Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Value for Money & Customer Service
Monday, 25th June, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming

Contact: Amy McNulty  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Stephen Mulliner as Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Stephen Mulliner be appointed as Chairman of the Value for Money and Customer Service O&S Committee for the 2018/19 Council year.

2.

Appointment of Vice Chairman

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Mike Band as the Vice Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Mike Band be appointed as Vice Chairman of the Value for Money and Customer Service O&S Committee for the 2018/19 Council year.

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 March 2018 (to be laid on the table 30 minutes before the meeting).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 March 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed.

4.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTES

To receive apologies for absence and note any substitutions.

 

Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of Monday 18 June to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Mike Band.

5.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

To receive Members’ declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests in connection with items on the agenda.

6.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The Chairman to respond to any written questions received from members of the public in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

7.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

The Chairman to respond to any written questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.

Minutes:

There were no questions from Members.

8.

NEW ECONOMIC STRATEGY FOR WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL 2018-2023 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

The Council’s 2016 Strategic Review recommended that the council’s Economic Strategy should be updated to ensure it reflected the new realities of the changing funding climate and set a clear framework for existing and future projects with alignment to all council strategies.

 

The draft Economic Strategy is the result of extensive engagement with key stakeholders and partners to produce a strategic vision for the borough.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the VfM and Customer Service Overview & Scrutiny Committee reviews and endorses the proposed strategy six themes and corresponding targets and passes any recommendations and comments on to the Executive and Full Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Kelvin Mills, Head of Communities, presented the draft Economic Strategy to the Committee. The strategy had been updated following the Strategic Review and was currently out for consultation. The purpose of the document was to set out the strategic vision going forward. It would be kept under review and updated every couple of years.

 

Leanne Kelly, from Atkins Consultancy, provided the Committee with some background to the development of the strategy. Firstly, a socio-economic data analysis had been carried out using information from the ONS, Experion, etc. Secondly, a SWOT analysis had been undertaken for businesses in Waverley, looking at various factors including independent high streets, and infrastructure issues. Finally consultation had been undertaken with key partners including the UCA and Chambers of Commerce. The product of this work was the identification of six key themes that would form the basis for a more detailed action plan going forward.

 

The Committee thanked officers for producing a good quality first draft, however Members felt that there was some gaps in the data and it wasn’t yet ready to go on to the Executive and Council. Cllr Seaborne raised a number of points relating to the structure and content of the document. He stated that a clear introduction was required in order to set out what the strategy was seeking to achieve. He highlighted that key employers, such as private schools, the care sector, and major retailers had been omitted from the consultation. He also felt that there was a bias towards the town economy, particularly Farnham. Members found the section on the births and deaths of businesses very interesting, however noted that this section failed to highlight that growth in Waverley was the lowest in Surrey and it was suggested that a target be included to find out why this was the case.

 

In relation to home businesses, Cllr Holder queried whether these were assessed for business rates, and also whether they had access to superfast broadband. Graeme Clark, Strategic Director, advised that the council did periodically undertake an exercise to ensure that everyone was paying the correct rates. Access to superfast broadband was covered under Theme 2 of the strategy – High quality business and employment support – and Surrey County Council was working on key areas where there had been connectivity issues.

 

Members were concerned that very few businesses had been consulted, as the Chambers of Commerce were not representative of all businesses in Waverley and, in particular, did not include the larger retailers. The Committee also felt that it was important to show a breakdown by business sector.

 

Kelvin and Leanne advised the Committee that the Strategy would be would be updated to take into account the various consultation responses. They would revise the format of the document to include an introduction and include a breakdown by business sector.

 

The Committee felt that ideally the document would benefit from an O&S working group looking into it, but given the timescales for adoption acknowledged that this wouldn’t  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

SERVICE PLANS ANNUAL OUTTURN REPORT 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Service Plans are devised each year in order to deliver the Council’s corporate priorities.

 

This report gives the Committee the opportunity to scrutinise the end of the year outturn for each Service Plan for 2017/18 for the following service areas:

  • Finance
  • Customer & Corporate Services
  • Policy & Governance
  • Strategic HR
  • Audit

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Customer Service and Value for Money Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the progress against actions contained within the Service Plans set out in Annexe 1 to this report and agrees any observations or comments it wishes to make to the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was pleased to note the good overall performance against service plan targets. Members, however, felt that the status could be presented in a more meaningful way to enable the Committee to better analyse the outturn. Officers responded that the Chief Executive was currently leading a project to review performance monitoring, and would welcome any further feedback on the presentation of these reports.

 

The Committee queried the status of CCS3.3, Successful Delivery of the Planning System Project, which was currently at 65%. As the system would not be in place for the whole of the service area until around January 2019, Members felt that 65% did not accurately represent the status, and suggested that this should in fact be around 15%.

