Report of the Head of Finance Decision to be Taken After: 9 ...


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Report of the Head of Finance Decision to be Taken After: 9 ...

  1. 1. Report of the Head of Finance Decision to be Taken After: 9 May 2005 NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL co CORPORATE SERVICES CABINET MEMBER FINANCE SERVICE – ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN 1. OBJECT AND KEY POINTS IN THIS REPORT 1.1 To present the current Asset Management Plan of the Finance Service 1.2 The key points in this report are as follows: Ø It aims to show the direction the service is moving in the longer- term and its effects on the property assets used by the service Ø It analyses key drivers for each service division. Ø It provides information on the property portfolio and identifies potential future changes Ø It recognises the position is fluid and that the plan needs amending to reflect changes. 2. BACKGROUND INFORMATION 2.1 As part of the Corporate Asset Management Plan process each service produces a service asset management plan every year. 2.2 The purpose of this plan is to show the service has explored its key drivers, and where the service is heading. It provides an analysis of its present property portfolio. It identifies gaps in current provision. 2.3 This document serves as an important link to the council’s overall capital strategy and asset management process. We also use it to identify future property needs in advance of any formal annual bids made to the council. 3. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION 3.1 This plan is fluid. As new demands are made on the service, property needs change. The asset management plan recognises these changes. In particular, it includes
  2. 2. - recent changes in property needs arising from the impact of introducing swipe cards on the cashiers service. - the pressures arising from document storage - the potential impacts of Stock Transfer and the Leisure Trust 3.2 The service plan reflects a snapshot in time. It will need to be reviewed again in due course. 4. RESOURCE AND OTHER IMPLICATIONS 4.1 Financial There are not likely to be any financial implications arising from this plan. 4.2 Staffing Any changes to our present property provision will have staff implications. 4.3 Statutory This plan is not a statutory requirement. 4.4 Environmental and Other Continual success in the efficient use of the council’s property assets improves delivery of services and benefits North Lincolnshire residents. 5. OUTCOMES OF CONSULTATION 5.1 Property Services divisional managers, staff and officers helped produce this plan. 6. RECOMMENDATIONS 6.1 That the Finance Service Asset Management Plan is approved HEAD OF FINANCE Head of Finance Pittwood House Ashby Road SCUNTHORPE North Lincolnshire DN16 1AB Author: Carol Johnson Date: 6 April 2005. Background Papers used in the preparation of this report None
  3. 3. FINANCE SERVICE ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN 2005 - 2009 April 2005 Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  4. 4. CONTENTS Page Introduction and Background 3 Main priorities and objectives 4 General nature of the service 4 Range of functions and Activities 4 Vision for the service 5 Key strategies, plans and policies 6 Property occupied by the service 7 Analysis of key drivers – whole of finance 7 Key drivers for audit & risk management 9 Key drivers for corporate finance 9 Key drivers for financial services 10 Key drivers for local taxation & Benefits 10 Key drivers for corporate procurement unit 11 Links with other services 12 Effects of key drivers on property requirements 13 Review and monitoring 14 Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  5. 5. FINANCE SERVICE ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN 2005 - 2009 INTRODUCTION Background to this plan This document is the Service Asset Management Plan for the Finance Service. The relationship between this plan and other council plans is shown in the diagram below: Procurement Council Strategic Risk Strategy Strategic Plan Management Capital Corporate Strategy Asset Service Asset Management Plan Service 3 year Financial Internal Audit Service IT Plan Plan and Plan Strategy finance manual This plan aims to show where the service is heading in the long term and how this affects the property assets occupied by the service. (Long term is defined as a period of at least ten years) Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  6. 