Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Corporate Services Policy and Challenge Group 16 September 2015 Item No. 11

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1 For Publication REPORT AUTHOR(S): Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Corporate Services Policy and Challenge Group 16 September 2015 Item No. 11 ASSISTANT CHIEF OFFICER (HUMAN RESOURCES AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT) SUBJECT: For further information on this Report contact: ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE OPERATION OF ICT SHARED SERVICE AGREEMENT Alison Ashwood Head of Strategic Support Tel No: Background Papers: ICT Shared Service Agreement 31 October 2013 Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority minutes 22 October 2013 Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority minutes 4 June 2015 Implications (tick ): LEGAL FINANCIAL HUMAN RESOURCES EQUALITY IMPACT ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY CORPORATE RISK Known OTHER (please specify) New CORE BRIEF Any implications affecting this report are noted at the end of the report. 11.1

2 PURPOSE To report the outcome of the annual review of the operation of the ICT Shared Service Agreement (Schedule 4) for the period 31 March 2014 to 1 April 2015, undertaken by the Head of Strategic Support BFRS, Chief Information Officer CFRS and ICT Shared Service Manager. RECOMMENDATION That Members consider the outcome of the first annual review of the operation of the ICT Shared Service and that progress in the operations, planning and development is noted. 1. Background 1.1 In April 2010, the ICT Service Manager presented to the senior management teams of our Service and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, an outline business case which considered a number of options for delivering ICT services ranging from maintaining the status quo, through various degrees of collaboration, to full outsourcing of the ICT functions. Consideration of these options identified a clear case for moving forward with a shared ICT arrangement through the following broadly sequential stages: Continuation of the shared ICT Service Manager post; Rationalisation, modernisation and harmonisation of the ICT network infrastructures across the two Services; Creation of a shared ICT Support Team; and Review of effectiveness of shared team arrangements with a view to further consideration of full outsourcing of the function, potentially through establishment of a separate, jointly owned service vehicle. 1.2 Formal project plans and documentation were drawn up and a joint Shared ICT Services Project Board was established to guide the work, consisting of the Assistant Chief Fire Officer from BFRS (now the Assistant Chief Officer), the Director of Resources from CFRS, the respective Heads of ICT from each Service plus officers providing legal, financial and HR support from the respective Services. 11.2

3 1.3 The Shared ICT Services Project Board oversaw the rationalisation, modernisation and harmonisation of the ICT network infrastructures, the creation of a shared ICT Team structure, and the drafting of the ICT Shared Service Agreement which sets out the ICT Shared Service Governance arrangements. 1.4 On 22 October 2013 Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority authorised the completion of an ICT Shared Service Agreement for a term of five years. This agreement was made on 31 October 2013, establishing the ICT Shared Service Governance Board. 1.5 The ICT Shared Service then entered a transition phase which completed on 31 March ICT Shared Service Agreement and Review 2.1 The ICT Shared Service Agreement sets out the scope of the service and includes amongst others the arrangements for accommodation, an asset register, costs and liabilities, insurance, staffing, finance and intellectual property. 2.2 The Agreement requires the establishment of an ICT Shared Service Governance Board and Schedule 4 of the Agreement sets out the functions and powers of the Board. A copy of Schedule 4 to the Agreement is shown at Appendix A. 2.3 Schedule 4 also requires that an annual review of the operation of the Agreement is carried out. The ICT Shared Service Governance Board established the first of such reviews in the first quarter of This first review follows the ICT Shared Service from its transition phase under the governance of the Board and first year of operation. 2.4 The review covers the following areas as set down in Schedule 4 of the Agreement: The quality of the Shared Service; The effectiveness of budgetary and financial management arrangements; The effectiveness of systems, processes and procedures; Development in legislation and policy guidance; Planning for the development of the Shared Services. 11.3

