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Agenda item

SCC 2020

Report of Executive Director, Resources, and Director, Policy, Performance and Communications.



The Committee received a presentation from Eugene Walker, Executive Director, Resources, and James Henderson, Director, Policy, Performance and Communications (PPC) which gave an overview of the SCC2020 Programme and highlighted the Customer Experience Programme, Digital & Technology Strategy and the Children’s and Adults’ Improvement & Recovery Plans. Also present for this item was Councillor Olivia Blake, Cabinet Member for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Council.




Members made various comments and asked a number of questions, to which responses were provided as follows:



·         Councillor Blake confirmed that an additional £15m had been spent last year to address the pressures in Children’s and Adults’ Services and, although there was still an overspend forecasted for this year, the investment would enable changes to get on top of the demand pressures rather than just addressing the overspend.




·         She advised that the improvement plans were multi-year to ensure resilience and these were being supported by ongoing conversations with health colleagues to ensure changes were being made holistically across healthcare services and that cuts to one part would not cause pressures elsewhere. Eugene Walker added that the National Audit office had highlighted the unsustainability of the Government’s plans and advised that all Councils would fail if this current trajectory continued; it was just a matter of when. 




·         In response to a question about the website, James Henderson agreed that this was not a finished project and had not yet made the progress aspired to. Part of this was the complexity of moving from a 1990’s legacy system to a site that that was fit for 2018 and the future. In addition, customer expectation had changed and significant work was underway to get the Council to a position where it could meet those expectations, with digital capabilities only a part of that. A forward plan was in place and from there the Council would be able to build and design customer-centric services.




·         With regard to measuring impact, Eugene Walker confirmed this was being considered and suggested this was something that could come back to this Committee for comment.




·         Councillor Blake advised that multiple discussions were ongoing with various NHS and health colleagues to enact service revisions that addressed healthcare across the City whilst still being mindful of each partner’s financial pressures. Eugene Walker added that investing into efficiencies was needed and that this was a problem being faced nationally.




·         In response to a Member’s question regarding payment by results, Eugene Walker confirmed this was an issue being faced by all Local Authorities and advised that although Sheffield had made some headway in moving away from this approach, further steps were needed.




·         With regards to the use of the word ‘customer’ to describe Sheffield citizens and users of Council services, James Henderson advised that it was an internally-focussed word to highlight the type of relationship officers should encourage with Sheffield residents. Councillor Blake clarified that, of the Customer Experience Programme, the focus was on the ‘Experience’, reflecting the move away from designing services based on the needs of officers and instead focussing on the needs of the user.




·         Councillor Blake thanked Members for raising issues regarding the telephony service, online blue badge applications and the issues with Council Tax payments, advising that it was difficult to stay on top of such a wide range of services. She asked that all issues like this be reported via James Henderson’s team to ensure they were fixed.




·         With regards to webcasting, Councillor Saunders shared the relatively low viewing figures for the webcasting recordings for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority, South Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel, Pensions Authority and SCR Combined Authority meetings, highlighting that it wasn’t necessarily a panacea for democracy and suggested web conferencing should be considered.




·         Eugene Walker advised that the digital and technology strategy had highlighted a need to have more direct control over the Council’s IT, which had led to moving away from the current Capita contract. He reported that some services would be provided in-house and others recommissioned, and although a shorter negotiation period would result in some disruption, this would be less than a longer protracted transitory period.




·         In response to a question regarding governance, Eugene Walker advised that he believed the arrangements as set out were suitable for the size and complexity of the Council. He added that trying to unite all aspects of the Council to pull in the same direction was a huge undertaking and would inevitably look complicated on paper, but that numerous discussions were already taking place ‘on the ground’ to enable more joined-up working.




The Chair thanked Councillor Olivia Blake and officers for their presentation.




RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the presentation, and agrees that a future report regarding measuring impact come to a future meeting.


Supporting documents: