Issue - meetings

Options for Collaboration with Waverley Borough Council

Meeting: 04/06/2024 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Resources (Item 5)

Guildford and Waverley Transformation and Collaboration Update

A verbal update.

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The Chairperson reminded the meeting that this item had been deferred due to the heightened political sensitivities of the pre-election period.


Meeting: 01/03/2022 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 62)

Guildford and Waverley Collaboration - update

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The Joint Chief Executive of Guildford and Waverley Councils updated the Committee on the collaboration programme, including progress with both the Inter-Authority Agreement (IAA) and a shared joint management team.  The meeting was informed that the heads of terms of the IAA should be submitted to both Councils for agreement in April.  The Joint Chief Executive advised that the options for the joint shared management team, including a timetable for implementation, would be presented to him at the end of March and then communicated more widely. 


In addition, the Joint Chief Executive informed the Committee that he was working with the executives of both councils to summarise the partnership’s joint vision statement agreed the previous summer and advised of his involvement in monitoring the milestones of the collaboration project.  The Joint Chief Executive indicated that opportunities for shared services and improved use of properties were being identified as the collaboration programme progressed.


There were no questions from Councillors and the Chair thanked the Joint Chief Executive for his update.


Meeting: 18/01/2022 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 53)

Guildford and Waverley Collaboration Update

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The Leader of the Council informed the meeting of the formal appointment of Tom Horwood as Joint Chief Executive of Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils.  In addition, the Leader advised the Committee that a joint working group had begun to design an Inter-Authority Agreement (IAA).  He indicated that the first meeting of the working group had discussed finance and that the cross-party group would be meeting weekly for the next two months.  The Leader of the Council stated that the Inter-Authority Agreement, alongside a more thorough risk-register, would be submitted to full Council.


The Joint Chief Executive of Guildford and Waverley Councils updated the Committee on the collaboration programme, including his appointment, the progression of governance arrangements through the formulation of the IAA, and the establishment of a shared joint management team.  The meeting was informed that an independent consultant would be helping to design a new joint senior management structure.  The Joint Chief Executive indicated that no formal HR processes would commence until the heads of terms of the IAA were agreed or near to agreement.  In addition, the Committee was informed that through bilateral discussions officers had begun to identify collaboration opportunities and that these would be subject to a process of prioritisation by senior management.


The Joint Chief Executive indicated he would welcome invitations to meet Councillors in their own wards.


In response to a question from a Committee member, the Joint Chief Executive confirmed that the end point of collaboration between the two Councils would be determined by Councillors.  He advised the meeting that the current mandate agreed by both Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils was to establish shared governance and a joint management team and bring forward business cases for service collaboration.


In reply to questions from members of the Committee, the Joint Chief Executive indicated that the creation of a shared senior management team for Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils was anticipated in months rather than years.  In addition, he outlined to the meeting how different provision of the same services presented potential future challenges and opportunities for both Councils.


The Chair thanked the Joint Chief Executive for attending and answering questions.


RESOLVED: That the Committee continue to receive updates on the collaboration between Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils.


Meeting: 06/07/2021 - Council (Item 25)

25 Options for Collaboration with Waverley Borough Council pdf icon PDF 504 KB

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Following consideration of opportunities for greater partnership working with Waverley Borough Council by the Joint Executive Advisory Board (EAB) and Executive in February 2021, the Council considered an update report on an initial options appraisal developed by the Local Government Association and Local Partnerships(LGA).  The report had sought direction on the next steps for collaboration.


The Council was reminded of the events of 2020 that led to the eleven district councils in Surrey commissioning a report on local government collaboration by KPMG. The KPMG report presented a strong case for councils to work together more closely in the context of continued funding reductions from central government and the financial consequences of the Covid pandemic. It was notable and unsurprising that KPMG identified that Guildford and Waverley Boroughs could be natural partners, given the geography, infrastructure links and similar sizes. Despite the councils having made efficiencies and cut costs in recent years, both faced extremely difficult financial challenges. In this context, the political leaderships of the two councils, supported by senior officers, held initial discussions in an informal working group about how the two councils might collaborate in the future. The expected outcomes of this work were the retention of two separate democratic councils, but with greater sharing of resources and staffing. It was quickly identified that there were two broad approaches to the transformation needed to sustain services and delivery of financial savings at scale, namely a process by which business cases for shared services could be considered jointly on a Service-by-Service basis; or a single  management team to progress the full integration of the officer teams in both councils into one.


The Executives of both councils had agreed that further work was required to assess the two options and the LGA was invited to support this work and to provide independent input. The LGA facilitated two workshops so that the two Executives could meet together and articulate a ‘vision statement’ reflecting their preferred ambitions, copy of which was attached to the report submitted to the Council.


