Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding
Contact: Christine Morgan 01775 764454
The Chairman advised of the recent death of Councillor R Clark, who had been a member of the Performance Monitoring Panel. Panel members requested that condolences be passed on to the family at the appropriate time.
Councillor R Grocock had recently been replaced on the panel by Councillor J Whitbourn. The Chairman welcomed Councillor Whitbourn to the Panel.
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.
At its meeting on 4 July 2017, the Panel raised concerns regarding the state of pot holes in roads in the area. The Panel requested that an officer from the Highways Department at Lincolnshire County Council attend a meeting to advise what the County Council’s policy was with regard to the filling of pot holes, and to answer members questions.
The following representative will be in attendance:
· Georgina Statham – Highways Liaison Manager at Lincolnshire County Council
The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Georgina Statham, Highways Liaison Manager at Lincolnshire County Council, and Andy Wharff, Highways Manager at Lincolnshire County Council. They had been invited to answer questions following a Panel meeting on 4 July 2017 where concerns had been raised over the state of pot holes in roads within the area.
The officers provided an overview of the issue, and of the restructure to planned and reactive works that had been undertaken at the County Council the previous year. The main points were as follows:
· Network management dealt with the day to day management of pot holes. Andy was the manager for the area that included South Holland, he had eight staff working for him and his area covered around a quarter of Lincolnshire.
· The main policy covering pot holes was the Asset Management Policy and Strategy, with the Highways Management Plan sitting underneath this. This information could be viewed online.
· There had been an increased response time to faults on the network.
· All reported pot holes were inspected, those with higher traffic more frequently.
· The severity of the defect and the type of road dictated how and when potholes were dealt with.
· 90,000 potholes had been filled in the previous year. There had been an increase in the current year – these were prioritised in line with the strategy and were now of a higher quality fill.
· There was currently a backlog of works, and work was being undertaken to address this.
· Already there was an increase in the number of pot holes reported in the current year to the previous one. Much of this was due to the poor, wet weather this year. There were 22 teams across the area dealing with the filling of pot holes, but there were constraints due to budgets.
Members raised a number of issues as follows:
· Had the method of repairing potholes changed recently?
o Yes, it had. The aim was now to undertake a one fix repair.
· There were complaints from the public regarding how some repairs are undertaken - why were all potholes not repaired this way?
o The policy since 2 January 2018 was to undertake a different method of repairing. If a quick repair was needed, in the first instance the pot hole would be filled temporarily, with a return visit to provide a better fix. 95% of potholes should now be repaired better.
· What was the definition of a pot hole?
o Pot holes could of any size however, there was a depth criteria which dictated response times. An accurate description when reporting helped to assess the situation more quickly, making sure that the more urgent ones were done first.
· More funding for roads was required from central government – had there been any costings undertaken to compare the amount of money taken back from government against repairs having to be done?
o There was always a need for more funding. There was to be an increase in surface dressing to improve ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the following meeting:
· Performance Monitoring Panel – 7 November 2017
The minutes of the Performance Monitoring Panel meeting held on 7 November 2018 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
Consideration was given to the Key Decision Plan issued on 29 January 2018.
That the Key Decision Plan issued on 29 January 2018 be noted.
To provide an update on Council performance for the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017 (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 Council performance for the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017. Areas where performance had improved since the previous period were brought to members’ attention, as were areas where performance was below expected levels or was considered to be worsening.
Quarter 3 saw performance remain steady in comparison to Quarter 2. Performance was rated as moderate with 11 indicators being green (58%) which indicated good performance. There were 3 (16%) amber indicators and 5 red indicators (26%), highlighting lower than expected performance. There were 5 indicators which were classified as data only, which meant that they were monitored without requiring a target, and 1 in which the data was currently unavailable.
In discussing the report the following key points emerged:
· Housing voids had been highlighted as an area for improvement, and members were unhappy at this performance. It was clarified that this issue would be discussed in further depth at the next Panel meeting, where performance against the recommendations of the Performance of the Re-Letting of Voids Task Group was already due to be considered..
· At the last Panel meeting, members had requested whether a new indicator could be added to start monitoring rent collection for Welland Homes? Officers advised that this was in the process of being done and would be reported as part of the next cycle, covering periods 2 to 4.
