How many transformation advisors does it take …

transformation… to deliver transformation?

Quite some number it seems. I put the following question to the Leader at the Cambridgeshire County council meeting this week:

‘Would the Leader of the Council kindly advise how many people are now employed within the transformation team and what the annualised cost of this team is including NI and pension payments and full office and support costs?’

The answer is 38.5 and £1.96 million. That’s a lot of people and a lot of money for a council in a serious cash bind.

It says:

‘The full cost of this establishment is £1.96 million with a direct cost to revenue of £0.15m. The remaining £1.81m is funded through the Government initiative on flexible use of capital receipts, which was introduced in April 2016.’

This rather suggests that we’re only paying £0.15 million and that somehow the Government is paying the rest though its ‘initiative’. That’s not the case. This ‘initiative’ simply allows councils to use money from capital to fund transformation related revenue costs. In CCC’s case this is achieved by rephasing something called the ‘minimum revenue provision’. That’s the money we put aside to cover debt repayments and it’s a bit like changing your mortgage repayments. So it is our money, just different money.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this. It behoves the council to be smart in using whatever money it can get its hands on. What is perhaps questionable is the amount that it’s channeling in the direction of the transformation team. And note this is the cost of the team we’re talking about not the cost of effecting the transformation itself.

The members of the team are generally young, highly motivated, very intelligent people. They bring fresh ideas because in the main they don’t come from a council background. Certainly you’ve got to think that such people can bring new ways of thinking and add value. But 38 of them?

Click here for a copy of the complete response. It’s question 4 on page 3.

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