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LOCAL AUTHORITIES SPECIALIST CONSULTANT: IT’S A BRAVE NEW WORLD

We are in unchartered waters for Local Authorities. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants said that the 2008 financial crisis had been a ‘turning point’ on delivering council services and budgets, where ‘past ways’ were ‘swept away and explorations for new approaches started’. If 2008 was a turning point, then 2016 is the start of a completely new journey.

We can help guide you on that journey with our extensive experience of LAs and our range of services. As your Local Authorities Specialist Consultant, together we can make an uncertain future a real opportunity for positive change.

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THE RECENT CHANGES TO FUNDING ANNOUNCED BY THE GOVERNEMENT REQUIRE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES TO THE APPROACH OF LAs.

Some LAs have already suggested that they are reaching their “tipping point” where they have insufficient resources available to meet their legal obligations. Councils anticipate having to increase charging for services, dip into reserves and cut frontline services in the next financial year and want the government to go further on its commitment to financial devolution.

The 2016 State of Local Government Finance survey, conducted by think tank the Local Government Information Unit found that 89% of the 132 councils surveyed say they will have to increase charging in 2016-17. The number saying they will have to dip into their reserves has risen sharply too, from just 55% in 2012 to 82%. And nearly 40% of councils say cuts in their frontline services will be evident to the public.

Working together we can deliver real change; improvements in services and operational changes, as well as efficiencies and savings.

OUR RESEARCH SHOWS COUNCILS ARE COBBLING TOGETHER THEIR FINANCES BY USING RESERVES AND INCREASING CHARGING.

The government has shown a genuine and radical commitment to changing the way Britain is governed. But the path to devolution has been encumbered by decades of central government ducking crucial questions about how local government is financed. The system we have now is one which no one would design. Central government and LAs both want a sustainable independent funding model. But it seems that devolution will be a process rather than a revolution.

Having made significant strides to reduce waste, duplication and non-essential services over the past few years, many councils now aspire to become high performing outcomes led commissioning organisations. This is dependent upon adoption of a “whole system” approach where leadership, capability and culture are aligned to the new organisations requirements.

We can work with you to achieve this whole system approach. With our joint experience and passion for change, we can turn current uncertainty into future potential.

HOW CAN OUR EXPERTISE HELP YOU?

INSURANCE OPERATIONS

INSURANCE WITH A DIFFERENCE

INCOME GENERATION

BECOME SELF SUFFICIENT

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

BRAVE NEW WORLD

BUSINESS RATE CHANGES

CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL BUSINESS

LEADERSHIP/WORK ENVIRONMENT

CULTURAL REVOLUTION

WELLNESS AT WORK

MAKE YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESSFUL

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INSURANCE OPERATIONS

INSURANCE WITH A DIFFERENCE

With our specialist knowledge in all areas of insurance and specific issues affecting LAs including knowledge of systems including LACHS and CONFIRM, we can:

  • Reduce your claims costs
  • Achieve considerable savings in streamlining processes
  • Improve customer satisfaction

We can achieve this by providing consulting services on long and short term projects to address inconsistencies in case handling and improve systems:

  • Reviewing end to end processes for claims, ensuring they are efficient and streamlined.
  • Ensuring that you give excellent customer service delivery at all times as part of strategic planning.
  • Create or review your claims strategy, reserving philosophy and authority levels.
  • Provide input to support development of business road map and annual budgets.
  • Motor claims audits to ensure proper handling/management of claims, coverage issues and recoveries being pursued
  • Strategic claims reviews covering processes/systems
  • Supplier management strategy
  • In-house-training
  • Investigating the potential for out-sourcing
  • Compliance reviews and development of internal audit procedures.
  • Delivering business change in claims handling and philosophy
  • Providing clear, timely and effective management information to senior managers
  • Shaping initiatives through idea generation and also developing proposals.
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INCOME GENERATION

BECOME SELF SUFFICIENT

Comparing current attitudes to those held by councils eight years ago, income generation had become a much more integral and acceptable part of financial planning.

From the insurance perspective, commercial trading is a viable consideration for many LAs as there is a gap in the market for specialist LA claims handling. There are some 450 local authorities in England and Wales, all of whom have claims made against them.

We can help you to investigate the potential for income generation by using the suite of insurance services we offer to prepare and improve your insurance operations to give you a market edge and create a centre of excellence. Then we will create a plan to identify potential partners and approach the for you market. We can help you every step of the way.

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FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Research from CIMA, in partnership with Bocconi University and SDA Bocconi School of Management, was published in 2016. The report, Government financial resilience under austerity: the case of English local authorities, found a number of councils are anticipating they will undertake a significant rethink of their approach to financial management.

We can assist in this process by creating:

  • A stronger integration between strategic and operational financial management
  • Improved decision-making in partnerships and multi-agency working
  • Strengthened financial self-sufficiency

The report also said the local authorities ‘appeared to be less optimistic about their ability to respond to the next wave of cuts, and future years are seen as potentially difficult’. As a Local Authorities Specialist Consultant, we can help you to plan for the difficult years ahead to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be.

