Agenda and minutes

Select Committee - Commissioning
Tuesday, 21st January, 2014 10.00 am

Venue: Wantsum Room, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Denise Fitch  01622 694269

No. Item


10.00 am - John Burr, Principal Director of Transformation (KCC) pdf icon PDF 23 KB


1     Mr Burr explained that the Council was mid way through phase 1 of the transformation process.  12 areas of service were being investigated through engagement with the market to determine whether there were alternative ways of delivering services.  Some areas of Kent County Council were more forward thinking than other areas and the Council was in the process of determining outline options, one of which would be to leave the service as it is.  The options would then be submitted to the transformation group who would select their preferred option and a detailed business case would be worked up, to include costs and risks and this would then be reviewed by the Transformation Board (a cross party group) and then reviewed by the Transformation Advisory Group (which, it was noted, was not a formal decision making body.  The option would then proceed through the formal governance processes of the Council.  No decisions or recommendations had been proposed yet, there was always an option to keep and expand services by raising revenue. 


1.    Phase 2 would begin with a provisional list of services to review for the next financial year.  The focus was on doing things better and once the top tier had been realigned the directorates would be moved into the right areas then the work would begin on looking for further efficiencies over the next 12-18months.  Most savings from working in different ways – need 20 -30%


2.    Being a Commissioning authority meant having an educated client with top level awareness of what the authority was aiming to achieve and the ability to specify it to someone who would be able to deliver it. KCC not always clear – need to be clear to provider, and good specification, may be in house KCC provider or external provider, but depend on service. The Corporate Programme Office had a role in monitoring and ensuring delivery of projects and make sure save and do what we say we are going to. 


3.    In response to a question around the 12 areas or 300 services to be reviewed Mr Burr explained that the 12 areas were business which had put themselves forward for market engagement, libraries and HR for example.  The 300 services were teams within the County Council, the suggestion would be to continue with larger but fewer teams as they are developed and streamlined as part of the transformation. 


4.    In response to a question about the areas in which KCC was doing well at Mr Burr explained that KCC’s legal services team was very forward thinking, generated external revenue and was very highly regarded nationally.  Property Services was another area which was doing very well with a forward thinking business model and potential to run as a business arms length in year or so time.  Areas which were more challenged were business behaviours and finance  - this included Kent Scientific Services, which did not currently make a profit (base trade figures from finance but not account for costs as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


11.00am - Mark Lobban, Director of Strategic Commissioning (KCC) pdf icon PDF 112 KB


Mr Mark Lobban – Director of Strategic Commissioning was in attendance for this hearing.


1.      Mr Lobban explained his role to the Committee, he was responsible for strategic commissioning across Families and Social Care (Adults and Children), he also lead on Adult Social Care Transformation and managed the day to day relationship with Newton Europe (efficiency partner).  4 teams – safeguarding, performance, accommodation solutions, and community support. Approx. 90 Commissioners in team.


2.      In May 2012 the County Council approved a blue print for adult social care transformation.  There was a need to manage demand and ensure that people were not inappropriately pulled into adult social care. 


3.      Relationships with providers are transactional. If receive £5m – 10k we treat them the same, no difference, limited strategic relationships – which does not make commercial sense.


4.      Adults were 1/3 of non school budget so would have to significantly contribute to the Council’s budget deficit – recent analysis shows can do a lot around efficiencies and work smarter/differently. Need to manage demand and not keep people in adult social care when they do not need to be – so key role to look at how prevent need for someone coming in /staying in, so key to work with vol sector to ensure right services for this – (which do not have at the moment).


5.      Clear need to look at what should happen and importantly what actually happens on the ground – big difference. Need to remove silo working – need flexibility to work, but also need to move at pace and deliver consistency and same standards (thanet/west kent)


6.      3 roles for Mr Lobban = Director of commissiong, role for transformation, integration (internally joined up and with partners (District, Boroughs and NHS).


7.      Transformation important to commissioning - 3 key areas within Adult Social Care


·        optimisation, making best use of staff and resources

·        care pathways, to ensure people get the right service at the right time

·        commissioning- services we buy (at the right cost)


There was a need to focus on all three and recognise the links. 

e.g could commission the best enablement service, but if the hospital was under pressure, a person who could benefit from enablement could go straight to residential care which is not the right outcome for the individual and a greater cost to KCC.


8.      One of the initial tasks for the ASC service was to carry out an audit of the projects underway, there were 150 projects running simultaneously and officers were struggling with prioritisation and sequencing (if all 150 are a priority then nothing is). 

9.      Integration meant joined up services around an individual - irrespective of who was providing the service. Invest to save – but need to focus on the 3 areas (optimisation, care pathway, commission), otherwise it was like pouring water into a leaking bucket – so get Optimisation then think about investment.


10. Adult social care programme being approached in 3 phases.  Wave 1. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


12.00 noon - Henry Swan, Head of Procurement (KCC) pdf icon PDF 20 KB

Additional documents:


1.    The Chairman welcomed Henry Swan to the meeting and invited him to give the Committee an outline on how his role supported Kent Businesses and to answer questions from Members of the Committee.


2.    Henry stated that as Head of Procurement he was responsible for procurement across the whole of the County Council.  He set out the following key aims

  • to save money
  • to manage risk
  • to support Kent businesses


3.    Henry explained that half of the money spent externally was with Kent businesses.  The majority of this went to:  medium sized businesses (32%), small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) (22%) and micro businesses (17%).  Compared with other counties Kent was doing well. 


4.    Henry informed the Committee that KCC used to advertise contracts via the South East Business Portal but they had procured a Kent Portal and all tenders over £50k were advertised on it.  Suppliers could register on the Portal for a particular category and receive an email alert when a tender for that category was posted on the portal.  Kent District Councils, and Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue and Medway Council were also able to advertise via the portal.  The cost to KCC of the Portal was £22k. There were currently 5,600 suppliers registered on the Kent Portal, 3,060 were Kent suppliers. He confirmed that Kent had a good supply base.  


5.    Henry confirmed that his role was to ensure that procurement was carried out legally. 


6.    Henry explained that for every procurement over £50k there was a procurement plan.  The plan gave options for carrying out the procurement, and checklist - set out how Kent businesses would be considered within the tender.  The Procurement Board met monthly and the question of how Kent businesses were being considered was always asked by the Leader.  Henry stated that sometimes the answer to this was to say if the tender was broken down to smaller contracts it would be more advantageous to Kent businesses. 


7.    Regarding European procurement rules, there were times when KCC knowingly pushed the boundaries of the rules in cases where it was considered unlikely that there would be a challenge, the level of risk was outweighed by the benefits, KCC will take risks, procurement will advise decision makers on the level of risk that has been evaluated. Part of the role of the procurement team was to give advice on this level of risk. 


8.    Henry confirmed that he met regularly with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).  He had also tried to standardise procurement documents across the County Council and as part of this process had got feedback from the FSB to make the procurement process better for these suppliers. Tenders should then look similar online. The outsourcing of the Youth Service had been carried out via the Kent Portal and there had only been two complaints about the use of this facility.   He stated that everything his team did was focused on Kent businesses.


Question – Do the FSB have particular  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.