6. The service The Finance Service comprises: ♦ Audit and Risk Management ♦ Corporate Finance ♦ Financial Services ♦ Local Taxation and Benefits ♦ Corporate Procurement Unit What are the main priorities and objectives of the service? To provide excellent financial services for the council and its customers. General Nature of the Service The broad purpose of Finance is two-fold: ♦ to provide effective corporate governance and best practice across the full range of financial services for the council, thereby creating the optimum conditions to enable the successful delivery of all council services. ♦ to further improve the Housing and Council Tax Benefits and Revenue Collection Services for the people of North Lincolnshire Its role is to: ♦ Co-ordinate and promote finance policies, procedures, good practice and sound corporate governance; ♦ Support the Executive Management Team, Heads of Service and elected members on all finance related issues; ♦ Provide a significant public interface on Council Tax, Housing Benefits, NNDR Housing Rents, Sundry Debtors services; and ♦ Provide effective financial advisory, payroll, payment and insurance support services to service managers and schools Range of Functions & Activities The range of functions and activities for which Finance is responsible is as follows: ♦ Management of financial services, local taxation and miscellaneous revenues ♦ Internal audit ♦ Corporate accounting and budgeting procedures and advice to service heads ♦ Corporate finance advice and research, including specialist areas such as tax, VAT and grant claim co-ordination ♦ Long term and short term borrowing and leasing Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  7. 7. ♦ Payment of creditors, staff salaries and expenses ♦ Corporate governance and risk management advice and insurance to meet statutory and other liabilities ♦ Statistical and taxation returns ♦ Cashiers ♦ Sundry debt collection and recovery ♦ Full council tax, housing benefit and NNDR assessment, issue and recovery services ♦ Strategic advice on procurement ♦ Support for the Chief Financial Officer in the discharge of his statutory duties ♦ SLA based finance support services to schools ♦ Rents. Vision for the Service Service managers have contributed to a vision statement of the added value that Finance will offer to the council and its communities. It consists of a ‘statement of Purpose’ and a ‘Vision’, as follows: Statement of Purpose: To provide excellent financial services for the council and its customers. Service Vision: Customers Customer care 1) We will work with all our partners inside and outside the council to deliver a quality service. Delighted customers 2) We will constantly seek new ways to improve the service we deliver. Targeted customer services 3) We will deliver a high quality benefits service, to maximise take- up from claimants Communities Better Homes & environment 4) We will be firm but fair in seeking to maximise collection of monies due to the council. Greater economic success 5) We will actively seek extra funds to support the council's work Governance Diversity promotion 6) We will recognise and understand the diverse needs of customers and staff and be flexible with our responses. Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  8. 8. Informed & active citizenship 7) We will work to increase the community's understanding of the council's finances. Robust management systems 8) We will support the delivery of the council's services with an efficient and effective financial framework. 9) We will seek the highest levels of probity in our stewardship of the Council's funds. 10) We will seek to raise awareness of risks as we take decisions and deliver services Culture Effective leadership 11) We will lead the development of financial services for the benefit of the council and its customers. A listening & learning organisation 12) We will seek to build effective two-way communication between the council, its staff and customers 13) We will invest to develop the potential and skills of all staff Healthy work-life balance 14) We will work to ensure that all staff have the right level of resources and time available to carry out their roles effectively Value for money Continuous improvement 15) We will build a positive culture which supports job satisfaction, service improvement & customer care. Cost effectiveness 16) We will review the council's operations to constantly seek better value for money and improve performance. Key Strategies, Plans & Policies Finance is responsible for several key council strategies, plans and policies. The principle ones are as follows: ♦ The financial framework of the council, including detailed estimates, the three year financial plan and the Finance Manual which sets out financial procedures ♦ The Internal Audit plan ♦ The Strategic Risk Management Plan ♦ The Procurement Strategy 2004 to 2006 Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  9. 