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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 10/01/2006
RESTRUCTURE - UPDATE



Summary & Purpose
This report is to inform the Executive, in outline, of the preparatory work that was done in relation to an organisational restructure in anticipation of the tenants’ ballot resulting in a vote in favour of Housing Stock Transfer and to outline the position as a consequence of the vote against Housing Stock Transfer.

APPENDIX D
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 10TH JANUARY 2006
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
RESTRUCTURE - UPDATE
[Wards Affected: N/A]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:

This report is to inform the Executive, in outline, of the preparatory work that was done in relation to an organisational restructure in anticipation of the tenants’ ballot resulting in a vote in favour of Housing Stock Transfer and to outline the position as a consequence of the vote against Housing Stock Transfer.

_________________________________________________________________________
Environmental implications:

There are no such implications from the content of this report.

Social / community implications:

There are no such implications from the content of this report.

E-Government implications:

There are no such implications from the content of this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no such implications from the content of this report.
_________________________________________________________________________
Introduction

Housing Options Appraisal – Proposed Management Structure Review Consequent on a Vote in favour of Housing Stock Transfer.

The work that was done: -

focused on the top management structure;

presumed that there was no immediate need to remove services;

recognised a need for there to be a strong policy/performance review function in Waverley


had not been influenced by the likely financial settlement for Waverley from the Government;

followed a ‘Waverley Way’ of incremental progress to change rather than a ‘big bang’ approach.

If there had been a ‘yes’ vote, the proposal would have been a phased approach with, from vesting date of the proposed new Registered Social Landlord (Weyfold) minimal change (effectively the attachment of the retained Housing functions to an existing department). This was to enable attention to focus on supporting the ‘bedding in’ of Weyfold and supporting the separation, at the earliest opportunity.

This approach would have enabled more detailed work to be carried out on a new structure to come into effect from the separation date.

The following potential structures were examined: -

The (modified) status quo

Minimal change linked to the reduction in Housing functions

The ‘strategic director’ approach;

Switching from ‘working’ directors as heads of departments to strategic directors, with no day-to-day departmental responsibilities, whose focus would be on guiding the authority forward, anticipating changes, challenges etc.

The ‘customer focused’ approach

Generally, structuring based on a ‘front office/back office’ split with people becoming customer interfacing experts rather than functional experts. The Reigate and Banstead ‘community liaison’ approach provided a variation on this theme.

The ‘Form Follows Function’ approach.

Putting all the Council’s regulatory functions together would be an obvious illustration of this.

The ‘Partnership/Joint Working/Outsourcing’ Approach

A structure that focuses on working more closely with other organisations to provide services, whether jointly or on behalf of or outsourcing to another organisation.

Not included in the options examined in detail was a structure without a Chief Executive. Although this was given consideration and although other Councils (including Reigate and Banstead and Basingstoke and Deane) have used this approach, it has only been as an interim step and there is no evidence to indicate that such an approach is sustainable in the longer-term.

It was recognised that each of the 5 options examined were capable of being modified in the detail resulting in many potential permutations. The report on restructuring would, therefore, have been to gain support from the Council to the type of option preferred when further work would occur to examine and recommend on the detail. That would have been possible within the framework of the likely timetable for the presumed Stock Transfer.

Those (above) options are set out in this report as they may have, notwithstanding the ‘no’ vote from Waverley's housing tenants, relevance in the future.


The ‘no’ vote presents new challenges.

The Council’s experience of a ‘no’ vote in 2000 was that management structures settled back into the status quo. Today, that is unlikely to be the right way forward for Waverley.

The Council’s overall financial position now becomes the main driver for change.

The main financial impact will be on HRA activity and that is the matter for immediate debate which, this time, will be somewhat different as the HRA/General Fund parameters have changed. Conclusions on HRA activities will then impact on support services within the Council.

Also, since this Housing Stock Options structure review process has begun, the political scene has changed, particularly in the past few months.

The Government has allowed it to become known that a form of local government review (LGR), based upon unitary authorities, is seen as the potential way forward with a likelihood that progress would be made quickly, probably to enable change before the next general election. See agenda item 9.

The Way Forward

It is proposed that, following an initial assessment of the Housing issues, a report be sent to the meeting of the Executive on 7th February 2006 that sets out the latest position at that time and that seeks direction on: -

the budgetary implications in conjunction with the 2006/07 budget that will be presented for adoption at the February meeting;

the LGR implications; and

the impact, if any, on the aims and objectives in the Waverley Corporate Plan of the ‘no’ vote.

Conclusion

The need for a reorganisation and the various options for potential new structures already considered will be re-examined in terms of their application to Waverley whilst it continues to have direct responsibility for its housing stock.

Clearly the ‘mood’ of the organisation has changed as a consequence of the ‘no’ vote. It is, therefore, appropriate to emphasize that, whatever happens to the organisational structure, progress should be made, at all times, mindful of the need to maintain the moral and motivation of staff across the Council and mindful of the need to avoid the disaffection and any consequential loss of staff.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive note the content of this report.

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Background Papers (CEx )

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Christine Pointer Telephone: 01483 523208
E-Mail: cpointer@waverley.gov.uk


Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 523387
E-Mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk


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