Corporate Support Services Review - December 2019 Update


January 2020

Here's an update from Judith about the support services review.

December 2019

October 2019

23rd September 2019

Here's an introduction to three of the other project managers involved in the Corporate Support Services Review.

Business Administration - Sophie Vaughan

We are looking at the Business Administration work stream and its purpose is to look at a new model for Business Administration and to modify and simplify processes. There will be a review of the duties, processes and systems undertaken by those roles identified as Business Administration. The outcome of this will be a consistent, efficient and resilient Administrative service across the council.

Having identified the Admin roles across the authority our first tasks will be to research the duties carried out and assess the systems used, which will identify areas that can be remodelled and offer new ways of working. We will be asking for timesheets to be completed to show the spread of work with this information being reported in a Project Brief with a suggested model put forward to the Project Board in February 2020.

The team will be attending Team Management meetings throughout October to discuss how we will be researching and collecting information from the admin role holders and anticipate this will be done over a period of two weeks following each meeting. Speaking with Team Management and Admin staff will help us understand how admin and support work is currently provided across the authority.

Our work will cross over with the other CSSR work streams as it progresses and as such we will be working with those project managers where cross over occurs.

This will be an opportunity for you share your experiences of how Administrative tasks and systems are used and how we can improve these going forward. We would very much appreciate your input and cooperation as we progress through this difficult and complex project. If you want to input any ideas or have any questions please email the team.

The CSSR Business Admin team is headed up by Sophie Vaughan HR Specialist and will be supported by Katrina Allen Architect / Project Manager, Kirsty Davies Business Support & Networking Officer and Natasha Hughes Strategic Planning and Performance Officer. Each of the team have their own experiences within Local Authority at various levels as their careers have progressed that include Admin, Project Management, HR, Architecture, Event management as well previous work external to council all of which stands them in good stead to approach this project with the due care and attention it will need.

To contact us, please email:

ICT - Barry Eaton

This workstream will be looking at:

  1. Implementing a policy clarifying the role of ICT/Procurement/Systems Admin, with ICT leading procurement of ICT systems and ensuring that consideration is made to the wider Corporate estate and Partners during requirement specifications.
  2. Spend consolidation in ICT to create efficiencies
  3. Approach:

    • Compile definitive list of software used in services
    • Define functional split between system maintenance and system operation roles – relocate resources where appropriate
    • Work with finance to identify ICT system and licencing funding streams, plan to move these across to central ICT
    • Consolidate ICT spend and supplier management across the Council
    • Develop detailed plan of renewal and replacement for the whole council
    • Clarification and communication of the role of ICT/Procurement/Systems Admin in Procurement/Management of Systems
    • Movement of activities/resources across Services/Teams

    Financial Admin Systems - Alan Smith

    This workstream will be looking at:

    1. New joint Finance System.
    2. Investigation into the potential for one team to cover Conwy, DCC and Wrexham as a shared back office function

    This is a complex project being delivered in partnership with Conwy LA with potential to benefit Payroll and HR. The Approach:

    • Confirm scope of project and software specification
    • Identify software provider
    • Plan and agree programme of implementation including phasing
    • Establish joint project team to deliver

    September 2019

    Here's an introduction to three of the other project managers involved in the Corporate Support Services Review.

    Business Planning, Performance, Research, Information & Data – Nicola Kneale and Craig Berry

    This workstream will be looking at:

    1. A new Business Support Team based on the Business Partner model
    2. Centralised and rationalised reporting
    3. Wider use of Dashboards explored and implemented

    The approach:

    • Analyse scope and agree duties, including level of work required (what is 'good enough')
    • Propose new structure, core reporting data and operating protocols (who would do what)
    • Test and implement the new structure
    • Savings through eliminating duplication, agreeing common standards.

