Jane Lubbock, Head of Business Improvement Oxford City Council
Welcome and Scene Setting
Cllr Paul Bettison confirmed that he and Andrew Smith had recently met with Baroness Hanham to update her on the current activity with the workstream. It was indicated that the workstream was working to a two stage process. The ‘basket of products’ was the first stage and implementation and adoption was the second phase. It was indicated that the products would be available by Easter but adoption would be over the long term. The Baroness understood the issues and agreed to liaise with ministerial colleagues at CLG on how to move to the second phase. PB indicated that CLG were seen as part of the solution to the challenges.
Notes of meeting held on 23 November 2010 and matters arising
ML confirmed that there had been a good response to the ‘Big Wins’ and that it was still possible to submit suggestions which needed to be ‘radical and structurally changing ideas’.
AL confirmed that a first draft had been drawn up on guidance relating to energy procurement. There were two recommended deals and IESE was currently identifying the scale of the opportunity. The draft would be available shortly for circulation.
ML indicated that the number of workstreams within PC&SA could be 5 but this was still the subject of further discussion.
ML confirmed that the Big Wins were not intending to ‘reinvent the wheel’ but should link with other national programmes and RIEP’s to ensure that the best option was used.
BH suggested that ML liaise with the Hanbury Summit which met in January.
ML confirmed that FM was included in Phase 2 of the NIEP scope – Phase 1 has concentrated on Asset Management.
Capital Expenditure – update on James Review
CB gave an update on the current position which he had received from AJS. It was noted that AJS would liaise with Barry Quirk (Local Government representation on the James Review) and also meet the DfE, with CLG and a number of Chief Executives. There were concerns that proposals could become ‘exclusive of Local Government’.
It was agreed that pressure should continue to be made to influence the James Review and Martin Reeves indicated that he was keen to support AJS.
Big Wins Update
ML clarified the process for collecting data and the scoring mechanism used. ML sought volunteers to check the scoring. ML also indicated he was likely to have around 100 submissions.
It was noted that more work needed to be done on the Social Care Big Wins. ML requested help and further collaboration on this.
KA indicated that the ERG has completed significant work and that it would be worth liaising with them on category management and commodities. It was noted that some work had already been completed with the RIEP’s on standard PQQs and that several ideas around the Best Deals Portal was being completed through the ERG.
ML confirmed that other areas (apart from construction) were suggesting developing frameworks as contract models.
Attendees to let ML know of any other Big Wins within the next two weeks.
MR emphasised the importance of agreeing what should be reported nationally after the next stage – essentially a ‘united story’. It was agreed to use Big Wins that can really make a difference and will have an impact. MR to work with ML on this.
ML to liaise with AQ on the Treasury guidance that had recently been launched for those local authorities who were involved with PFI/PPI contracts.
ML highlighted the ‘Review EU Procurement Regulation’ which was a Big Win suggestion.
Key messages include:
Facilitate collaboration through more flexible frameworks– add new suppliers and contracting authorities
Lighten the framework call off process
Reward good performance within frameworks
Increase OJEU thresholds to help SMEs
Develop a simpler guide for Councils to aid understanding
BH to forward to ML a fast track process that he had been involved with and had negotiated on with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury
Review the Small Business concordat
DG to forward to ML information from the National Audit office
AQ to liaise with ML on effective use of Competitive Dialogue
ML tabled the draft document and confirmed that it had been produced following a discussion at the last NIEP Board on 16 December. CLG requested updated information on the role of NIEP, the benefits of the group, future actions and local project examples.
How the network operates (page 6)
Key benefits, savings to date and regional adoption (pages 10 and 11)
Case studies at the end of the document to demonstrate real projects at a local level
ML confirmed that NIEP’s objective was to raise the level of savings in construction costs to 20%.
JB sought clarification on the savings figures to date identified in the document. ML confirmed this had been provided by each IEP and that although there was some detailed variation in how the savings would have been measured, each local authority should have signed off their respective savings figures.
ML confirmed that CLG was the prime recipient of the document and a further discussion was required with CLG before the document could be more widely circulated. ML to confirm when the document has been formally signed off and could be distributed.
Highways Sub Workstream
ML provided an update on the current position with the workstream and the individuals involved, as summarised in the report circulated with the papers. It was noted that Matthew Lugg (Environment Director, Leicestershire County Council) and Mostaque Ahmed (DfT), were the joint workstream leads supported by Julian Abel (DfT) and ML as project managers.
Approach to Phase 2
PB indicated that he had given considerable thought to this but wasn’t sure there was an easy answer to it. The task was easy to identify e.g. ‘We need to clarify to 400 local authorities what is on offer, persuade them to use the Big and Quick Wins identifying those relevant to them and assist with implementation’. PB also indicated that we could flood the market with our presence and ensure that the ideas/products were easy to use. This could be done through roadshows/conferences but significant resources would be required to do this. PB highlighted the success of IESE and how it related with the 74 authorities in its area, indicating that this was not necessarily the picture nationally. PB emphasised the importance of cascading information and enthusiasm using networks and one to one contacts. It was important that the Big Wins were implemented and did not just become a list of ‘academic ideas’.
MR emphasised the importance of moving from concept to deliverability and to use the RIEP contacts that authorities already have.
TH emphasised the importance of how the contacts are made – it could be Leader to Leader and CX to CX. TH also suggested that 6 CX’s were identified and tasked to speak to 10 local authorities – TH volunteered to help.
ML sought clarification on what local authorities wanted, what would help them and what should be avoided. MR/TH confirmed LA’s needed:-
AL gave a presentation of the Business Portal being developed in the South East which is at a pilot stage (see attached).
AQ raised issues around transparency and access to the pricing structure/financial information which could be an issue for those companies involved. AL to follow up.
TH highlighted the need to both reduce spend but also to address the economic development issues and if possible join them up. AL indicated that he was actively working with the Federation of Small Businesses and would review what was happening in other areas.
Communication Strategy – covered in Item 7
It was agreed to hold the next meeting at the end of February.