Council agrees fundamental changes needed to achieve new Plan

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Published: Wednesday 29 Nov 2017 by Fife Council

On Thursday 23 November, Fife Council’s Policy & Coordination Committee endorsed a revised Plan for Fife and signed up to a set of principles for changing the way the council works, as an organisation, to help it deliver this Plan.


Cllr David Ross, Council Co-leader said: “Although it was a short exercise, the consultation on the Plan for Fife was valuable. It gave us time to discuss things with a number of community organisations as well as receiving comments from individuals. More than 80% of respondents agreed with the overall approach of the Plan and I’m delighted that the focus on building a fairer Fife was strongly endorsed.


“However, this won’t be the end of public conversation – in fact, it’s just the start. One of the key themes of the Plan for Fife is working with communities on an ongoing basis to improve and change services.


“We’ve got to be ambitious for Fife but we’re also realistic. And there’s no doubt that sustaining public services, and targeting inequality in the way we want to, will be extremely difficult given the financial challenges across the public sector.”


Added Co-leader, Cllr David Alexander: “On top of the efficiency savings the council’s been making for years, there have also been some significant change programmes internally that have saved well over £30million since 2010.


“This work has laid the foundation for more, coordinated shifts in the way the organisation operates. For example we could move more staff and customer contact online to make it quicker and easier for those who do have online access; make better use of schools and fewer community buildings by putting more services under one roof; and consolidate the teams handling customer information to get a single view of each customer’s experience with the council.


“It’s important to remember that, as well as saving money, progressing core changes like this will also help us tackle some of the issues customers raise via satisfaction surveys and complaints. People want the council to be more responsive, to carry out transactions digitally, to quickly reach the right person and be kept up to date with progress.


“We’ve asked officers to develop business cases for specific, prioritised programmes of work to help us make the most of these opportunities.”


Other ways to transform the council’s operations agreed in principle by committee include:

  • Decentralisation - devolving decision making, improving collaboration amongst frontline staff across agencies, and refocussing local and community planning arrangements.
  • Developing the digital workspace – using more mobile and flexible working solutions to improve the mobile workforce’s productivity and more flexible and efficient use of resources for those in office-based roles.
  • Procurement and contract management - reducing the council’s £320m third party spend through a consistent approach to activities like demand management, contract review and strategic sourcing.
  • Income generation - optimising income from fees and charges, recovering costs and delivering a sustainable income approach.
  • Demand management - carrying out a rolling programme of service reviews to consider ways to reduce and prevent demand for services, improve service delivery processes and optimise organisational structures.

It’s estimated that, over time, the opportunities discussed could put around £25m additional savings towards the council’s budget gap.


Cllr Ross continued: “Only by making the council itself as streamlined as possible, can we hope to continue investing in frontline services for a fairer Fife.


“And we want communities to have more say in how their share of that public purse is spent. So we’ve asked officers to develop proposals for a coordinated approach to participatory budgeting across Fife, which will make it part of the normal way of working for local people to choose how money is spent on services in their local area.”


Fife has been at the forefront of participatory budgeting projects across Scotland. Since 2010 local communities have had their say on how more than £850,000 should be spent.


Cllr Alexander concluded: “Putting more choice and control into local people’s hands is something we’ve been working towards. Making this a clear part of Fife’s future is in line, not just with our recent Fairness Matters report, but also COSLA and Scottish Government agreements.”


The Plan for Fife is set to be formally approved at a full meeting of Fife Council on 14 December.

 

David Ross, Councillor 
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 24 03 Contact David Ross online
By Post: Fife council, Fife House North Street, Glenrothes,KY7 5LT

David Alexander, Councillor 
Tel: 01333 351014 Contact David Alexander online
By Post: Fife council, Fife House North Street, Glenrothes,KY7 5LT

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