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					26 Minutes                                                                 28 July 2003

      MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
      COMMITTEE MEETING HELD AT COUNTY HALL, CHELMSFORD, ON 28
      JULY 2003

      Membership

      *      Mrs S Flack (Chairman)     *   T C Smith-Hughes
      *      S Candy                    *   S M Walsh
             A M Hedley                 *   D E Williams (substitute for R W Bourne)
      *      P L Kirkman

      (* present)

      The following Officers were present in support throughout the meeting: -

      Ann Coldicott              -    Committee Manager (Legal Services)
      Emma Dearsley              -    Committee Administrator (Legal Services)

75.   Apologies and Substitute Notices

      It was reported that apologies and substitution notices had been received as
      follows:

      Apology                                 Substitute

      R W Bourne                              D E Williams
      A M Hedley

76.   Minutes

      The Minutes of the meeting held on 30 June 2003, were approved as a correct
      record and were signed by the Chairman.

77.   Assessment and Care Management Key Strategic Review: progress report

      The Committee considered report PIC/028/03 along with appendices A and B
      and received a Powerpoint presentation from Liz Railton, Deputy Chief Executive
      Learning and Social Care, and Philip Hay-Jahans, Syntegra.

      During the presentation, Members were given the background information to the
      Key Strategic Review, the scope of the Review, a summary of the major findings
      and the solution options.

      During discussions of this issue, the following points were made:

         The Committee expressed concern about the capacity and reliability of the
          Swift system and stressed the need for this to be improved and standardized.
         The Committee was asked to suggest what should be examined further or
          what, in its opinion, would have the best impact if investigated.
         The Committee expressed concern that although people were entitled to
          certain services, many did not know how or where to access them.
         The Committee sought reassurance that if more Carer Assessments were to
          be undertaken, the resources should be available to provide the services.
28 July 2003                                                                 Minutes 27

      Staff noted the above and confirmed that one aim was to increase the number of
      Direct Payments and income, which in time would eventually enable Social
      Workers to have more time for Social Work and reduce the number of agency
      staff required.

      The Committee noted that the next stage of the review process would be to
      develop an implementation plan and associated change management plan. It
      was intended that these would be presented to Members for scrutiny in
      September 2003. A key element of implementation planning and subsequent
      implementation will be working with and through existing and developing
      partnerships, critically those with health.

      Resolved:

               That the process and progress of the review be noted together with the
               options being proposed, so that the Cabinet Member can be appropriately
               informed by 11 August in order for him to make a decision about which
               options for improvement should be pursued.

78.   Procurement Best Value Review Update – Implementation Plan

      The Committee received and considered report PIC/029/03 which sought to:

              inform the Committee of the new Procurement Strategy endorsed by
               Cabinet and SMB (Appendix A);
              demonstrate how Essex County Council compares with “Procurement
               essentials” for all local authorities (Appendix B);
              advise PIC of progress made against the Improvement Plan (Appendix C);
              consider the content of annual reports to the Committee on Contract
               Management and Monitoring; and
              consider future reporting to the Committee on the Improvement Plan.

      The Committee received a presentation from Dave Wheller, Head of
      Procurement and Direct Services, on the new Procurement Strategy. During the
      presentation, Members received a definition of the term “Procurement”, were
      given details of the new strategy, including the need to support service savings,
      and were provided with details of the Gateway approach to managing major
      procurements.

      The Committee also noted during the presentation that the Procurement
      Improvement Plan was substantially complete and that there was a clear focus
      on four main priorities:

                    Care Procurement Strategy
                    Models of Service Delivery
                    Contract Management
                    Tactical Procurement

      During discussions on the new Procurement Strategy, the following key points
      were made:
28 Minutes                                                                         28 July 2003

                It was explained that the Procurement Agency for Essex would be up and
                 running from April 2004 and that all of the district/borough authorities, with
                 the exception of Rochford District Council and Colchester Borough
                 Council, had signed up to this initiative. It was noted that Colchester
                 Borough Council has separate arrangements with the Essex County
                 Council Procurement Service.
                It was confirmed that from April 2004, an electronic procurement solution
                 would come into effect, whereby Members and County staff would have
                 access to the “Market Place” from their Desktop.
                Members considered those areas requiring future consideration by PIC. It
                 was agreed that, as well as exceptional items, Members should also be
                 updated on those areas making progress, as well as those not meeting
                 the Key Performance Indicators.

79.   Regulation 33 Panel Update

      Members expressed concern that that they did not meet any clients whilst
      undertaking the visits and had therefore been unable to carry out interviews.

      During discussion of this issue, it was agreed that following the next round of
      visits, a Member report would be presented to the Committee by the Councillors
      involved.

80.   Payment to Staff For Business Travel Overview

      The Committee considered report PIC/030/03 along with appendix A and the
      addendum to appendix A, which was tabled at the meeting. These documents
      gave an overview of current policy and practice in relation to the payment of staff
      for business travel by car, and some possible approaches to reducing costs and
      simplifying systems were suggested. Members were asked for their feedback on
      the viability of these options and whether they should be pursued further.
      Members were briefed on the need to take account of Human Resources factors
      when considering any changes to such allowances arrangements. This would
      inevitably require time for proper consultation with trade unions and notice of
      changes to staff. Depending on choices made, there could be other employment
      and employee relations considerations.

      Members discussed the different options, including the lifting of the restriction
      concerning employees whose vehicle engine size was over 1199cc, and who
      were paid on spinal point 41 and above. Members agreed that no option should
      be taken forward until they had further information and thus no recommendation
      was made.

      It was reported at the meeting, that a team of management/graduate trainees
      had carried out work on this issue, and that this work would be supplemented
      further by the officer team. Members asked to be updated with any further
      information that was produced and felt it would also be useful to know how many
      people fell into each of the different categories. The Chairman also requested
      information as to how other counties/authorities dealt with the payment of staff for
      business travel.
28 July 2003                                                                 Minutes 29

               Resolved:

               That this issue be brought back for further consideration at the
               September/October meeting, when the additional information, as set out
               above, would be available.

81.   Completed Best Value Reviews and the Committee’s Work Programme

      The Committee considered report PIC/031/03, setting out the Council’s
      completed Best Value Reviews and suggesting which reviews should report
      progress against the implementation plan to the Committee.

      During discussions Members’ endorsed the suggestions for monitoring
      completed Best Value Reviews, as set out in the report.

82.   Public Service Agreement Monitoring and Key Performance Indicator
      Update

      The Committee considered report PIC/032/03, which gave Members the
      opportunity to review current performance in respect of the Public Service
      agreements and key Best Value Performance Indicators. Members were
      provided with Cabinet report CAB/053/03 regarding current performance in
      respect of the Essex Public Service agreements and report CAB/062/03
      regarding Key Performance indicators.

      During discussions the following points were made:

              The Committee asked what was being done creatively to gain resources
               by meeting targets, as some were very specific and appeared difficult to
               achieve.
              The Committee requested update reports to go to the Cabinet meeting on
               9 September and in January 2004. The Cabinet should be asked to
               pinpoint any problem areas. Staff agreed to report back to the Committee
               any comments or concerns raised by Cabinet.
              Concern was expressed that not all performance targets were being met.

83.   Date of Next Meeting

      It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held at 2pm on
      Monday 29 September 2003.


      The meeting closed at 12.40pm




                                                                              Chairman

				
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