Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Christine Morgan 01775 764454
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2013 (copy enclosed)
The minutes of the meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel held on 24 July 2013 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest.
(Members are no longer required to declare personal of prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in their Register of Interests.
Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. In the interests of transparency, members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item, that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.)
There were none.
Questions asked under Council Procedure Rule 10.3.
There were none.
Provision of Members' IT
The ICT and Customer Services Manager, Kevin Rump, will be in attendance to provide a verbal update on Members’ IT provision.
This item was considered earlier than detailed in the agenda as officers from NHS England providing an update on dentistry provision within the area were delayed.
At its meeting on 11 December 2012, the Panel had raised concerns regarding members’ IT provision, and had received updates from the IT Director at meetings on 29 January 2013 and 26 March 2013 and from the Service Desk Manager at its last meeting on 24 July 2013.
The ICT and Customer Services Manager attended this meeting and advised that no officers from Compass Point Business Services (CPBS) were available to attend with him. He provided members with a summary of the issues as he understood them. During the discussion, members raised the following concerns:
· Was any notice being taken of the concerns raised by members of the Panel? Officers had attended meetings and promises had been made, but to date, there had been no action.
· At the last meeting, it had been promised that if members started to bring their laptops into the IT Department, that rollout of the new logon process could begin. This had not happened.
· Members advised of continued log on issues.
· Remote access support did not appear to be working.
· Was the security level high because of member access to the Council’s intranet site, ‘Shine’? This was not widely used by members therefore, could less security be achieved by not having access to ‘Shine’? Could access be given purely for emails?
· Some members had applications on their laptops that were not for Council use. The policy regarding this had to be clarified.
· Clarity was needed over the replacement of members’ printers.
· Some members had emails diverted from their South Holland email accounts to their own email accounts. The policy regarding this had to be clarified.
· Members required clarification over how they should communicate with officers within CPBS regarding IT.
· A number of issues had to be resolved before the next District Council elections. The IT provision that members had was not what had been agreed by the ICT Working Group prior to the last election, and their views had to be taken on board in time for the next election. Investment in members’ IT equipment used public money and should therefore be fit for purpose.
In response to the issues raised, the ICT and Customer Services Manager provided the following information:
· CPBS has provided a position statement and it was felt that there was an expectation that three voluntary members would test the new processes, and only one had done so to date. CPBS wanted to ensure there was adequate testing with the three members before extending the rollout
· Lack of progress on issues raised by members would be escalated to managers and CPBS.
· Remote access support and service should be expected, and members having to bring their laptops in to be fixed was the last resort.
· Part of IT’s work was about support – it was important to understand who the customer was and also their requirements. ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
Dentistry in the South Holland area
Presentation by Carole Pitcher (Contracts Manager (Dental and Optometry)) and Charmaine Docherty (Primary Care Support - Contract Management (Dental and Optometry)) - NHS England (Leicestershire and Lincolnshire Area).
Issues to be considered:
· An explanation of what has happened since the last presentation in March 2011, including the national changes to the NHS that took effect on 1 April, and what they mean;
· What dental provision is available now in the area, whether there are any waiting lists to get onto a preferred list and what emergency cover is available;
· Public opinion of the quality of the service;
· Where the provision of service is now and likely to be in the future.
The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Carole Pitcher (Contracts Manager (Dental and Optometry)) and Charmaine Docherty (Primary Care Support – Contract Management (Dental and Optometry)) from NHS England (Leicestershire and Lincolnshire Area). They had been invited to provide an update to the Panel to include the following issues:
· An explanation of what had happened since the last presentation in March 2011, including the national changes to the NHS that took effect on 1 April 2013, and what they meant;
· What dental provision was available now in the area, whether there were any waiting lists to get onto a preferred list and what urgent cover was available;
· Public opinion of the quality of the service;
· Where the provision of service was now and likely to be in the future.
The update provided the following information:
· NHS England’s predecessor, the PCT, had been abolished on 31 March 2013. NHS England was now the commissioning body, with the South Holland area being covered by Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, 1 of 27 Area Teams throughout the country. The whole dental remit of primary, secondary and community dental services now sat under the area team.
· With regard to dental provision in the area, the number of practices providing NHS dental services was still the same as it had been at the last update in 2011.
· The dental helpline had now ceased (it had originally been part of the PCT, but this function did not sit within the remit of Area Teams).
· Any patients on the PCT waiting list as at 31 March 2013 had been absorbed into practices across the county.
