Agenda and draft minutes

Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 18th June 2019 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Gurdip Paddan 

Items
No. Item

1.

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN

To note that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2019, Councillor S. Markiewicz was appointed Chairman and Councillor G. Michaelides Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2019-2020.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that at the Annual Council Meeting held on 20 May 2019, Councillor S. Markiewicz was appointed Chairman and Councillor G. Michaelides Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year 2019-2020.

 

2.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

Minutes:

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

 

Councillor J. Caliskan for H. Quenet

Councillor H. Bower for S. Thusu

 

3.

APOLOGIES

To note any apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors H. Quenet and S. Thusu.

 

4.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 March 2019 (previously circulated).

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 March 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

5.

ACTIONS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 18 March 2019 in the report of the Corporate Director (Resources Environment and Cultural Services) was noted.

 

6.

SOPRA STERIA CONTRACT MONITORING 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 117 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 was reported as being good since the commencement of the partnership despite the period of economic uncertainty the Council had gone through and the welfare reform changes which have impacted on performance.

 

It was noted that only one Performance Indicator in Quarter 4 had been missed; NNDR, this was due to a large organisation who paid in April 2019.  If payment had been on time the collection target would have been exceeded.

 

Members questioned Officers on a number of aspects of the report including:

 

1.    What support was available to people facing hardship due to the delay in Universal Credit payments?  Officers explained that the Council worked closely with Citizens Advice and financial assistance/support was available from Money Advice and the Council. Officers advised that help was available to residents via the Discretionary Housing Payment fund. It was agreed that information would be circulated on how the two organisation work together.  Information to be circulated to Members.

2.    The Council Tax Arrears and Enforcement Agent data was considered and Members queried the 15.15% for 2018/19.  A question was raised on how much is deducted from residents’ income to pay debts.  It was clarified that it was not possible to deduct random amounts; residents pay a statutory fee of £75.00 to the Enforcement Agents. 

3.    Concern was expressed in terms of actual finance resource required for families to live on to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

4.    Members were advised that there had been some dips in the figures due to staff sickness etc.  These should now improve with full complement of staff.

 

            RESOLVED

 

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

 

7.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR REPORT pdf icon PDF 126 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 2018/2019 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.

 

·         PI 5 – At the previous meeting Members requested that additional information be provided on sickness absence levels.  Following consideration of the number of employee working days lost due to sickness absence.  The Officer reported the following:

 

Q3 17/18   stress 22.5 % absences                      total 169 days

 

Q3 18/19   stress 22.5%                           total 189 days

 

The period from April 18 to March 19:

 

23 employees had absences for stress related reasons totalling 613 days and

23 employees was slightly less than 0.5% of the workforce.

 

Members noted that 12 employees were on long term absences over 20 days, length of absence ranged from 1 day to 87 days.

 

11 employees stated work related reasons

1 both work and home and

11 personal stress

 

7 of the 23 have subsequently left (or are about to leave) the authority

 

Support available:           Employee assistance programme, including counselling

                                           Occupation health advice

                                           Mental health champions

                                           Access to work

 

·         PI 59 – Occupancy levels of garages units was discussed and questions were raised in terms of use of garages for storage and future plans for garage sites.  Officers explained that the garages were being maintained and applications being processed quickly to increase occupancy.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Resources and Overview Committee note the performance indicator data collected and reported.

 

To discuss and agree any feedback to be provided to the service teams on the trends shown in these performance indicators.

 

8.

REVENUE & CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING 2018/19 - FINAL OUTTURN pdf icon PDF 101 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 2018/19. These reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 4 June 2019 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:

Members considered the report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) on the revenue and capital budget monitoring 2018/19 – Final outturn.  The purpose of the report was to present the General Revenue Fund (GRF), Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Capital Programme outturn positions as at the end of the financial year 2018/19.  These reports were presented and discussed at the Cabinet meeting on the 4 June 2019 and were attached to the summary report.  The Cabinet reports analyse the reasons for changes between the current budget and projected outturn.

 

Members raised questions and sought clarification on the following:

 

1.    How is the £1.060m and £1.125m made up?  A breakdown of the one off variances to be provided to the Committee.

2.    In terms of temporary accommodation, what steps have been taken to eliminate reliance on bed and breakfast in 2019/20?

3.    Why was £46k allocated for air quality monitoring equipment not utilised in 2018/19?

4.    A discussion ensued on the use and importance of having CCTV and why has there been a delay in improvement and installation of CCTV for public safety. 

5.    Members were advised that the Campus West website would be launched this autumn – Oct/Nov.

6.    A question was raised in respect of the disabled facilities grants currently held in the budget. An Officer explained that due to having received funds from Government at the end of the financial year the funds have been illustrated in the re-phasing budget.

7.    Questions were raised in respect of Queensway House refurbishment works.

8.    Potential risks being faced by Members and Officer in terms of lone/late working on Council business. 

9.    Members commented on the refurbished of play equipment which has been well received.

 

Post Minute Note: All the information requested above has been circulated to Members.

 

9.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2019/20 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:

The work programme for 2019/2020 was noted.

 

Members were reminded that if there were any items that they wished to consider, these could be added to the Committee’s work programme.