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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.
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