9. Finance also contributes to other council plans, notably the Strategic Plan, the Capital Strategy and the Corporate Asset Management Plan. Property occupied by the service The Finance Service occupies office accommodation in the following properties. Service Location Management Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Audit and Risk Management Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Corporate Finance Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Financial Services: Councilwide services finance team Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Social and housing services finance team The Angel, Brigg Neighbourhood &environmental finance team Cottage Beck Road, Scunthorpe Education and leisure finance team Hewson House, Brigg Highways & Planning finance team Church Square house, Scunthorpe Local Taxation & Benefits Hewson House, Brigg Corporate Procurement Unit Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Housing Rents, Sundry Debts and Cashiers Pittwood House, Scunthorpe Cashiers Hewson House, Brigg Church Square House and Pittwood House, ,Scunthorpe Recent and planned major capital investment The Finance Service is not planning any major capital investment during the lifetime of this plan, but will provide support to other services capital investment programmes. ANALYSIS OF 'KEY DRIVERS' An analysis of existing service priorities, objectives and core functions within the service has been carried out to assess the impact on the service. In particular how the service links to the Corporate balanced scorecard has been examined The key drivers for the service are as follows: Across the whole of the finance service ♦ A wide range of payment options is offered to the public, including electronic means through BACS and credit and debit card payment over the telephone and Internet. Over 70% by value of payments for services received by the council and 50% of council tax and business rate payments are by BACS, this method will continue to be promoted as the preferred method for payment and receipt of income ♦ There is full commitment to dealing with the diverse needs of all our customers Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  10. 10. ♦ Finance supports the council’s joint work with the Health community through flexible financial processes, for example through Pooled Budget arrangements ♦ The diverse needs of customers are recognised in all aspects of service delivery to the public and procedures and practices are continually reviewed to ensure that they support the council’s diversity policies. ♦ Finance strives to ensure that all financial information supplied to the public meets all best practice requirements and that all new requirements for the timeliness and content of public financial information will be met ♦ We work to ensure that the use of external funding to meet council priorities is maximised, through the work of the Capital and Major Projects Group and the External Funding panel ♦ There is full commitment to the development of a culture within finance based on the councilwide cultural framework ♦ Commitment to participate in all relevant corporate requirements such as Service Planning, Asset Management planning etc ♦ Establishing two Service Improvement teams with membership that is representative of all parts of the service and ensuring that effective action is taken to address issues raised in the 2004 ‘Points of View’ survey that apply to Finance. ♦ To produce and deliver Training Plans that meets the identified training needs of all staff in the service. ♦ Development of the information on Intralinc about Finance as a means of sharing best practice and knowledge about the service ♦ Participation in the council’s approved corporate performance reporting framework ♦ Management and delivery of improvement action plans for all Finance BVPIs where performance is below average or in the bottom quartile of English authorities ♦ Determining ‘traffic light’ performance levels for the corporate performance indicators that are not BVPIs ♦ Contributing to achieving an ‘excellent’ rating for the council through the corporate and service related elements of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment ♦ To ensure that scrutiny of value for money forms a core part of the work of the Finance service, through the budget process, procurement and internal audit Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  11. 11. Key drivers for Audit and Risk management ♦ Ensure continuous delivery of a comprehensive Internal Audit service which reviews the key risks faced by the Council ♦ The evaluation of Corporate Governance arrangements and compliance with the Local Code of Corporate Governance ♦ Risk management issues and co-ordination of the work of the Strategic Risk Management Group ♦ Ensure the council has appropriate insurance cover and manage insurance funds on behalf of the council ♦ Adequate responses to Audit Commission and External Audit , including the provision of follow up as appropriate ♦ Provision of financial and insurance and risk management advice ♦ Develop the council’s risk management in line with the Strategic Risk Strategy ♦ Retain schools corporate insurance business where possible ♦ Consideration of issues regarding storage of documents ♦ Evaluation of possibility of homeworking for audit staff Key drivers for Corporate Finance ♦ Ensure best use of the council’s financial resources including effective budgetary planning and control ♦ Reliable, accurate & timely accounts ensuring that statutory requirements and deadlines are met ♦ Maximising return on investments at minimum risk and minimising the cost of borrowing ♦ Provision of effective training and guidance in financial processes and practice ♦ Council wide implementation of eProcurement ♦ Improving value for money of the banking contract ♦ Consideration of issues regarding storage of documents ♦ Achieving closure of the council’s accounts by 30 June, in advance of the statutory deadline of 31 July. Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  12. 12. Key drivers for Financial Services ♦ Accurate and timely financial management information for service users ♦ Effective budgetary planning and control ♦ Timely payment of staff and creditors ♦ Maximising income ♦ Prompt arrears action including preparation of an action plan to improve levels of rent collection ♦ Promotion of the use of BACS as a method of payment for benefit payments ♦ Considerations of issues regarding storage of documents in particular consider electronic methods of storage for payments and payroll. ♦ Provide support to the ‘Stock Options’ exercise designed to determine the future management of the council’s housing stock ♦ Rationalise the cashier service as a result of the introduction of swipe cards for council tax and business rates. ♦ Advise on potential transfer of leisure to a trust. Key drivers for Local Taxation and Benefits ♦ Increasing the level of compliance with the DWP’s Performance Standards Framework for Housing and Council Tax benefits. Ensure that CPA score for benefits is maintained or improved. ♦ Ensure timely and accurate billing and recovery of amounts due for council tax and nndr ♦ Ensure timely and accurate benefits processing in accordance with the Verification Framework and the SAFE system ♦ Deterrence of fraudulent claims for benefit by proactive means ♦ Maximisation of income in all areas ♦ Preparation for council tax revaluation due in April 2007. ♦ Monitor effects of benefits subsidy changes from HRA to GF ♦ Upgrade of Comino document management system ♦ Review and implement the consultation strategy to establish customer needs Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  13. 13. ♦ Undertake benefit take-up campaigns to target particular groups of likely claimants especially those “hard to reach” groups. ♦ Take actions to significantly increase the recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments ♦ Review the take up of homeworking. ♦ Consideration of central government‘s long term plans for council tax, business rates and benefits. Key drivers for Corporate Procurement Unit ♦ Opportunities for local firms to do business with the council will be promoted through the council’s web-site, including publication of the Procurement Forward Plan ♦ All the council’s procurement activities are designed to take account of sustainability issues whenever appropriate ♦ Procurement practices reflect national best practice in the use of ‘partnering’ ♦ Securing best value for money from procurement related expenditure so that the optimum level of funding can be used for the provision of services ♦ Delivering procurement best practice and excellence to facilitate continuous quality improvement and cost reduction ♦ Raising awareness and understanding amongst officers and elected members of the contribution made by strategic procurement to the achievement of the council's priorities ♦ Providing contract and procurement solutions that fully satisfy client needs efficiently and effectively ♦ Achieving the time-scales specified by clients and satisfying their objectives, wherever practicable ♦ Promoting compliance with legal and internal procedural requirements relating to procurement ♦ Ensuring that alternative service delivery options are identified and robustly considered as part of the Best Value process and that competition is used effectively ♦ Attaining the highest standards of public accountability, probity, propriety and ethics Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  14. 14. ♦ Identifying markets and collation and analysis of market information and intelligence ♦ Reducing administrative effort and costs in respect of the procurement/payment process ♦ Minimising procurement risks through the provision of professional advice and guidance ♦ Providing a professional and responsive internal procurement consultancy service that is valued and well-regarded by clients, suppliers and external bodies ♦ Update Procurement Strategy for 2005/6 and publish procurement forward plan. ♦ Produce a protocol on the role of elected members in influencing strategic procurement. ♦ Support the implementation of eProcurement and lead on supplier adoption ♦ Implement Procurement Strategy & Expenditure Analysis action plans ♦ Update Key Contracts Register Links with other services ♦ High priority is given to working with Local Links to ensure that they are able to provide a quality ‘front end’ to the local taxation and benefits service as it generates around half the customers they deal with. ♦ Continued initiatives in Housing and Council Tax benefits to move simple processing tasks closer to the customer, i.e. to Local Links and through visiting staff ♦ Finance work with Public Sector Housing to deliver the Recovery and Improvement plan and to prepare for the possible Housing Stock Transfer. ♦ Local taxation work with private sector housing to reduce the numbers of properties left empty for long periods. ♦ Finance support all council services through the delivery of high quality financial services, including their direct sale to schools ♦ Finance work with leisure services and advise on the potential transfer of leisure to trusts status. ♦ Lead role in the council’s annual budget process and three year financial plan which bring together the revenue and capital requirements of all council services Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  15. 