Shared Services with Gloucester City Council
In recent years, the county council has put significant effort into building a strong relationship with the city council as we recognise the city council’s role as a place shaper of the historic city of Gloucester. The socio-economic profile of the City also means that a significant proportion of our service demands in public health, Children’s and Adult Social Care will be generated in Gloucester, particularly in its more deprived wards.
Our Memorandum of Understanding sets out our ambitions to maximise inter-organisational opportunities and deliver efficiencies through sharing services. We have been working through a programme reviewing all back office services with an overriding objective that the city council’s back offices will be delivered by the county council, where appropriate to do so. Our joint arrangements have been recognised as ‘strong and effective’ by a recent Corporate Peer Challenge for the city council (November 2017).
We have developed a number of shared services which are delivering savings, greater business resilience and better alignment between the two councils:
- The city council’s Managing Director is a joint appointment and works 50 per cent of his time as a Commissioning Director for the county council. This arrangement has been the driver for the enhanced relationship, which has helped to build trust, exercise informal influence, and ensure that the City’s voice is heard on the Commissioning Board.
- In 2016 we introduced a s101 agreement for Human Resources services as well as related transactional services (value: £229,000). This is delivered through a Business Partner model.
- We deliver the city council’s communications services (value: £86,000), which includes pro-active and reactive media management, internal communication, campaigns, social media and the planning and delivery of the city council’s digital City Life resident magazine.
- We provide the payroll function to the city on a commercial basis, which encompasses a full managed payroll service including SAP Payroll and paper payslips as necessary (value: £34,000).
- We are currently exploring a shared arrangement for the city council’s Property Services.
Both councils have significantly reduced their workforce over the last few years and have surplus office space. The city council’s offices in the docks are an attractive commercial proposition and early plans are being made for the relocation of city council staff into Shire Hall from early 2019. This will provide opportunities for further alignment of service delivery through formal and informal liaising and networking.
However, we believe that we can do more. Looking forward there are two areas of business where we have yet to develop joint working:
- The development of opportunities for joint strategic commissioning in social care, children’s services, and health, using the city council’s strengths in asset based community development.
- Considering where we can fund joint capital investment across the City to deliver shared priorities, for example in regeneration/economic growth as well as housing, particularly for older/vulnerable people to manage demand on social care and health.
For further information, see the Memorandum of Understanding