Agenda item

Worcestershire Regulatory Services Business Plan 2016-2019


The Committee was asked to consider and approve the Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) Business Plan 2016/2019.


The Head of WRS, introduced the report and in doing so informed the Committee that following on from the procurement exercise and in line with the leadership training undertaken by the management team; it was determined that WRS required a business plan to ensure both the viability of the service and its ability to operate within the financial envelopes available to the partners.  The Business Plan was a high level document that would inform the development of the service for the foreseeable future.


The original business plan had included an explanation on how the service would accommodate a small Trading Standards and Animal Welfare presence to match Worcestershire County Council’s (WCC) financial contribution. This was no longer necessary with the departure of WCC and other than mentioning its inclusion at the beginning of 2016, there was little mention of trading standards within the modified business plan.  This should not be taken as an indication that the service would no longer engage with the Trading Standards and Animal Health Team.  The two services would continue to work closely as partners to exploit all opportunities from which both could benefit, as well as contributing to support each other in the event of emergencies.


Whilst the recently published Central Government settlement offered local authorities the opportunity of certainty of a four year budget, it came with serious reductions in funding for all current partner authorities.


Income generation would remain a key factor in the service’s business strategy.  It was possible that authorities may be encouraged to engage more with WRS and look more widely at contracting services to those able to offer expertise and resilience in service delivery.  This would make the challenging income targets more deliverable. 


The Head of WRS drew Members’ attention to section 4.7 in the report, Performance. 


The Head of WRS responded to Member’s questions with regard to the report highlighting a ‘mature’ workforce, redundancies and the Business Relationship Manager vacancy.   Members were informed that a ‘mature’ workforce was a nationwide problem.  Some local authorities were reducing recruitment and positions within the service area were often graduate positions.  WRS had engaged its first licensing apprenticeship in 2015; the question now was whether or not this approach was suitable for other professional areas within the service.  Six officers had applied for voluntary redundancy and following interview a successful applicant had been found for the Business Relationship Manager vacancy.


The Head of WRS noted the comments made by Members with regard to perceived links and the income generation target detailed.  More specifically, that detailed information should have been included within the report.  Members accepted that, as highlighted by the Head of WRS, some of the information required could be commercially sensitive.  However, in order to provide some assurance to the Joint Committee that income generation was evidence based and not an aspiration; any further information on income generation, that contained commercially sensitive information, should be included in any future reports to the Joint Committee as confidential exempt items.  The Head of WRS informed Members that he was confident that the income target would be achieved.


RESOLVED that the Worcestershire Regulatory Services, Business Plan 2016/2019, as detailed at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

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