Financial & Workforce Efficiencies

J Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to East Sussex County Council

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The request was successful.

Dear East Sussex County Council,

I am researching financial and workforce efficiency in local government. Under the FOI act please provide the following information:
1) For each of the last 5 financial years, please provide:
a) The total number of invoices that the authority has processed through accounts payable (AP).
b) The total expenditure through AP.

2) Do you currently use/has any 3rd parties completed a duplicate payment review/statement review in the last 5 years? If so please specific the name of the company and the contract end date.

3) What is the total value of duplicated invoices/erroneous payments that have been identified by any 3rd parties in the last 5 years or in any period reviewed (please specify).

4) How much did the 3rd party invoice the authority for any review work undertaken?

5) What accounting system does the authority use (Oracle, E-Financials, Agresso, Sage etc.)?

6) Please state the authority’s total spend on agency staff in the last financial year (14/15), split by the following staff categories, including all spend on agency staff outside of the categories specified as “other”:
• Social workers
• Residential homecare staff
• Domiciliary care staff
• Others (please describe the staff)

7) Please provide a list of the 10 most utilized agencies in the last financial year.

8) Does the council use any 3rd party services or software to manage/book agency workers? If so please state the name of the company used, the services provided and the amount that the authority spent on these services/software in the last financial year.

Thank you for your time with this request.

Yours faithfully,

J Taylor

Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

Dear J Taylor

FOI Request ref: 6908 / Financial & Workforce Efficiencies

Thank you for your request for information about the above. Your request was received on 15/3/2016 and I am dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
We always aim to respond as quickly as possible, and in this case will do so no later than 12/4/2016, which is the 20 working day deadline. The deadline is counted from the first working day we receive it, not the date a letter is written / posted or an email sent.
In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be required to pay before we proceed in dealing with your request.
Please quote the above reference number in any communication regarding this request.

Yours sincerely

Amilia Holland
Customer Information Adviser

East Sussex County Council
Communities Economy and Transport Directorate
W1D, County Hall
St Anne’s Crescent
Lewes
East Sussex BN7 1UE

Phone: 01273 482913
Fax: 01273 481208
email: [East Sussex County Council request email]   web: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/foi
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Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

 

 

Dear J Taylor

 

FOI Request ref: 6908 / Financial & Workforce Efficiencies

 

Thank you for your request for information about the above, which has been
dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
Your request and our response are set out below. Please note that any
information we provide is subject to the copyright and reuse of
information terms and conditions set out at the bottom of this email.

 

REQUEST

 

     I am researching financial and workforce efficiency in local

     government. Under the FOI act please provide the following

     information:

     1) For each of the last 5 financial years, please provide:

     a) The total number of invoices that the authority has processed

     through accounts payable (AP).

     b) The total expenditure through AP.

    

     2) Do you currently use/has any 3rd parties completed a duplicate

     payment review/statement review in the last 5 years? If so please

     specific the name of the company and the contract end date.

    

     3) What is the total value of duplicated invoices/erroneous

     payments that have been identified by any 3rd parties in the last 5

     years or in any period reviewed (please specify).

    

     4) How much did the 3rd party invoice the authority for any review

     work undertaken?

    

     5) What accounting system does the authority use (Oracle,

     E-Financials, Agresso, Sage etc.)?

    

     6) Please state the authority’s total spend on agency staff in the

     last financial year (14/15), split by the following staff

     categories, including all spend on agency staff outside of the

     categories specified as “other”:

     • Social workers

     • Residential homecare staff

     • Domiciliary care staff

     • Others (please describe the staff)

    

     7) Please provide a list of the 10 most utilized agencies in the

     last financial year.

    

     8) Does the council use any 3rd party services or software to

     manage/book agency workers? If so please state the name of the

     company used, the services provided and the amount that the

     authority spent on these services/software in the last financial

     year.

 

RESPONSE

 

1.

Number and value of invoices/payments over last 5 financial
years
  2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Value of AP
invoices/payments  613,008,415.09 652,548,728.13 680,459,652.43 479,471,444.83 470,949,119.02
Volume of AP
invoices/payments  197,730 166,092 156,688 160,582 156,311

2. No we do not

 

3. N/A

 

4. N/A

 

5. SAP

 

6.

 

Category of worker Expenditure 2014/15
     • Social workers £281,205
     • Residential homecare staff £1,046,422
     • Domiciliary care staff £425
     • Others (please describe the staff) £5,777,340

“Other” agency worker use includes all other non-schools agency workers,
including administration support across County Council functions, Interim
Managers, Qualified Engineers, ICT, Finance, Legal and other support roles
not included above.

 

 

In response to questions 7 and 8, in 2014/15 we had a contract to provide
agency workers for the County Council through Comensura. They operated a
neutral vendor arrangement in this time period, acting as the liaison
between ESCC and a range of agencies able to provide the combination of
agency worker roles needed in our services.

 

On this basis, we are not able to provide the list of most used agencies.
This is because we consider the agencies used are commercially sensitive
information. We can confirm that approximately 60 different agencies were
used over this period.

 

For this reason, it is also not possible to split off the cost of this
service as the total amount paid above is then split into a basic hourly
rate (that is paid to the worker), a standard cost for Comensura’s costs
per hour, and the actual agency’s costs which vary depending on the type
of worker provided. The actual cost to Comensura is considered to be
commercially sensitive, as is the agency fee.

 

Our authority to withhold information that we consider to be commercially
sensitive comes from Section 43 FOIA. In this case we believe that the
release of the requested information would be likely to harm the
commercial interests of both Comensura and East Sussex County Council.