· The report showed that planning applications were down for the quarter. Would this have an effect on income?
o Members were advised that quarterly figures only reflected a small point in time, and that the highlight figure would be at the end of the year. The Authority was on track to show an increase in income. Planning fees had recently increased by 20% so revenue next year would be in line with the past year and would thus balance out. The end of financial year was the best time to get a true reflection of the situation.
· Would the increase in fees be used within planning service?
o Yes, these amounts were ring fenced to be used in this way. A report would be provided to full Council in due course as to how the Authority was dealing with this.
· The Council Tax in year collection rate was 0.54% behind target.
o The profiling of debt pushed back to end of financial year was being looked at, and this was currently more than last year’s debt that was collectable. The in year collection rate should be at target by the end of the financial year.
· Members commented that consideration should perhaps be given to whether any increase in Council Tax was linked to amounts that could not be collected. It was still too early to see a trend.
o Officers commented that for 2017/18, officers would need to look at changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme. There were a number of factors contributing to changes in ... view the full minutes text for item 41.
To provide background on why the decision to renew the catering lease had to follow the urgent procedure (report of the Executive Director, Place enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Place, which provided background on why the decision to renew the catering lease at the South Holland Centre had to follow the urgent procedure.
Members raised the following concerns:
· In view of the fact that the contract we due for renewal, why had the process not been started sooner?
o Arrangements had started to be made in September 2017 to move forward with the contract renewal process. However, there had then been a delay resulting in the urgency procedure being used in respect of the Portfolio Holder Decision being used to ensure continuity of service. With regard to contractual arrangements, all terms for the outgoing contractor had been followed. In the future, the Contracts Team would pick up new contract procedures – contract renewals would be looked at sooner and this situation should not happen again.
· Why did the previous contractor not wish to continue?
o The Authority had been aware that the contractor may not wish to renew the contract however, formal notification was not received until December 2017. Members were advised that the reason for non-renewal would be sought and shared with them in due course.
· Members asked why the contract was not advertised.
o The reasons would be addressed with the relevant department. Moving forward, the Contract Team would work with departments to ensure these issues did not happen again.
· Members commented that there had been a general lack of communication throughout the whole process, between officers/departments and with members. This had to be improved in the future.
The Chairman stated that the urgency provision for the decision had been agreed on the provision that this report came forward to the meeting, allowing the Panel to raise its concerns. He reiterated that in the future, contracts should be dealt with in the correct way and in a timely fashion.
a) That the content of the report be noted;
b) That a report be brought back to the Panel in six months time to outline future catering contract options; and
c) That future contracts be dealt with in a correct and timely fashion.
To respond to a question raised at the Performance Monitoring Panel on 4 July 2017 in respect to how ‘Street Scene’ is undertaken and managed in South Holland (report of the Executive Director Place enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Place which provided information requested by the Panel in respect to how ‘Street Scene’ was undertaken and managed in South Holland.
Members considered the information detailed within the report, and the following points were raised:
· Friends of Holbeach Parks had contacted the Authority with regard to acquiring grant money to install play equipment, but had received no written confirmation.
o Officers advised that they would look into this and respond in due course.
· Did day to day cleansing and planting take place outside of Spalding?
o Officers advised that they would find the detail to this and feed back in due course.
· Did Spalding football club pay for the maintenance of the pitches at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field?
o Members were advised that the football club only leased the building, and that the field was for the people of Spalding.
· Was the Authority pursuing arrangements with other partners to undertake work on cleaning the river – this would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
o The Authority worked with the River Agency to undertaking cleaning of the river, and this was done twice a year.
o Councillor Gambba-Jones commented that the River Welland was not navigable. The Authority worked with the Environment Agency with regard to the Water Taxi, but it was very difficult to get others on the waterway. Innovative ways of keeping the waterways clean were always being considered.
That the report be noted.
To provide members with an update on enforcement activity following the Place review (report of the Executive Director Place enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the report of the Executive Director Place which provided members with an update on enforcement activity following the Place Review.
A key change to the Authority’s operation model was to strengthen the integration of enforcement activity across the Communities, Environmental, Housing and Operational Assets services. In essence, all environmental enforcement activity had moved to the Communities Service to enable a more consistent and effective approach. Stronger links had been established across teams for case work and interventions to support joined up and cohesive enforcement action.
An issue of concern to members and the public was fly tipping. The report provided information on how this was dealt with by the Authority, and members were advised of costs for prosecutions. It was expected that fixed penalty notices would go up for offences such as littering.
