The Committee received a presentation from the Chief Operating Officer, and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Shared Resource Service (SRS). Following the presentation, Committee Members were invited to ask questions:
· A Member asked for clarification of the Monmouthshire budget and it was explained that £3,056,000 is the total contribution required for MCC services, services to schools and contracts and licenses. This composes of £738,000 paid directly for contracts and licenses plus MCC’s contribution of £1,600,000 (totalling £2,300,000) plus £709,000 income from schools.
· In response to a question, it was confirmed that SRS provides CCTV services for Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council. There are approximately sixty cameras being monitored in each county 24 hours daily covered by shifts of one person per shift out of office hours plus other operators in the daytime. The cameras are set to zoom in when activity is detected. An offer was made to the Member to speak outside the meeting to discuss specific locations.
· A Member asking about SRS’s sustainability and plans to work towards net zero was informed that the new premises is a professionally run data centre with a certified 100% renewable energy source.
· A Member commented that some schools are concerned about the value for money of EdTech and are seeking alternative providers. It was explained that meeting the EdTech standards is costly, but standards are being met by those schools on SLA (confirmed by recent audit). The schools outside the SLA may not have the equipment to meet the standard. There may be an option to reformat the SLAs. Schools need to be aware of hidden costs when seeking alternative provision. Some Newport schools have returned to SRS services from outside providers. Further information and contact with schools outside the SLA would be beneficial.
· In response to a question, it was confirmed that a benchmarking exercise had been carried out across England and Wales, and the lowest percentage IT Budget of an organisation’s budget is 2.2% with and average of 2.4%. SRS percentage for its partners ranges from 1.7% to 2.1% contribution of the overall organisation’s budget delivering positive value for money.
· A Member asked if a year-end report is provided to provide assurance and it was explained that an annual report is provided to the Board, and there are monthly reports at the Delivery Group meetings where issues are identified and dealt with.
· A Member asked how much use is being made of the residual Blaenavon premises following the move to Newport and was informed that decommissioning is in progress, with a view to retaining office space unless alternative suitable accommodation can be found.
· The Chair asked how the different priorities between the six partners are managed. The Head of Information Security and Technology explained that she manages the relationship with the SRS and the budget including SLAs with schools. An offer was made to talk to school governors if required. It was added that digital projects, aspirations, and performance are very well communicated, managed and audited. The Business and Collaboration Board with the other partners is an opportunity to discuss collaborative projects and to monitor performance indicators. It was explained that delivery of Monmouthshire’s Community and Corporate Plan may require different resources and the budget will be managed with the SRS accordingly.
· It was confirmed that Monmouthshire County Council staff were TUPE transferred to the SRS and Torfaen County Borough Council hosts the service. Monmouthshire contributes the salary cost of the staff transferred.