Agenda item

The Committee will receive an update on the Implementation Plan.  Members will have an opportunity to discuss, ask questions and comment.


The Committee considered a report providing an update on the progress of the implementation programme for the new unitary council.  The Chairman of the Implementation Task and Finish Group, Councillor Barbara Gibbs, confirmed that the request for some of the March ‘must haves’ to be moved to January and February had been undertaken.  Also that regular officer update meetings were taking place to provide a seamless transition to the new council and she thanked the officers for the good work.


Mrs S Ashmead, Monitoring Officer, presented the report on behalf of Mr R Goodes, Programme Manager as he was unable to attend the meeting.  It was noted that at the time of the meeting there were 58 days to go until vesting day.


The following points were noted:


·       Corporate Directors and Services Directors had been appointed and recruitment was being undertaken for five remaining vacant roles.  Interviews would take place in March with the aim of confirming appointments ahead of vesting day. 

·       Services Directors had undertaken work on the alignment of teams in their services areas. It was noted that this was an important piece of work to so that staff would be aware of where they sit in their structure. Staff would be informed in February of their positions in the structures and services directors would undertake a series of staff meetings.

·       This information would also enable the development of the Service Plans that would sit underneath the new Council Plan.

·       The Shadow Executive had agreed 16 Community Boards following extensive consultation.

·       A Town and Parish Charter was under development with the help of representatives from town and parish councils.

·       Town and Parish councils had been asked for expressions of interest in a devolution pilot scheme.  Over twenty responses had been received and these were being evaluated for a decision on who would be included in the pilot.

·       Work was continuing on the Council’s Corporate Plan.

·       Customer service standards had been agreed and training would be provided to all appropriate staff in preparation for 1 April. 

·       Testing of customer scenarios had been undertaken with AMEO.

·       Preparations were being made for the upcoming elections in May. 

·       The Implementation Risk register was being closely monitored and key risks were being monitored on a weekly basis.

·       The Budget Scrutiny Task and Finish Group had met for four days in January 2020 to consider the draft budget. 

·       Practical arrangements had been considered and agreed for the Interregnum period (1 April to 11 May 2020).  These were to use existing committee measures if required during this time.

·       A communications plan was being developed for day one and information would be available for residents so they know who and how to contact the new council.

·       Staff roadshows were being carried out across the councils during January and February.

·       A residents’ magazine had been agreed and would be available in May once the new Council has been established.

·       Officers remained confident that work was on track for April 2020 and focus was on the deliverables for day one.


In response to Member questions the following points were noted:


·       New services directors would receive support from the Programme Office to provide capacity and help with deliverables.  Development programmes were being undertaken and included management development programmes.  Team building had been scheduled for services directors as a group and there was also support for individuals.

·       Regular newsletters were sent out to Parish and Town Councils providing information on the new council.  A meeting had been held recently with the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Association of Local Councils (BMKALC) which had been well attended. 

·       A working group of town and parish council members had been considering, and helping with, a Parish and Town Council Charter.  Information regarding the Charter could be shared with other parish and town councils if requested and it was noted that information had been shared with BMALC.  The new Service Director for Localities and Strategic Partnerships, Claire Hawkes, is visiting town and parish councils to provide information on this and other matters regarding the new unitary.

·       Regarding Community Boards it was noted that the Shadow Executive had the authority to set these up and allocation of funding was within their remit. Information had been provided to Buckingham Town Council regarding this matter and had been shared widely.

·       Staff would be TUPED across to the new council on their existing terms and conditions.  Further work regarding staffing and restructuring would be undertaken through the transformation programme.

·       Regarding the unparished area of High Wycombe it was reported that the Charter Trustees would be involved in the process regarding formulating a Parish and Town Charter.

·       Interim posts had been put in place for roles that had not yet been filled and some of these had been covered by existing staff.  Appointments for the vacant services director posts would be made by the end of March 2020.

·       The Parish and Town Charter would not be part of the new council’s constitution.  This would be a protocol document and adopted as part of the council’s policy.

·       It was suggested that services that individual town and parishes were responsible for should be listed on the website.  This would be helpful information for parish and town councils and the new ward councillors.

·       It was requested that the response that had been provided to Buckingham Town Council regarding the Charter be circulated to all the parish and town councils. 

·       Town and parish councils had provided an expression of interest in the Charter.  Detailed work would be undertaken which would then include local ward members as part of the decision making process.

·       It was suggested that some parish and town councils would have preferred some guidelines regarding areas of interest for a charter.  If this had been available then more councils may have been involved.


The Chairman thanked Sarah for the update and noted that a further update would be provided to the next meeting in March 2020.

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