Issue - meetings
To receive a presentation on aspects of the operation of LGSS Law Ltd within Central Bedfordshire Council.
The Committee received a presentation on LGSS Law Ltd. The presentation summarised the background to the current arrangements between that body and the Council and set out the benefits achieved so far. Whilst the main focus was on the services provided to the Council some information was also provided on the company’s performance given that the Council was one of its shareholders.
Points and comments included:
· An introduction to the presentation by the Director of Resources.
· Full discussion on the organisation of LGSS Law, the financial costs of its operation and the level of savings actually achieved by the Council’s use of that body, the level of debt across the whole of LGSS Law, together with staffing matters. The Director of Resources was not able to state the number of key staff who had left as he did not have the information at the meeting.
· The forecast expenditure for the next three years remained at the reduced level, incorporating the originally anticipated savings. Because of the increasing volume of work it was necessary to establish whether it was a sustainable figure or might result in continued overspends.
· In response to Members’ concerns regarding LGSS Law’s financial position, given the monies owed to it by both Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire County Councils, the Director of Resources explained that the problem at Northamptonshire was one of expenditure control in the long term not one of cash flow. Northamptonshire County Council was able to pay legitimate invoices.
· Two or three district councils also used LGSS Law for planning services though Central Bedfordshire was the largest authority to do so. As a result there was a sharing of legal talent across the authorities.
· Members raised concerns regarding the quality of service provided and expressed doubt regarding the accuracy of the data obtained from the end of case surveys completed by clients. The Members suggested possible reasons for both the low level of response by clients and the apparent full satisfaction which, the survey results indicated, LGSS Law provided.
· The Committee noted the measures being taken by the Legal Services Business Manager to improve the accuracy of data, the role of the ‘intelligent client’, KPI’s and efforts to ensure remedial action was carried out where necessary.
· The Committee indicated that it would wish to secure the attendance of representatives from LGSS Law in order to answer questions Members might have.
· In response to a Member’s request seeking the submission of the Service Improvement Plan to the Committee the Director of Resources stated that internal management plans were not normally brought to public meetings but he would examine and determine if it was appropriate.
· The Chairman stated that, as shareholders, there were issues with which Members were dissatisfied but with the appointment of new staff and the other measures that had been taken there was a movement forward and it would be premature to judge the progress made.
· The Chairman thanked the Director of Resources for his presentation and his candour.
the presentation on LGSS Law ... view the full minutes text for item 6