4 3. Summary of the Review 3.1 The quality of the ICT Shared Service and progress towards its aims: The quality of the ICT Shared Service was reviewed including the extent to which the aims and outcomes of the ICT Shared Service had been met and the effectiveness of the shared services. The review considered the progress of the ICT Shared Service towards its business aims of improved customer focus, resilience, flexibility, service hours and quality of service and is satisfied that good progress is being made to achieving these aims of the business case, particularly in the areas of resilience, flexibility and service hours. Incident response times have improved by 23 percentage points from 65% responded within SLA to 88% and fix times have improved by 31 percentage points from 55% fixed within SLA to 86%. The review evidenced improvements made through the fundamental reshaping of the operations of the ICT Support Team. This on-going business change has included the re-establishment of the ICT Service Desk as the single point of contact for users, and a change in working practices aligning prioritisation of calls and service levels to those set out in the ICT Service Catalogue. The consequence is a steady improvement in incident management performance against target and an increase in written compliments received from users. The Board has commissioned an annual survey of satisfaction as part of the performance monitoring arrangements. This survey was completed on 4 September 2015 and will be reported to the ICT Shared Service Governance Board on 22 October

5 The creation of new roles in the ICT Shared Services has increased the skills base whilst at the same time improving resilience. The review considered the implementation of resilience within the infrastructure and the capacity to mirror systems across both Services. This resilient infrastructure has been successfully deployed and is supported by effective formalised monitoring arrangements to deal with issues impacting on mission critical systems as they happen. An example is an incident that occurred in October 2014 during which the circuits in an uninterruptable power supply failed. Although some non-essential services were lost, early detection and the resilient infrastructure allowed the majority of services to continue to operate normally. Those services that were lost were restored within two hours. The ICT Shared Service continues to develop this infrastructure: further enhancements have been embedded since this occurrence which enables all services to continue in the event of a reoccurrence. The pooling of resources and expansion of skills has increased the flexibility of the ICT service enabling better direction of available resources. However, the Board considered that capacity and flexibility has been restricted due to the time taken to recruit to critical roles and the high demand required by the significant amount of project work. This has been mitigated by the employment of temporary resources. The Board agreed to continue the role of the ICT Project Manager to ensure project work is appropriately planned, scheduled and capacity shortfalls identified early on and addressed appropriately. The delivery and agreement of the combined project plan and five year strategy for each organisation will inform the future structure and resource requirements. The resourcing model and structure with associated benchmarking will be investigated. 3.2 The effectiveness of budgetary and financial management arrangements: The review included the effectiveness of arrangements to ensure appropriate monitoring of budgets and financial management of the ICT Shared Service. The asset inventory and joint contracts data has been established. A framework for accounting for time and costs is in place and end of year procedures for cross charging implemented. 11.5

6 The review found satisfactory progress is being made in transitioning to an aligned asset replacement plan for the ICT infrastructure. The Board receives reports of any significant unplanned expenditure to agree funding arrangements before commitment. The process of planning and budget setting for the forthcoming year have been shared and agreed. Opportunities for joint procurement are established and price advantages through economies of scale have been achieved for example in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) project. The VDI procurement process was undertaken in a single exercise combining the requirements of both partners. This reduced the in house resource overhead by some 30% and price advantage of 16,900 against target price (average 12% saving). 3.3 The effectiveness of systems, processes and procedures: The review of the effectiveness of systems, processes and procedures confirms the work that has been conducted to align practices within the newly combined ICT Team and within the supporting areas of both organisations such as Finance, Procurement and Human Resources. The ICT Shared Service continues to implement consistent, best practice policies and procedures across its operations. The ICT Shared Service Manager has overseen the alignment of working practices through the transition phase and sound progress is being made in embedding these practices. Audit actions concerning these matters have been completed and verified by joint service external auditors. The continuing, effective embedding of best practices within the ICT operations is having a positive impact on the ICT performance as previously described in para 3.1. The review acknowledges the work completed by the Procurement and Finance teams from both organisations to align procedures which provides for one or other of the Services to lead a procurement exercise and be the contracting authority. The HR Teams have successfully completed joint exercises to align job descriptions and creating the ICT staffing structure. Joint working is continuing and developing to support the ICT Shared Service in recruitment as vacancies arise. Some challenges exist with operating policies and procedures to two differing employing organisations which continue to be monitored. 11.6

