Improvement Framework seeks Board approval
An Improvement Framework paper published yesterday, sets out a process for developing a comprehensive Improvement Framework and seeks Board support for key improvement activity ahead of the Combined Authority Board on the 27 July.
The paper pieces together the background to why an Improvement Framework is needed, and addresses some of the immediate concerns raised by the Combined Authority’s External Auditors regarding safeguarding staff, providing sufficient leadership capacity and more formal dialogue with Department of Levelling Up, and Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It also covers the recommendations from the Audit & Governance Committee who met on the 30 June and unanimously agreed that:
- The Combined Authority Board should seek external advice in formulating an action plan to address the significant areas of concern identified by the external auditor.
- The Board, as a priority, considers its own ways of working. The Committee found it difficult to see how the required changes in culture, governance, leadership and capacity could be identified and delivered without the Combined Authority Board demonstrating collective leadership, acting as a board.
The paper identifies work currently underway to address some of these concerns including a member officer protocol that provides further guidance on the interaction between officers and members.
It cites work progressing on leadership capacity with step one already completed with the recruitment of an Interim Chief Executive, Gordon Mitchell. The paper recommends to Leaders that they delegate authority to the Interim Chief Executive for a six-month period for the recruitment and appointment of additional resources include Chief Officers. If approved the approach will allow for rapid progress for these posts with progress reporting to Leaders Strategy Meetings on a monthly basis.
The paper addresses DLUHC concerns and seek to develop a locally led Improvement Panel to oversee the development of a local improvement plan. The paper acknowledges work currently under way and proposes a self-assessment exercise that is set against a framework of 8 key dimensions commonly used in government improvement frameworks.
- the operation, culture and structure of the organisation;
- the effectiveness of political and organisational leadership;
- the capacity and/or capability to provide the organisation with clear and effective strategic direction;
- use of resources and the impact of governance on the organisation’s ability to deliver best value;
- the impact of corporate governance on service delivery;
- the culture of openness, transparency and trust within and between the officers and members;
- openness to challenge;
- effective engagement with external partners.
In response to this paper the Board are being asked to:
- Note the recommendations of the Audit and Governance committee,
- Delegate authority to the Interim Chief Executive for the recruitment and appointment of additional resource including the to ensure that the combined authority has the leadership capacity within the senior management team to deliver its objectives and statutory responsibilities.
- Acknowledge and support scope and scale of this self-assessment work which intends to be concluded in time for the Boards meeting on the 21 September.
- Finally, the Board are being asked to delegate authority to spend up to £750,000 from the Combined Authority Response Fund to the Interim Chief Executive to enable that money to be used on the scoping, developing, and delivering work relating to the improvement activity.
Agenda Item 4.1 Improvement Framework Board Paper for 27th July can be found here Document.ashx (cmis.uk.com)