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Agenda item

Scrutiny Review - Partners Improvement ( HR and Digital Services)


Jon Cumming, Director of Digital Services was present for discussion of this item and made a presentation to the Committee. Rob Willis, Law and Governance was also present, and made a presentation to the Committee


During consideration of the presentation the following main points were made –


Digital Services


·         Aim of the project is to migrate the records and data from Partner organisations into the equivalent systems in LBI by 4 April 2022 – United Living for Gas, Rydon for repairs, Hyde for management of service charges

·         Provision for incoming staff with Islington IT equipment

·         It is important to ensure the systems accommodate the growth in transactions with no loss of performance. The key PFI contract end date is the 4 April 2022 but need to factor in other significant dates and allow for a long run up

·         Digital services recognises the importance of this project to the Council, the PFI2 partners and particularly residents. Dedicated resource in the form of a project manager and a data analyst has been provided. In addition technical specialists will be working with the vendor community to ensure a successful transition

·         Members were advised of the Data migration conceptual plan timeline and the high level summary of data matching activity

·         A number of challenges were highlighted, the issue of time drift where data captured by Partners has drifted from LBI roots over 15 years. Contractual end terms – PFI2 contract requirements for data are dated and do not include enforceable standards for repatriation. Partners are working with Digital Services to deliver a good standard of data transfer

·         Digital Services is confident that the system data will be in place by time of transition. There are concerns about how some scanned documents within the repairs system are stored and how easily they can be migrated into Council IT systems, and linked to the right property. Members were advised that although these are mainly historic documents, which should not affect ongoing repairs, it would be useful to still track back on specific property issues. Will need to split scanned documents with tenancy files to support information and storage and access standards. This restructuring will require manual work over some time

·         Meeting was informed of the progress so far, that it has successfully engaged key internal and external stakeholders and communicated key data items and documents identified to Partners and begun work to transfer these into Council core systems. Universal property number identified as the key latching point against which all data and documents required from external partners should be indexed to facilitate loading. Commitments have been obtained from Partners against LBI timescales and details of their plans to achieve this within the stated timescale have been provided by some of the Partner sub-contractors

·         Initial test data has been received from United Gas repairs and reviewed by Digital Services

·         Resource Planning – consultancy days with the providers of LBI core systems, to prepare the systems for bulk loading. Additional capacity and new servers, staff to assist with data and document loads/testing to match and process unstructured documents, separation of amalgamated documents and e-filing of the separated documents. Key unknown will be need to be resolved in the coming months – how to separate historic/closed data versus live data, dynamic loading and processing of active cases into Council systems, completion of overdue clarifications from Partners regarding record types and volumes, to allow the technical Solution Design to be completed

·         Summary – Digital Services component on track and progressing on schedule, highest priority of the Leadership team recognising importance to the Council and residents, merging 3 sets of data into a fourth will be challenging, and will require compromise. Will retain everything in case of emergency there will always be the information ‘haystack’. Systems are perfectly capable of scaling to meet the load and will take expert advice. Data migrations are never easy and understanding the data is as important as transferring it. Success will come from the strong collaboration between Digital Services, Housing staff and Partners

·         Discussion took place as to the data to be inputted onto the system, and it was stated that housing staff would be involved in the process to ensure the relevant data was inputted

·         In response to a question it was stated that there was a recovery plan in  place if the migration to the new system developed problems during migration, and a large amount of testing took place prior to migration

·         In relation to data that needed to be provided on gas safety checks arrangement were in place to ensure regulations were complied with




·         What is a TUPE transfer – happens when an organisation, or part of it is transferred from one employer to another or a service is transferred to a new provider for the same client – a service performed in-house is contracted out, an already contracted out service is moved to a new contractor, a contracted service is taken back in-house

·         Protection of Employees – Employees automatically transfer to a new employer, transfer is on existing terms and conditions, treated as if an employee of the new employer since their contracts of employment started, transfer of accrued rights, pension rights – additional protection under separate legislative provisions, employees can object to a transfer in which case they will be treated as resigning and will not transfer, employer cannot choose who transfers

·         Preparing for transfer – identify who will transfer, inform and consult with recognised trade unions or elected representatives about the transfer and any measures – measures are changes to working practices, compensation of up to 13 weeks gross pay for each employee for failures

·         Provision of Employee liability information, new employer needs to plan for incoming employees to minimise disruption, good practice considerations – induction and orienteering, equipment and working areas check, training needs

·         Employee Liability information – identities of transferring employees, terms and conditions of employment, information on any disciplinary procedure or grievance procedure within the previous 2 years, information on any legal action, information about any collective agreement

·         Changing terms of employment – TUPE protects against changes to employment terms and conditions and harmonisation unless improves terms and conditions. Cannot amend terms of employment to the detriment of employees if the sole or principal reason is the transfer. Cannot dismiss employees where the sole or principal reason is the transfer. There is limited scope to vary terms of employment or dismiss transferring employees where there is an economical, technical or organisational change in the workforce. Economic, technical or organisational change reasons – must be a change in the workforce, for example a restructuring or redundancies

·         Noted that discussions would be taking place with Trade Unions on the transfer, and it was expected that about 35 staff would transfer over. However details of which staff transferring were not yet available, however Members could be updated on this when available





                       The Chair thanked Jon Cummings and Rob Willis for attending

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