Overview & Scrutiny Committee(5)

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					Overview & Scrutiny Committee

held at Ryedale House, Malton
on Thursday 21 February 2008

Present

Councillors Mrs Shields (in the Chair), Cusson, Hawkins, Jackson, Raper, Mrs Wilford
and Windress.

By invitation: Councillors Andrews and Hope.

In Attendance

J Barnett, Miss C Gaynor, P Hancock and J Ingham.

Minutes

454   Apology for Absence

      An apology for absence was received from Councillor Ms Warriner.


455   Minutes

      The minutes of a meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 13
      December 2007 (previously circulated) were submitted.

             Resolved

             That the minutes of a meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny
             Committee held on 13 December 2007 be approved and signed
             by the Chairman as a correct record.


456   Urgent Business

      The Chairman reported that there was one item to be dealt with at the meeting as
      a matter or urgency by virtue of Section 100(B)(4)(b).


457   Declarations of Interest

      No declarations of interest were received.


458   Matters Referred for Decision in Relation to Call-in

      There were no items to report.




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459   Responses from Full Council, Policy & Resources Committee and
      Community Services & Licensing Committee to Reports of Overview &
      Scrutiny Committee

      There were no matters to report.


460   Internal Audit – 3rd Quarter Report from Audit Partnership

      The Audit Manager submitted an Interim Internal Audit report (previously
      circulated) for the period 1 April to 31 December for 2007/08 prepared by the
      North Yorkshire Audit Partnership, which outlined the work undertaken during the
      third quarter.

      The Interim (Q2) Internal Audit report summarised the work done by Internal Audit
      in 2007/08 covering the first half of the year to 30 September 2007. The report
      highlighted the issues that the audits had identified and provided a summary for
      those issues. It also outlined any issues which had emerged from the audits of
      the Council’s principal financial systems, together with any significant comments
      from other audits completed during the year to date.

      The current Internal Audit Plan for 2007/08 and subsequent years had been
      arrived at through discussions with the Audit Manager, the Interim Chief Financial
      Officer and the Client Manager. It was considered that it represented the best
      compromise between economy and effectiveness, and would provide a sufficient
      level of assurance for the Annual Governance Statement and the Council’s
      external auditors.

            Resolved

            That the report be noted.


461   Statement of Internal Control 2006/07 – Monitoring of Approved Action Plan

      The Audit Manager submitted a report (previously circulated), which advised
      Members on the progress with actions identified as part of the 2006/07 Statement
      of Internal Control (SIC). It also introduced the successor to the SIC, the Annual
      Governance Statement (AGS) which was a statutory requirement for the 2007/08
      year. The Action Plan was appended to the report.

      The report presented the approved action plan from the 2006/07 SIC annotated
      with the latest position on the identified actions.

      Compliance with the Accounts and Audit regulations it was a legal requirement,
      including the preparation of an Annual Governance Statement (AGS).

      The requirement to prepare an SIC had now ended and the AGS was required for
      2007/08. Its introduction was linked with the issue of the CIPFA/SOLACE
      framework and guidance on good governance, which was reported to the
      Overview & Scrutiny Committee at its October 2007 meeting.


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      The framework introduced 6 core principles, details of which were given in the
      report.

      It was a requirement that the AGS was required in accordance with ‘proper
      practice’ as defined by CIPFA & SOLACE.

             Resolved

             That the progress against identified actions as detailed in the
             Action Plan be noted.


462   Risk Management Strategy

      The Group Auditor submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose of which
      was to provide Members with a revised Risk Management Strategy.

      The revised strategy set out the Council’s strategy for implementing and
      embedding risk management. The strategy covered corporate and service based
      risk management and the control of risk within projects. The primary objectives of
      the strategy were to:

            Further develop risk management and raise its profile across the Council
            Integrate risk management into the culture of the organisation
            Embed risk management through the ownership and management of risk
             as part of all decision making processes
            Manage risk in accordance with best practice
            Create effective processes that will allow the council to produce annual risk
             management assurance statements annually.