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BUSINESS RATE CHANGES

MANAGE RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES

George Osborne’s announcement that the uniform national business rate will be abolished and councils will be able will be able to keep all the business rates that they collect from local businesses means that power over £26bn of revenue from business rates will be devolved from Whitehall.

A CIMA report, Transformation and transparency: Managing local government performance published in 2014, found that 48% of UK business leaders feel their local government doesn’t understand their needs, while three-fifths (60%) do not consider that recent local government transformation has made life better for their firm. Less than two-fifths (38%) feel that their local government is committed to working in partnership with local business.

Charles Tilley, Chief Executive, CIMA, said: ‘Businesses are important stakeholders for local governments – but the two do not always see eye to eye. However, the report’s findings are clear in highlighting what needs to be done: local governments should ensure that their finance functions are as strong as possible so they can collaborate with the private sector in a clear and functional way.’

We can be your liaison with local businesses. We understand how they work and what they need from local government. As your trusted and respected partner, we can act as the middle-man to encourage dialogue and reach mutually acceptable agreements that will maximise your future potential income.

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LEADERSHIP & WORKING ENVIRONMENT

CULTURAL REVOLUTION

According to a report published in March 2016, Local Authority leaders need to lead a ‘cultural revolution’ to empower their workforce and drive the transformation of the public sector.

The report published by Solace (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) and Civica, “Invigorating the Public Sector Revolution” reveals only 7% of public sector employees at middle manager level and below view the public sector as an empowering environment. It also found 47% of public sector workers think their leadership team lacks the management skills needed for a period of massive and accelerating change, and 36% want public sector leaders to invest in creating a more flexible and adaptive working environment.

We know that what is needed is a radical change in leadership style, organisational structure and culture across the sector. We can provide training and guidance to arm leaders with the skills they require to meet future demands and effectively manage the significant change and increasing expectation using tools and technology available to encourage collaboration and innovation in the following areas:

  • Leadership: public sector leaders should motivate everyone across the organisation to take accountability for delivery and improvement. They must give employees a voice and empower people to make decisions.
  • Working environment: leaders need to encourage barriers to be broken down and create teams that work together across agencies.
  • Rules: these should be light touch in order to avoid suffocating original thinking.

As the pace of change accelerates, not everyone has the necessary skills to manage and build on the shifts taking place. Public sector leaders need to be able to empower and inspire the wider workforce and take responsibility for building a culture that encourages employees to innovate and try new ways of working without fear of failure. As your Local Authorities Specialist Consultant, we can help you achieve this.

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WELLNESS AT WORK

MAKE YOUR BUSINESS A SUCCESS

The importance of employee health and well-being has risen sharply up the public policy agenda over the past ten years or so, encouraging a broader and more sophisticated understanding of what the concept means in UK organisations. Historically, measures to safeguard the well-being of employees focused on the much narrower management of ‘health and safety’ and steps to reduce the risk of injury and ill-health associated with work.

In a report published in January 2016, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned organisations which fail to implement health and wellbeing policies, despite being aware of their importance, are putting employee and business health at risk.

The report, Growing the health and wellbeing agenda: From first steps to full potential, highlights a ‘wellbeing vacuum’ in UK workplaces, with fewer than one in ten organisations implementing a standalone wellbeing strategy that supports the wider business goals. It found the average cost of absence now stands at £554 per employee per year, a cost that less than two-fifths of organisations regularly monitor, while wellbeing was taken into account in business decisions only to a little extent, or not at all, in 57 per cent of cases.

We believe that to put wellbeing firmly on the business agenda, we need to change conversations around the business case for wellbeing programs from ‘cost avoidance’ to ‘shared value creation’ and highlight what organisations stand to gain, rather than lose.

Workplace health and well-being has risen sharply up the public policy agenda over the past decade. This has been accompanied by growing recognition of the positive link between employee well-being and long-term organisational health. There also appears to be a much broader understanding and application of holistic health and well-being approaches on the part of many organisations. We welcome this progress but believe that there is still considerable scope for wider and more integrated implementation of employee well-being initiatives in the workplace.

The world of work is moving at an ever-faster pace, and pressing environmental factors such as the ageing population only increase the responsibility on employers to not only mitigate the workplace risks to, but optimise, people’s health and well-being.

We know that an effective employee well-being programme should be at the core of how an organisation fulfils its mission and carries out its operations and not consist of one-off initiatives. It is about changing the way business is done. As well as benefiting employees, an integrated approach to health and well-being can nurture heightened levels of employee engagement, and foster a workforce where people are committed to achieving organisational success.

To truly achieve a healthy workplace an employer needs to ensure that its culture, leadership and people management are the bedrock on which to build a fully integrated well-being approach. Using a bespoke program including all aspects of physical and emotional wellbeing techniques, we can work with you to achieve real savings in costs and increases in productivity.

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“Business success is holistic; you need to consider all the parts to ensure that the whole is all it can be. We will work with you to make your business the best it can be.”