    Customer Contact – Ffion Angharad

    This workstream looks at:

    1. Rationalising points of contact; direct phone lines into services removed.
    2. Services/Transactions shifted into cost and time efficient channel(s)
    3. CRMs rationalised and consolidated

    It is expected that an Agile approach would suit this project which may include:

    • Period(s) of analysis
    • Agreement of approach by Service (to include agreement of scope re: processes and functions)
    • Agile delivery - decision points throughout, to include:
      • Programme of review, working with stakeholders to shift processes online or CRM
      • Planned programme of BPR work – potentially an incremental approach

    Workforce Development & Training - Andrea Malam and Ben Chandler

    This workstream looks at:

    1. Delivering joined-up approach to in-house, outsourced and regional courses.
    2. Rationalising duplicate courses.


    • Define scope of new team’s responsibilities
    • All generic training included, very specialised in-service training not included
    • Create central function – transfer resources into it
    • Develop and operate full training programme
    • Possible efficiencies at this stage from scaling up and rationalising activities
    • Possible subsequent savings from adopting new models of provision for part or all of the function – e.g. regional consortia or external provider

    August 2019

    We are delighted to introduce you to three more project managers that are working on the CSSR project: Sian Owen for Marketing; Catrin Roberts for Project Management and Sarah Wainwright for Simplifying Processes.

    We will be introducing the remaining project managers over the next month.


    1. Develop a centralised team with a single approach to Media, Publishing, PR and Branding across the council
    2. Rationalise web/microsites/social media accounts


    • Map out current extent of activity, including micro-sites etc.
    • Develop and agree a corporate standard/protocol for comms/media activity (who should do what/when etc)
    • Integrate activities and resources
    • Rationalise web/microsites/social media accounts and implement 'one council' approach

    Project Management

    Create a centralised Corporate Project Management Team.


    • Analyse and scope duties of Project Management teams
    • Consider implications of grades
    • Devise and agree new single structure
    • Plan and implement change

    Simplifying Processes: Timesheets

    Review of current processes involving Timesheets, with a view to integrating or eliminating inefficient transactional processes


    • Develop a brief, outlining initial findings and recommendations.
    • Model solutions through BPR, new software, or temporary fixes pending new finance system implementation
    • Agree work and investment programme

    July 2019

    We are pleased to provide you with an update on the Corporate Support Services Review.

    You will hopefully have seen the video recorded with the Chief Executive at the CSSR conference with Heads of Service and Middle Managers, explaining the current position with the review. Judith mentioned that we would be announcing the names of the Project Leads and we are now in a position to do so.

    We have produced a series of short videos with the Project Managers; further videos will be shared over the coming few weeks, but we begin by introducing the Procurement, Commissioning and Contract Management, the Transportation and the Engineering & Design projects.

    Procurement, Commissioning & Contract Management

    1. Centralised Procurement, Commissioning and Contract Management
    2. Agreed approach to Frameworks


    • Agree scope for review
    • Explore potential for centralised function in this area
    • Build agreement for change

    Engineering & Design

    The idea is to have a consolidated approach to Engineer & Design Team


    • Determine scope
    • Review budgets/funding arrangements, structures, work programmes and processes
    • Develop brief and agree Business Case
    • Develop clear timetable for delivery


    A centralised Transportation function.


    • Explore centralised function idea
    • Develop proposal & business case for change
    • Consideration of Phase 2 opportunities to develop in-house, partnership or external models

    Project Project Manager
    Business Administration Sophie Vaughan
    Business Planning, Performance, Information & Data Nicola Kneale & Craig Berry
    Customer Contact Ffion Angharad
    Engineering & Design Tom Booty
    Financial Admin Systems Alan Smith
    ICT Barry Eaton
    Marketing Sian Owen
    Procurement, Commissioning and Contract Management   Ann Lloyd
    Project Management Catrin Roberts HR
    Simplifying Processes - Phase 1: Timesheets Sarah Wainwright
    Transportation Vince Russell
    Workforce Development & Training Ben Chandler & Andrea Malam

    All Project Leads are in place, have had a Programme induction and a clear remit of what they will be expected to cover.

    Leads have provided their planned approach to information gathering and analysis, and to their project as a whole, with estimated timescales. This is so that we can ensure, as much as possible, that we have planned engagement with services, and also so that any adjustments to project start dates and timelines can be factored in. These planned approaches have been signed off by CSSR Programme Board.

    More detailed information gathering and analysis will begin, with more detailed recommendations to follow.

    Work Package Description summaries for each project will also be published this week.

    Keep an eye out for further updates as the project progresses.

Previous Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Corporate Support Services Review?

The Council is starting a process of reviewing the work of the key corporate services that support service delivery, changing the way in which we work by separating delivery functions from support functions, with a view to creating a more effective corporate support service. We have set up a Project Board to look at this in detail.

The acronym which you will hear and see used in communications will be CSSR.