 

Section 43 FOIA is an exemption that requires us to weigh the public
interest in the requested information being published against the public
interest in the information being withheld. We are permitted up to 20
workings in which to carry out this public interest test and we will
therefore provide you with our final response by 4/5/2016, which is the 20
working day deadline from today.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jeremy Coleman

Customer Information Officer

 

East Sussex County Council

Communities, Economy and Transport

W1D, County Hall

St Anne’s Crescent

Lewes

East Sussex BN7 1UE

 

Phone: 01273 482913
Fax: 01273 481208

email: [1][East Sussex County Council request email]   web: [2]www.eastsussex.gov.uk/foi

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Copyright and Re-Use of information

1. Providing you with documents under the Freedom of Information Act does
not give you an automatic right to re-use those documents in a way that
would infringe copyright – for example by making multiple copies, or by
publishing / issuing copies to the public.

2. Copyright in the information is owned by East Sussex County Council
and/or its contractor(s) unless otherwise stated. Brief extracts of the
material can be reproduced under the “fair dealing” provisions of the
Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 (S.29 and S.30) for the purposes of
research for non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and
news reporting.

3. We do not give permission for this information to be used for the
purposes of direct marketing.

4. If you wish to use this information then, in accordance with the
Regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information 2015, you must
first ask our permission. Such re-use may or may not involve the granting
of a licence and the application of a Fee.

 

 

 

 

This message is intended for the use of the addressee only and may
contain confidential or privileged information. If you have received it in
error please notify the sender and destroy it. You may not use it or copy
it to anyone else.

E-mail is not a secure communications medium. Please be aware of this
when replying. All communications sent to or from the County Council
may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with
relevant legislation.

Although East Sussex County Council has taken steps to ensure that this
e-mail and any attachments are virus free, we can take no responsibility
if a virus is actually present and you are advised to ensure that the
appropriate checks are made.

You can visit our website at http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk

References

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1. mailto:[East Sussex County Council request email]
2. http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/foi

Freedom of Information, East Sussex County Council

 

 

Dear J Taylor

 

FOI Request ref: 6908 / Financial & Workforce Efficiencies

 

Thank you for your request for information about the above, which has been
dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
Further to our email of 6 April 2016, we have now completed the public
interest test with regard to your request.

 

We acknowledge that there is a general public interest in the disclosure
of commercial information related to contracts between ESCC and its
suppliers. This helps to ensure transparency and accountability in the
spending of public money. Also, such transparency promotes public
understanding, safeguards democratic processes and helps to ensure good
decision-making by public bodies. This in turn upholds standards of
integrity, in ensuring justice and fair treatment for all, in securing the
best use of public resources and in ensuring fair commercial competition
in a mixed economy.

 

However, given that disclosure under the FOI Act is considered to be made
to the public at large and not just to the individual requester, we have
taken into account that the requester’s private interests are not in
themselves the same as the public interest and that what may serve those
private interests does not necessarily serve a wider public interest. We
consider that releasing this sensitive information regarding agencies used
by Comensura into the public domain is not in the public interest. This is
because it has the potential to undermine our relationship with our
current supplier to the detriment of any future tendering process that
they may otherwise wish to be involved in. The effectiveness of any future
tendering process would also possibly be undermined by competitors having
an edge that would negatively affect any contract terms from the
perspective of the County Council. This in turn would be likely to have a
negative effect on the Councils ability to achieve best value.

It is clearly in the public interest for local authorities to achieve the
most competitive price for the services they wish to purchase, in order to
minimise the use of public funds. This is particularly relevant in the
current financial climate, where the County Council is required to secure
significant savings and reduce the burden on the public purse. Therefore,
we believe that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
the public interest in favour of disclosure. The information that we have
assessed as exempt will not be disclosed.

 

I hope that this answers your enquiry. If you believe that the County
Council has not complied with the FOI Act in responding to your request,
you may ask for an internal review. If you wish to do so, please set out
the grounds of your appeal in writing to:

 

Philip Baker, Assistant Chief Executive, East Sussex County Council,
County Hall, St Anne’s Crescent, Lewes, East Sussex. BN7 1UE.

or by email to him at [1][email address]

 

Please quote the FOI reference number in any communication regarding this
particular request.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you then
have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Generally, the Information Commissioner cannot make a decision
unless you have exhausted the County Council’s internal review procedure
as described in the previous paragraph. The Commissioner can be contacted
at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Tel: 0303 123 1113.  [2]www.ico.org.uk 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jeremy Coleman

Customer Information Officer

 

East Sussex County Council

Communities, Economy and Transport

W1D, County Hall

St Anne’s Crescent

Lewes

East Sussex BN7 1UE

 

Phone: 01273 482913
Fax: 01273 481208

email: [3][East Sussex County Council request email]   web: [4]www.eastsussex.gov.uk/foi

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email 

 

 

 

 

This message is intended for the use of the addressee only and may
contain confidential or privileged information. If you have received it in
error please notify the sender and destroy it. You may not use it or copy
it to anyone else.

E-mail is not a secure communications medium. Please be aware of this
when replying. All communications sent to or from the County Council
may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with
relevant legislation.

Although East Sussex County Council has taken steps to ensure that this
e-mail and any attachments are virus free, we can take no responsibility
if a virus is actually present and you are advised to ensure that the
appropriate checks are made.

You can visit our website at http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[East Sussex County Council request email]
4. http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/foi