· Waiting lists were now the responsibility of each individual practice if they chose to hold one. Waiting lists were regularly monitored by the Area Team in order to determine potential capacity pressures.
· In the South Holland area, there were 360 patients waiting to be placed with a practice. Whilst waiting to be placed, they could still access urgent care through 1A Dental Practice at the Johnson Community Hospital.
· Places such as GP Surgeries, Community Pharmacies and A&E Departments had been sent refreshed information to direct the public regarding queries on NHS Dental Services, including how to access both urgent and routine care. Copies of this information were left by the officers for circulation at the Council offices.
· Community dental services were provided one day a week at the Johnson Community Hospital.
· Patients could leave both positive and negative comments on the NHS Choices website regarding their NHS dental experience. These comments were regularly reviewed by the Area Team and followed up with the practice where required. At this time, there were currently only positive comments against the dental practices in the South Holland area.
· A local dental professional network had been set up and over the next few months, a work programme was to be considered, but it was expected to cover areas such as specialised dental services, oral health need and secondary care dental.
· Developing primary care strategy – a chapter on dental ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
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 (copy enclosed).
Consideration was given to the current Key Decision Plan, which had been issued on 4 October 2013.
Members commented that the following items on the Plan used too much ‘jargon’ and questioned what they referred to:
· Approval to design and implement a Commercial Hub shared between BDC and SHDC – to be considered by Cabinet on 5 November 2013
· To approve the creation of a shared Customer Access Strategy and specific Channel Management Plans and to approve the procurement and implementation of an electronic service delivery capability to enable customer self-service and channel shift – to be considered by Cabinet on 10 December 2013
The Interim Chief Executive provided a brief explanation of each project.
That the current Key Decision Plan be noted.
The Portfolio Holder for Localism and Big Society will be in attendance to provide an update report on community safety and how it is being delivered through the various tiers of Groups and Panels (including the East Lincs CSP and newly formed Lincolnshire CSP). (A copy of the minutes of the Panel meeting of 11 December 2012, where the last update was received, is enclosed).
The Portfolio Holder for Localism and Big Society was in attendance to provide an update report on community safety and how it was being delivered through the various tiers of Groups and Panels (including the East Lincs CSP and newly formed Lincolnshire CSP).
The Portfolio Holder advised of the following issues:
· The County Strategic Partnership had agreed on five priorities – Anti Social Behaviour; Domestic Abuse; Alcohol Harm; Drugs Harm; and Road Safety
· The East Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership had agreed its priorities – Anti-Social Behaviour; Violent Crime (including night-time economy and domestic abuse); and Community Cohesion (in Boston and South Holland), alongside two cross-cutting themes - Alcohol Misuse; and Fear of Crime
· The Community Safety Partnership held countywide quarterly meetings, after which they reported back on their priorities.
· A report on road safety had been received back. A target had been set to reduce fatalities by 20% by 2020. A reduction was already being seen, static speed cameras were helping with this, and the monies earned from the fines from the cameras was all ploughed back into road safety.
· Fire and Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Services had put in a successful bid for mini ambulances, to the value of £400,000.
· Anti-Social Behaviour had reduced by 16%
· Special Constables – There would soon be more than at any time in the last decade. However, the recruitment target of 1000 voluntary PCSOs had still to be met, with to date, only 40/50 interested.
· Liaison between the Community Safety Partnership and the Police and Crime Panels would be done through the Chairman.
· A draft performance reporting template would be available for the next meeting.
· Reporting of domestic abuse had increased.
· There was a slow reduction in re-offending.
· The Community Safety Strategic Assessment was underway – this would assess all crime across the county and would be used to prioritise how to deal with it.
· Locally, street drinking remained a problem along the riverbank, although targeted work was being done on this. Work being undertaken on DPPO legislation, due to come into effect next year, could assist with this issue.
· Inspector Tyner was a member of a special group meeting at the Houses of Parliament looking into the new Anti Social Behaviour legislation and its practicalities on the ground.
· A letter had been received from Lincolnshire Police requesting authority to consider giving powers to PCSOs to issue fixed penalty notices in respect of graffiti, fly tipping, littering, dog control and dog fouling. The Portfolio Holder requested the views of the Panel on this matter.
