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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/07/2001
SCOPE OF YEAR 2 FUNDAMENTAL SERVICE REVIEWS IN
LEISURE SERVICES



The report sets out the proposed scope (including aims and objectives) of the fundamental service reviews (FSRs) that are to be undertaken within the Leisure Services section of the Environment and Leisure Department in the currrent financial year. It seeks the views of the Committee on the appropriateness of the work proposed and the involvement of Members in the process. It also identifies the resource implications for the work. There are resource implications and “opportunities for all” implications as set out in the report. There are no direct environmental implications.
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APPENDIX C

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 4TH JULY 2001



Title:
SCOPE OF YEAR 2 FUNDAMENTAL SERVICE REVIEWS IN
LEISURE SERVICES
[Wards Affected: All]


Summary and Purpose

The report sets out the proposed scope (including aims and objectives) of the fundamental service reviews (FSRs) that are to be undertaken within the Leisure Services section of the Environment and Leisure Department in the currrent financial year. It seeks the views of the Committee on the appropriateness of the work proposed and the involvement of Members in the process. It also identifies the resource implications for the work. There are resource implications and “opportunities for all” implications as set out in the report. There are no direct environmental implications.



Introduction

1. The Council has agreed a timetable for the conduct of FSRs in accordance with the requirements of Best Value legislation and the Council’s response to it. In 2001/02 (Year 2 of the review cycle) the following Leisure services are scheduled to be included:

Arts Development

Tourism Development

Museums and Galleries

2. The starting point for the process the Council has agreed to follow is the preparation of a “scoping report” which identifies the facilities and services that will be covered in the review, and the proposed approach to meet the requirements for an FSR.

3. This report presents to the Executive Committee the scoping reports for the three service areas that Leisure Services will be conducting this year, and seeks the views of the Executive as to whether they properly reflect the issues and approach which Members wish to adopt.

4. The report also addresses issues of timing and the resources required to conduct the reviews.


Scope of Fundamental Services Reviews

5. The scoping report for arts, tourism and museums/galleries are attached as Annexes 1, 2 and 3 to this report. Each takes a similar approach and has a consistent framework. The format of the reports reflects the latest guidance from the Best Value Inspectorate and feedback on reviews that have been undertaken in other authorities. This suggests that scoping reports need to identify more clearly the key issues and objectives in reviewing services, rather than the very general “analyze everything” approach which has led to enormously lengthy and time-consuming reviews in Year 1. It is important that this does not lead to reaching conclusions before the review is conducted, but it should mean that there is direction in the work towards those areas where improvement in performance is achievable.

6. It is important to note that none of the three service areas covered by these reviews is a statutory duty upon the Council. They are provided because the Council chooses to do so under powers that it has been given. The “challenge” element of the Best Value process is, therefore, particularly important as a starting point for each review.

7. The scoping reports include definitions of the membership of the Service Review Groups (SRGs) which will undertake the detailed work of the review under the direction of the FSR team. The SRGs will link closely with the FSR team, which is a corporate group led by an independent chief officer (in this case, the Director of Housing). The FSR team will direct and monitor the review in accordance with the agreed FSR process, and evaluate the evidence offered by the SRG.

8. The scoping report also considers resource issues, and these will be summarized towards the end of this report.

Conduct of the Fundamental Service Reviews

9. In accordance with Section 5 of the Local Government Act 1999, local authorities are required to address the “four Cs” of Best Value – challenge, consult, compare and compete. Each of the scoping reports describes how these will be addressed in respect of each service.

10. There are no specific difficulties for any of the services in meeting the requirements to address each of these areas although some problems may be found in making meaningful comparisons between Waverley and other providers of similar services. Although these services are provided by local authorities and the private sector all over the country, the nature and level of provision usually reflects local priorities and circumstances rather than any attempt to meet regional or national targets.

Resource Implications

11. There are likely to be some resource implications arising from the conduct of the reviews. In each of the three service areas, the only staff available to participate through the SRG groups are those which are directly responsible for providing a service to the public, for instance at the Tourist Information Centre. There will be occasions when withdrawing them from those duties will require the provision of stand-in staff at additional cost (or accepting that services to the public will, occasionally, stop whilst Best Value work is undertaken).

12. It will also be necessary to purchase research and bench-marking material, to conduct consultation exercises, from the existing Best Value provision.
13. One factor that may have some impact on the conduct of the tourism review is that the post of Tourism Manager is currently vacant, and is unlikely to be filled in the short-term. This means that the Council possesses limited expertise in some aspects of tourism management issues, and may find difficulty in interpreting some of the material available – or may take longer to do this if other staff are asked to undertake the work involved. Consultancy services utilizing the savings produced from the vacancy may therefore be required.

The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model

14. The Committee will be aware that one of the tools that officers will be using in conducting FSRs is a self-assessment tool, the Excellence Model. The model is widely used in commercial organisations and by a number of other local authorities. It is rigorous in its approach and its use has been commended by the Government.

Commencing the Review Process

15. It is envisaged that the reviews will consist of three broad phases:-

- Phase 1: Data collection, consultation and bench-marking
- Phase 2: Discussion, analysis and conclusions
- Phase 3: Recommendations and reporting

16. Your officers intend to keep the volume of work and the time taken to the minimum required to conduct the review properly and thoroughly. With the addition of the additional resources referred to above there is no reason why the appropriate timetable should not be met.

17. However, before any work commences, it is important that the Executive Committee is satisfied that the scope of the work in each case meets with its approval, and satisfactorily identifies the nature of the approach to be taken.

Conclusion

18. The FSR team is of the view that the issues are dealt with by the Leisure Services SRGs’, as set out in the scoping reports at Annexes 1, 2, and 3. The reports have been prepared using feedback from the first year of the Best Value process and are designed to produce shorter, more focused reviews which will be less expensive and distract less from the business of service provision. The Committee is asked to consider the reports and to advise on any modifications that should be made.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the contents of the FSR scoping reports for arts development, tourism development and museums/galleries be endorsed.

Background Papers

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

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr D January Telephone: 01483 869432
– Independent Chief Officer FSR
comms/executive/120 17690