Members considered the information detailed within the report and the following issues were raised:
· With regard to the campaign to raise awareness of fly tipping, had results been measured to check if this had been successful?
o Members were advised that it was currently too early to say if it had been successful, but that this would be monitored.
· Members responded that a long, concerted and high profile effort was required, and not just from this particular district.
· With regard to anti social behaviour and fly tipping, members commented that it would be useful for them to be provided with specifics of where these incidents were taking place in specific wards, and of any action taken.
o Officers stated that a new case management system was being introduced in the next financial year which would help monitor hot spot locations and action taken. It would be able to run reports based on location. The team was also working on how best to capture ward specific data.
· Issues around enforcement were not only a problem in South Holland – was the Authority benchmarking against other areas? T
o Enforcement and Community Safety was benchmarked against other Lincolnshire districts and with Breckland District Council. There was further work taking place on consistency of data and criteria.
· How often was the Community Safety Partnership newsletter published?
o Members were advised that this usually came out following each meeting of the Partnership, which were held quarterly. This countywide partnership had recently been reviewed and communications was a key focus area, but consideration was being given to providing these more quickly.
· Engagement with families regarding anti social behaviour seemed haphazard – engagement needed to happen at an earlier stage.
o Early intervention with a view to preventing incidents from escalating was a key focus of the work. Officers had met with Children’s Services that week to develop this further.
a) That the report be noted; and
b) That a further update on enforcement be provided to the Panel in six months time.
(The Executive Directors Place, the Place Manager, the Environmental Services Manager, the Communities Manager, the Portfolio Holder Place and the Portfolio ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
To update members on the effect of changes made to the 2017/18 Council Tax Support Scheme (report of the Executive Director Commercialisation (S151 Officer) enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Director Commercialisation which updated members on the effect of changes made to the 2017/18 Council Tax Support scheme.
Following consultation in 2016, a number of changes to South Holland’s 2017/18 Council Tax Support scheme for 2017/18 for working age claimants were agreed, and these changes were:
· Second Adult Rebate – Reduced to 20% in 2017/18 (10% in 2018/19 and zero from 2019/20);
· Introduced a minimum level of Council Tax Support at £5 per week;
· Increased non-dependent deductions by 10%;
· Restrict Council Tax Support to Band D Council Tax;
· Capital Limit reduced to £8,000;
· Lower capital threshold reduced to £3,000;
· Maximum level of Council Tax Support available reduced to 70%;
· Family premium for new claims made removed.
The full effect of any changes would not be known until the end of the financial year.
· Members commented that the report did not address some of the questions the Panel had – particular expansion was required on the following points: a) Section 4.2, the in-year collection rate for the previous year was requested; b) Section 4.4, with regard to summons, how many of these were as a result of the effects of the changes and what was the additional cost of these summons; c) 4.7 – how many people had been affected by this change and were in arrears pile?; d) 5.1 – this did not advise if there was a trend of unsuccessful claimants.
o Members were advised that they would receive some feedback on these points. The system that was used was parameter-based so it may not be possible to provide information in the depth requested however, as much information as possible would be provided to members.
· Had there been an increase in the number of Council Tax appeals (in respect of how earning and income were calculated)?
o Members would be provided with these figures in due course.
a) That the report be noted; and
b) That members be provided with information requested when available.
(The Head of Services, Revenues and Benefits (CPBS) and the Operational Benefits Manager, Revenues and Benefits (CPBS) left the meeting following discussion of this item).
To set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel (report of the Executive Manager Governance enclosed).
Members are also asked to consider the following issue for inclusion within the Panel’s Work Programme:
· Public toilets – To consider setting up a task group to look at the locations, costs and refurbishment of all toilets within the district that are the responsibility of the Authority, and to consider their actual usage.
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.
Consideration was given to the report, and the following issue was raised:
Public toilets - it had been suggested that the Panel consider setting up a task group to look at the locations, costs and refurbishment of all public toilets within the district that were the responsibility of the Authority, and to consider their actual usage. Members commented that some years ago, a similar task group had been set up and that any new task group should consider the work and outcomes of the previous one. It was agreed that a task group should be set up and that work should commence as soon as possible.
a) That the Work Programme report provided by the Executive Manager Governance be noted;
b) That a task group be set up to look at the locations, costs and refurbishment of all public toilets within the district that were the responsibility of the Authority, and to consider their actual usage; and
c) That membership of the task group be sought and work commenced at the earliest opportunity.
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.