7 The ICT Shared Service Board has oversight of ICT projects ensuring opportunities for joint working are identified. This has ensured that the benefits of lessons learned are gained across sequential implementations improving both quality of implementation and effectiveness of projects. This is evidenced through the implementation of the multifunction printing devices across both services, the Microsoft Exchange upgrade and resilient network implementation. 3.4 Development in legislation and policy guidance: The Heads of ICT are working with the ICT Shared Service Manager to identify and address developments in legislation and align policy to guidance. This includes protective marking schemes, data protection arrangements, freedom of information, electronic waste disposal. The supporting business functions from both organisations have provided policy guidance in respect to Financial, HR and Procurement regulations and changes in legislation. Of note is the work undertaken in the review period to align policies and procedures associated with requirements for Codes of Connection (CoCo) and Public Sector Networks. 3.5 Planning for the development of the Shared Services: Taking into account the evidence considered as part of the review, the ICT Shared Service Board is satisfied with the effectiveness of the current development and operations of the ICT Shared Service. The ICT Shared Service Board has identified the need for continuing support to capacity planning and work scheduling, particularly in view of the number projects in both Services which require ICT Shared Service resources. As a result of this review to ensure the ICT Shared Service continues to evolve its service levels, the ICT Shared Service Board agreed to continue support for the ICT Project Manager role. The Shared ICT model is an innovative creation. In considering planning for the continued improvement of the ICT Shared Service the Board considers the model should be reviewed to ensure that it can be maximised and the advantages and disadvantages of other models are known to ensure a solution which best enables an integrated, efficient and cost effective ICT service across two authorities. Following the review of the ICT Shared Service, LGSS law have provided an initial options report into ICT Shared Service models. The report provides a high level review of the possible structures which could be utilised. The CFO presented this report to the Fire and Rescue Authority in their meeting of 4 June. The Fire Authority resolved that the report is referred back to the Corporate Services Policy and Challenge Group to undertake further investigation into the benefits of other 11.7

8 models to provide a shared ICT Service, and the rationale for any change to the current model, with a view to making a referral back to the full Authority. 4. Summary, Actions and Recommendation 4.1 The first annual review of the operation of the ICT Shared Service Agreement has established that good progress is being made in achieving the aims of the ICT Shared Service business case. Further progress towards these aims is expected in the next 12 months as the structure and working practices become embedded. 4.2 The review is passed to the ICT Shared Service Governance Board and subsequently reported to the structures in each Fire and Rescue Authority accordingly. 4.3 Summary of actions: The Fire and Rescue Authority, in their meeting of 4 June, resolved that the Corporate Services Policy and Challenge group is to undertake further investigation into the benefits of other models to provide a shared ICT Shared Service, and the rationale for any change to the current model, with a view to making a referral back to the full Authority The delivery and agreement of the combined project plan and five year strategy for each organisation will inform the future structure and resource requirements: the resourcing model and structure with associated benchmarking will be investigated The ICT Shared Service Board will continue the Project Management role to ensure project work is appropriately planned, scheduled and capacity shortfalls identified early on and addressed appropriately The ICT Shared Service satisfaction survey, completed on 4 September 2015 is to be reported to the ICT Shared Service Board on 22 October It is recommended that the outcomes of this first annual review of the operation of the ICT Shared Service Agreement are considered and progress in the operations, planning and development of the ICT Shared Service is noted. ZOE EVANS ASSISTANT CHIEF OFFICER (HUMAN RESOURCES AND ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT) 11.8

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