Agenda and minutes

Performance Monitoring Panel - Wednesday, 16th March, 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Democratic Services  01775 764454

Items
No. Item

32.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 172 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the following meeting(s):

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED:

 

a)    That the minutes of the meeting of the Special Performance Monitoring Panel held on 19 October 2021 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record;

 

b)    That the minutes of the meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel held on 9 November 2021 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record;

 

c)    That the minutes of the meeting of the Special Performance Monitoring Panel held on 7 December 2021 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record;

 

d)    That the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Performance Monitoring Panel and Policy Development Panel held on 27 January 2022 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record; and

 

e)    That a record of officer actions that arose from meetings, and associated responses, be appended to the minutes for consideration going forward.

 

33.

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.

Minutes:

There were none.

34.

Questions asked under Standing Order 6

Minutes:

There were none.

35.

Tracking of Recommendations

To consider responses of the Cabinet to reports of the Panel.

Minutes:

There were none.

36.

Items referred from the Policy Development Panel.

Minutes:

There were none.

37.

Key Decision Plan pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To note the current Key Decision Plan

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Key Decision Plan issued on 4 March 2022.

 

AGREED:

 

That the Key Decision Plan issued on 4 March 2022 be noted.

38.

Swimming Pool & Leisure Facilities Task Group update Q3 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To provide the Panel with an update on leisure provision (report of the Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture enclosed.)

 

Also attending for this item will be:

·         Parkwood, the current leisure provider, to provide the Panel with an update on performance; and

·         Max Associates, to provide the Panel with identified leisure priorities within the South and East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership (S&ELCP)

 

Members will have the opportunity to ask questions. Should any questions relate to exempt information the Panel will need to resolve to go into closed session after all open issues have been dealt with.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture provided the Panel with an update report on leisure provision performance and the development of the future options and opportunities for leisure provision in South Holland.  The update included presentations from Parkwood Leisure (the current leisure provider), and leisure consultants, Max Associates.

 

The Regional Director and Area Manager of Parkwood Leisure delivered a presentation to the Panel which outlined the main achievements and challenges the company had experienced since the contract had been awarded in 2019, and their future plans for the sites. The key points included:

  • contract handover and site investment, which incorporated:
    • brand refresh;
    • investment in a new Spin Studio;
    • upgrade of cardiovascular gym equipment;
    • sensory pool; and
    • deep cleaning of swimming pool changing rooms and staff training;
  • the impact of Covid 19 lockdowns on staffing and facility usage;
  • the Covid 19 recovery phase which had concentrated on increasing customer confidence and usage;
  • membership trajectories: swimming memberships had performed particularly well since July 2021 and were now above pre-Covid levels.
  • national trend challenges: inflation, utilities and workforce;
  • opportunities for energy and carbon reduction;
  • marketing;
  • proposals for 2022/2023 included:
    • the ‘reversible’ repurposing of the financially unsustainable bar and café areas at the Spalding site, to a ‘wellness area’
    • flexibility on programming and pricing;
    • Bowls Club provision;
    • investment of gym equipment at both Spalding and Long Sutton sites;
    • increased virtual classes; and
    • Holiday and Activities Food Programme.

 

The Panel considered the presentation and made the following comments:

 

  • Members asked which methods of marketing had been employed.
    • The Parkwood representative responded that costs had been considered when the marketing strategy had been planned. Most of the activity had taken place online, including social media, however leaflets had also been produced which were distributed to council offices and libraries. The intention was to widen distribution and activity throughout the district.

 

·         Members asked whether inflationary rises would be passed on to customers and if so, had an impact on memberships been anticipated.

  • The Parkwood representative responded that fees had been frozen for two years but would increase in May 2022, which the contract had allowed. An increase in bowling fees would be delayed until September 2022 to allow club members a longer notice period. Whilst the implementation of increased membership fees caused concern to Parkwood, and the industry in general, the measure was necessary to cover increased costs. The organisation had recovered well and did not anticipate an impact on memberships. The contract could be delivered as intended.