      The Group Auditor reported that further reports would be brought back to the
      Overview & Scrutiny committee as the responsible committee for monitoring and
      evaluating risks within the Council.

             Resolved

             That the revised Risk Management Strategy be approved.


463   Revised Corporate Risk Register

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose
      of which was to provide Members with a revised Corporate Risk Register.

      The Corporate Risk Register was reviewed on a six monthly basis, the timing set
      to coincide with the budgetary cycle and to ensure its continued completeness
      and accuracy.

      Members were of the opinion that it was appropriate for the risks of the corporate
      register, to be displayed in risk order with the highest being displayed first for
      future reports.


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      The Performance Manager reported that further reports would be brought to the
      Overview & Scrutiny Committee as the responsible committee for monitoring and
      evaluating risks within the Council.

            Resolved

            a) That the revised Corporate Risk Register be approved.

            b) That future updates on progress to address corporate risks be
               submitted at six monthly intervals in future.


464   Data Quality Audit

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose
      of which was to inform Members of the results of the recent audit on Data Quality
      carried out by the Audit Commission, other associated audits and the actions to
      address the recommendations from each audit.

      The full report on Data Quality was appended to the Performance Manager’s
      report. The Action Plan with the response and actions required from the Council
      were at the end of the document.

      The Audit Partnership had separately undertaken an Internal Audit and their
      report had been summarised earlier in the Audit Manager’s report. The
      Performance Management Unit also undertook testing of BVPIs and LPIs. It
      worked closely with Unit Managers when the annual returns were made to
      Government to ensure that they were accurate.

      The Performance Manager reported that the Council had improved the way in
      which it provided data but there had been some isolated failures with recording
      the evidence and the manner in which some PIs had been calculated. The
      Council’s Data Quality Strategy set out how the Council could improve and fully
      embed data quality across the whole council. Progress reports would be
      submitted to the Committee at six month intervals.

            Resolved

            a) That the response to the Audit be agreed.

            b) That the measures taken to improve the accuracy of data be
               supported.

            c) That a further report be brought back in six months time to
               provide an update on the implementation of the Action Plan.

465   Waste Management Scrutiny Review

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose
      of which was to update Members on progress on the review and consider further
      work that was required.



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      The Performance Manager reported that some significant progress had been
      made with the Waste Management Review but considerable work remained
      ahead in examining the wide number of issues that arose from this important
      service area. Work currently agreed to be undertaken was as follows:

            Visit a large outlet. An approach to Morrison’s Supermarket had been
             made
            Visit to high performing councils – arrangements to visit North Kesteven
             District Council were to be made.
            Arrange a focus group with customers, including a sample of both
             complainants and an random sample of other householders, to establish
             their views of the current service and of possible future changes in the
             service to guide future strategy
            To consider any other relevant information available from reports or from
             comparisons with other councils that may inform the recommendations of
             the Committee

      In addition Members asked if the views of town and parish councils could be
      sought to inform the review.

      Prior to undertaking any of these actions, it was suggested that the Waste
      Management Champion, Councillor Brian Cottam, be invited to address the
      Committee, accompanied by Phil Long, Commercial Services Manager.

      The Performance Manager informed Members that the agreed areas to be
      considered in further review meetings, were to be prioritised accordingly, therefore
      were agreed as follows:

            Packaging and the retail sector, including the disposal of food waste and
             usage of plastic bags
            The increasing costs from the landfill allowance trading scheme
            The opportunities for waste minimisation and the impact on flytipping
            The market for recycling different forms of waste, including re-use of items
             at household waste recycling centres
            Plastics and cardboard recycling
            The future for waste disposal in the district and its likely impact on
             householders
            Trade waste and recycling
            How best to work in partnership across North Yorkshire

             Resolved

             a) That a meeting be arranged with the Member Champion for
                Waste Management

             b) That further review meetings be held to consider in turn briefing
                papers/presentations/other relevant information on the following
                prioritised areas:




Overview & Scrutiny Committee           395                            21 February 2008
                   Packaging and the retail sector, including the disposal of food waste
                    and usage of plastic bags
                   The increasing costs from the landfill allowance trading scheme
                   The opportunities for waste minimisation and the impact on flytipping
                   The market for recycling different forms of waste, including re-use of
                    items at household waste recycling centres
                   Plastics and cardboard recycling
                   The future for waste disposal in the district and its likely impact on
                    householders
                   Trade waste and recycling
                   How best to work in partnership across North Yorkshire


466   Scrutiny Review of Complaints System

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) regarding
      the Scrutiny Review of the Complaints System.

