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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 23/01/2006
Service Review of Accountancy and Exchequer




SERVICE REVIEW OF ACCOUNTANCY AND EXCHEQUER

IMPROVEMENT PLAN

ACTIONDESIRED OUTCOMERESOURCESCONSTRAINTSWHOBY WHENPROGRESS UPDATE – Dec 2005
System
    1. Review staff contact details on cheque and BACS remittances
Customer can see correct details of payments and points of contact Staff timeKaren Booker/Claire MilesMar 06Electronic remittances being implemented – redesign includes multi-level staff contact details - complete
    2. Implement BACS supplier payments and electronic remittances
Meet suppliers’ demand to be paid electronically and achieve efficiency savingsBudget in IEG Programme circa 2k – Staff timeCapacity in exchequer section due to vacant postsKaren Booker/Claire MilesMar 06BACS payments to suppliers implemented Nov 05 – complete
Electronic remittances to go-live March 06
    3. Agresso development group to set out aims for the next few years and agree a work plan
Continued development of system to deliver improvementsAgresso Development team currently meets monthly. Development work plan to include major changes such as new software releases and releasesDeveloping system is part of normal functions. However, major work such as new releases and technical developments require significant staff resource. Accountants with system admin role currently working to full capacityGraeme Clark and Agresso Development TeamJan 06Software release 4.5.5 implemented November 2005. Agresso development team have planned and implemented many improvement and problem fixes during 2005
    4. Review the filing of the creditor invoices in exchequer area (include filing of misc. income source documents)
Easy access to hard copy of invoicesScanning of invoices now being considered. Will need staff time and approx 15k IT cost if business case is madeDevelopment of the corporate scanning team and implementation of the necessary Agresso software.
Changes must ensure continuation of controls
Karen BookerApril 06Exchequer Manager attends corporate scanning group.
    5. Identify and develop electronic form completion for exchequer areas
More efficient completion of claims and record retentionExchequer staff time. Use of Lotus NotesPayroll system not able to readily input data electronicallyKaren BookerApril 06
    6. Develop web-access to Agresso system
More user-friendly front end to system and wider access opportunitiesCost of system 20k. Reduced future license costs. Staff time implementingSubject to satisfactory business case to IEG group. Need to identify need and benefitsLawrence Heath/ Claire Miles/ Vicki BasleyReview early 2006Officers have been in talks with Agresso to develop a costed solution
    7. Undertake Agresso user needs assessment for all current users and potential users including training, reports and enquiries.
Improved knowledge and usage for current users and increased number of overall users with easy-to-use, tailor made service.Staff time identifying and meeting increased needs. Need to target individuals from consultation exerciseNumber of licenses if new users sign-up.Graeme Clark/ Vicki Basley/ Claire MilesMar 2006Full user analysis and training programme undertaken in 2004. Users consulted in 2005. Considered wider use of electron journals
    8. Quarterly monitoring of aged-sundry debt by management and follow-up recovery officer to agree action, including performance targets for actioning outstanding debt
Sundry debt arrears are controlled and recovery action is taken promptlyStaff time
Effectiveness of debt agents needs to be monitored
Pressure on recovery team with vacant post. Graeme ClarkOngoingReview meetings in place from April 2005.
Agresso consultant helped improve system
    9. Attend corporate group considering Document Imaging and identify opportunities to improve record retention and access
Improved control over workflow and access to records. Reduced paper
Efficiency savings
Scanning of invoices now being considered. Development of the corporate scanning team and implementation of the necessary Agresso softwareKaren Booker/Graeme ClarkDec 06Exchequer Manager attends corporate scanning group. Need to push change now to ensure workflow benefits are achieved
    10. Hold Agresso system promotion sessions with departments to encourage wider use
More users doing routine transactions and enquiries eg. invoice loggingStaff time Number of licenses if new users sign-upGRAEME CLARK/VICKI BASLEY/CLAIRE MILESJun 2006Day-today support and encouragement from finance team since implementation.
Induction training now includes promotion and needs identification
    Customer Needs
    11. In areas where demand for commitment accounting, accountants to work with service managers to develop procedure and/or system
Budget monitoring is improved in high risk areasCouncil decision not to implement purchase ordering which would implement commitment accountingBRIAN LONGOngoing review with budget managers One area, E & L identified need in consultation exercise. This has been addressed with accountants supporting introduction of new commitment system
    Management
    12. Hold regular structured team meetings in accountancy and exchequer on a regular and pre-agreed basis with notes recorded of actions agreed
Improved communication and shared understanding of rolesHeld in Accountancy.
4 Weekly 1:1 meetings with section heads and Assistant Director of Finance
    13. Review need for administrative support in accountancy following additional duties transferred from E & L
Need to deliver Improvement Plan and service pressures without impacting on core serviceBudget included in 2005/06 estimates from saving in E & L finance admin functionAvailability of appropriate staff within budget.
Outcome of housing ballot
BRIAN LONG/GRAEME CLARK Jan 06Need reviewed by team. Talks between BL and Richard Wood
    14. Undertake training needs assessment and develop training plan for all accountancy and exchequer staff to identify technical skills requirements - particularly in commercial contracts, capital accounting, new legislation and Codes of Practice.
Staff have up-to-date knowledge of technical areas Allocation from training budget for any training necessaryGRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONG/KAREN BOOKERDec 05 Appraisal process 2005 appraisals underway. Prioritised development plan to be identified
    15. Responsible officer to identify relevant new legislation and developments in finance areas and bring to managers’ and colleagues’ attention
Once aware of issues, responsibility can be allocated to investigate and if necessary, implement required changes.Staff time reviewing websites and assessing impact of new legislation and Codes of PracticeNeed to divide research work according to relevance to job, then share impact with colleaguesGRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONGOct 05Legislative changes identified in 2005. Relevant web sites reviewed regularly areas of responsibility allocated and information shared at team meetings and finance management team