 

Members noted that 14 out of 17 objectives for Policy and Governance had been achieved. It was noted that the targets for SH1.2 and SH1.3, regarding addressing staffing gaps in the organisation, were not SMART targets and therefore the progress was difficult to quantify. Nora Copping, Policy and Performance Officer, advised that progress had been made with these actions and they would be carried forward into the next year. The Committee emphasised the importance of using SMART targets going forward.

 

Cllr Seaborne noted that new corporate brand standards had been adopted as part of PG3.1 and asked whether these could be shared with the Committee. Robin Taylor, Head of Policy and Governance, agreed to circulate these after the meeting.

10.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT REPORT QUARTER 4, 2017/18 (JANUARY - MARCH 2018) pdf icon PDF 116 KB

This report provides an analysis of the Council’s performance in the fourth quarter of 2017/18 in the service areas of Finance, Strategic HR and Complaints as well as a commentary on the year’s outturn. Annexe 1 to the report details performance against key indicators.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Value for Money & Customer Service Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers the performance figures for Quarter 4 and outturn for 2017/18 and agrees any observations or recommendations about performance and progress towards targets it wishes to make to the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was pleased to note the continuing good performance against all but one of the targets relating to Finance, however noted that the payment of invoices to small/local businesses had been affected by the implementation of a new purchase order system. Officers explained that the new system was now running smoothly, and improvements would be visible from the next quarter.

 

The average number of working days lost due to sickness had increased slightly in Quarter 4, however Nora advised that this trend was to be expected due to seasonal illness.

 

Members noted that the number of complaints received had generally decreased throughout the year, with the exception of Housing Operations, which had seen a notable increase. Offices explained that had been due to issues with the customer service provided by the contractor. The Committee felt that it was important that when there were such exceptions, the Head of Service should be asked to provide some narrative by way of explanation. Officers agreed to circulate further details on the housing complaints after the meeting.

11.

WORKFORCE PROFILE UPDATE (APRIL 2018) pdf icon PDF 842 KB

As requested by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, this report provides Members with detailed information about the Council’s workforce to help assess the staffing resilience in each service area.

 

Recommendation

 

The Value for Money and Customer Service O&S Committee is asked to comment on the analysis set out in this report and identify any further information that they wish to receive regarding staffing resilience in the organisation.

Minutes:

Katy Meakin, HR Manager, presented the workforce profile report to the Committee. This was the first time she had produced the report and so welcomed the Committee’s views on the content and format.

 

The report included some benchmarking data in relation to staff turnover, and Katy explained that she would be doing further work on this to ensure that Waverley’s data was collected in the same way as other councils so that an accurate comparison was presented. The report also included an analysis of leavers in terms of pay grade. The Committee saw that the highest turnover was in grades 10 – 12 and also that a high proportion of leavers were in pay band A, potentially indicating that they left the organisation when no further salary progression was available. There was no identifiable correlation in relation to the age of leavers. Officers would conduct further analysis in order to identify whether skills and knowledge were being lost from the organisation due to the turnover rate.

 

The Committee thanked Katy for producing such a detailed report. It was suggested that in future years, it would be useful to see more conclusions drawn from the data and recommendations for actions to address any issues. Cllr Mulliner also suggested removing the cleaning staff from the analysis as the high turnover in this area distorted the data.

 

Members noted that there was a reasonably large number of staff who left during their first year and queried whether a reason for this had been identified. Officers responded that there was no single reason for this, however a new exit interview process had been developed, and going forward, this would help to provide meaningful feedback on reasons for leaving.

 

In regard to staff sickness, the Committee noted that the primary absence driver over the last year had been mental health issues, which accounted for 21% of all working days lost. Members suggested that officers do some more work in this area to see if there were any hotspots.

 

In terms of benchmarking with other councils, the Committee noted that data was not available from all other authorities. Officers explained that this was all that was available at the moment, but they were actively working with the Surrey Partnership to try to collect more data. Cllr Round added that it would also be useful to know how each council collected its data to ensure that Waverley was measuring like for like. Officers agreed to look into this.

12.

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY - GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 95 KB

The purpose of this report is to set out proposals for the process by which income derived from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is distributed, including broad criteria to guide the prioritisation of spending. These arrangements seek to ensure that CIL and remaining Planning Infrastructure Contributions (PIC) are used effectively and for the benefit of the community and to meet infrastructure needs arising from new development in the Borough.

 

Recommendation

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is invited to provide feedback to Officers on the proposals and the broad criteria for evaluating bids for CIL funding, and to ask Officers to develop more detailed proposals for the CIL governance framework and criteria which will be brought forward in the Autumn 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Graeme Clark advised the Committee that there were two strands to the council’s work on CIL. The first was the charging schedule that was currently out to consultation, however this was not a matter for this committee. The second aspect was the governance arrangements. It was anticipated that CIL money would start being received in around December/January and so the criteria and arrangements for allocating the funds would need to be in place by then. Officers were seeking the Committee’s initial views on the proposed governance approach, and would then work in more detail on the assessment criteria and bring these back to the Committee’s September meeting.

