Essex County Council PLC or LTD?

P. Smith made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Essex County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Essex County Council,

Please can you send me any information which might explain why a number of ECC jobs / posts suddenly seem to have "business" (support or whatever) in them now, and why Hertfordshire CC is set to run some of ECC Social services (??) and what is IBM (??) doing apparently taking over the running of certain areas? Which areas?

And most importantly why are crucial services being hived off on to the voluntary sector?

How will these then fragmented services be monitored and maintained?

How will services be funded?

What consultation took place?

Who voted for it?

Who decided it?

Where is the documentation?

I thought in my naive way, that local people pay council tax to enable local authorities to supposededly provide all the essential basic services, to ensure uniformity, monitoring of, etc but Essex CC seems to be palming off the responsibility for these on to the voluntary sector without even asking them (?? am I wrong?? Please put me right.)

I.e.: What's going on?

Is this a representative model for Conservative national policy re local government organisation, attitudes and policies?

What, then untimately will be the role of Essex CC - as a small imploded panel of commissioners?

I am concerned because currently there are NO services for thsose with Aspergers / HF autism in Essex.

How will the evolving ECC as a big business (???) model / structure affect such people who do not get anything anyway?

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

Sophie Cheetham Business Support Officer, Essex County Council

Dear [P. Smith],


Thank you for your request for information, which was received by Essex
County Council on 11^th May 2010 & given reference number 1433.


We will determine and let you know whether we hold the information you
have requested and consider whether it is exempt from disclosure.  Under
certain circumstances we may charge for providing information, but we will
let you know before we do any work that would incur a charge.


Your request is covered by the Freedom of Information Act, under which we
must respond within 20 working days.


Please contact me if you would like further advice or assistance about
your request or your right to access information held by Essex County


Kind Regards


Business Support Team

Policy, Community Planning & Regeneration

Essex County Council | telephone: 08457 430 430


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Dear Sophie Cheetham Business Support Officer,

OK thank you,

Kind regards,

[P. Smith]

Sophie Cheetham Business Support Officer, Essex County Council

3 Atodiad

Dear [P. Smith],


Thank you for your request for information which was received by Essex
County Council (ECC) on 11^th May 2010 & given reference number 1433. I
have addressed each of your enquiries in turn:


·        Business Support Roles


The term business support covers many different activities/functions each
of which are business critical to supporting the effective running of
each operating unit. Examples include Finance, HR, general clerical admin,
workforce analysis, births and marriages, housing, legal, help
lines, quality assurance and direct admin and clerical support to adult
and children's frontline services. In many cases these business support
services allow front line staff, including social workers to focus on
client related activities. All large organisations have business support
functions albeit they may be referred to as back office functions. They
are necessary because they keep the business running smoothly, satisfying
requirements for routine audits, legal and statutory requirements,
retention of accurate records; customer enquires and maintain financial
accounts etc. The more diverse the business the greater number of roles
required to support each different part of the business albeit where
resources can be merged or shared this would be managed as a matter of
course. Contact Essex would be a good example of this where a single help
line directs calls to different parts of the business. As one of the
largest employers in Essex ECC does have a healthy turnover of staff
and it would not be uncommon for business support roles to feature
regularly on the ECC jobs forum.


The establishment of an Adult Social Care Business Support Unit will bring
together the skills and knowledge from across Adult Social Care into a
cohesive unit. This will lead to the establishment of Business Support
resources that are critical to enable and support a high performing
authority. The unit is committed to supporting the delivery and
co-production of quality services, which meet and exceed any statutory or
legal obligations.


Please find attached the consultation paper for the Adult Social Care
Business Support Unit published in 2006.


·        The role of ECC


The Council will be a joined-up, customer driven organisation; its core
business will be to foresee emerging needs of the customer and to
co-ordinate and plan the commissioning and provision of services through a
strategic core. This Council’s strategic core will also manage and monitor
the performance, quality and effectives of services.


A key necessity will be to ensure our services effectiveness provide value
for money. To achieve this, the Council will greatly reduce the number of
services it delivers directly and focus primarily on its role as service
enabler working through best in class providers in the market place and
multi-sector partnerships that will jointly realise shared policy
outcomes. The Council will focus resources to create and develop these
partnership arrangements.


The Council‘s accommodation will be fit for purpose and focus within the
main service delivery areas and will be achieved through co-location with
other agencies and/or town and parish councils, wherever possible or
practicable to deliver a joined up service and achieve value for money
through this partnership.   The Council will enable and support flexible
working and will seek to support staff in various flexible working


The Transformation Programme is approved County Council policy. Relevant
decisions include:


-          Council Paper dated 21st April 2009: EssexWorks Section 8, Our
Modernisation Agenda: Improving Our Services.