The LGA, through its consultancy arm, Local Partnerships, had also been asked for a high-level financial appraisal, a copy of which was also attached to the report.  The appraisal had recommended that a shared officer structure would provide the most potential for savings.


As some of the potential ways forward could have implications for the employment status of some employees, South East Employers had been engaged to provide human resources advice to the two Executives, with the support of both councils’ senior HR professionals.  A copy of that advice (which contained exempt information) had also been attached to the report.


In considering a way forward for future collaboration with Waverley Borough Council, the following options had been discussed at a meeting of the Joint Executive Advisory Board (JEAB) on 24 June by way of a mandate, and separately with each political group:


Option A: Do nothing further

Option B: Commission further research with a defined scope

Option C: Shared services

Option D:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25

Meeting: 06/07/2021 - Executive (Item 4.)

4. Local Government Collaboration pdf icon PDF 417 KB

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Decision of the Leader:


To recommend to Full Council:


1.     That Full Council agrees to pursue the option of creating a single management team with Waverley Borough Council, comprised of statutory officers (Head of Paid Service; Chief Finance Officer; Monitoring Officer), directors and heads of service as the most appropriate means for bringing forward business cases for future collaboration.


2.     That Full Council authorises the Council’s Lead Specialist - HR to take the necessary action, in consultation with Waverley Borough Council and with the support and advice from South East Employers and as set out within the addendum to Appendix 3 of the report, to begin making arrangements for a recruitment and selection of a single joint Chief Executive (acting as Head of Paid Service for both Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils) in accordance with the table showing the anticipated stages in the process and approximate timelines referred to in the “Not for Publication” Appendix to the Supplementary Information Sheet circulated to councillors prior to the meeting.


3.     That a report be submitted to the Council at its next meeting on 28 July 2021 on the following matters:


(a)  heads of terms for the proposed inter-authority agreement to establish governance arrangements for joint working;

(b)  the proposed job description and terms and conditions in respect of the appointment of a Joint Chief Executive; and

(c)  the establishment of a joint appointments committee, including its composition and terms of reference.



To seek direction on the next steps for collaboration with Waverley Borough Council.


Other options considered and rejected by the Leader:

Option A: To do nothing further

Option B: Commission further research with a defined scope

Option C: A shared services approach on a specific set of shared services and procurements

Option F: Single staffing team serving two democratic councils


Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader and any dispensation granted:



Meeting: 24/06/2021 - Joint Executive Advisory Board (Item 33)

33 Guildford and Waverley Collaboration Mandate pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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The Joint Executive Advisory Board (JEAB) received a presentation from the Strategy and Communications Manager in respect of the above mandate.  The presentation introduced the mandate and explained the following aspects of it:


·             Strategy

·             Options evaluation

·             Considerations

·             Resources

·             Issues, assumptions and risks

·             Dependencies, constraints and opportunities

·             Reviewer list


A Late Sheet containing related supplementary information, which consisted of the resolutions and recommendations of the Executive of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) to its full Council meeting on 6 July 2021, had been circulated.  The additional information sought by WBC in resolution (1) would be shared with this Council.


The Leader of the Council provided some additional background information and invited the JEAB’s comments regarding the mandate.


The following points for forwarding to this Council’s Executive arose from related questions, comments and discussion:


1.           Support was expressed for mandate option 4 to establish a single corporate management team with one chief executive as a first step towards progressing to the full integration of the officer teams of both councils into one shared officer resource working for two separate democratic councils.  This would lead to the preparation of a series of business cases relating to the possible integration of individual service areas commencing where compatibility between the authorities was greatest, such as similar back office functions.

2.           There was no wish to merge the authorities fully at this stage and each would remain as a separate legal identity with individual decision-making powers.

3.           It was considered important for the Council to address its funding deficit in a proactive manner in order to avoid any financial controls or service reductions being imposed on it, such as a move to a single county-wide unitary authority which was not favoured.

4.           Councillors felt that frontline services should be protected to meet the needs of residents.  Demand for services had increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and was expected to continue to do so as future residential developments stemming from the Local Plan led to local population growth.  WBC was in a similar position regarding its recently adopted Local Plan.

5.           Issues with the volume of planning applications being submitted were highlighted and it was questioned whether some related fees could be raised where possible to increase income towards offsetting the budget deficit.

6.           In terms of risks associated with collaboration, concerns were raised regarding the short term disruption to Council services and officers, public perception of Council services, integration of ICT systems, lack of local knowledge, loss of continuity of officer experience and integration in the Guildford senior management team, and failure to achieve efficiencies and projected savings.

7.           The Local Government Boundary Commission for England and the Boundary Commission for England reviews were not expected to impact on a proposed collaboration between the two councils as the former review concerned warding patterns within the Borough and the latter was a parliamentary review of the constituency boundaries.

8.           Although WBC had not been through a rationalising restructure such as Future Guildford, there was confidence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33