Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Thursday, 24 January 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Time Square, Market Street, Bracknell, RG12 1JD. View directions

Contact: Kirsty Hunt  01344 353108

Items
Note No. Item

None

33.

Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute Members.

Minutes:

Councillor Thompson was substituting for Councillor Allen.

None

34.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 225 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 15 November 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 15 November 2018 be approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.

 

The Chairman extend his thanks for the extremely comprehensive and well written minutes from the last meeting as it had been a mobile and interactive environment.

 

Responses to all of the queries and requests for information raised in the meeting had been received or formed part of the agenda.

None

35.

Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests and the nature of that interest, including the existence and nature of the party whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Any Member with an Affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs McCracken declared a personal interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Resources and Public Protection.

 

There were no indications that members would be participating while under the party whip.

None

36.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

37.

Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

No submissions had been made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

38.

The Councils Budget Consultation pdf icon PDF 281 KB

To consider the Council’s draft budget proposals for 2019/20:

 

a)    Resources (Finance, OD, Transformation and HR), Chief Executive’s Office and Council Wide draft budget proposals.

b)    Feedback from Overview and Scrutiny Panels and overall conclusions.

 

Feedback from Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel on the 15 January 2019 to be circulated as a supplementary due to the timing of the meeting.

 

Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Chairman of any questions relating to the draft budget consultation in advance of the meeting.

 

Please use the page numbering that appears in the published agenda when asking questions or referencing material rather than the numbering in the full budget packs as internal colleagues have not had the full budget packs.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission considered a report that set out draft budget proposals for 2019/20. It was reported that the Executive would be considering all representations made at its meeting on 12 February 2019, before recommending the budget to Council.

 

The Director: Finance updated the Commission and made the following points:

 

  • The financial settlement had been received late due to Brexit which had impacted the budget planning as the settlement had not been received when the budget papers were published in December.
  • The report highlighted a number of pressures and transformational savings.
  • The directorate restructure, which had been undertaken in September 2018, no longer matched the O&S structure, therefore many of budget items  that historically would have been reviewed at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission under the old resources directorate had been reviewed at the Environment, Culture and Communities O&S Panel.
  • The report to the Commission covered the whole budget but also specifically looked at items in regards to Finance & OD, Transformation and HR.

In response to the Members’ comments and questions, the following points were made:

  • The recent announcement made in regards to the relocation of Vodafone was a potential risk to the 2019/20 budget. It had been recorded on the Corporate Risk register as the impact would by high, but the current likelihood was low. The time scales for the relocation were currently unknown however if the relocation happened at the start of the financial year there would be a significant impact on the budget, however if it was a shorter period of the year the financial impact wouldn’t be as significant. As the Council was part of the Berkshire Business Rate pilot, the County as whole would receive income from Vodafone as they would be relocating the Newbury area, so this did give a level of protection.
  • New homes bonuses was an area that the council should be looking at as a significant number of houses were being built.
  • The fees and charges were formulated through a tried and tested process. The aim was to ensure that the charge covered the cost of delivering the service. However some of the fees and charges did have further limitations such as pre-set charges set by the government, or services that could be delivered in the market place, so there was a need for the charge to be competitive. There were yearly increases which were inline with inflation; this could be 3/4/5%, the increase helped with the overall budget.
  • Business Partners worked with directorates on a case by case basis to ensure the fees were set at the correct level.
  • The setting of some fees were out of the Council’s control, such as planning which was prescriptive and social care, as an element was set by Government. The majority however, were at the Council’s discretion.
  • At Environment, Culture and Communities O&S Panel, held on the 8 January 2019, Members had queried the proposed increase in the change for transferring a Hackney Carriage vehicle to a new owner. It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the second quarter of 2018/19 (July to September) relating to the Resources Directorate.  An update on key issues relating to the second quarter will be provided at the meeting.

 

Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Overview and Scrutiny Team of any questions relating to the Quarterly Service Report where possible

 

Minutes:

The Commission considered the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the second quarter of 2018/19 (July to September) relating to the Delivery Directorate.

 

The interim Executive Director: Delivery, commented that her commentary seemed along time ago as considerable changes had occurred since the second quarter, such as the directorate restructure.

 

Members raised concerns about changes of payment method. The interim Executive Director: Delivery gave reassurance that in circumstances where a resident could only pay by cheque, that this would continue. Every resident who had paid for transactions with cash and cheque had been written too and the response so far had been positive.  