 

  • Members asked whether the leisure facilities had sufficient staff to ensure all aspects of the contract could be delivered. Facilities had been closed at short notice and customers had not been advised.

o   Parkwood confirmed that they had increased the employee complement since taking over the contract and that both facilities were fully staffed. Sufficient staff were required to be in place to adhere to health and safety responsibilities and for the facility to remain open. Short notice closures were unfortunate but had occurred due to employee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Q3 21/22 Performance Overview pdf icon PDF 229 KB

To provide an update on how the Council is performing for the period 1st October 2021 to 31st December 2021 (report of the Assistant Director – Corporate enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Corporate which provided an update on how the Council was performing for the period 1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021. The Assistant Director – Corporate attended on behalf of the Senior Change and Performance Business Partner, who had sent apologies. 

 

The Assistant Director – Corporate introduced the report and stated that performance had been positive. The only area of concern had been the Customer Contact Centre which had continued to show an underperformance. Improvements from the implementation of mitigations and initiatives, which had been presented to the Panel at the 9 November 2021 meeting, had started to take effect. A further update from the Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) would come forward at the next meeting.

 

  • Members were disappointed with the Contact Centre’s response to incoming telephone calls. Long waiting times punctuated by regular automated messages directing customers to the website, had been experienced. A call-back system was suggested.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate referred the Panel to the previous presentation by the Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) which outlined an improvement plan. Work had been underway to address the issue and an update on the plan and the performance would be given at the next meeting.

 

  • Members queried the fly-tipping performance data; an improvement had been reported however a specific incident had not been dealt with after 15 days. 
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate would challenge the data with the service and requested the postcode of the specific issue raised.

 

  • Members asked whether the phone line worked efficiently and optimally for the council’s needs.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate confirmed that the current system did not work well for the council and that a budget had recently been approved to replace the telephony system at both South Holland and East Lindsey councils. The new system would help address many issues of concern in customer contact.

 

  • Members requested a narrative be included for the Freedom of Information (FOI) performance information.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate responded that a piece of work in respect of FOI had been ongoing to identify the correct route for incoming enquiries. Where possible, enquiries would be sent direct to officers for an expeditious response. This area had regular focus at joint senior leadership team governance meetings.

 

  • Members wished to note concerns regarding:
  • the reduction in duration of ‘Benefit Calls’ if calls had been rushed; and
  • the trajectory of the housing benefit error rate.

 

AGREED:

 

That the report be noted.

40.

Digital pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To update the Performance Monitoring Panel following questions raised at its previous meeting (report of the Assistant Director – Corporate enclosed).

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Corporate to update the Performance Monitoring Panel following questions raised at the 19 October 2021 meeting regarding the ICT and Digital Work Programme.

 

The Assistant Director – Corporate introduced the report and highlighted that a partnership ICT Strategy has been identified as a priority for the Annual Delivery Plan 2022/23. The ICT Strategy would come forward in Q1 2022/23, and work facilitated by the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation (SOCITM) had commenced. The existing Digital Work Programme for South Holland continued to be monitored closely by the Assistant Director - Corporate and the Portfolio Holder - Corporate and Communications, and would be delivered.

 

The Panel considered the report and raised the following points:

 

  • Members requested reassurance that all areas of concern for South Holland’s digital delivery, expressed at the 19 October 2021 meeting, were being attended to. Would delivery comply with the agreed budget.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate responded that whilst the Digital delivery had not met agreed timescales, the delay had directly resulted from the redirection of resources required to support the organisation during the Covid 19 pandemic. Delivery of the work programme’s 10 projects had been at various stages: 3 had completed, 6 were ongoing, and 1 yet to start. A number of projects had been financed but further research was needed regarding the overall budget; the separation of systems from Breckland could have cost implications. Work already undertaken would continue to be relevant across the partnership.

