Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 13th September 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber , Campus East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE. View directions

Contact: Suzanne Hulks 

No. Item



To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on XX XXX XXXX (previously circulated).



The minutes of the meeting held on 18 July 2016 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Report of the Director (Governance) on the status of actions agreed at the last meeting of this Committee/Board/Panel.



Members received a verbal update on the actions identified at the last meeting.




Report of the Director (Finance and Operations) which provides Members with an analysis of the service performance for Sopra Steria.

Additional documents:


Members received a report from the Director (Finance and Operations) which provided information on the Sopra Steria performance for Period 1 of 2016/17.  All targets had been met or exceeded.  The speed in which benefit claims were processed was the second quickest in Hertfordshire.


Members queried what innovative solutions Sopra Steria had recently suggested.  They were told that there had been nothing earth-shattering but there would be some efficiency savings through changes to working practices.


Members asked who was involved in the regular meetings held with Sopra Steria.  They were informed that meetings took place on a weekly basis with senior officers and monthly contractual meetings with management. The relevant Executive Member was kept updated.


Members commented that the targets had not changed and they were informed that targets had to be agreed by both the Council and Sopra Steria.  They were reviewed regularly, but not always changed as they were already challenging and needed to remain achievable.


Members asked for a breakdown of the severity level 1 incidents compared to those for 2, 3 and 4 so that they could be scrutinised more closely.  This was agreed.




That the report which detailed the achievements against target of Sopra Steria be noted.




Report of the Director (Finance and Operations) which provides the Committee with the performance indicator data for the services that fall within the remit of this Committee.

Additional documents:


Members received a report from the Director (Finance and Operations) which provided information on the performance indicators data for the services within the Committee’s remit.


Members remarked that there were no identified follow-up actions for Performance Indicators 9 and 10.  Officers replied that these indicators were subjective based on residents’ perceptions and, as such it would be difficult to identify an action.  However, as part of the Customer Service Strategy Review, this would be looked into.  A Member asked who he could speak to about this and he was advised to speak to the Cabinet Member.


Members asked who attended the Performance Clinics and they were advised that the Leader, Chief Executive, Cabinet Members and Heads of Service attended.




That the performance indicators data in the report be noted.




Report of the Director (Finance and Operations) which presents the revenue, capital and HRA monitoring position as at the end of June 2016.

Additional documents:


Members received a report from the Director (Finance and Operations) which provided them with the monitoring position of the revenue, capital and housing revenue account (HRA) budgets as at the end of June 2016 (month 3).


It was noted that the £24M in the HRA relating to the revaluation gain did not affect the bottom line as it showed in both parts of the operating account.


Members asked why there had been an increase in the HRA balance and it was explained that there had been funds carried forward as some of the schemes had not been completed as soon as anticipated.


Members asked how much was written off each year in uncollected debts.  Officers agreed to circulate this information.


It was noted that there was an amount outstanding of £12,900 in respect of car loans.  Tighter controls have been put into place to ensure collection of loans when an employee left the Council.


Officers agreed to provide more information regarding the garages in the General Fund and how this was impacted by the transfer between the Housing Trust and the Council.


Members asked for an explanation of what was involved in recharge work.  It was explained that a property would be repaired and then a claim would be made to the insurers.


It was noted that Serco had made savings of £129,000 which it was thought was commendable.


Members asked for information on the process for collecting debt.  It was explained that the process would be different for different types of debt but that there would be reminder letters prior to enforcement.  Sundry debt included such things as fees and charges, garage rents and other ad-hoc debts.  It was agreed that information could be provided in the reports of the debt write-off year to date.


Members asked for clarification of the phrase “alternative finance modelling” and they were advised that it was a County Council phrase for the distribution of money when landfill had reduced.


Members expressed concern about some of the figures reported for Campus West.  They were informed that the Campus West Cabinet Panel had been re-formed to monitor the work and Social Overview and Scrutiny Committee also received reports on a regular basis.


Several issues were raised and Members were advised to approach their group representative on either the Panel or Committee to raise them at those meetings.


Members asked about the current situation of Splashlands and were advised that there had been a Splashlands Board meeting in August 2016 and an update could be requested from the Board members.


It was agreed that details of the number of companies who had tendered for the bereavement services contract would be provided to Members.


It was agreed that where questions were raised at meetings which did not fall within the remit of the Committee, these would be highlighted by way of the Minutes so that answers could be provided by the right group.


It was also thought that members of the various Panels or Procurement Boards or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.



The pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme has been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place.  Items which the Committee agrees it would like to consider will be scheduled into the work programme.


The work programme for 2016/17 was agreed.



To consider


1.    Whether any Cabinet decisions should be scrutinised post-implementation (Paragraph 14.1 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules)


2.    Whether any items which relate to areas covered by the Committee which a member of the Committee may wish to raise with a view to deciding whether an issue should be scrutinised.


The Administration and Opposition Groups each have the right within the Municipal Year to have one scrutiny topic referred to a Sub-Committee.


Where the Committee decides an issue should be scrutinised, a scrutiny Sub-Committee should be appointed to carry out the specific piece of scrutiny work (Paragraph 6.3 of the Procedure for the Operation of the Overview and Scrutiny Function).


No items were put forward for Scrutiny.


It was noted that, should Members have concerns about Campus West, they could raise these with the Campus West Cabinet Panel.