Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday 20th June 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

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

Items
No. Item

43.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN

To note that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 21 May 2018, Councillor

N. Pace was appointed Chairman and Councillor S. Markiewicz Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2018-2019.

Minutes:

It was noted that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 21 May 2018, Councillor N. Pace was appointed Chairman and Councillor S. Markiewicz Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2018-2019.

44.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

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

 

Minutes:

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

 

Councillor S. Thusu for S. Markiewicz

 

45.

APOLOGIES

To note any apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S. Markiewicz.

46.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2018 (previously circulated).

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

47.

ACTIONS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 22 February 2018 in the report of the Corporate Director (Resources Environment and Cultural Services) was noted.

48.

SOPRA STERIA CONTRACT MONITORING 2017-2018 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which provided the Committee with 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.

 

The overall performance has been good since the commencement of the partnership despite the period of economic uncertainty that the Authority had gone through and the welfare reform changes which impacted on performance.

 

Performance for some of the key performance indicators for Quarter 4, January 2018 to March 2018; shown in Appendix A.

 

The Officer explained that the key performance indicators (PIs) for Quarter 4 had been very good with 10 out of 12 PIs being ahead of target.  The collection of both Council Tax and business rates was ahead of target, with business rates particularly high and the processing of new benefit claims was also ahead of target.

 

The contact centre performance was slightly below a challenging target but above the figure reported for the corresponding quarter last year and reflected a return to normal staffing levels.  The Reception service performance was back on target.

 

A question was raised in respect of monitoring enforcement officers.  Officers explained that if a complaint was received this would be looked into and there is also a Service Level Agreement which must be adhered to.

 

Members queried the old debts as some of these were nearly 20 years old and Officers advised that there was no power to write off bad debt until the person/business was declared bankrupt or absconded, and on a lot of old debts small payment amounts continue to be made.

 

            RESOLVED

 

            That the report be noted.

 

49.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report of the Corporate 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 Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and a presentation on the performance indicator data collected for those services the fell within its remit.  It also provided Quarter 4 and Annual data for 2017/2018 along with comparative information.  The presentation showed the performance indicators that Directors, Heads of Service and Portfolio Holders had agreed for collection and reporting for the new financial year. Taken together, the report and presentation enabled the Committee to identify which of the Council’s services were improving, not improving or remained the same in their key performance areas.  Service comments were also included to explain the performance shown, along with any further action needed.

 

It was agreed to remove the first line from the PI 1, as it was not appropriate.

 

A question was raised in respect of PI 44 in respect of the percentage of responses made to all Freedom of Information Act requests within the statutory deadline of 20 days – the 20 day deadline equating to 83.6% being responded to in time.  It was agreed that further information be provided to Committee Members.

 

            RESOLVED

 

1)    The Committee note the performance indicator data collected and reported:

 

2)    Discuss and agree any feedback to be provided to the Service Teams on the trends shown in these performance indicators.

 

50.

COMPLAINTS MONITORING REPORT 2017-2018 pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) informing Members of the type and number of complaints reported on LAGAN during 2017-2018.  Also included in the report is demographic data on the profile of customers who have made a complaint about a Council service over this period.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which informed the Committee about the number and type of complaints reported on LAGAN during 2017-18.  Also included in the report was demographic data on the profile of customers who had made a complaint about a Council Service for this period.

 

Members considered the data provided and commented on the increase of complaints received.  The Officer explained that not all of the logged complaints were justified and gave an example of a situation – e.g. the cinema being too noisy.  Another reason for the increase of complaints was the ease of putting in a complaint via e-forms.  It was agreed that every complaint did provide feedback to the service area and was seen a learning opportunity.

 

The report noted that each customer who made a comment, complaint or compliment was asked to complete a diversity monitoring form and this provided information on the four equality groups – gender, disability, age and ethnicity.  The Council did not report on religion or sexual orientation.  Members were pleased with the information provided on the areas that most complaints were related too.  The Chair clarified that this Committee dealt with the financial aspects and scrutiny questions were not appropriate.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Committee notes the contents of the report.

 

51.

FINANCIAL OUTTURN REPORT 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which presents the General Revenue Fund (GRF), Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Capital Programme outturn positions as at the end of the financial year 2017/18.  These reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 5 June 2018 and are attached to this summary report.  The Cabinet reports analyse the reasons for changes between the current budget and projected outturn.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services), which presented the General Revenue Fund (GRF), Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Capital Programme outturn positions as at the end of the financial year 2017/18.  These reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 5 June 2018 and were attached to the report.  The Cabinet reports analysed the reasons for changes between the current budget and projected outturn.

 

The contribution to the General Fund working balance was £0.470m.  There have been a number of changes to the forecast since the budget was set, which were set out within the attached Revenue Budget Quarter 4 monitoring report.  The Officers explained that with regards to the Capital budget at Quarter 4, the current approved budget was £55.426m which included rolled forward budget from 2016/2017 of £10.597m.  The outturn was £35.516m.  The Cabinet report provided a summary of the outturn on a scheme by scheme basis, a breakdown of the funding to be applied and the extent to which the Council had internally borrowed.  At Quarter 4, the deficit on the HRA decreased by £0.647m from Quarter 3, to £4.157m.  The reasons for the variance between current budget and forecast outturn were detailed in the section 4 of the revenue report together with a summary of the HRA in Appendix D.  Members commented on the variances and stated that these were respectable.

 

Members were advised that the figures were set at the time when the budget was agreed and on occasions projects can take up to two years and therefore this appears as an underspend but the funds would be rolled forward.  Further clarification was provided on £113k Grant Funding, which was favourable and had been moved to earmarked reserves.  Members questioned the monies relating to the Local Plan and Officers advised that these funds would be utilised during 2018/2019 financial year. 

 

Members inquired about the grant funding received as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act to help meet the requirements of the new legislation. It was noted that due to the timing of the grants these funds would be used fully in the coming year.

 

 

 

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

 

·         Projects delayed – Bereavement Services, Property Investment and Splashland. Officers advised that projects were moving forward and some projects going beyond one year.

·         Clarification was sought on the approvals and how these worked in the public sector compared to the private sector accounting.

·         Comments were made in respect of borrowing for the property investment and the proposed reduction in cash flow.

·         Members were advised that there were measures in place to monitor the forecast and the Council was aware of the postponements relating to projects.

·         Officers explained that the Council needed to spend the retained right to buy receipts for replacement of affordable housing.  Following the review during the year it was identified that the Council would need to increase spend during 2017/2018 to ensure that receipts were not returned to the Government.  Members were advised that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2018/2019 pdf icon PDF 50 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:

The work programme for 2018/2019 was noted.