 

  • Members asked how differences in need among the three councils would be addressed.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate responded that the partnership ICT Strategy would have input from the joint ICT Strategy Task Group, with members drawn from the Policy Development Panel. Adoption of the strategy would be determined by each sovereign authority.

 

  • Members stated that the ICT and Digital Strategy Board should deliver a robust programme and asked whether the joint scrutiny process was a necessary addition.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate responded that the topic had been suggested for joint scrutiny, but those topics to be taken forward were ultimately for the scrutiny committees to agree.

 

  • Members queried how the costs of ongoing projects were divided between the three councils.
    • The Assistant Director – Corporate confirmed that division of cost would be determined on a project-by-project basis. Wide-ranging and relevant factors, such as population size and relative benefit, would be considered. Councils would not subsidise each other.

 

AGREED:

 

That the report be noted.

41.

Economic Development/Inward Investment PMP report pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To provide an update to the Performance Monitoring Panel on current work being undertaken to support the South Holland economy (report of the Assistant Director – Strategic Growth and Development enclosed)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Strategic Growth and Development to provide an update to the Panel on current work being undertaken to support the South Holland economy.

 

The Economic Development and Inward Investment Manager introduced the report and highlighted the following points:

 

  • The Economic Development Team had continued to administer Covid grants with 31.5million pounds distributed to South Holland businesses. This area of work had been drawing to a close.
  • A number of businesses had responded generously to a call for Christmas food bank donations. 
  • The Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach had two occupied buildings, with a third, ‘The Hub’, to be completed in May 2022.
  • Grants for Growth scheme remained on target and an overachievement had been imminent. From the contracted assistance output to 370 businesses, 369 had been assisted, and a further 5 applications were expected shortly. The project had been extended until June 2023, with a further 500,000 pounds allocated. The scheme had attracted in excess of 4 million pounds of European funding into Lincolnshire businesses and had generated private sector investment of 9.26 million pounds.
  • Support continued for town centre retail businesses: 21 large businesses had expansion plans in the immediate future.
  • All senior schools in the district were engaged with the local Enterprise Adviser; projects included jobs and careers fayres.

 

Members considered the report and made the following comments:

 

  • Members were encouraged by the report and activity noted therein, particularly the support for businesses. Positive feedback from businesses regarding the efficient administering of Business Grants was relayed to officers.
  • Members asked if any restrictions existed which prevented businesses from reapplying for grants within the same or following year.
    • The Economic Development and Inward Investment Manager responded that an awarding of grant monies precluded further applications within the same funding stream, even if the scheme period had been extended.

 

  • Members asked whether the team had been engaged in influencing wider strategic projects for the area, such as improvements to major arterial roads coming into the district. Roads and networks around the district were deemed unfit for purpose for transporting produce, and in particular, the A16 and A17 needed to be maintained and improved to alleviate traffic queues. As project timescales were often protracted, could urgent pressure be exerted for much needed improvements.
    • The Assistant Director – Strategic Growth and Development confirmed that:
      • The council, as part of the wider S&ELCP, had recently submitted a comprehensive consultation response into the Highways England ‘Route Strategies’ process, utilising data from businesses to demonstrate the importance of the A16 and A17, and make the case for strategic investment in those routes;
      • working through the S&ELCP, the council had submitted a comprehensive response to Lincolnshire County Council’s (LCC) draft ‘Local Transport Strategy 5’, to make the case for both the A16 and A17 to be acknowledged as priority routes for investment through LCC; and
      • that the council, working in collaboration with LCC, had secured £19million in Levelling-Up Funding for improvements to the pinch  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Northgate System update

To provide the Panel with an update on the Northgate System (presentation to be given by the Housing Project Officer and the Operational Repairs Team Manager)

Minutes:

The Housing Project Officer and Operational Repairs Team Manager provided a presentation to the Panel detailing an update of the Northgate system.