 

The Committee noted that quarterly bidding rounds were proposed, with a Governance Board made up of both councillors and officers. Members also found it useful to see the approach taken by other councils set out in the report.

 

Officers provided some clarification on the amounts that could be received by Town and Parish Councils. They would automatically receive either 15% or 25% depending on whether or not they had adopted a neighbourhood plan, however would also be entitled to bid for additional funds as part of this process. A new CIL Offer would be engaging with partners including Towns and Parishes to encourage them to put forward credible bids.

 

Cllr Round queried whether there would still be separate s106 and s278 agreements for certain developments. Officers responded there would be for bespoke infrastructure, but it wasn’t possible to apply both a s106 and CIL, so officers would assess what would be most appropriate in each case.

 

The Committee was keen that the proposed Governance Board was geographically representative, and recommended that it comprise one Member from each of the four planning areas. Members also highlighted that under the PIC regime, funding had to be spent in the same geographical area as the development giving rise to the charge, and recommended that a similar approach be applied in regard to the CIL criteria.

 

Graeme Clark thanked Members for their comments, and agreed that a transparent and objective process was key. The Committee looked forward to receiving the proposed criteria for assessing bids at its September meeting.

13.

Budget Shortfall Commitments pdf icon PDF 71 KB

The report (to follow) provides an update on the targets set by Heads of Service to meet the budget shortfall as set out the in Budget papers of the January 2018 Committee.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Value for Money and Customer Service O&S Committee notes the update and passes any observations to Heads of Service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Peter Vickers, Head of Finance, reminded the Committee of the report that it had received in January which set out proposals for addressing the budget shortfall. One aspect of this work was the Budget Strategy Working Group, which had recently had its first meeting and Cllr Mulliner briefly summarised the work streams that would be undertaken by the Group. Another aspect of the proposals was for the VfM O&S Committee to monitor Heads’ of Service ongoing progress in addressing the budget shortfall. The report highlighted the key initiatives that were under way to make efficiencies within the service areas.

 

The ongoing Channel Shift project aimed to rationalise the various telephone call groups and IT systems to streamline customer contacts and encourage more self-service. There was also work being done to streamline the financial administration processes, with particular reference to procurement. A more centralised approach to procurement would eliminate inefficient practices and reduce costs. Cllr Seaborne queried how the streamlined procurement would work in practice and officers explained that it would not be an absolute centralisation, but would be more standardisation of practice.

 

The Committee also learnt of proposals to review the current office accommodation, alongside a new HR Strategy which would endeavour to rationalise the travel allowances scheme and salary structures. Cllr Holder also suggested that it could be mutually beneficial to hire out committee room space to local small businesses.

 

Heads of Service were also investigating alternative delivery models for some services, such as potentially working with partners to share the burden of cost while not reducing service delivery. Members welcomed this thinking outside the box and looked forward to learning more about any potential proposals in due course.

14.

Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 94 KB

The Value for Money and Customer Service Overview and Scrutiny Committee, is responsible for managing its work programme.

 

The work programme includes items agreed at previous meetings and takes account of items identified on the latest Executive Forward Programme (Annexe 2) as due to come forward for decision.

 

A Scrutiny Tracker has been produced to assist the Committee in monitoring the recommendations that have been agreed at its meetings. The Tracker details the latest position on the implementation of these recommendations and is attached as Part C of the work programme.

 

Recommendation

 

Members are invited to consider their work programme and make any comments and/or amendments they consider necessary, including suggestions for any additional topics that the Committee may wish to add to its work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed its work programme, noting the items that were due to come to the September meeting. Cllr Mulliner felt that it was important to concentrate on a small number of items and give them proper consideration rather than rush through many items.

 

Cllr Seaborne requested that the Committee receive an update on the Economic Strategy at its next meeting.

15.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following recommendation on the motion of the Chairman:

 

Recommendation

 

That pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in the appropriate paragraph(s) of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act (to be specified at the meeting).

Minutes:

At 8.48pm, it was:

 

RESOLVED that pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in paragraph 3 of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, namely:

 

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

16.

Property Investment Strategy Monitoring Report

To consider the (Exempt) report, attached.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on the performance of certain properties within the council’s property portfolio. Officers advised that only limited information was available as it was not yet the end of the quarter. Members asked for more details to be included in the report to the September meeting.

17.

BUILDING CONTROL - BUSINESS PLAN UPDATE PAPER

To consider the (Exempt) report, attached.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on the Building Control Business Plan. A new team structure was in place and new surveyors had been recruited. The service was now pursuing various routes in order to gain business and maximise its income.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the update.