    16. Consider alternative options and service delivery issues for post housing transfer and restructure scenarios taking account of succession planning for key posts
Prior preparation and staff involvementIf yes vote, the need to manage-out diseconomies over 1-3 years. If no vote, need to review charges and make efficiencies If yes vote, need to identify Weyfold’s intentions for support costs.
With either result need to review all functions of the sections in terms of value and level undertaken
GRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONG/KAREN BOOKERJan 06Options discussed in 1:1 meetings. Preparations made for managing diseconomies and preparing SLAs.
Impact on systems considered by Agresso group.
No-vote will now require change of focus on review and justification of support costs
    17. Undertake risk analysis of vulnerable service areas
Proper cover is in place with adequately skilled staffStaff time / trainingAvailability of staff time to learn and provide cover in specialist technical areas and key functions such as reconciliations.
Limited scope for cover in small section where segregation of duties is key
GRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONG/KAREN BOOKERMar 06Improved cover now in many areas such as system management and VAT. Improved reconciliation procedures, documentation and management review in place
    18. Ensure information about Agresso system activity is available for the purpose of recharging
Accurate recharging of system costsPurchase of software add-on – estimate 8k – will provide many other benefits alsoVICKI BASLEY/CLAIRE MILESJune 06Information new available and being used - complete
    Communication
    19. Hold annual budget awareness training sessions for all budget managers supported by a guidance pack which include budget setting and monitoring.
To develop budget managers’ understanding of the budget process and their roles and responsibilities for budget monitoring, including the Financial RegulationsStaff timeNeed to be held in March/April – could present resource issues as during final accounts periodGRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONGApril 2006Accountants support budget managers with regular meetings and guidance
    20. Regular Bulletin Board and Soundwave articles on key procedures, deadlines and items of interest for exchequer and accountancy areas, including useful websites
Increased awareness for all staff and less follow-up needed by finance staffStaff timeAllAug 05Many notices published on Intranet in 2005
    21. Market services more widely and engage with key customers annually to establish service needs
Specific service needs are met and customers are involved in service planningStaff time AllArticles in Soundwave – notes on Bulletin Board
Induction training targeted for new recruits
    Performance
    22. Prepare a key targets schedule covering completion of reconciliations, production and review of management information and completion of audit recommendations. Achievements should be evidenced and reviewed.
Improved performance culture and ownership of controls
Implementation of audit recommendations within agreed timescale
Reduced workload at final accounts stage
Prompt identification of errors
Staff timeGRAEME CLARKApril 05In place and monitored monthly at 1:1 meetings between section heads and Assistant Director of Finance – complete
    23. Identify at least one key performance target for each service area and report to DMG on a monthly basis
Performance increases
Management aware of performance
GRAEME CLARKMonthly monitoring of performance at Finance DMG. New performance measures for completion of reconciliations and sundry debt monitoring introduced.
    24. Discuss draft Service Plan at joint team meeting and agree on service aims and objectives and performance targets
Staff involved in Service Plan
Clear aims and objectives identified
Appraisals link to Service Plan
GRAEME CLARKService Plan 2006-07 prepared and discussed with teams – complete
Need for improved corporate timetable in future years.
    25. Include individual’s targets in appraisals and agree review periods
Ownership of performance targets
Improved monitoring of performance
Staff timeGRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONG/KAREN BOOKERJan 06Appraisal process underway for 2005
    26. Review all draft audit reports with appropriate staff and monitor implementation of recommendations
Staff aware of audit implications and involved in agreementStaff timeDraft audit reports to be discussed in team meetings before finalisingGRAEME CLARK/BRIAN LONG/KAREN BOOKERDec 05Monitoring in place through monthly 1:1 meetings
    Financial Management
    27. Produce detailed budget timetable with strict monitoring of progress, allowing for sufficient time for COG discussions and Committee lead-in times
Proper management of budget setting with opportunities for appropriate input and production of quality reports.BRIAN LONGMay 05Improved timetable implemented in 2006-07 budget process. To be included in sessions proposed under action 19
    28. Review budget monitoring timetable, process and format of reports
Improved process and quality of information
Variable frequency of reporting according to risk
Clear guidance to Chief Officers and Members about actions necessary
BRIAN LONG/VICKI BASLEYDec 05Timetable reviewed and agreed with Portfolio Holder July 2005.
    Presentation
    29. Review the budget book requirements of Members and budget managers
Development of alternative options for published budget information depending on individual’s needStaff time
Develop electronic access to budget book with tailor-made links
Identification of needs – still demand for detailed paper copy.
Ability to include on website and Intranet in desired form
GRAEME CLARK/VICKI BASLEYMar 06
    30. Discuss budget working paper format within accountancy and with individual budget managers
Greater involvement of service managers at budget setting time and more tailored recordsBRIAN LONG and accountantsApril 06Improvements in 2006-07 budget setting.
Will include in sessions planned under action 19
    31. Review the presentation of recharge information and terminology in the Budget Book
Improved understanding of Waverley’s budget, particularly the inter-recharging of support costs, for non-finance staff and Members.BRIAN LONG/RICHARD BELCHERApr 05Improved terminology and presentation included in 2005-06 Budget Book
    32. Improve the finance web pages for budget information and create area for exchequer services information
Increased use of web site to communicate financial informationVICKI BASLEYDec 06Some update and improvements but comprehensive review needed.
Improved posting of key documents, such as the approved Statement of Accounts on web site
33. Review the layout and format of the budget information included in the Council Tax leafletImproved customer interest and understandingGRAEME CLARK/GLENNIS POPEMar 06
comms/o&s1/2005-06/040