-          Cabinet Paper dated 23rd June 2009: CAB/025/09 (Part II)
EssexWorks: Customers First Delivery Programme

-          Key Decision dated 18th August 2009: FP/188/06/09 Interim
Arrangement: Essex Works Customer First

-          Council Paper dated 13th October 2009: Update - EssexWorks:
Customers First Transformation Programme.

-          Cabinet paper dated 1st December 2009 CAB/036/09 (Part II)


Further details of these can all be found on the Council Meetings &
Decisions Database: [1]


·        Voluntary sector


Please find attached a copy of Essex County Council’s Strategy for
building a stronger relationship with the voluntary and community sector,
as well as a copy of the Cabinet Report (dated 16^th September 2008) which
adopted, in principle, the strategy as council policy. The strategy went
through a formal consultation process, leading to its adoption as council
policy in April 2009. I hope that these documents begin to address some of
the concerns you raise in your email.


The Strategy commits ECC to working ever closer with the voluntary and
community sector in terms of public engagement, policy development and
service delivery. This is not a question of ‘hiving off’ essential
services, as you suggest, but rather extending existing modes of
engagement with the voluntary sector. This takes a number of forms, for
example, such as grant funding voluntary and community organisations, as
well as contracting with voluntary and community organisations through
commissioning and procurement frameworks. In both instances, however, ECC
maintains a close relationship with those organisations, applying
monitoring processes that are proportionate to the level of funding and
the nature of the service being provided. This ensures that service
quality meets the required standard, that value for money is delivered,
and (above all) that appropriate safeguarding precautions are in place.
Further information on ECC grant funding can be found at,
following the link to ‘Voluntary Sector Funding’ under the ‘Business’
heading. Here you will also find a link to the BravoSolutions web portal,
which is ECC’s online system through which tenders and contracts are
advertised and administered.


·        Hertfordshire Services


Essex County Council does not hold the information you have requested.  We
believe that your request does not relate to County Council services and
in fact relates to Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. We
understand that the North West Essex PCT holds the information you
require.  If you wish to contact them yourself you should visit their FoI
pages here - [2] or write to
[3][email address].


·        IBM


Currently there are no plans for IBM to take over the running of any
areas, however IBM are currently assisting ECC with projects relating to
Procurement, Management Information, Operating Model Design and the ECC
Data Centre.


·        Services for those with Asperger’s/HF autism in Essex.


On a general level the National Autistic Society can provide help and
advice to people with Autism.


If some kind of domiciliary tasks are required a standard Domiciliary
would be used. This would not need to be Autism specific. Such providers
would be given specific tasks to accomplish, such as washing, getting out
of bed or feeding but most people with Asperger’s are pretty able and
would not require this kind of care. It is most likely that the advice and
support given by the National Autistic society would be the better route
to take.


There are no specialist Asperger’s residential homes in Essex. The nearest
are, Brookvale and Curo Care in London.


Brookvale: They claim to be the leading provider of ASD services and
operate a range of facilities across the South East entirely focused on
the provision of care for people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
 Although they are primarily a hospital group, they do have residential
care facilities. Placements to Brookvale are usually paid for by Health,
but we have been known to fund clients via the Mental Health teams.


CuroCare: They operate a range of hospitals and residential facilities
across the London area and offer specialist services to individuals with a
learning disability, associated mental illness, personality disorder
and/or challenging behavior. Again, their placements are mostly funded via
the mental health teams or Health.


Due to the high functioning of people with Asperger’s they do not tend to
go into residential care, explaining the lack of provision in Essex. When
we do have to place anyone with this condition they will tend to go to the
regular LD homes that we use that can deal with Autism.


Autism is covered by quite a few homes. Zero 3, Blamsters, Seaview, Autism
Anglia, and Butterfly’s, to name just some of them. These homes deal with
higher needs clients, though most of the LD homes can deal with some level
of Autism.


In terms of non residential – community support services there are a
number of specialist providers:


-        Anglia Autism – Colchester

-        Consensus care – Harlow

-        First Call – Billericay

-        Dimensions – North of the County

-        TLC

-        Mencap

-        In Roads


You may reuse all or part of his information free of charge in any format
or medium.  You must reuse it accurately and not in a misleading context.


Please contact me if you would like further advice or assistance about
your request or your right to access information held by Essex County

If you are not satisfied with my response to your request, please let me
know.  If I am unable to resolve the issue immediately, I will explain our
complaints procedure.

If, after following our complaints procedure, you are still not satisfied,
you are entitled to ask the Information Commissioner to review our
decision.  You can contact him at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545700


Yours sincerely



Sophie Cheetham

Business Support Officer

Policy, Community Planning & Regeneration

Essex County Council | telephone: 08457 430 430


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