15. ♦ Lead role in the Capital and Major Projects Group to ensure co-ordination and prioritisation in the council’s use of capital resources, and satisfactory production of corporate and service asset management plans ♦ Contribution to the Service Planning process through determination of financial and risk management content Effects of key drivers on property requirements for the service As the finance service is office based and has no major capital assets the only effect that the key drivers might have is on the requirements for office accommodation. Of those identified above the ones likely to affect this are as follows: ♦ Consideration of issues regarding storage of documents Storage of archived paper documents is a major issue at the moment. Although this is a wider corporate issue it is inevitable that some accommodation for storage is required. The service has leased property at Glanford House, Flixborough for the storage of documents relating to payments, payroll and corporate finance pending the introduction of electronic storage initiatives in the future. ♦ Introduction of swipe card payments for Housing Rent This took place from July 2004 and was extended to council tax and business rates from April 2005. Due to this, members approved the closure of all cash offices with the exception of Church Square House. Cashiers accommodation in the cash offices at Brigg has therefore become surplus to finance requirements but will be taken up by the local link to meet health and safety requirements in respect of the revised cash collection arrangements. The cash hall at Pittwood House will not be required for public access after 4 July 2005, but a reduced amount of space within the building for cashiers which allows easy access for staff will still be necessary. ♦ Provide support to the ‘Stock Options’ exercise designed to determine the future management of the council’s housing stock If the housing stock is transferred out of the council it is assumed that the rent collection staff will also transfer. This will mean that their current office accommodation will be surplus to requirements. This will also apply to the Housing finance team based at the Angel in Brigg. Other parts of the service, which provide a housing related function, may also have reductions in staffing levels. ♦ Preparation for council tax revaluation due in April 2007. If any of the Government’s proposed changes result in significant increase of work, more staff may be needed thus increasing office accommodation requirements at Hewson House where space is already at a premium. ♦ Review and if possible extend the numbers of staff working from home. Within local taxation and benefits two staff currently work from home. This is likely to be extended once the technology to enable it has Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05
  16. 16. been improved. Initial indications are that there are up to 10 people within local taxation and benefits who would want to do so, although the nature of the work may well suit more staff. This will be considered both within the service and corporately. This could have a significant effect on accommodation requirements. ♦ Consideration of central government‘s long term plans for council tax, business rates and benefits. The future of council tax and business rates is high on the political agenda at the moment. A review of council tax is being undertaken and there is the possibility that council tax in its present form could be abolished or severely amended. It is also possible that business rates could be returned to local control. With regard to benefits it is possible, although unlikely that the government might decide to transfer the administration of housing benefits to the Department for Work and Pensions. All of these possibilities would have significant impact on the requirements for staff and hence office accommodation. At the moment there is too much uncertainty to enable any quantifiable estimates of requirements to be made ♦ Consideration of the effect of the introduction of the Children’s Act – this may result in changes in the work and location of the finance teams REVIEW AND MONITORING This plan will be updated annually, and any requirements for office accommodation will be reviewed as part of this annual process. CAJ.12 April 2005 Finance Service – 2005 Asset management plan – second draft CAJ 12.4.05