 

None

40.

Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions of a corporate nature.

Minutes:

Members received and noted the scheduled Key and Non-Key Executive Decisions of a corporate nature.

None

41.

Work Programme and Panel Activity Update pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To note the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission noted the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.

 

Councillor Harrison, Chairman of  the Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel commented that an additional panel meeting was being help in February to scrutinise why the local CCG would not be providing an item of equipment for sufferers of diabetes. Flash testing was being undertaken nationally but the equipment was not been made available by the local CCG. As this decision had been taken locally, Members from the CCG would be attending the additional meeting which would allow the panel to investigate and understand the reasoning for why this was not being offered locally.  

 

Councillor Brossard, Chairman of the Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) Working Group gave an update to the Commission on the progress of the Working Group to date. So far five meetings had been held, however the process had been stop/start due to changes of staff.  In the past week a  productive meeting had been held with a letting agent from  Prospect, as they had a number of  HMOs in their portfolio. Prospect had been selective in their approach to attract the best HMOs as some were not well managed.  The next meeting would be with an HMO landlord in order to help understand the process for an applicant and  how security, fire and health and safety arrangements were provided. Councillor Brossard stated that this was uncharted waters for the Working Group who were learning as the meetings went along. It was estimated that the working group was within one meeting of wrapping up  and the final report would be shared with the panel.

 

Councillor Brossard thanked his fellow Members for their support throughout the Working Group.

 

 

42.

Exclusion of Public and Press

To consider the following motion:

 

That pursuant to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, and having regard to the public interest, members of the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the consideration of the following item which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information under the following category of Schedule 12A of that Act:

 

(1)        Information relating to any individual  (Item 11).

Minutes:

RESOLVED that pursuant to Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, and having regard to the public interest, members of the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the consideration of the following item which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information under the following category of Schedule 12A of that Act:

 

(1)        Information relating to any individual  (Item 11 ).

43.

Update on the Outcomes of the Retention and Recruitment Workshop

Nikki Gibbons, Director: OD, Transformation and HR to provide an update to the Commission on the outcomes of the recruitment and retention workshop.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nikki Gibbons, Director: OD, Transformation and HR was invited to the Commission to provide an update on the outcome of the retention and recruitment workshop which had been requested by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in 2018 in order to review the problems facing the Council in recruitment and retention of staff.

 

The Director: OD, Transformation and HR gave an overview presentation which focused on a number of issues that had been looked at and the key priority areas.

 

As the item was heard under the Exclusion of public and press, it was requested that the presentation be circulated to Members of the Commission.

 

(ACTION: Hannah Stevenson to circulate presentation to Members.)

 

As a result of Members comments and questions, the following points were made:

 

  • There was a sense of satisfaction with Members that the issues in the presentation were the ones raised at the workshop which was very gratifying.
  • The reasons why staff were leaving had been recorded in data sets. The trends had been identified and the turnover had increased, which was to be expected and not necessarily a bad thing as the percentage was still below the national average and the Council was undergoing a Transformation Programme.
  • A staff social club was still in existence, it was so successful that it was self run across the Council. The events were often sold out, with waiting lists to get onto events.
  • A healthy turnover was needed for an organisation to prevent the organisation from becoming stagnant and create movement and career opportunities.
  • Career pathways across the Council were being created and there was investment was being made to develop Managers.
  • The employment rate was high in Bracknell, indeed also in the South East and it was a very competitive labour market with some job roles being difficult to fill due to having to compete with the private sector and being located near to London. This was an area which needs to be kept under continuous review to remain competitive.
  • Transferable skills were being developed across the Council, an example of this was in the Transformation Team were there was a continuous pool of staff being trained and supported to become project managers on a secondment basis.
  • In each staff members annual performance appraisal there was a section about personal development. All staff also had access to the development module and were able to create their own plan. Staff were encouraged to self-serve and take ownership of their own personal development
  • There was strong, robust performance management in place.
  • There were often secondment opportunities available across the Council.
  • There is a continuous risk that staff with in the Social Care area could leave. In order to mitigate this a review of some retention payments had been undertaken and agreed by the Employment Committee last year.
  • A staff survey was under taken every three years which was undertaken by an external company and all responses were anonymous. In addition a pulse survey was also being planned to ask specific questions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.