      The committee examined the Complaints System because of concern at the low
      level of satisfaction with the way complaints were dealt with.

      The Performance Manager reported that the work undertaken during the review
      was as follows:

            Reviewed the complaints system using examples of best practice from
             other councils. A number of changes to current practice have been
             identified
            Reviewed the information available to complainants
            A survey of those who have made complaints to the Council has not
             identified any specific changes. Some comments and suggestions from an
             individual member of the public have been considered
            Feedback and suggestions for improvement to the complaints system have
             been made by staff and these have been considered by the Committee
            A revised two-tier approach involving a comments, compliments and
             complaints form and a more detailed formal complaints leaflet has been
             developed
            A guide for staff has also been developed

      The Chairman to report the recommendations arising from the review to the next
      available Policy & Resources Committee .

             Resolved

             a) That the report and recommendations be agreed including:

                   The Comments, Compliments and Complaints form
                   The revised complaints leaflet for the public
                   The complaints procedure guide for staff
                   The revised method of reporting formal complaints to Members




Overview & Scrutiny Committee           396                            21 February 2008
            b) That the report and its recommendations be presented to the next
               meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee.

467   Progress on Scrutiny Review Recommendations

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose
      of which was to inform Members on progress on the previous Scrutiny Reviews
      undertaken by the Committee.

      The Performance Manager reported that this Committee had undertaken a wide
      range of reviews over the past few years.

      The report set out in summary the recommendations arising from the reviews,
      whether those recommendations were accepted by the Council and the progress
      that had been achieved to date. The report also summarised suggestions for
      further work that the Committee may wish to undertake to ensure that the full
      benefit of the reviews is achieved.

            Resolved

            a) That the report be noted

            b) That the Committee

                      Work with the Land Drainage Liaison Group to re-visit its
                       terms of reference and to encourage wider
                       representation on the group;
                      Request Annual Full Council to consider the appointment
                       of a Member Champion for Sport and Leisure;
                      Request that Lady Lumley’s School re-convene the
                       Northern Ryedale Leisure Centre Strategic Facilities
                       Management Committee at the earliest opportunity;
                      Consider that, given the workload of the Committee, the
                       Community Leisure Working Party is best placed to
                       undertake the agreed 12 month review of the
                       performance of Community Leisure Ltd


468   Customer Complaints to December 2007

      The Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive submitted a report (previously
      circulated) the purpose of which was to inform Members of the number and type
      of complaints received under the Council’s complaints procedure for the period
      October to December 2007.

      The report included complaints monitored under individual service complaints
      systems and a summary of customer feedback to Community Leisure Ltd for the
      period October to December 2007 together with action taken where appropriate.




Overview & Scrutiny Committee          397                            21 February 2008
      Members raised concerns regarding comments made on the Community Leisure
      Customer Feedback Cards relating to the cleanliness of the Derwent Pool. The
      Performance Manager reported that Members’ comments would be forwarded to
      the Cultural Services Manager for action at the next meeting of the Community
      Leisure Working Party.

            Resolved

            That the report be noted.


469   Performance Management Framework

      The Performance Manager submitted a report (previously circulated) the purpose
      of which was to inform Members of the Council’s performance against Best Value
      Performance Indicators (BVPI’s) and Local Performance Indicators (LPI’s) for the
      third quarter of the year April to December 2007.

      The report covered performance for the year to December 2007 and was set
      against the Council’s six Corporate Plan objectives. The report focused on those
      indicators where performance was below target but also drew attention to where
      performance was significantly above target and/or above performance achieved
      last year.

