Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Christine Morgan 01775 764454
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 no declarations of interest.
Chief Executive update on progress of the Council
The Chief Executive, Anna Graves will be in attendance
The Chief Executive had been invited to attend the meeting, and provided the Panel with an update on the Council’s progress. She gave details on the People Plan, confirmed that shared management with Breckland Council was in a good position, and that there was a stronger trend in partnership working.
With regard to programme delivery, she suggested that the Executive Director Commercialisation attend a future meeting of the Panel to explain the programme in more detail.
The following issues were raised:
· Members commented that the process for garden refuse and recycling was confusing for the public.
o The Chief Executive commented that there had been changes, and these would be communicated.
· Due to the ongoing restructure, there had been a large amount of staff movement – was this affecting morale?
o The Chief Executive stated that she did not currently have any concerns however, there was an impact on those filling vacancies. Consideration was being given to how recruitment was undertaken. With regard to morale, the staff survey over the last few years has shown an upward trend in morale although a lot of change could result in a dip.
· Was the Authority finding it difficult to fill positions?
o As with other authorities, SHDC could sometimes face recruitment issues. The Pay Policy at the Authority was being considered.
· Members found presentations provided by Directors very useful – could these be expanded?
o The Chief Executive advised that the Directors could provide more focussed presentations on particular areas of interest to members.
· What did the Chief Executive feel was her greatest achievement and the greatest risk for SHDC as a small authority?
o The Chief Executive responded that she had a strong senior management team, and a strong relationship with the Leader of the Council. She commented that cost-shunting was a risk. Financially, SHDC was in a good position however, other partners were under huge financial pressure.
Members thanked the Chief Executive for her attendance.
(The Chief Executive left the meeting following consideration of this item).
To provide an update to Panel members on Community Safety and its delivery at county and local level (report of the Executive Director of Place and the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities enclosed).
The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities and the Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Governance and Transformation will be in attendance for this item.
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Place and the Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities, which provided an update to Panel members on community safety and its delivery at county and local level. The Portfolio Holder for Communities and Facilities, the Portfolio Holder for Strategy, Governance and Transformation, the Community Safety and Enforcement Manager and the Communities Manager were in attendance to provide information to members.
Members considered the information and the following issues were raised:
· The report stated that the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer had dealt with 28 new cases between April and September, and that the current case load was now 26, suggesting that only 2 cases had been completed.
o Members were advised that although there had been early intervention in all of these cases, they were not always easy to resolve due to many complex issues.
· Members of the public often fell victim to issues such as scams and cons – there had to be education so that people could take control in these situations.
o Members were advised that education was key to combat this area – partners were being worked with, awareness weeks were held and certain information could be targeted. The public needed information to safeguard themselves.
· Members raised concerns regarding CCTV and how it was used to address anti social behaviour – the report provided a positive picture but members could not recognise this from a local viewpoint. In their opinion the police response to antisocial behaviour was poor; the use of CCTV to survey antisocial behaviour was not sufficient.
o Councillor Taylor commented that in some instances, there were operational issues for the police. There were certain aspects of CCTV that could not be measured e.g. CCTV preventing crime taking place. With regard to anti social behaviour, this should be addressed via the Police as it was an operational issue.
· Crime always moved and criminal activity would always move to areas where there was no CCTV. The Police had to use resources, including CCTV, in a more intelligent way.
o The Communities Manager advised that she would speak to the Neighbourhood Policing Team regarding this. Members were also advised that due to antisocial behaviour in Crowland, the cameras there would be monitored more closely. Crowd safety was also an area that needed addressing.
· Members questioned whether CCTV in Spalding provided value for money. How many screens were being monitored in the South Holland area?
o The Executive Director Place responded that proactive, intelligent monitoring of CCTV cameras was required. Officers would liaise with the monitoring centre in Boston to ascertain how they were monitored.