· CCTV – The county wide report had been received but the cost was too expensive. An alternative option of working with Boston was now being given consideration, and the Cabinet would make a decision on this in December. This new option would provide 24/7 monitoring from Boston, with access to Police airwaves (although there was a cheaper option of 18/7 available where cameras recorded in the early hours but were not monitored). All 28 cameras could be replaced ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
The Portfolio Holder for Waste Management, Green Spaces and Operational Planning will be in attendance to provide an update on the progress in actioning the recommendations of the Carbon Management Plan Task Group. (A copy of a form listing the Cabinet’s response to the Task Group’s recommendations is enclosed, together with details of updates received).
The Portfolio Holder for Waste Management, Green Spaces and Operational Planning attended the meeting to provide an update on the recommendations made by the Carbon Management Plan Task Group. Previous updates had been received at Panel meetings held on 7 December 2011, 10 July 2012 and 26 March 2013.
During the last update on 26 March 2013, members raised a number of issues. These are detailed below, alongside responses from the Portfolio Holder:
· Recommendation 4 – It was important that relevant officers communicated with the appropriate department at Lincolnshire County Council with regard to the automatic metering project, in order for this to move forward.
· Recommendation 4 - With regard to service charges for rented areas within the Priory Road offices, these should not be set and fixed at the start of the period. A cost escalator needed to be built in to allow for probable rises in the cost of fuel and reduction in fuel usage when energy was saved. Rental arrangements needed to be looked at more closely to ensure that neither party was disadvantaged by changes in cost/usage.
· Recommendation 5 - With regard to insulation of the roof space and cavity walls for the ‘old’ building, the Panel asked how it could help to progress this. The Portfolio Holder advised that at the Panel’s request, he could ask the Carbon Management Officer to pursue this project, and the Panel agreed that this should be done.
· Recommendation 5 – There should be a work plan for carbon management improvements to the council housing stock similar to existing improvement schemes such as kitchen replacements.
Corporate Communications Strategy
At the meeting of the Panel on 31 May 2012, during consideration of its Work Programme, the Panel expressed its interest in undertaking a piece of work on Communications, in particular communication and consultation by the County Council with the District and Parish Councils and communication by the District Council with Members.
The Joint Communications Team Leader attended a meeting on 10 July 2012 to speak to Members on communications issues and to answer questions. It was agreed at this meeting that the Joint Communications Team Leader provide a further update on proposals of how the Corporate Communications Strategy would be involved. The Assistant Director, Democratic Services, will be in attendance, on behalf of the Joint Communications Team Leader, to provide a verbal update in this respect.
The Panel, at its meeting on 30 May 2012, had expressed its interest in undertaking a piece of work on Communications, in particular communication and consultation by the County Council with the District and Parish Councils and communication by the District Council with Members. The Joint Communications Team Leader had attended the next meeting on 10 July 2012 and advised that the Authority was in the early stages of looking at the development of a Corporate Communications Strategy. He suggested that guidance should be sought from the Panel as to how to take this forward. He also felt that protocols needed to be changed so that Members were more informed. Members had requested that the Joint Communications Team Leader bring proposals on how to take this piece of work forward back to the Panel. The Joint Communications Team Leader was unable to attend this meeting, and the Assistant Director, Democratic Services was therefore in attendance to provide the following updates:
· The previous Communications Officer had left the Authority, and a replacement had now been appointed on a fixed term contract.
· The Authority was in the early stages of undertaking a review of the Communications department, day to day functions within the department were still continuing however, development of the Communications Strategy was on hold.
· Officers were encouraged to keep ward members informed.
· The Communications Team promptly added press releases to the website.
· Portfolio Holders were a source of information for other members.
· Breckland Council had introduced a Member/Officer pledge with regard to communication. This could be circulated at the Scrutiny Away Day being held the next day if members wished.
· Information from the County Council did not come as a matter of course, as there were no formal channels. Information could be accessed from the website or by approaching County Councillors.
· Information such as consultation was passed on as a matter of course.
· Parish Councils were communicated with on relevant services.
Following the update, members raised the following issues:
· Some members sat on Parish Councils and saw the information that came through to them from County and District Councils. It was felt to be purely passing on information, not communication. An explanation or summary was needed. In addition, some members felt that communication from the District Council regarding CCTV had been very poor.
· District Council members, who were also County Councillors or Portfolio Holders, were sometimes aware of information but did not pass this on to other District Councillors or members in relevant wards. This could be more of an issue than the County Council not communicating.
· The website was not always the best way to keep people updated.
· Sometimes members read in the newspaper about District Council issues.