So why are we doing this?

We want to make sure that support services are apportioned equally and consistently across the county. The organisation has also reduced to such an extent over recent years that we need to look at the infrastructure of services to ensure that the way we are currently doing things is the most effective.

Before we come up with a workable solution, we need to look at all of the functions in fine detail, have a clear understanding of how everything works and consider any issues being raised by services before we can progress to designing a new model of working moving forward.

The Board is clear that it wants to design and deliver a robust model that works and will benefit the authority, but is also making a firm commitment to listening to staff and considering the feedback.

Which areas of work will we be looking at?

We will be looking at a range of services, including ICT, Finance, HR, Performance and Business Planning, Project Management, Tourism, Media and Communications, Research, Marketing, Training, Work delivered by Consultants/ Agencies, Administration, Data Processing/ Financial Assessment, PAs, Procurement, Contract Management and FOIs.

What happens next?

We will be carrying out a series of Discovery Workshops to understand the functions, business requirements, processes and issues in every service that will form part of the review. When we have all the information we need, we can then look at potential ways of delivering the support services. Middle Managers will be directly involved in this work.

We will provide regular updates through LINC and if you do have any queries in the meantime, please contact your line manager in the first instance.


Corporate Support Services Review - Timeline

Previous updates:

June 2019

April 2019

Since our last update a lot of work has gone into developing plans for specific projects within the overall Corporate Support Services Review.

These are the main support service functions that have emerged from the workshops as having the potential for change in phase 1 of the Corporate Support Services Review.

Project teams will be set up to look in more detail at the following areas:

  • Business Administration
  • Business Planning, Performance, Information & Data
  • Customer Contact
  • Engineering & Design
  • Financial Admin Systems
  • ICT TGCh
  • Marketing
  • Procurement, Commissioning & Project Management
  • Project Management
  • Simplifying processes
  • Transportation
  • WFD & Training

SLT have considered the project team proposals and agreed that these areas merit further investigation. Each of the above will be managed as separately as part of a ‘complex project’. This will allow for different approaches. Project leads will be required for most, and middle managers may be seconded to these roles.

The next steps will be to build a broad agreement for change with both middle managers and the wider staff group, agree the approach and scope for each project, including the posts that are affected, and prioritise the work.

As part of the project work "Design Workshops" will be held with staff and key stakeholders to test how the proposals might work.

Any middle manager who would like to champion one of these project areas should contact Alan Smith or your Head of Service.

March 2019

We have now completed the Discovery Workshops, and have gathered a considerable amount of information about the support services you either provide or receive and about the importance of good support services on the success of the operational services. From this process we have also been able to identify functions which will be "In-scope" for further in-depth review. The workshops have been really positive with many ideas put forward not only about what could be delivered differently, but also ideas around process improvements; systems that could be used differently and better; and challenging questions around why we are doing some things at all!

Understandably concerns have also been raised during the workshops around the importance of business knowledge and losing key support services that are essential for operational delivery. The principle around this review is to have a support service which provides effective support to services and it’s important to note that we will not be recommending anything that will prejudice the work of the operational services.

During the course of these workshops we have captured some key questions and we have put together our answers here:

Is there a fixed view about what centralisation means and will that be more important than achieving savings or quality improvements?

There is no fixed view around centralisation, just an expectation that the review will save money and that we will deliver support services in a different way, taking every idea and opportunity to improve things within the constraints of the need to save money. Fundamentally we want to deliver a support service that meets the needs of operational services.

What is the timescale for letting staff know which functions will be affected?

We have completed the discovery phase and the next stage is the design phase which will complete by the end of April. We should have pulled together the initial draft services design by June 2019.

Are there other examples of centralised service models that have been successful in other counties?

Yes there are other examples in England where this has worked well. English councils have experienced more severe impacts as a result of austerity and some have had to change the way they deliver support services.

How can we ensure the business knowledge is maintained in a centralised model?

This is a really important question which has come up in all of the workshops and will be a key quality requirement for the design of any new model. We are committed to working with the operational services to achieve this.

The next part of the project is called the Design Phase and will again involve a series of workshops with senior managers as we look at different ways we could deliver support services. This will be based on the information and ideas we have got from the discovery workshops. There will be opportunities for staff to contribute more as the project progresses. We will let you know about these shortly.

January 2019