· Public perception of crime was not positive. Many victims did not report crimes as they felt it was not worth it. The Police did not provide arrest information to Parish Councils, and this was disappointing.
o Members were advised that there was a shared obligation with the Police in respect of community safety. Members’ comments could be fed back to the ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Performance Monitoring Panel meeting held on 5 September 2017 (copy enclosed) .
The minutes of the Performance Monitoring Panel meeting held on 5 September 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Questions asked under Standing Order 6
There were no questions asked under Standing Order 6.
Tracking of Recommendations
To consider responses of the Cabinet to reports of the Panel.
There were no responses of the Cabinet to consider.
Items referred from the Policy Development Panel.
There were no items referred from the Policy Development Panel.
To note the current Key Decision Plan (copy enclosed).
Consideration was given to the Key Decision Plan issued on 24 October 2017.
That the Key Decision Plan issued on 24 October 2017 be noted.
To provide members with an update on the recommendations (report of the Executive Director Place enclosed).
The Communities Manager was in attendance to provide an update on the current situation. The key points were that the leisure contract was still being monitored robustly; that further enforcement action had been taken at a higher level; that weekly inspections were being completed; that a vast improvement had been seen, particularly in cleanliness; and that although it was inevitable that there would be day to day issues, they were now being dealt with more quickly and effectively.
Members raised the following issues:
· The bowling green had had no heat since last winter – when would this be rectified?
o Work had been undertaken to improve electrical capacity so that heaters could be used. A fault with the boiler had been identified however, this had now been dealt with and there was now heat.
· Why had the pool been closed due to lack of staff?
o Members were advised that a default notice had been issued in respect of this, and that closure of the pool for this reason was not acceptable. Sickness issues had been addressed with the contractor. It was requested that where member of the public raised similar complaints with councillors’, that the Communities Manager also be advised.
· Ongoing issues with broken equipment within the facility was raised, and the Communities Manager agreed to ascertain the situation.
a) That the information be noted and that a further update be provided to the Panel in six months time; and
b) That the Communities Manager provide feedback to members’ on outstanding issues around broken equipment.
(The Portfolio Holder Communities and Facilities, and the Communities Manager left the meeting following consideration of this item).
To provide the Panel with an update on progress against the Task Group’s recommendations (report of the Executive Director Place enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Property Asset Manager which provided the Panel with an update on progress against the recommendations of the Re-letting of Void Properties Task Group.
Members were advised that the recent Place review had allowed changes to be made to the way in which re-letting of voids was dealt with. Although the Place review was complete, there were still some positions to be filled with staff, and consideration still needed to be given to better ways of undertaking processes.
The Housing Options Manager advised that he would have overall responsibility for voids – he would have a new team in place and would be looking to make changes to existing practices.
It was requested that a further report be brought back to the Panel in six months time which would provide fuller information on improvements to the voids process, taking into account the Task Group’s recommendations.
b) That a further, fuller update on progress of the Re-Letting of Void Properties Task Group recommendations be presented to the Panel in six months time.
(The Property Asset Manager and the Housing Options Manager left the meeting following consideration of this item).
To provide an update on Council performance for the period 1 July 2017 to 30
September 2017 (report of the Executive Director Strategy and Governance
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Strategy and Governance which provided an update on Council performance for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 September 2017. Areas where performance had improved were brought to members’ attention, as were areas of concern where performance was below the expected level or was considered to be worsening.
The Business Intelligence Officer informed members that performance had improved since Quarter 1, 11 indicators being green (55%), 3 indicators (15%) being amber, and 6 indicators (30%) being red.
Areas of success highlighted within the report included:
· Complaints upheld – A decrease of around 25% of stage 1 complaints received when compared to quarter 2 last year, and out of 32 complaints received, only 5 were upheld.
· Calls abandoned – A reduction by half from 10.15% to 5.31% since the last quarter.
· Wait time in seconds – Average wait time in seconds across revenues, benefits and customer contact had reduced significantly since the last 2 quarters.
