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© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. Review of Partnership Working Vale of Glamorgan Council Final Report- July 2008
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 2 Content Introduction to the review Summary of key findings and recommendations Detailed review findings –clarity of partnership objectives –evaluation of activities, resource utilisation, performance and risk –prioritisation of work and investment –realignment of activities and investment The way forward
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 3 Introduction to the review Review conducted as part of the work programme agreed within the regulatory audit plan Necessary area to review due to: –the significance to the Council of developing effective partnerships –the inherent challenges of partnership working: ensuring clarity of purpose and consistent objectives amongst stakeholders; managing the resources invested- understanding what has been committed and monitoring ongoing inputs; managing and measuring performance; evaluating and mitigating risks; and prioritising the partnership's work programme.
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 4 Introduction to the review- key audit questions
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 5 Introduction to the review- scope and approach Review of relevant documentation, including –Corporate plan –Improvement Plan –Partnership strategies, minutes Interviews with key staff –Council staff- Huw Isaac, John Maitland Evans, Internal Audit, Sian Davies, Phil Evans, Alison Walker –Health sector- Abigail Harris, Katie Norton –Voluntary sector- Rachel Conner Observations of partnership meetings –LSB, April –Health, Social Care and Well-being partnership, April
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 6 Introduction to the review- scope and approach Our work has focused on: formal relationships (whilst recognising the importance of informal relationships, to make partnership working effective) partnerships working within the Vale area (rather than regional groups, such as the Connecting South East Wales Partnership) the over-arching framework and arrangements, rather than the detailed functioning (further work by Internal Audit to follow)
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 7 Summary of key findings and recommendations Aspects of partnership working are developing well across the Council: Partner organisations are engaged with the Council and supportive of working collaboratively There is regular representation of partner organisations at meetings Recent work by the Council has started to address concerns regarding partnership working (for example, the revision of the over- arching structure)
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 8 Summary of key findings and recommendations The review identified the need for further work in four key areas: Clarifying the objectives, roles and responsibilities of partnership groups Developing clear strategies and implementation plans, to meet partnership objectives Developing appropriate performance and risk management frameworks for partnerships, to strengthen the overall management arrangements Clarifying the role of partnership co-ordinators in driving forward shared agendas
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 9 Summary of key findings and recommendations Key recommendations for moving forward Ensure that all organisations within the partnership agree the priorities to be addressed Define clearly the roles and responsibilities of members in implementing change Develop implementation and resource plans that complement strategic plans, so that all partners know how change is to be delivered and where the resources will come from Develop the performance management framework so that progress with implementation can be monitored, at the appropriate level Establish a risk register for each partnership, to enable barriers to progress to be identified and managed Review and refine the role of partnership co-ordinators, to ensure that the officers in post are able to facilitate and drive forward partnership agendas, as required
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 10 Detailed review findings The detailed findings are reported under the four key questions posed by the audit. How well do the partnerships define their objectives and is their work driven by a common purpose? Have the partnerships evaluated their activities, considering their effectiveness in contributing to the ambitions of the partner organisations, how well they use the resources available, their performance against specific targets and the management of risks to the work of the partnership? How effective have the partnerships been in prioritising their work and investing in key areas? Have partnerships realigned activities and investments to meet objectives more effectively?
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 11 Detailed review findings- Best Practice Guidelines Define the partnership is defined in relation to a specific objective the value of the partnership in relation to the end objective is commonly understood only those stakeholders that have a material impact on the outcome are included Evaluate the value of the network is understood the investment in the partnership, from all organisations, has been quantified (financial and non-financial) performance management arrangements enable progress towards goals to be monitored risks are identified and mitigated against, where possible Prioritise the balance of time, other resources and intangible capital is appropriate to meet the priorities of the partnership Realign where necessary, partnership work is realigned to meet objectives more effectively there is capacity and capability to manage the changes necessary
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 12 Detailed review findings- Definition The Council has recently evaluated the structure and number of partnerships it is engaged with and taken action to streamline and update the over-arching framework for partnership activity Some Partnerships have strategy documents, setting out their objectives Responsibility for partnership management, within the Council, is clear It is considered that the 'right' stakeholders are on the Council's key partnerships However: –The objectives of partnerships, and the roles and responsibilities of members, are not always clear –The contribution and expectations of working groups can also be ambiguous
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 13 Detailed review findings- Evaluation Stakeholder organisations are engaged and committed to working with the Council, through partnerships. The value of their input is recognised by the Council. The costs of partnership support, within the Council, have been evaluated Internal audit have been requested to assess the value for money of the partnership co-ordinator role However: -It can be hard to assess the progress and success of partnerships as, at the time of the audit, a performance management regime had yet to be implemented (the Council is currently working to address this issue) -Risks to achieving partnership objectives are not systematically identified and managed -No work has been carried out to evaluate the full costs and benefits of partnership activities.
