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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 21st January, 2014.

 

Present: Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman); Councillors K.J. Geary, H.C. Hamilton, P.G. King, R.A. Penrose and A.C. Williams.

 

Also present: Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Cabinet Member – Children’s Services).

 

 

781     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors K. Hatton, H.J.W. James and G. Roberts.

 

 

782     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 10th December, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

783     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor K.J. Geary declared an interest in Agenda Item 4 – non-prejudicial (Local Authority appointed governor).

 

 

784     LLANTWIT LEARNING COMMUNITY: PROPOSAL TO INVEST IN NEW PRIMARY PROVISION (REF) –

 

The above matter had been previously considered by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 18th November 2013 whereupon at that time it gave consideration and approved the creation of the above Learning Community including, an associated consultation exercise to consult on proposals to create a new 420 place primary school as part of the Llantwit Learning Community and amalgamate Eagleswell and Llanilltud Fawr Primary Schools. 

 

In presenting the report, the Cabinet Member referred to the benefits of the proposal and stressed to the Committee that the proposals had no reflection on the current performance of both schools concerned.  Indeed both schools’ current overall performance was good.

 

The report in itself was being referred by the Cabinet to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration as part of the ongoing consultation exercise which commenced in December 2013 and would run for an eight week period.  His attention then turned to the option preferred by the Cabinet which was for the construction of an amalgamated 420 place primary school built on the existing Llanilltud Fawr Primary / Llantwit Major Comprehensive site and would form a new primary school being part of a wider scheme including the comprehensive school which would be let as one contract.

 

The estimated cost of a new 420 place primary school using pattern book design was £4.75m.  The enhanced Llantwit Major Comprehensive School scheme would cost an estimated £15m bringing the estimated total cost of the scheme to £19,750,000.  He alluded to the fact that £12,476,000 was built in to the current Capital Programme for the remodelling of the Comprehensive School site between 2015/16 and 2017/18.  The Eagleswell Primary School site would be released for a capital receipt which would be retained in the School Investment Programme as previously agreed by the Cabinet.  He also referred to the appendices attached to the original Cabinet report and in particular referred to the costs of delivering the initiative which were set out in Appendix C and indicated that this was dependant on the disposal of the Eagleswell site. He referred to the disposal of the Eagleswell Primary School site and the evaluation of the same and information in relation to this matter was commercially sensitive.   In conclusion he commended the proposal to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

In response reference was made by the Committee to the availability of information in relation to the value of the Eagleswell Primary School site.  The Cabinet Member indicated that no formal valuation exercise had been undertaken at the present time.  This was confirmed by the School Organisation and Buildings Manager. 

 

The Committee enquired of the Cabinet Member if the demountable classrooms would be reallocated at other schools throughout the county should the proposals come to fruition at the Eagleswell site.  The Cabinet Member confirmed that the future use of accommodation at this site was under consideration with the view to relocation of such to alternative school sites once identified.

 

Whilst the Committee supported the proposals in principle, the Chairman, taking account of the other Members’ comments in relation to the disclosure of information in regard to the valuation of the Eagleswell site, considered that it was necessary and appropriate for this information to be submitted when available for further consideration by the Committee.

 

At this juncture the Committee’s attention turned to the consultation exercise in itself with some concern expressed in regard to the lessons learned from the previous engagement exercise in respect of the Penarth Learning Community (Travel Plan).   It was felt that there had been a missed opportunity with the previous exercise in that not all parts of the wider community had been consulted.  In response the Cabinet Member acknowledged this point and reassured the Committee that consultation with the wider community of Llantwit Major would occur.  Reference was made by a Member of the Committee that parents residing within the St. Illtyds school catchment area had not been consulted.  The Cabinet Member referred to consultation with the Headteacher of St. Illtyds School and reminded the Committee that the proposals would benefit the wider community of Llantwit Major.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the School Organisation and Buildings Manager be requested to liaise with the Operational Manager (Property Services) with the view to a further report being submitted to the Scrutiny Committee in respect of the valuation of the Eagleswell Primary School site.

 

(2)       T H A T the School Organisation and Buildings Manager be requested to submit a report to Cabinet at the earliest opportunity regarding the reallocation of demountable classrooms accommodation from the Eagleswell Primary School site.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the funding of the proposals was quantified.

 

(2)       To ensure that assets of the Council were appropriately reallocated in the event of the proposals going ahead.

 

 

785     SICKNESS ABSENCE REPORT – APRIL TO SEPTEMBER 2013 (REF) –

 

The Head of Human Resources apprised the Committee of the contents of the report which had previously been considered by the Cabinet on 13th January 2014.  At that time the Cabinet were updated on the half yearly sickness statistics for the period 1st April 2013 to 30th September 2013. 

