Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 4th March, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, at the Council Offices, Southfields, Loughborough. View directions

Items
No. Item

27.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 3rd December 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed.

28.

Disclosures of Pecuniary and Personal Interests

Minutes:

No disclosures were made.

29.

Declarations - the Party Whip

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

30.

Questions under Scrutiny Committee Procedure 11.16

No questions were submitted.

Minutes:

No questions had been submitted.

31.

Performance Monitoring (Performance Indicators Quarter 3) pdf icon PDF 476 KB

A report of the Strategic Director of Corporate Services providing performance information in respect of the Corporate Plan objectives and key performance indicators within the Committee’s remit (Quarter 3 2019/20).

Minutes:

Considered, a report of the Strategic Director of Corporate Services providing performance information in respect of the Corporate Plan objectives and key performance indicators within the Committee’s remit (item 6 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

Assisting with consideration of the report:Cabinet Lead Member for Transformation, Strategic Director of Corporate Services, Head of Customer Experience, Head of Strategic Support.

 

The Cabinet Lead Member for Equalities, Member and Strategic Services had sent an apology.

 

Summary, key points of discussion (focus on red indicators):

 

(i)      Corporate Performance Objectives Quarter 3 2019/20 (second paragraph, agenda page 14): Noted that significant volume were red or amber.

(ii)     SLE1 – FP (1) (agenda page 17): Chair referred to importance of effective scrutiny of Market Risk Premium (MRP) for commercial property investment moving forward (rate of return).

(iii)    ERM1 – SS (agenda page 18): Committee discussed Emergency Centre Volunteers (Council staff volunteers who had been trained to undertake role, if needed), including that the basis for the target number (50) was unknown due to changes in personnel.  Also discussed, difficulties in securing additional Flood Wardens, some areas not covered despite efforts made.  Councillors best placed to assist this, had been asked to promote, details of which outlined, together with support/training provided to Flood Wardens.  Suggestion that Loughborough University geography students may wish to participate, recognised transient/local knowledge needed.  Further request for assistance from councillors could be made.    

(iv)    ERM5 – CIS (2) (agenda page 19): New Customer Promise.  Awaiting Senior Management approval on new method of collecting customer satisfaction feedback, report programmed for consideration by Senior Management within next 2-4 weeks.

(v)     DES2 – CIS (1) (agenda page 20): Webchat tied in with telephony update, delayed due to significant difficulties with supplier.  Update programmed to go live beginning April 2020, webchat pilot to follow.  Delayed upgrade payment to supplier.  Brief discussion regarding online customer satisfaction, factors influencing, recent performance, plans to possibly measure differently. 

(vi)    DES2 = CIS (2) (agenda page 21): Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system included self-service portal, not live.  Number of technical issues, increasingly cost prohibitive, Council may go out to market for better value.  Confirmed that more meaningful measure for increase of services online in Corporate Delivery Plan 2020/21.

(vii)   DES3 – CIS (2) (agenda page 21): Confirmed that amber status due to telephony update delay.

(viii)  DES3 – SS (agenda page 22): Delay due to ongoing discussions with neighbouring districts over possible shared software solution for staff personal reviews, other options being explored.  Also, possible move towards capability-based performance system being considered.  Reference to relationship between people and culture. 

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Lead Member and officers for attending to assist with consideration of the report.

 

RESOLVED that the report providing performance information in respect of the Corporate Plan objectives and key performance indicators within the Committee’s remit (Quarter 3 2019/20) be noted.

 

Reason

 

The Committee’s remit included receiving regular performance monitoring reports so that it could ensure that targets and objectives were being met and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Revenue Monitoring (General Fund and HRA) Period 9 pdf icon PDF 542 KB

A report of the Head of Finance and Property Services to assist the Committee in monitoring the General Fund and HRA revenue position (Period 9 2019/20).

Minutes:

Considered, a report of the Head of Finance and Property Services to assist the Committee in monitoring the General Fund and HRA revenue position (item 7 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

Assisting with consideration of the report: Cabinet Lead Member for Finance and Property Services, Head of Finance and Property Services, Head of Customer Experience.