 

The presentation covered an overview of the two-year project:

  • an innovative approach had been taken, with employment of a dedicated resource;
  • partnership working: with PSPS, the Digital Team, and Northgate;
  • benefits and improvements included:
    • the use of a task manager system;
    • a 360 view of customer and property;
    • the use of a repair finder tool; and
    • the ability for tenants to book repairs online would be available later in the year;
  • future opportunities and developments following the project closure included:
    • improvements to data acquisition from the system; and
    • new system modules.

 

Members considered the update and made the following comments:

 

  • Members asked if residents were able to access the system.
    • The Housing Project Officer responded that the system was accessible to officers and a customer portal would be implemented in due course.

 

  • Members asked if a productivity benefit had arisen since the system had been installed.
    • The Operational Repairs Team Manager stated that:
      • the system enabled the redirection of job routes to maximise efficiencies;
      • an increased number of repairs had been carried out; and
      • customer contact time had reduced by 2/3rds since the system had been implemented.

 

  • Members asked whether national benchmarking relating to repairs had been carried out.
    • The Operational Repairs Team Manager responded that benchmarking of ‘costs’ had been undertaken and that ‘first time fits’ was a national indicator.

                                                        

  • Members were concerned that residents who did not have access to the internet would still have access to assistance.
    • The Housing Project Officer confirmed that residents would continue to have access through Customer Contact and in person with Housing Officers.

 

  • Members asked if extra modules had increased planned costs; and whether additional functionalities were needed/desired.
    • The Housing Project Officer confirmed that the project had been completed within the agreed budget and on time.
    • The Operational Repairs Team Manager was very satisfied with the system’s breadth of functionalities.

 

AGREED:

 

That the update be noted.

 

43.

Marketing/Renovation of Industrial Units update

The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets and the Estates Officer will provide the Panel with a verbal update on the Marketing/Renovation of Industrial Units.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets and the Consultant Surveyor gave a verbal update on the Marketing and Renovation of Industrial Units.

 

The update included the following main points:

  • the work stream had entered its final phase and would be completed by 31 March 2022;
  • several new occupiers were due to complete new leases imminently;
  • the three vacating tenancies had been filled;
  • installation of LED lighting had been completed for Horseshoe Yard; the receipt of respective Energy Performance Certificates would enable the completion of several outstanding leases;
  • a summary of the Industrial Units was given:
    • total number of units was 50;
    • total number of tenants/leases was 39;
    • completed leases was 26;
    • leases due to complete was10; and
    • enforcement action / vacating was 3.
  • a waiting list would be maintained but evidence suggested that the small business economy was buoyant with fewer vacancies;
  • most tenants had positively embraced the introduction of a small service charge to assist with the upkeep of communal areas, which financed:
    • grounds maintenance;
    • lighting; and
    • minor repairs, such as the repairing of potholes;
  • repurposing of the Short Street units had enhanced income by £8000; and
  • a flexible and open approach to sites and tenants had been taken.

 

Members considered the verbal update and made the following comments:

 

 

  • Members asked if the introduction of the new service charge had represented a detraction from the original concept of the units and therefore impacted interest.
    • The Consultant Surveyor did not believe this to be the case. The service charges had been transparent and new tenants had not questioned the terms.

 

  • Members stated that the original premise had been for business use and to create jobs, whereas some had been used for storage.
    • The Consultant Surveyor responded that successful tenants had taken on extra units, rather than moving to a larger premises. The units appealed to local businesses and therefore had a positive impact on jobs.

 

AGREED:

 

That the verbal update be noted.

44.

Public Transport Joint Scrutiny between the partner councils in the S&ELCP pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To agree a protocol for joint scrutiny between the partner councils in the S&ELCP; to agree the scope for a Joint Transport Task and Finish Group; and to agree the appointment of three members to the Joint Task and Finish Group (report of the Assistant Director – Governance enclosed)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Governance (Monitoring Officer) to agree a protocol for joint scrutiny between the partner councils in the S&ELCP; to agree the scope for a Joint Transport Task and Finish Group; and to agree the appointment of three members to the Joint Task and Finish Group.