 

The Cabinet, having considered the matter, referred the report on to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration. 

 

The Cabinet had been advised that there had been an increase in absence levels for the first half of the year and stressed the need to retain a focus on absence management for the remaining period of the current financial year. 

 

Sickness absence levels up to September 2013 (in comparison with the same period for 2012) for both corporate and school employees were as follows:

 

 

Actual Absence

April to Sept 2012

Actual Absence

April to Sept 2013

Average days / shifts lost per FTE

3.47 (days per employee)

4.05 (days per employee)

Percentage of lost time by FTE

2.7%

3.1%

 

Details of the breakdown of sickness absence figures by Directorate and individual service areas were set out in Appendix A to the Cabinet report. 

 

Although the sickness levels (at 4.05 days per employee) remained within the pro-rated target for 2013/14 i.e. 4.45 days per employee, they were, however, slightly higher than the same six monthly period in the previous year.

 

The figures as set out in Appendix A to the report demonstrated that sickness absence within 13 of the 22 service areas were below target for the first six months of the year and 10 service areas had lower sickness absences than in the same period in 2012.  However, the highest areas of absence continued to be concentrated in Adult Social Services and Visible Services.  Such absences were reflective of the same experiences in other local authorities and congruent with services that had a large number of front line employees with a relatively higher exposure to risk of injury and related ill health.  The Head of Human Resources indicated that work would continue in both service areas during the remained of 2013/14 to ensure that absence was monitored and reviewed and appropriate support was provided. 

 

In regard to days lost as a result of long term absence (2.82 days per employee) continue to account for approximately 70% of all absences.  He indicated that short term / intermittent absences (1.23 days per employee) accounted for approximately 30%.  He further referred to Appendix B attached to the report which set out sickness rates with organisations within the private sector. 

 

His focus then turned to concerns raised by the recognised trade unions in regard to the robustness of the existing Management of Attendance Policy.  This had been raised at previous Cabinet meetings and raised again at the Joint Consultative Forum in October 2013.  As a result of this it was agreed that he would review the Policy in light of those concerns raised.  In this regard he indicated that the review was currently underway and a report would be submitted to the Cabinet in due course.  The outcome of the review would clearly need to balance the concerns raised by the trade unions with the concerns regarding the recent increase in absence levels.

 

At this juncture the Committee enquired of the Head of Human Resources of the main reasons attributed to absences within Adult and Visible Services.  In response the Head of Human Resources alluded to the top three reasons in both service areas.  He further indicated that the outturn report which would be submitted to Cabinet before June 2014 would detail the main reasons for absences.  However he reminded the Committee that the reasons for absence were indicative of the nature of the work undertaken in both service areas and also the age profile of the workforce.  He further indicated that it was Incumbent upon him and other managers to ensure that long term absences were managed in an appropriate way and he alluded to the case management process undertaken which involved the Council’s Occupational Health Service, the Council’s doctor and Health and Safety Section.  This process allowed the management of individual cases in an effective way to ensure that these were progressed in a positive manner with a favourable outcome for both the employee and the Authority. 

 

Further questions were raised by Members of the Committee in regard to the adherence by employees to current policies and guidelines to ensure that they reduced / minimised the risk of injury to themselves whilst undertaking their duties.  In response the Head of Human Resources reiterated his previous comments in relation to case management arrangements.  In addition, appropriate health and safety training was provided to employees, particularly in regard to manual handling and risk assessments were undertaken to review where accidents had arisen.  He also reminded the Committee that the data over the last five years had shown a steady reduction in long term absence rates.  However, it had to be acknowledged that there were unusual individual cases that required to be handled and balanced in a sensitive manner.

 

The Committee enquired if the improvements realised by the Council in absence levels could be attributed to better training provided by the Council.  In response the Head of Human Resources indicated that this was likely to be the case. 

 

The Chairman, in referring to the data set out in Appendix A to the report, considered that it was appropriate to commend the Human Resources division and Legal Services division for their performance to date.  However he expressed concern in regard to the outturn figures for Financial Services and ICT which were less than satisfactory and he asked both the Head of Financial Services and the Head of Strategic ICT to account for their performance to date.  In response both officers indicated that performance in previous years had been exceptional or good.  In regard to ICT division, the Head of Service indicated that the absence figures were in the main attributed to two cases of long term sickness absence.  He indicated that one case related to one period of long term absence with the employee terminating their employment with mutual consent.  The other case had been related to a surgical operation.  The Head of Strategic ICT responded in a similar vein by indicating that there had been a number of long term absences, with one employee terminating their employment with the Council by mutual consent with the other cases linked to surgical operations, but it had to be recognised that this reflected the age of the Council’s workforce.

