Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Christine Morgan 01775 764454
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the following meetings:
The minutes of the following meetings were signed by the Chairman as a correct record:
· Performance Monitoring Panel – 5 April 2016
· Special joint meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel and Policy Development Panel – 26 April 2016
· Special joint meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel and Policy Development Panel – 16 May 2016
With regard to the meeting of Performance Monitoring Panel on 5 April 2016, where reference was made to inviting a representative from Network Rail to attend a future Panel meeting to discuss how issues around how complaints and queries were dealt with (minute 41e), the following issues and concerns were raised:
· The outside space was in a very poor state, with much of the area being overgrown. It gave a very poor impression to those arriving in Spalding by train.
· Part of the station building had been let out, and some of it was boarded up. Again, it gave a poor impression of the town, and the building itself was listed.
· Currently, any downtime as a result of barriers closing when trains travelled through Spalding created severe backlogs for those travelling on the roads. The anticipated increase in trains travelling through Spalding would make this problem worse. A bridge in the town had been discussed, but this would be some time in the future.
· There had been recent incidences where faulty rail barriers, sometimes in combination with roadworks, had resulted in certain areas of Spalding being inaccessible, causing access issues and also major travel disruption. It was felt that these issues could cause potential problems for the emergency services. Was this an issue that should be considered within the Authority’s Emergency Plan?
· There were still concerns regarding the complaints process at Network Rail. Members had contacted the company on a variety of issues, had been provided with reference numbers for their complaints, but no resolution to them.
Although the Panel initially felt that a representative from Network Rail should attend to answer questions on all of these issues, the Place Manager advised that they were too varied for one representative to deal with and that in reality, they would be dealt with by a number of different departments. He also advised that some of the issues could be dealt with through planning processes. The following suggestions were therefore made:
· Poor upkeep of outside space – This could be dealt with through a S215 notice relating to untidy land.
· Condition of part of the listed station building – This could be investigated by a planning enforcement officer.
· The issue of downtime caused by railway barriers, and the potential public safety risk of emergency vehicles not being able to get through could not effectively be dealt with by Network Rail attending a Panel meeting. It was important to consider two areas - the consequence of the barrier closures, and the pattern of downtime; and the provision of emergency services vehicles. There had to be liaison with both Network Rail and the emergency services. With regard to whether the ... view the full minutes text for item 1.
Declaration of Interests.
Where a Councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest the Councillor must declare the interest to the meeting and leave the room without participating in any discussion or making a statement on the item, except where a councillor is permitted to remain as a result of a grant of dispensation.
There were none.
Questions asked under Standing Order 6
There were none.
Tracking of Recommendations
To consider responses of the Cabinet to reports of the Panel.
There were none.
Items referred from the Policy Development Panel.
There were none.
To note the current Key Decision Plan
Consideration was given to the Key Decision Plan issued on 6 June 2016.
To provide an update on delivery against the 2015-19 Corporate Plan for the period 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2016 (report of the Executive Director Strategy and Governance enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Strategy and Governance, which provided an update on the Council’s performance up to 31 March 2016. Areas where performance had improved since the previous quarter were brought to Members’ attention, as were areas of concern where performance was below expected levels or were considered to be worsening.
With regard to Key Performance Indicators, Quarter 3 saw similar levels of performance against indicators, as had been experienced in Quarter 2. The performance was rated as good. The current status of performance indicators, as represented by the returns of Quarter 4, still represented good performance.
Areas of success highlighted in the report included the following, which were below tolerance levels/within time frames: call abandonment rate; call waiting times; commercial property occupancy; staff turnover; and planning application determination.
Areas of concern highlighted in the report included the following: high levels of staff sickness; the performance of the re-letting of void properties; and a decline in the performance on missed waste collections.
The Panel considered the information detailed within the report, and the following issues were raised:
· It was stated in the report that the Council had adopted a new sickness management process. How was sickness now managed, and what was the process?
o Officers did not have this information available and members were therefore advised that they would be provided with this in due course after the meeting.
