Following on from the meeting held on 18th February 2016, whereby the Worcestershire Shared Services Joint Committee received a further update on the progress on the reconstitution of Worcestershire Shared Services Partnership of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, the newly constituted Board were asked to note the progress made since that meeting.
The Head of Regulatory Services informed the Board that all partner authorities had completed the sign off of the previous Worcestershire Shared Services Joint Committee’s decision, which allowed the legal agreement to create the district only partnership for delivering the relevant regulatory functions to come into effect, as scheduled, on 1st April 2016.
It was confirmed that Worcestershire County Council’s (WCC) exit from the partnership to the role of customer had occurred as planned. The Head of Regulatory Services informed the Board that he had entered into an agreement with WCC for the delivery of Trading Standards and Animal Health functions. This agreement was signed by WCC, Head of Community Services on 31st March 2016. A further legal agreement with WCC which enabled them to take back control of Trading Standards and Animal Health functions was signed in May 2016. This was to ensure that the proposed date of 1st June 2016 for transferring staff back to the employment of WCC was achieved. It was noted that under the new arrangement WCC continue to pay for some elements of support from WRS such as legal administration of case files.
Members were reminded that at the Worcestershire Shared Services Joint Committee meeting on 25th June 2015, the Joint Committee had agreed to recommend that partner authorities dissolved the current Worcestershire Shared Services Partnership agreement on 31st March 2016 and constitute a new partnership comprising of the six district councils on 1st April 2016, along with a new Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the new partnership and WCC for the provision of Trading Standards and Animal Health Services.
WCC’s exit from the partnership resulted in a payment to partners to cover the overheads that would have been allocated to the Trading Standards and Animal Health cost centre had WCC remained engaged with WRS. The overhead costs would be paid for a period of twenty two months, such time period being based on an agreed period of two years, reduced by two months to reflect the interim arrangements whereby the County Council paid for Trading Standards services as a customer from 1st April 2016 to 31st May 2016. The payment figure was modified to reflect:-
· WCC’s purchase of ICT and accommodation from Wyre Forest, resulting in a subsequent reduction to the charge on WRS.
This payment received would be held by the Host Authority, Bromsgrove District Council as a WRS reserve to support the service in seeking business to replace WCC’s contribution and to help fund any changes to the establishment that may need to take place should this not be successful.
With reference to the legal agreement which set up the new style District only partnership, it was noted that the agreement drafted following discussions between the legal officers of the six district partners and ratified in the way required by each partner authority with the new agreement coming into effect on 1st April 2016. The legal resource required to produce and complete the legal agreements was provided by the Host Authority, Bromsgrove District Council on behalf of WRS and the legal officers at WCC on behalf of Trading Standards.
RESOLVED that the report detailing the progress on the reconstitution of the Worcestershire Shared Services Partnership be noted.