 

Summary, key points of discussion:

 

(i)      Reference to major impact of Planning and Regeneration shortfall (£265k) and Supported Living Housing Benefit costs above subsidy allowance (£584k).  Also, £228k of £300k Nonspecific Savings full year target not found, would be offset by salary underspend, outlined in report.  £574k underspend on Housing Revenue Account, difficulties in getting contractor to carry out work.

 (ii)    Challenging position faced in respect of Supported Living Housing Benefit costs discussed.  Demand-led. Two large providers in Borough.  National issue.  Currently difficult to control.  Linked to Universal Credit, Council could claim back less of the cost, further explanation of which provided.  Representations being made to address issue.  Providers registering as Social Landlords would assist, progress made with Carpenters Arms in that respect.  Committee was very sympathetic to the Council’s position and recognised that all possible action was being taken.

(iii)    Several of the overspends set out in Appendix 1 to the report had been addressed in the 2020/21 budget, these were outlined.  Others had not been notified and, therefore, had not yet been addressed and would need looking at.

(iv)    Reference to Planning and Regeneration restructure agreed in April 2018, that had expanded costs by over £200k, forecasting additional fee income to offset those.  Had been challenged by scrutiny at the time.  Ongoing assurances had been given that there would be additional fee income, including during the current year.  That income not realised, position warranted challenge, reasons for outcome needed.

(v)     Brief discussion regarding cost of Building Control service, service being reviewed.

(vi)    Council was in uncertain and reducing funding environment, every effort being made to mitigate that, focus on income generation.  £7m in balances forecast by end of next year.  Close and continued monitoring being undertaken.  Reference to work being undertaken to obtain additional revenue within capital schemes.

(vii)   Focus of Committee at this meeting was the revenue position at end Period 9 2019/20.

(viii)  Reference to Nonspecific Savings targets in current and 2020/21 budget, also amount referenced in Corporate Delivery Plan 2020/21.  Concern that savings needed but had not identified those well so far.  Brief explanation of work being undertaken to identify moving forward.  Useful if monitoring reports could list identified savings.

(ix)    Concern that underspend on HRA was affecting Council’s tenants in that required work was not being done.  Area that may warrant inclusion on scrutiny work programme.  Brief explanation of work being undertaken to address matter, improvements had been seen.  Work was only signed off once Council was completely happy with it.

 

The Chair thanked the Cabinet Lead Member and officers for attending to assist with consideration of the report.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.      that the Head of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Digitisation and Transformation of Services Scrutiny Panel - Scope

This item has been included on the agenda at the request of the Chair.

 

To enable the Committee to discuss the scope for this Panel, with a view to the outcome being incorporated into a formal scope document for subsequent agreement by the Scrutiny Commission.

 

See Scrutiny Commission Item 10, 10th February 2020.  The Panel is listed as having a potential start date of Spring 2020 and its Chair is Councillor Parsons.  The Panel’s scope is currently set out as:

 

“This is a panel to determine how we go about inserting a personalised front end to our website, so that individual residents can log in, book, order, complain, compliment and pay for services and can immediately see what their status is for all the services and payments they have with the Council. This is to promote the 80:20 rule, that 80% of residents will be able to carry out all their transactions with the Council through this route, while the remaining 20% who cannot will have better access to people and facilities who are freed up from dealing with residents who would be better served helping themselves.  To identify options and costs. To identify economies of scale and potential savings.

 

Outside bodies who already have this facility.  Councils who have this facility.  IT and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) companies.  Individuals with skills in this area.  Our current key partners such as Capita and Serco to understand how they will integrate their services.”

Minutes:

This item had been included on the agenda at the request of the Chair, to enable the Committee to discuss the scope for this Panel, with a view to the outcome being incorporated into a formal scope document for subsequent agreement by the Scrutiny Commission.

 

The Panel was listed as having a potential start date of Spring 2020 and its Chair was Councillor Parsons. The Panel’s scope as currently set out was stated under item 8 on the agenda, filed with these minutes.