· What timescales were involved for the Strategy?
The Assistant Director, Democratic Services advised that there was a timeline for the Communications service review, a report would be available within the next few months, and a strategy would follow.
That the information provided by the Assistant Director, Democratic Services, be noted. ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
To report on the annual inspection of planning files (report of the Assistant Director, Democratic Services enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director, Democratic Services which reported on the annual inspection of Planning files.
Since 2009, two members of the Performance Monitoring Panel had undertaken an annual inspection of Planning files to ensure that recommendations from the Development Control Improvement Plan (Improving File Discipline and Maintenance of Site Notes and Records of Meetings) were being upheld.
In July 2013, Councillors D Wilkinson and R Rudkin had visited the Planning offices to carry out the review. The Development Manager provided them with an overview of the current procedures used to record discussions between Planning Officers and applicants, both before and after a planning application had been submitted.
The procedure for recording any pre planning enquiries remained the same, and was recorded on Ocella, the electronic document management system. Verbal enquiries were not recorded, only emails and letters.
Councillors Wilkinson and Rudkin were provided with some paper applications to view, and compared the same application once it had been scanned to the Ocella system. The online application was consistent with the paper file. The files viewed were consistent and included all relevant documentation however, some of the hand written documents that were included were not always legible.
The Panel considered the information provided and agreed that the systems appeared to be working well. However, the following issues were raised:
· By only recording on file details of emails and letters, the full picture was not being seen. The lack of recording of verbal advice was an issue.
· The Authority could not afford to have any gaps in the advice that it recorded – non recording of verbal advice was a flaw in the system.
It was agreed that a way needed to be found of gaining a fuller picture of all advice given for each planning application, and members requested that the Planning Manager attend the next Panel meeting to see if gaps could be highlighted.
a) That the report be noted; and
b) That the Planning Manager attend the next meeting of the Panel to consider how any gaps in the recording of planning advice could be rectified.
To update the Panel on the response to its recommendations by the Planning Committee (report of the Planning Manager enclosed)
Consideration was given to the report of the Planning Manager which provided an update on the response to the Panel’s recommendations by the Planning Committee.
After the tour took place, a report had been submitted to the Panel on 24 July 2013, detailing the conclusions drawn from the review. It was agreed that the following recommendations be made to the Planning Committee:
· That it be recommended to the Planning Committee that the Review of Implemented Planning Decisions tour continue on a biennial basis.
· That for future tours, a more consistent method of scoring be devised and a more structured way of reflecting Members’ comments be considered.
These conclusions were subsequently presented to the Planning Committee on 25 September 2013, where members had a wide ranging discussion which questioned the usefulness of the process. Specifically, concerns were expressed regarding outcomes that influenced planning decisions or resulted in changes to planning policies. The Planning Committee decided that the tour, in its current format, to have outlived its usefulness, and to this extent had served its purpose. Should the review continue, it needed to focus on areas where planning decisions were falling short and look at areas where the Planning Policy Team should be looking to add policies to the Local Plan.
The Panel considered the decision of the Planning Committee, and the following issues arose:
· The main failing of the most recent tour was felt to be the way in which the day was planned. Insufficient member suggestions had been forthcoming and it had been left to the Planning Manager to provide suggestions.
· The opinions of members on the day were not sufficiently reflected in the report. Members had provided comments verbatim on the comments form, it had not been made clear to members that this information would form part of the report, and as such the final version of this had not completely reflected their opinions.
· A different approach was required. Perhaps members could meet before the tour to decide which sites should be visited.
· Members needed to be more proactive with respect to the tour and its outcomes.
· Consideration of the Planning Protocol was required, to ascertain and clarify the remit of the tour.
· Previous tours had been very valuable, and members wished for the review to continue.
· The Planning Manager should be asked to attend the next meeting of the Panel to discuss with members a way forward with regard to improving the tour.
a) That the report of the Planning Manager be noted;
b) That consideration be given to the Planning Protocol to ascertain and clarify the remit of the tour; and
c) That the Planning Manager be asked to attend the next meeting of the Panel to discuss with members a way forward with regard to improving the tour.
To set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel (report of the Assistant Director Democratic Services enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director (Democratic Services) 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 future Panel meetings along with proposed items for consideration, and the second setting out the Task Groups that had been identified by the Panel.
That both sections of the Panel’s Work Programme, as set out in the report of the Assistant Director (Democratic Services) be noted.