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OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE –(1)

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					               OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE –
                      CORPORATE SERVICES
                                                      Meeting: 11th March, 2008
                                                      at 2.00 p.m.

PRESENT:- Councillors McClure (Chairman), D. Roberts (Vice-Chairman) (Minute
Nos. 32-35 only), Barlow, Garside, Heath and Husband.

30 – Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held on 16th January, 2008 were taken as read and
confirmed.

31 – Revenues and Benefits Performance

The Policy Review Officer reported that the work group had met with the Liberata on
a number of occasions regarding Revenues and Benefits Performance and that the
Council had now established a Liberata Partnership Board whose remit involved
monitoring performance. He advised Members that as the main purpose of this
scrutiny review had been to monitor Liberata’s performance, it was recommended
that this review be concluded to avoid duplication. He further reported that initially
there had been a significant improvement in the performance of Liberata following
the introduction of their new software (GM350+) and that recently the performance
improvement had begun to plateau. The Director of Corporate Services advised
Members that he would be a representative the Liberata Partnership Board and
would provide feedback on progress to Members as necessary.

RESOLVED:- (i) To note the information; and

(ii) To agree to conclude the scrutiny review in respect of Revenues and Benefits
Performance.

32 – Councillors Call for Action

The Policy Review Officer provided Members with an update on the Joint Cumbrian
approach to the Councillors Call for Action.

The Cumbria Overview Committee had agreed a joint approach to managing the
Councillors Call for Action (CCfA) to ensure a consistent approach across the
County. To support this, a Work Group of Officers from around the County had
identified a mechanism to monitor CCfA and link it to the Local Area Agreement
priorities. The Officer group did not think that the current County and District
Overview and Scrutiny functions had the capacity to take on this additional role and
would like to take a business case to the Cumbria Local Authority Strategic Board
requesting additional joint resource. In advance of this they were seeking Members
views and had arranged a meeting of the Cumbria Joint Overview Group to take
place on 19th March in Penrith. There was an invitation for two Chairs/Vice Chairs to
attend from Barrow and it had been recommended that one representative be
nominated from this Committee.
RESOLVED:- (i) To note the information; and

(ii) To agree that the Council’s representative on behalf of this Scrutiny Committee
(Corporate Services) on the Cumbria Joint Overview Committee be Councillor
McClure.

33 – Performance Management

The Policy Review Officer provided Members with a Q3 progress report on the
annual objectives and Priority BVPIs. Forty nine Key Priority actions had been due
to be completed by the end of Quarter 3 of which, thirty seven had been completed,
eight had been delayed and were likely to be completed by Q4 and the other four
were on-going but it was unlikely that these would be completed within the current
year.

In respect of KP2: Meeting the housing needs of the Borough and making decent
housing more accessible; One of the targets to support tackling non-decent housing
had been to extend the landlord accreditation scheme and complete 100 new
accreditations by the end of Q2. To date only 66 new accreditations had been
completed. This had been attributed to a short-term resource issue and although
this had now been resolved it was unlikely that the end of year target of 197 new
accreditations and 68 reaccreditations would be achieved.

In respect of specialist accommodation in relation to KP2, there had been an action
to complete the demolition and site clearance of the Holker Street site by Q3. This
action had been dependent on a successful funding bid by Accent Homes. Although
the funding bid had been submitted, the funding decision would not be made until the
end of February so this action had been carried forward to 2008/09.

The action to support Housing Market Renewal had been to agree the strategy for
transformational change in Sub Area D by Q2. This had been the subject of on-
going consultation and it was unlikely that this would be completed within the current
year.

The action to support the Year 2 Housing Market Renewal Programme involved tree
replacements on Hartington Street. This action was currently being reviewed due to
a number of newly planted trees becoming perished.

The Hindpool Gateway Project was due to have been completed in Q3 and would
now be completed in Q4.

In respect of KP3: Providing easier access to services; one of the objectives for the
current year had been to work towards achieving Level 2 of the equality standard. A
number of actions had been delayed and it was anticipated that this would be
completed in Q4 and, if not, it would be carried forward to 2008/09.

Another objective in relation to KP3 had been to review the service provision. A
number of actions relating to this review had been delayed and it was anticipated
that it would be completed in Q4.
In respect of KP6: Expand facilities and activities for young people; one of the
objectives had been to undertake a qualitative review of fixed play provision. The
Overview and Scrutiny Review in respect of this was on-going and it was anticipated
that it would be completed in Q4.

Priority BVPIs

The Council had had identified twenty two Priority BVPIs which supported the
Council’s Key Priorities and had agreed to monitor them on a quarterly basis by
exception. From the twenty two identified; six did not lend themselves to quarterly
reporting; twelve were on target and four were below target.

