Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday 17th July 2017

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

Contact: Gurdip Paddan 01707 357349 Email: democracy@welhat.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN

To note that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 22 May 2017, Councillor N Pace was appointed Chairman and Councillor J Boulton Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2017-2018.

Minutes:

It was noted that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 22 May 2017, Councillor N. Pace was appointed Chairman and Councillor J. Boulton Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2017-2018.

 

2.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

To note any substitution of Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22.

 

Minutes:

The following substitution of Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22:

 

Councillor K. Holman for G. Michaelides

 

Councillor P. Mabbott for S. Markiewicz

 

3.

APOLOGIES

To note any apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G. Michaelides and

S. Markiewicz.

4.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2017 (previously circulated).

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

5.

ACTIONS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

Members received an update on the actions identified at the meeting held on 22 February 2017, including the figures in respect of cremations at the crematorium.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

6.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

7.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME AND PETITIONS

Up to fifteen minutes will be made available for questions from members of the public on issues relating to the work of the Committee and to receive any petitions.

Minutes:

There were no public questions or petitions.

8.

SOPRA STERIA CONTRACT MONITORING 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) providing information on the performance of Sopra Steria against key performance indicators.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which provided information on an analysis of the service performance for Sopra Steria against contractual key performance indicators and service level targets for benefits, council tax, business rates, Information Communication Technology (ICT), contact centre, reception and switchboard.

 

It was noted that performance had been good since the commencement of the partnership despite the period of economic uncertainty that has been undertaken, staff shortages and the welfare reform changes which have all impacted on performance.

 

The key performance indicators for Quarter 4, January 2017 to March 2017 were shown in Appendix A, attached to the report.  Enforcement Agent data was shown in Appendix B, attached to the report. 

 

Members sought clarification on the recovery action and cases to Enforcement Agents, as the figures appeared too high as illustrated in Appendix B and the Officer explained that when people have either not paid the debt in full or are not adhering to an agreed repayment plan made with the Council Tax team then reminders and summons are sent out before Enforcement Agents are engaged for further recovery action, and this also applied to business rate arrears.  Officers explained that people can have two reminders before court action is taken. 

 

Members noted that collection of business rates was below target.  This was partially due to more businesses paying over 12 months rather than 10 and spreading their payments across the whole year. Council Tax collection was ahead of target but slightly down on the previous year.  This may have been due to the welfare reform changes and particularly the benefit cap which has reduced income in a number of households.

 

Members enquired whether there was any learning outcome following the recent ransomware strain.  They were informed how important it was to keep our IT network up to date and that the up to date installation of patches had helped protect our network. 

 

Members asked about comparable data and how we measured ourselves against other Councils.  It was noted that Luton was used as a benchmark because of their in-house debt recovery agents. The Council has conformed to high standards and inspired to be the best.

 

Members requested information on the availability of Wi-Fi coverage across the Council’s sites.  The Client Support Services Manager indicated that he did not have that information to hand but that he would provide a written response to Members of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

9.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) which provides information on the Performance Indicators for the services that fall within the remit of this committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), with an accompanying presentation which provided the Committee with the performance indicator data collected for those services that fall within its remit. 

 

Members asked for more information on the Satisfaction Survey which Serco undertook on behalf of the Council.  It was noted that this information had been requested at the last meeting.  Further clarification was being sought on whether there were actual 350 responses where data could be analysed (PI9) to provide the information requested and whether an independent party could be appointed to carry out further analysis.  Members also referred to the type of questions asked, whether these were yes/no type; were mostly based on environmental issues or general questions?  The Executive Member for Resources suggested finding out what could be done to review the survey process and questions.

 

Following the review of the PI5 in respect of employee working days lost due to sickness absence; Members asked about the 48% long term absences and the Officer explained that 48% of the absences in that period  were considered long term (20 or more consecutive days of sick absence).

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted together with the performance indicator data for the services within its remit.

 

10.

COMPLAINTS MONITORING REPORT 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) informing Members of the type and number of complaints reported on Lagan during 2016-2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) was considered which provided the number and type of complaints reported on LAGAN during 2016-17.  Included within the report was the demographic data on the profile of customers who had made a complaint about a Council service over this period.

 

Clarification was sought in respect of the chart at 1.1 in Appendix A which showed the total number of comments, complaints and compliment received through LAGAN over the last three years. It was agreed that the figures be reviewed and an updated version be circulated.

 

Member asked about the breakdown of justified and unjustified complaints once a case has been investigated and how many of the 53% who felt the outcome of their complaint was poor. Information to be circulated to Members regarding the justified and unjustified complaints before the next meeting. Members further enquired why things had not improved in relation to the complaints that have been investigated and justified.  Officers explained that sometimes this was due to the complainant not receiving the response that they intended to hear and therefore remain dissatisfied.

 

A question was asked whether it was the same people making repeat complaints.  Also whether any complainants had been compensated.  The Officers explained that individual names could not be circulated and that complainants in the past have been compensated, for example, bank charges reimbursed.

 

Members asked whether data in respect of complaints could be broken down to ward by ward and be fed to councillors to follow up.  Also whether it would be possible for councillor information to be included within the complaints satisfaction survey form, as a tick box for the complainant to authorise that their information and complaint be shared with a councillor.  Officers explained that it would not be possible to share such information due to data protection legislation and that resident’s data could not be shared with individual councillors, unless requested to do so by the resident. However, including information on how complainants can contact their local Councillors can be considered as part of the current review of the Customer Services Strategy.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted and the requested information be circulated before the next meeting.

 

11.

FINANCIAL OUTTURN REPORT 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) which provides the outturn information for Revenue and Capital 2016-2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) which presented the Revenue, Capital and HRA budget monitoring position as at the end of March 2017 (Month 12) for the financial year 2016-17.  These reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 6 June 2017 and were attached to the report.  The Cabinet reports analysed the reasons for changes between the current budget and final outturn.

 

The Officers explained the final net expenditure on the General Fund revenue budget for the year which was £15.792m, which was £804k less than the current budget.  This resulted an increase in the General Fund reserve of £0.357m.  There had been a number of favourable movements since the budget was last reported to Committee at period 9.

 

Members asked about the Planning £113k adverse – reduction in planning fees.  This reduction in income was £267k lower than that achieved last financial year.  Officers explained that planning fees were set by statute but there would be a 20% increase which will help reverse the Planning loss in the future, depending when the Government would allow local authorities to implement the increase.  Clarification was also sought in respect of the General maintenance fund and its knock on effect on properties.  The £31k – increase in bank charges were explained and were being reviewed. Members requested that a copy of the bank charges be circulated.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

12.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

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.

Minutes:

Members received a pro-forma of the work programme for the Committee for 2017-18.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Work Programme be noted and that meeting scheduled for 18 January 2018 to commence at 7pm.

13.

CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS FOR SCRUTINY

Minutes:

Members were asked to notify the Chairman of any items that they felt that they should identify decisions made by Cabinet which would be suitable for scrutiny.