      The Performance Manager reported that good performance continued in many
      areas, particularly on the removal of abandoned vehicles, the processing of
      planning applications, new housing and council tax benefit claims and changes in
      circumstances, as well as disabled facilities grants and homelessness
      applications, and the speed with which environmental health complaints are dealt
      with. Vehicle crime was significantly down. As a result of investment in the
      electronic delivery of services and the creation of the Customer Contact Centres,
      the number of service enquiries at the first point of contact and the number of
      payments made using electronic channels had both increased. However, a
      number of areas of concern existed and these were highlighted in the
      recommendations.

            Resolved

            a) That good performance in the following areas be noted:

                      Removing abandoned vehicles
                      Processing planning applications
                      Processing new housing and council tax benefit claims
                       and changes in circumstances
                      Processing disabled facilities grants
                      Processing homelessness applications
                      Dealing with environmental health complaints
                      The number of service enquiries resolved at the first
                       point of contact and the number of payments made using
                       electronic channels have both increased
                      Also noted that the vehicle crime is significantly down


Overview & Scrutiny Committee           398                          21 February 2008
             b) The actions as set out in the report to address where targets
                are being missed are noted and agreed in the following areas:

                   Equality and diversity in the workforce
                   Baby changing facilities in public conveniences
                   Staff absences
                   Staff appraisals
                   Vacant property


470   Decisions from Other Committees

      Lists of decisions from the following Committees were submitted:

         Community Services & Licensing Committee – 31 January 2008
         Policy & Resources Committee – 7 and 14 February 2008

            Resolved

            That the lists of decisions of the Community Services &
            Licensing Committee held on the 31 January 2008 and the
            Policy & Resources Committee on the 7 and 14 February 2008
            be received.


471   Wentworth Street Car Park Trial and Car Parking Charges in Ryedale

      At the last meeting of the Community Services & Licensing Committee it had been
      proposed that the above issues be referred to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee
      for detailed examination, upon being put to the vote the motion was lost.
      Councillor Andrews had submitted a request, in accordance with the procedure
      outlined on page 141 Paragraph 8(b) of the Council Constitution, that an item be
      included on the Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s agenda.

      Councillor Andrews requested that the report considered by the Community
      Services & Licensing Committee at its meeting on the 31st January be referred to
      the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, together with all reports referred to including
      the Lockwood Report, the Yorkshire Forward Renaissance Report and the
      representations of the Car Park Fees Action Group.

      Councillor Andrews requested that the examination of the report included other
      car parks, the merits of charging low fees in terms of getting income for the
      Council and the benefits for local businesses.

      Councillor Andrews attended the meeting by invitation of the Chairman and
      outlined the reasons for the request.




Overview & Scrutiny Committee          399                            21 February 2008
      Members considered the request in detail and the Chairman reported that it was
      understood that the Malton and Norton Business Action Group had commissioned
      a survey of some 200 retailers and businesses. The comprehensive survey was
      to be undertaken by Leeds University and would include all aspects of business
      life and would identify the main causes, which retailers believed were affecting the
      area. This would include out of town competition, parking, retail choice etc. In the
      circumstances the Chairman suggested that Councillor Andrews forward his
      statistical information to Leeds University for inclusion in the study. The Chairman
      further suggested that the matter be further considered following publication of the
      University’s report.

           Resolved

           That the matter be further considered following publication of the
           survey results.


472   Urgent Business

      The following item was to be considered as a matter of urgency by virtue of
      Section 100B of the Local Government Act 1972.


473   Richmondshire District Council Training

      The Performance Manager reported that an invitation to all Scrutiny Members had
      been received from Richmondshire District Council, to share Scrutiny Training on
      The Principles and Practices of Overview & Scrutiny.

      The event, which was to be facilitated by Mr Phillip Whiteman from the Institute of
      Local Government Studies, was to be held at Richmondshire District Council’s
      offices on Wednesday 19 March 2008 at 9.30am – 4.15pm.

      The Performance Manager requested that Members contact him if they wished to
      attend.




Overview & Scrutiny Committee           400                            21 February 2008

				
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