involvement Working life Conflict management - Tracking new and emerging policy issues of relevance to the world of work, and to Acas. - Taking a planned approach to working with stakeholders, maximising opportunities for promoting Acas messages and seeking collaborative opportunities. - Hosting and facilitating stakeholder debates. - Developing Acas online presence for example through social media. - Providing new research evidence to maintain and raise Acas contribution key to employment relations policy debates. - Responding to relevant consultations and calls for evidence on the basis of Acas unique insight and evidence. 9

12 Strategic Aim 4: developing Acas as a flexible and resilient organisation that makes the most of its people and other resources Deliverables: - A strategic health check of our customer awareness and perceptions of Acas. - High standards of governance which meet or exceed public sector good practice requirements. - Support for members of the Acas Council to enable their strategic contribution. - Targeted learning and development for all Acas staff to build skills, knowledge and capability in line with business requirements. - Reward and recognition for our staff who contribute to our goals and reflect our values. - A secure and reliable IT service which meets business needs and supports digital and other service delivery channels to our customers. - An agreed model for meeting future Acas IT requirements, with a balance of outsourced and in house capability to meet the organisation s needs and provide good value for money. - A value for money estate that enables the delivery of services to our customers. - Effective and efficient use of our financial resources to meet the targets set for us by our sponsoring Department. Enabler initiatives: - Gathering views from customers and stakeholders about how they view Acas and its services which enables us to remain relevant, with well known services which meet customer needs, provides good value for public money and enables digital delivery wherever possible. - Reviewing our Governance structures against best practice and business needs and implementing change to ensure effectiveness and efficiency. - Implementing new pay arrangements including the new reward and recognition scheme. - Continuing to explore and implement transformation of corporate services that deliver efficiencies whilst maintaining an effective service to customers. - Developing and implementing a digital strategy to support future development of Acas services. 10

13 - Producing and commissioning research and evaluation which is used to contribute to service and product development and improvement, focussing on the experience of the users of our services. - Implementing changes in response to Civil Service Reform, including the new pay system, the learning and development strategy and a refreshed equality and diversity action plan. - Reviewing and improving people policies and practices, to improve efficiency and support our people in their response to change. - Completing the migration of legacy and unsupported IT platforms to common, current and secure replacements and investigating the best methods for delivering our frontline and business support services. - Reviewing and driving improvements to external support service contracts. - Increasing financial management capability across Acas through better collaborative working, improved management information and increased financial skills. 11

14 FUNDING For the 2015/16 financial year, Acas will receive the following funding from BIS: Control Totals,000 Programme Expenditure (gross near cash) Programme Income 41,259-3,600 Near Cash Programme (net) 37,659 Resource Non Cash Programme (Depreciation) 3,300 Administration expenditure 8,719 Near Cash Admin (net) 8,719 Total Resource 49,678 Capital Total Capital 1,100 12

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