Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday 18th March 2019 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Gurdip Paddan 

Items
No. Item

73.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 (previously circulated).

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

74.

SOPRA STERIA CONTRACT PERFORMANCE - 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment & Cultural Services) which provides Members with analysis of the service performance for Sopra Steria against contractual key performance indicators.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) which provided Members 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 had been good since the commencement of the partnership despite the period of economic uncertainty that the Council had gone through and the welfare freeform changes which had impacted on performance.  Performance for some of the key performance indicators for Quarter 3, October 2018 to December 2018 were shown in Appendix A attached to the report.

 

The Officer explained the Sopra Steria Q3 Performance Indicators and it was noted that the IT Severity level 1 incidents completed did not meet the target, this has been due to an incident whereby a call was dealt with and did not meet the four hour target.

 

In terms of the Revenues and Benefits section NNDR was ahead of target but council tax collection slightly missed the target; it was noted that this was due to increase in correspondence.   Members raised the question of help available to the public in respect of arrears.  Officers explained that help was available via universal credit and advice from Citizen Advice Bureau.  Members were advised that there is support available via the Hardship Council Tax fund and discretionary housing payments.

 

A question was raised in terms of number of cases involving bailiffs and would it be possible to see the trends and if this information could be tabled at the next meeting or in September.  The Officer explained that there were plans in place to provide this.

 

            RESOLVED

 

That Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the contents of the report.

 

75.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR REPORT pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) which provides the Committee with the performance indicator data for the services within its remit.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and the accompanying presentation provided the Committee with key performance indicator data collected for those services that fell within its remit.  It provided Quarter 3 along with comparative information.

 

Taken together, the report and presentation enabled the Committee to identify which of the Council’s services were improving, not improving or remaining the same in their key performance areas.  Service comments were also included to explain the performance shown, along with any further action needed.

 

Members commented on the following key performance indicators:

 

1.    PI 5 – number of employee working days lost due to sickness absence.  Members requested that the service comments for PI5 be rephrased to avoid ambiguity.  The Committee thanked officers for bringing comparison with other councils as requested at the previous meeting:

·         Supporting staff in respect of mental health was also raised and discussed. The Head of Resources stated that the percentage referred to in the text was in relation to the long term sickness, and this may only actually relate to a very small percentage of the workforce. They also explained that as a Council mental health is taken seriously and it had strong policies and procedures for managers to support staff and put in action plans to help staff through difficult periods. They also explained that employees have access to occupational health and are offered access to an employee assistance programme. Members expressed there could potentially be more sickness absence recorded as speaking openly becomes normalised and people being empowered to come forward with mental health issues.

·         It was agreed that some more contextual information be provided on sickness absence levels.

·         Sickness absence comparison rate by larger public sector organisations was provided and it was noted that no data was available for 2017.

 

2.    PI 60 – Commercial and retail unit occupancy levels.  Occupancy rates across the Council’s commercial and community estate portfolio remains extremely strong and above target for Quarter 3.  It was noted that there were a number of properties vacant and one property had been excluded due the re-development plans.  It was agreed that a list of vacant properties be provided to the Committee.  Post Minute Note:  this has since been circulated to the Committee.

 

            RESOLVED

 

1.    That the performance indicator data collected and reported be noted.

 

2.    That the discussion and agreement on any feedback be provided to the Council’s Service Teams on the trends shown in these performance indicators.

 

76.

REVENUE & CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING AT 31 DECEMBER 2019 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment & Cultural Services) which presents the revenue and capital budget monitoring position as at the end of December 2018 (Period 9).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the Revenue and Capital Budget monitoring at 31 December 2018 for the financial year 2018/19.  The reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 5 February 2019 and were attached to the report.  The Cabinet reports analyse the variances between the current budget and projected outturn.

 

The following points were raised and discussed:

 

·         Noted that at Quarter 3 the forecast year end Housing Revenue Account balance was £2.595m, which was a reduction of £0.870m from that reported at Quarter 2.

·         A Member requested the total cost of merchant services – the cost for 2017/18 was £122k for the year, and an £18k reduction is anticipated through a retendering of the contract.  Post Minute Note: response circulated after meeting. 

·         The Officer clarified the reason for the increase of debtors; the timing of invoicing and collection all contribute to the number of debtors reported.  It was requested that the Head of Resources provide the current number of debtors outstanding. A response was circulated after the meeting, confirming this was made up of 1,845 debtors  Appendix D attached to the report analysed the outstanding debt by age and across services.

·         Cost of car park repairs.  A Member raised the issue of Hunters Bridge car park being demolished/re-developed.  This item will be discussed at Cabinet in April 2019.

·         Further clarification was sought on season tickets being available at Hunters Bridge car park and whether the ANPR was in operation.  It was agreed that information would be provided to Members. A response has since been circulated to Members confirming that season tickets are available, and further marketing/promotion of this would be considered.

·         Capital Scheme progress to date was considered and an observation was made in terms of the Splashlands site information which needed to be updated to reflect the current position and information will be provided to the Committee in the out-turn report. An update to this has been circulated since the meeting.

 

            RESOLVED

 

That the Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee note the Quarter 3 Budget monitoring reports.

 

77.

DRAFT RESOURCES OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT 2018/2019 - REPORT IN ACCORDANCE WITH ARTICLE 6.3(C) OF THE CONSTITUTION pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) sets out the Resources and Overview Scrutiny Committee work this municipal year and makes recommendations for future work programmes for Members to note and consider.

Minutes:

The draft report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) set out the Resources and Overview Scrutiny Committee work over the municipal year 2018/19.   

 

Under Article 6.3(c) of the Constitution, Overview and Scrutiny Committees were to report annually to the Council on their workings and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods if appropriate. The report was in accordance with that requirement.

 

Members approved the draft report in principle and agreed that if any Member had any further observations for inclusion these to be emailed to the report author by 25 March 2019.  The report will be presented to Annual Council on 20 May 2019.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee note the draft Resources Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for the final report to be presented to Annual Council on 20 May 2019.

 

 

78.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 43 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. 

 

A new pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme will be set at its first meeting of the next municipal year.

 

Minutes:

The work programme for 2018/19 be noted.

 

A new pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme for 2019/20 would be set at its first meeting of the new municipal year.