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Democratic Core

Theme - Democratic Core

The Council’s role

There are a number of activities which may not be recognised or seen by the public but are integral to the Council working efficiently and effectively. These include enabling democratic leadership and setting the strategic direction for Gateshead and providing guidance and advice in core areas.

We currently do this by:

  • running elections and arranging meetings of the Council, its committees, its Cabinet executive and a scrutiny function
  • providing a comprehensive financial service including Treasury Management, Insurance and Internal Audit
  • providing a comprehensive legal service
  • providing a range of support services including Human Resources, health and safety, occupational health, workforce development, procurement, property and finance services
  • enabling the public to influence local services and issues
  • agreeing a budget and policies to support the Council’s decision making process
  • setting long term plans for the borough, both now and in the future, including engaging with residents and managing the way our services perform.

Possible destination

  • A workforce that can support delivery of the sustained transformation necessary to achieve the services our residents want and need – services that are more efficient, fit for purpose, flexible and customer focused – ultimately a workforce that can deliver the Council Plan and Vision 2030.
  • A single flexible legal service, able to meet peaks and troughs in demand; a reduced level of core service, more strategically applied; potential alternative delivery model(s) being explored, including internal trading and shared services.
  • A single flexible HR and Workforce Development service, able to meet peaks and troughs in demand; a reduced level of core service, more strategically applied; potential alternative delivery model(s) being explored, including shared services and expansion of the Public Service Academy.
  • A single, flexible Finance Service that can meet fluctuations in demand, protect the interests of the council and inform strategic decision making, with a core provision built upon business partnering
  • A commissioning function that ensures that there is a strategic approach to the way in which the Council commissions for outcomes and to ensure that an appropriate amount of rigor is applied to commissioning for service delivery and that it is undertaken in a joined up and effective way.
    • A procurement function that has the capability, responsiveness and flexibility to meet the needs of the Council and other clients.
    • A mixed economy of service delivery will be maintained with opportunities for further collaboration explored with a view to maximise the use of shared services.
  • A smaller Chief Executive Office with a clear distinction between:
    • the work to support governance and assurance e.g. performance management, strategic planning and policy; and
    • support services to the rest of the council e.g. development and delivery of the website and new media communications, research and analysis and engagement of employees

Key actions to get to the destination

  • Support Services – review of alternative delivery models
  • Implementation of Workforce Plan – focusing on skills and behaviours; performance and change; wellbeing and engagement; pay reward and recognition; recruitment and retention
  • Performance Management – managers understanding the importance of performance management and having the tools to minimise underperformance
  • Potential savings arising from changes to terms and conditions
  • Development of Business Partner model in Human Resources
  • Development of the Council’s commissioning approach as part of the future operating model and explore opportunities to further collaborate in terms of commissioning and procurement.
  • Review the Gateshead Strategic Partnership and other partnership boards
  • Actions relating to improved Performance Management, Culture and Behaviour and Communications and Engagement
  • Implementation of Digital Change Project
  • Further development of insourcing of the insurance function

Budget proposals

 Ref Draft proposals
58 Review of establishment across Democratic Services, Legal Services & Litigation, HR and Workforce Development, Corporate Commissioning and Procurement
59 Reduction in supplies and services in Human Resource Services  
60 Service-wide review of establishment across activity areas of policy, planning and communications with additional reductions 2018/2020
61 Corporate Finance Service Review
62 Insourcing of Insurance claim handling 
63 Reduce the risk of financial fraud through proactive anti-fraud detection and prevention 

Year 2 and 3 will see the following further work: Review of Council News and increase in digital information* 2018/2020 

* These proposals formed part of last year’s budget consultation exercise