 

Assisting with consideration of the item:  Strategic Director of Corporate Services, Head of Customer Experience, Democratic Services Officer.

 

Summary, key points of discussion:

 

(i)      Current scope reflected initial Scrutiny Commission position on what Panel should consider.

(ii)     View that focus on front end of website not appropriate or useful scrutiny for a panel.  The Digitisation and Transformation agenda warranted a wider scrutiny scope.

(iii)    The scrutiny scope should explain in plain language the question(s) to be asked and what the work intended to achieve.

(iv)    A suitable focus for the Panel from within the Digitisation and Transformation agenda could be identified under the next item on the agenda, when the Committee’s work programme was considered, with that focus/topic to then be used by the Chair and Vice-chair to draft a detailed scope document, with assistance from appropriate officers, for subsequent agreement by the Scrutiny Commission.

(v)     Panel should not be progressed if a useful area of work could not be identified.  

 

RESOLVED that this matter be progressed on the basis set out in (iv) above.

 

Reason

 

To work towards an appropriate and useful scrutiny scope for the Digitisation and Transformation of Services Scrutiny Panel.

34.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 648 KB

A report of the Head of Strategic Support to assist the Committee in determining its work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Considered a report of the Head of Strategic Support to assist the Committee in (i) reviewing and planning the scrutiny work it would undertake moving forward; (ii) considering a request of the Scrutiny Commission that this Committee “review the Budget Scrutiny Panel report on a quarterly basis”; and (iii) considering, at the request of the Chair, the dates of future scheduled meetings of the Committee (item 9 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

Assisting with consideration of the report:  Strategic Director of Corporate Services, Head of Customer Experience, Democratic Services Officer.

 

Summary, key points of discussion:

 

(i)         To assist Committee in reviewing work programme, report included the current work programme, Corporate Strategy 2020-24, proposed Corporate Delivery Plan 2020/21, current Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions, details of the services which the Committee had responsibility for scrutinising.

(ii)        Committee agreed that existing items on work programme should be retained.  Addition of regular capital monitoring reports was supported, Committee currently only monitored at outturn.

(iii)       Chair suggested Committee highlighted issues from the Corporate Delivery Plan and that he and the Vice-chair then review the work programme following the meeting with those issues in mind, with the resulting proposed work programme to be brought back to the next meeting of the Committee.

(iv)       Commercialisation and Transformation were significant matters which warranted monitoring/scrutiny, including outcomes.  Suggestion that visions within Corporate Strategy should also guide scrutiny work.

(v)        Discussion regarding the questions that the public would wish scrutiny to ask and the outcomes they would be looking for.

(vi)       Committee could hold additional meetings to the quarterly meetings scheduled by Council, if it so wished.  Such meetings should be useful/necessary.  Limited resources available to support regular increase in meeting frequency.  Timetabling of meetings briefly explained.  Noted that Committee may wish to hold additional meetings for specific purpose in future.

(vii)      How budget scrutiny should be undertaken moving forward discussed. Committee could recommend to Scrutiny Commission that it continue to be undertaken by a Budget Scrutiny Panel (Commission responsible for establishing scrutiny panels). 

 

RESOLVED

 

1.      that the existing items on the Committee’s work programme be retained, with the addition of capital monitoring reports at each quarterly meeting;

 

2.      that, following this meeting, the Chair and Vice-chair of the Committee consider appropriate additions to the Committee’s work programme, the focus for that work being the Council’s Corporate Delivery Plan 2020/21 and issues highlighted above;

 

3.      that the proposed work programme resulting from 2. above be considered at an additional meeting of the Committee to be held for the purpose and scheduled between this meeting and the next scheduled meeting of the Committee in July 2020;

 

4.      that, as part of the work outlined in 2. above, the Chair and Vice-chair of the Committee consider a useful scope for the Digitisation and Transformation of Services Scrutiny Panel, with appropriate assistance from relevant officers, with that scope to be emailed to members of the Committee for input prior to it being submitted to Scrutiny Commission  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.