Details of performance against the indicators which had been below target had been
reported as follows:-

In respect of BVPI 2: Level of equality standard achieved; this was currently Level 1
against a target of Level 2. The actions required to achieve Level 2 were scheduled
to be completed by Q4.

In respect of BVPI 82a: Percentage of waste that was recycled; this was currently
10.17% against a target of 11%.

In respect of BVPI 82b: Percentage of waste that was composted; this was currently
10.79% against a target of 11%.

It was reported that recycling facilities at some bring sites had now been expanded
to receive cardboard and plastic and that a Recycling Ranger had been supporting a
number of improvement initiatives in order to help improve performance. New
initiatives for improving recycling included improved management of bulky household
waste.

In respect BVPI 66a: Percentage of rent collected; this was currently 94.4%
compared to 96.3% for the same period in 2006/07. Arrears had been up on last
year which may have accounted for some of the change; however the indicator was
not a true representation until the full year’s figures had been obtained. It was noted
that this indicator had been affected by outstanding Standing Orders, Balances at
the start of the year and Former Tenants’ Cash, all of which had a decreasing
influence as the year progressed.

It was noted that the Council had been exploring a joint procurement initiative of
waste management systems with South Lakeland District Council. Councillor D.
Roberts was the Council’s representative on this Group. It was suggested that it
may be more appropriate for a Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the issues involved
in setting up joint procurement of waste management systems with South Lakeland
District Council and make appropriate recommendations to the Executive
Committee.
The Policy Review Officer reported that the Regeneration and Community Services
Overview and Scrutiny Committee had carried out a Feasibility Study into Alternate
Weekly Collections last year which concluded not to move to Alternate Weekly
Collections, largely due to the levels of deprivation within Barrow and the increased
charges which would be made by SITA.                He further commented that the
Regeneration and Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee had
visited a mechanical biological treatment plant at Dumfries.

RESOLVED:- (i) To note the information in respect of performance management;
and

(ii) To request the Policy Review Officer to make a recommendation within his first
report of the 2008/09 Electoral Year to the Regeneration and Community Services
Overview and Scrutiny Committee to look at recycling and joint procurement of
waste management systems with South Lakeland District Council as part of their
2008/09 work programme.

34 – Best Value Performance Indicators

The Policy Review Officer submitted a report providing Members with key BVPI
values for Q3 2007/08 for service areas covered by this Committee. He provided up
to date figures to Members at the meeting, more accurate than those detailed within
his report. Full details are provided below:-

1.   Council Tax Collection

There had been a marginal decrease in the percentage of Council Tax collected in
Quarter 3; 95.28% against 95.29% for the same period in 2006/07. This was within
the normal operating range and was not considered to be an issue.

2.   NNDR Collection

There had been a marginal increase in the percentage of NNDR collected; 99.64%
compared to 97.74% for the third quarter in 2006/07.

3.   Benefits Performance

There had been a decline in performance against the speed of processing claims.
BVPI 78a, average number of days to process new claims, was currently 28.74
compared to 28.73 for the same period in 2006/07. BVPI 78b, average number of
days to process change of circumstance claims, was currently 19.23 compared to
19.22 days for the same period in 2006/07.

4.   Sickness Absence

The level of sickness absence had continued to improve; the average number of
days sick from April to December had been 7.69 compared to 7.9 for the same
period in 2006/07.

RESOLVED:- To note the information.
35 – Health and Safety Working Group Minutes                 – 21st November,
     19th December, 2007 and 16th January, 2008

The Minutes of the Health and Safety Working Group meetings from November and
December 2007 and January 2008 had been circulated with the Agenda. The
Council’s Safety Adviser attended the meeting and addressed the Committee and
highlighted the following topical points from the Minutes:-

   Risk Assessments were currently being reviewed;
   The HSE were now visiting the Council on a quarterly basis looking at the
    Council’s relationship with contractors including Integral and SITA;
   Health and Safety Policies and Procedures had continued to be updated on a
    regular basis as required; and
   The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 would be
    enforced from 6th April, 2008.

A Member highlighted that it was recognised that Health and Safety within the
Authority had improved significantly in recent years and questioned how this was
approved and/or monitored. The Safety Adviser informed the Committee that
policies had been regularly reviewed and improved where necessary and in addition,
Elected Members had been nominated as representatives to sit on the Health and
Safety Working Group. He further commented that Stephen Garstead from the HSE
would in the future deliver a presentation to Managers and Senior Officers.

RESOLVED:- To note the Minutes of the Health and Safety Working Group meetings
from November and December 2007 and January 2008 along with the topical points
highlighted by the Safety Adviser.

The meeting closed at 2.56 p.m.

				
Jun Wang Jun Wang Dr
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