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 14 Detailed review findings- Prioritisation Whilst happening informally, partnership working is aiding the implementation of the change programme within Social Services (a Council priority). However: –Implementation plans are not in place to clarify where attention and resources need to be focused, to deliver partnership strategies (where they have been produced) –As a consequence, priorities are not always clear. This makes it difficult to incorporate partnership priorities within the budget setting process of the Council (and other organisations)
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 15 Detailed review findings- Realignment The replacement of the Vale Partnership with the LSB is prompting a realignment of partnership activity, at this level However: –The role of partnership co-ordinators needs to be reviewed in view of the strengthening of the partnership structure and future expectations Overall, until partnerships are clearly defined, with clear objectives and widely agreed agendas, it is difficult to evaluate their value and their progress and to prioritise future work, realigning resources, where necessary.
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 16 The way forward Discuss next steps and the scope of further work with internal audit Implement agreed action plan (please see slides 17-20) Follow up work by audit team, early 2009 (tba)
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 17 Action Plan RefRecommendationPriorityAgreed?ResponseResponsible officer/ due date slide 12 1. Ensure that all organisations agree the objectives of the partnership and the priorities to be addressed HYesWork is already ongoing to address these issues, and the following actions have already been completed: Revised terms of reference in place (November 2007) for the LSB and four out of five of the key partnerships. These clearly outline structure, membership and accountability of partnership groups. The fifth partnership group, Regeneration has been recently formed and draft terms of reference are to be tabled at its first meeting in September. However, it is agreed that further clarification and details are needed: A review of the Community Strategy is planned during 2008/09 involving the key partnerships to consult on and determine the key priorities of the Vale and to identify roles and responsibilities of members in implementing the agreed change. This will aid in achieving the recommendation. Further, the approach being developed to Performance Management will reinforce the roles that partnerships and their members are expected to adopt. Huw Isaac 31/10/08
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 18 Action Plan RefRecommendationPriorityAgreed?ResponseResponsible officer/ due date slide 12 2. Define the roles and responsibilities of members in implementing change HYesAs above (Refer to 1)Huw Isaac 31/10/08 slide 12 3. Clarify the role and expectations of working groups, within the partnership structure HYesAs above ( Refer to 1)Huw Isaac 31/10/08 slide 14 4. Develop implementation and resource plans that complement strategic plans, so that all partners know how change is to be delivered and where the resources will come from HYesThe LSB is considering a common approach to implementation and resource plans which is currently being tested in the key partnerships. This approach is being piloted in the Health Social Care and Wellbeing partnership and is being adopted for its implementation plan. Huw Isaac 31/10/08
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 19 Action Plan RefRecommendationPriorityAgreed?ResponseResponsible officer/ due date slide 13 5. Develop the performance management framework so that progress with implementation can be monitored, at the appropriate level (continuing the work commenced by Huw Isaac's team) HYesWork is currently ongoing to ensure a common approach is adopted by the LSB and its key partnerships to business planning, risk management and performance monitoring of implementation plans, including the agreement of core sets of outcome indicators for the key partnerships. The performance management framework will be linked to Local Service Agreements. Huw Isaac 31/10/08 slide 13 6. Establish a risk register and issues log for each partnership, to enable barriers to progress to be identified and managed HYesAs above (Refer to 5)Huw Isaac 30/11/08
© Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. 20 Action Plan RefRecommendationPriorityAgreed?ResponseResponsible officer/ due date slide 13 7. Evaluate the costs and benefits of partnership activities, to better understand which partnerships are contributing to the strategic goals of the Council, and where realignment is necessary (continuing the work commenced by Huw Isaac's team). HYesAs above (Refer to 5)Huw Isaac 31/12/08 slide 15 8. Review and refine the role of partnership co-ordinators, to ensure that the officers in post are able to facilitate and drive forward partnership agendas, as required HYesReview of the role of partnership co-ordinator will be informed by the work currently being undertaken by the Council’s Internal Audit Unit in respect of the coordinators. Huw Isaac 31/11/08
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