· The performance of the re-letting of void properties was still an area of concern to the Panel.
o At the last meeting, the Panel had requested that a ‘deep-dive’ investigation be undertaken at a future meeting to investigate the issues. The Chairman suggested that a Task Group be set up to undertake this investigation, and the Place Manager agreed that this would be the appropriate forum, given the confidential nature of some of the information. The Task Group should be focussed, with the intention of understanding the current problems and making recommendations to improve performance.
o Councillors Booth, Brewis and Carter volunteered to be members of the Task Group. The Democratic Services Officer would contact the Panel members not in attendance to ascertain whether they wished to serve on the Task Group.
o The Place Manager suggested that he and the Housing Landlord Manager attend the first meeting of the Task Group to provide guidance with the scope, and that a member of the Performance Team should also be in attendance to advise on how data was managed.
· With regard to commercial property occupancy, what was the definition of occupancy? Members were concerned that some units were rented out but were being used for storage, while there was a waiting list for businesses requiring commercial properties.
o The Place Manager advised that this issue would be investigated and a response sent to Panel members.
a) That the report of the Executive Director Strategy and Governance be noted;
b) That Panel members be advised how the Authority’s new sickness management procedure operated;
c) <2 ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel (report of the Executive Manager Governance enclosed).
The Panel is also asked to consider the following for inclusion on its Work Programme:
a) In line with a recommendation of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group, consider setting up a one meeting, single issue Task Group to ensure the Council remains compliant with Charity Commission Guidance. To be undertaken on an annual basis.
b) Investigating how effective SHDC’s fraud process is within the housing stock (item suggested by Councillor Alcock)
c) Updates on:
i. The role of Street Scene Enforcement Officers;
ii. The role of Environmental Protection Officers, within the context of pest control (suggested by Councillor McLean).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Manager Governance, which set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel. The Work Programme consisted of two separate sections, the first setting out the dates of the future Panel meetings along with proposed items for consideration, and the second setting out the Task Groups that had been identified by the Panel.
A number of particular items for discussion were identified on the agenda and each was discussed as follows:
Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group
The original Task Group had commenced its work in February 2014 at the request of the Council, in response to concerns from the Charity Commission about management of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field that sufficient public benefit was being demonstrated. The Task Group had concluded that the Council was compliant with the Commission’s Guidance on public benefit, and had also recommended that the Performance Monitoring Panel be invited to appoint a Task Group on an annual (single meeting) basis for the specific purpose of ensuring that the Council remained compliant with Charity Commission Guidance.
The Chairman confirmed that this Task Group should be set upon conclusion of the work of current task groups that were undertaking work.
Biennial Review of Implemented Planning Decisions
The Chairman advised that the tour in respect of the review would be undertaken in September 2016. Officers would meet with the Chairman to discuss the process and Panel members would be asked to submit suggestions of sites to visit in due course.
The effectiveness of SHDC’s fraud process within the housing stock
The Chairman commented that fraud within the housing stock was a national issue, specifically in relation to individuals living in Council properties that they were not entitled to, subletting and benefit fraud. He suggested that the Panel may wish to investigate how robust the Authority’s systems were in this area. It was agreed that the Place Manager provide the Panel with information on these issues prior to a decision being made with regard to setting up a Task Group.
Councillor McLean had raised a number of issues around the enforcement of environmental issues e.g. littering, dog fouling etc. Reference was made to recommendations made by the Enforcement Policy (Street Scene) Task Group in November 2008, specifically ‘to implement the robust enforcement objective recommended in the SHDC Street Scene Strategy that all Community and Neighbourhood Services Officers currently operating in an enforcement role are trained and authorised to be generic enforcement officers and deal with street scene issues in both targeted and one off actions’.
The Environmental Services Manager was in attendance to explain what had happened since the Task Group had made its recommendations. The Panel was advised that since then, the Authority had gone through a restructure and a number of management reviews, the Community and Neighbourhood Services department was no longer in existence and that Environmental Services was now its own department. In addition, there had also been changes in legislation around ... view the full minutes text for item 8.