 

The Assistant Director – Governance (Monitoring Officer) introduced the report which proposed the process by which joint scrutiny, on matters of common strategic importance across the partnership, was undertaken.

 

Appendix A set out the joint scrutiny proposals. Identical reports had been proposed to S&ELCP authorities: East Lindsey District Council had recently approved the report; Boston Borough Council would consider the proposals in the following week.

 

Feedback from consultations with scrutiny Chairs, Group Leaders and the Executive, noted in points 2.4 and 2.5 of the report, had been reflected in the proposal.

 

The proposal included the establishment of partnership Task Groups which would discuss a maximum of four topics per year. Respective councils would appoint three members to each Task and Finish Group.

 

The first topic proposed for scrutiny was Public Transport, and a high-level scope for the Task and Finish scrutiny panel was outlined in Appendix B. 

 

The final Task and Finish Group report would go forward to each sovereign council’s parent scrutiny committee.

 

The Assistant Director – Governance referred to the discussion from agenda item 11 (Economic Development/Inward Investment update) and stated that a joint scrutiny approach to Public Transport, which incorporated rail, should bear greater influence in pressing for change than sovereign councils acting alone.

 

 

Members considered the report and made the following comments:

 

  • The Public Transport scrutiny topic was welcomed and would assist businesses and employment within the three authorities. In addition to rail and buses, it was stated that roads should be included within the review.

 

  • Effective and reliable public transport was particularly warranted in rural areas and merited special attention.

 

  • The location of meetings across the partnership was discussed: virtual, in-person and site visits. The venue of meetings would depend on lines of enquiry and be decided by the Task Group.

 

 

AGREED:

 

a)    That the proposals for joint scrutiny arrangements, as set out in Appendix A, be approved;

 

b)    That the scope for the proposed Joint Transport Task and Finish Group, as set out in Appendix B, be approved;

 

c)    That Councillor P A Redgate, Councillor C J T H Brewis and Councillor S C Walsh be appointed to the proposed Joint Transport Task and Finish Group; and

 

d)    That the Task and Finish Group be authorised to determine the detail of its remit and the required lines of enquiry and witnesses.

45.

Performance Monitoring Panel Work Programme pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To set out the Work Programme of the Performance Monitoring Panel (report of the Assistant Director – Governance and Monitoring Officer enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – 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 date 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 Democratic Services Officer discussed updates to the Work Programme.

 

For Appendix A, it was noted that:

  • the South Holland Centre Task Group final report would come forward to a meeting of the Joint Performance Monitoring Panel and Policy Development Panel on 11 April 2022;
  • the Swimming Pool and Leisure Facilities update will be scheduled to come forward in 3 months, as requested at this meeting;
  • the Crime and Disorder update had been due at this meeting but with agreement of the Chairman, was moved to the following meeting; and
  • upon confirmation of the schedule of meetings for 2022/23, a number of work programme items will be allocated in liaison with the Chairman.

 

For Appendix B, it was noted that:

  • The South Holland Task Group had completed its work and final report was being completed.

 

The Chairman requested that:

  • The Task Group on page 133 ‘The effectiveness of management companies’ set up to undertake maintenance on residential estates throughout the district past, present and for the future’ be commenced/reviewed in the near future;
  • a report from the Public Toilets Task Group to come forward regarding the outcome of its work.

 

AGREED:

 

That the report be noted.

46.

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.

Minutes:

There were none.

47.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider resolving that, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

Discussion on any exempt information which may arise relating to Agenda item 8.

Minutes:

DECISION:

That under section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

 

48.

Swimming Pool & Leisure Facilities Task Group update Q3 2021/22

Minutes:

Earlier in the meeting, the Panel had asked for a discussion on specific exempt issues relating to this item and these were now considered following exclusion of the Press and Public.

 

A discussion ensued between the Panel and officers on these issues.

 

AGREED:

 

a)    That the Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture comments be noted;

 

b)    That an update on progress (to include specific issues raised, as detailed within the exempt minute) come forward in three months.