12 December 2012

"Thin" client side?

At the very end of the 61 pages of the Full Business case for NSCSO (New Support & Customer Services Organisation), way after most councillors had stopped reading, presented to Cabinet on 6 December 12, was a page of blurb about the client side function which sets out a new administrative structure to manage outsourced contracts and other relationships. The council is trying to move away from its silo based approach (which there was nothing wrong with apart from the choice of who was in charge of each silo!) whereby each function of the council is fitted into a directorate and the Director of that directorate is responsible for everything it is tasked with doing, to a much vaguer and harder to manage structure in which it will be impossible to hold anyone to account and management at Barnet Council will be rife with politics and back stabbing

The aim is to align people, systems, and processes within the local context to deliver the council’s vision, so ‘form follows function’ - is what a report to the General Functions Committee said on 23 April 2012 about the reorganisation of senior management. Does that sound like b*ll*cks to you? More follows!

9.2 Organisation Structure

9.2.1 The proposed structure is designed to be simple and adaptable to change. It is based around five core units: Delivery Units; Strategic Commissioning Board; Assurance Group; Commissioning Group and Support Services/Customer Services.

9.2.2 Whilst each unit has a distinct role and function, there will be a high level of joint working across the functions. Each function is described in more detail below:

Delivery Units: A mixture of in house and private service providers.

Delivery Units are primarily operational and focused on executing commissions set by the Commissioning Group. Delivery Units will have autonomy to seek operational solutions based on their front-line and professional expertise. (Appendix 2a)

Assurance Group: Supports Members providing independent oversight and assurance to them and the organisation on governance procedures and business processes.

Commissioning Group: Translates priorities and outcomes set by the Members into a range of delivery specifications or ‘commissions’ using specialist expertise from across the council and its partners. The Commissioning Group commissions services from a range of providers in line with the delivery specifications it develops. It manages commercial relationships, contracting, procurement and the council’s business planning cycle. (Appendix 2b)

Externalised Support Services and Customer Services: Provides support services, such as finance and HR, to support the day to day operations of the council as well as the management of the council’s interactions with customers.

Strategic Commissioning Board: Provides overall management and leadership of the organisation and works with Members to set the strategic outcomes for the borough. Sets and monitors the future direction of the council and ensures high performance against outcomes. It is accountable for the delivery of these outcomes.

So how does this translate into numbers of people?

So we need 6 experts to design strategies. That is an awful lot of strategy.

Add to that 5 advisors to do the work of the experts? It is noted that they have to be able to devise policy across every area which seems unlikely to be achievable.

So most of the Deputy Chief executive's department has been (will be) outsourced (Finance, HR, Revenues & Benefits) and now we find a 40 strong Deputy Chief Operating Officer section of 40 people arising out of the ashes.

To manage relationships will need another 11 to 15 people whose job it is to make sure the contracts work. Given the parlous performance of NSL at PATAS and the apparent lack of action, those 11 to 15 people are unlikely to properly be able to hold Capita to account in a much more complicated contract. Are they all going to read the 8,000 page contract to start with?

These structures are hard to visualise in words, so here is the proposed organisational structure in pictures.

Proposed organisation structure
All crystal clear now? No, thought not.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Not sure why are you saying it is not crystal clear? it is crystal clear to me. those onebarnet officers are creating comfortable jobs for themselves. we should make sure that they will be escorted to the nearest door after the election.


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