· Planning applications – The performance of the planning team continued to be reported above target with 95.16% of applications determined within time.
· Revenues and benefits – The performance improvements seen in 2016/17 had continued with quarter 2 following a similar performance trend to quarter 1, showing an error rate of 0.16%. The rate remained within target and on track to receive 100% subsidy for 2017/18.
Areas of concern highlighted within the report included the following:
· Staff Turnover – Staff turnover for the quarter was 10.97%. Although well above the threshold, the figure was largely made up of leavers resulting from service reviews
· Cases prevented from homelessness per 1,000 households - Although not a targeted measure, monitoring would continue, as homelessness prevention was a key area for the Council and overall cases prevented from homelessness had seen a downwards trend over the last 4 quarters.
· Housing Voids – Overall, most of the housing void times had improved since the last quarter. However, there were some performance indicators such as key to key for general needs and contractor times for general needs which exceeded targets. These areas were being addressed.
· Business Rate in Year Collection Rate - The collection rate was currently 0.93% behind target. Changes as a result of the recent business rates revaluation, and notification by the Valuation Office Agency of two large, backdated changes to business assessment in the rating list were largely the reason for this performance. Monitoring would be undertaken and it was anticipated that the end of year target would be achieved.
The Panel considered the following points:
· Commercial Property Occupancy – Although indicators showed occupancy at 100%, members asked for clarification that the properties were all being gainfully used, and not purely for storage.
· Could a new indicator be added to start monitoring rent collection for Welland Homes? Officers advised that they would find out whether this could be done, and would advise members of the outcome.
· Planning performance and time – did the Authority monitor why time extensions were granted? ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
To consider a number of amendments to the Constitution (report of the Executive Manager Governance enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Manager Governance, which asked members to consider a number of amendments to the Constitution. Most of the proposed changes were only minor and not considered urgent therefore, the Monitoring Officer had not made the changes under her delegated powers. The report sought approval for the proposed minor, and other, changes.
Proposed changes detailed within the report included:
· Call-in – procedure for call-in of decisions which were not Key Decisions and procedure for executive decisions which were subject to external deadlines.
· Membership of the Cabinet – clarification that the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Council could not be a member of the Executive
· Appointments to Outside Bodies – proposal that appointments could be made for periods longer than one year.
· Standing Committees – Various amendments relating to Standing Committees proposed.
· Performance of Executive Functions – Small amendment proposed.
· Modern Slavery Act 2015 – amendments to the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules proposed, to take account of sections within the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Members considered the information report, and agreed the ecommendations.
That the amendments detailed in Appendices A to F of the report be approved, and the Constitution be amended accordingly.
To set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel (report of the Executive Manager Governance enclosed).
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 three 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.
The third section contained the draft Action Plan of issues identified at a previous meeting for further scrutiny by the Panel. Officers had met with the Chairman and Vice Chairman to consider prioritisation of these issues, and Appendices A and C had been updated to reflect these discussions.
The Panel considered the report and the following issues were raised:
· The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group had not reformed since it had produced its Final Report - a recommendation from the original Task Group had been 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. It was requested that this be arranged, and that officers be able to attend to provide information on issues such as costings and the annual event held at the playing field.
· An item identified for further scrutiny was Section 106 monies – how the Authority currently proactively managed these agreements and how it would maximise opportunities in the future. There was a specific question with regard to Section 106 monies linked to a development in Pinchbeck, where money from it had been spent on education in Spalding. The Executive Director Place advised that a response to this case would provided to members.
a) That the Work Programme report provided by the Executive Manager Governance be noted;
b) That the updated information provided within Appendices A and C of the report be noted, and that the information to be provided to future meetings, detailed in Appendix A, be agreed;
c) That a single meeting of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field Task Group be arranged as recommended by the original Task Group; and
d) That members be provided with information on the use of Section 106 monies relating to a Pinchbeck development, and spend in Spalding.
Any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent
NOTE: No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the minutes, the Chairman is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.