 

The Chairman’s attention then turned to the data in respect of Visible Services and considered the performance to date was unsatisfactory and suggested that a further report was required to cover a range of aspects in respect of the management of absences in Visible Services including, details of training arrangements that were in place and linked to health and safety, whether it was practical to mitigate risk to employees undertaking activities as part of their duties by mechanising certain processes and requested that any report should include an age profile of staff within Visible Services.  It was also suggested by members of the Committee that it may be appropriate to look at the cost to the Council (if any) in regard to long term absence which had subsequently resulted in litigation taken by the employee against the Council.  The Committee considered it would be useful if the percentage of such cases was provided.  Discussion ensued with a number of points being made in regard to the need, practicalities of providing such information.  The Committee considered that it would be useful to receive such information. 

 

Having regard to the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Sickness Absence update report for the half year period 1st April to 30th September 2013 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Head of Human Resources be requested to submit a further report in respect of Visible Services and related to health and safety training arrangements for employees, the practicality of introducing mechanised processes to mitigate risk of employees working in the service area, an age profile of employees and the percentage of sickness absence cases where it involved an insurance claim or litigation against the Council. 

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In acknowledgement of progress made to date.

 

(2)       To allow the Scrutiny Committee to consider sickness absence further within Visible Services.

 

 

786     REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2013 TO 30TH NOVEMBER 2013 (MD) –

 

The projected outturn for 2013/14 Revenue Budget was forecasting a favourable variance of £1.030 million.  As regards the Housing Revenue Account, the forecast was for a balanced budget.  Details were contained within the report of the financial position under the following headings as summarised below:

  • Directorate of Learning and Skills – overall the Education Budget was projected to balance as at the end of March 2014.

-              Schools – the delegated budget relating to schools was expected to balance.

-              Strategy and Performance – this budget was predicted to outturn with an adverse variance of £18,000.

-              Service Strategy and Regulation – this budget was predicted to outturn with a favourable variance of £18,000.

-              Libraries – there was currently a £43,000 favourable variance.

-              Youth Service – this budget was anticipated to outturn on target.

-              Lifelong Learning – this budget showed a favourable variance of £15,000 against the profiled budget and

               was anticipated to outturn on target.

-              Catering – there was currently a £34,000 favourable variance against profiled budget and it was anticipated

               that the budget would outturn on target.

-              Education – this service was projecting to transfer £121,000 to reserves as part of the Voluntary Early

               Retirement and Redundancy scheme. 

  • Social Services

-              Children and Young People’s Services – it was currently forecasted a £217,000 overspend

-              Adult Services – the current forecast at year end was for an overspend of £76,000

-              Business Management and Innovation – the current forecast at year end was an underspend of £118,000. 

  • Visible Services and Housing Services

-              Highway Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement – this service was showing a current adverse

               variance of £80,000

-              Waste Management – the service was current showing a favourable variance of £56,000

-              Grounds Maintenance – this service showed a current adverse variance of £27,000

-              Support – there was currently a nil variance

-              General Fund Housing – this service showed a favourable variance of £191,000

-              Public Sector Housing (HRA) – this service showed a current favourable variance of £63,000. 

  • Development Services

-              Planning and Transportation – this service showed a current favourable variance of £3,000

-              Leisure – this service was currently projected to outturn within target

-              Economic Development – this service was currently projected to outturn within target. 

  • Managing Director

-              General Policy – this was projected to outturn with a favourable variance of £880,000

-              All other services were estimated to outturn on budget.

 

For the first time the above information was illustrated in charts and graphs for consideration by the Committee.

 

Also included in the report for the Committee’s information was the amount of Council Tax Reduction Scheme payments to recipients which totalled £9.148 million (number of live claims 10,858) as at 30th November 2013.  The Committee noted that the amount included in the estimates for 2013/14 was £9.4 million.  The Head of Financial Services indicated that there was a potential to underspend on this estimate, however claims may still be made and therefore the exact amount was uncertain at this time.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the Council’s 2013/14 Revenue Budget be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of the projected Revenue Budget outturn for 2013/14.

 

 

787     CAPITAL MONITORING: 1ST APRIL TO 30TH NOVEMBER 2013 (MD) –

 

Details of financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th November 2013 were appended to the report.  Details were contained within the report under the following headings as summarised below:

  • Learning and Skills

-              Albert Primary School Emergency Works to Ceilings – request to vire £35,000 from the Education Asset

               Renewal Contingency Budget

-              Barry Comprehensive Boiler House Remedial Works – request to vire £10,000 from Bryn Hafren Boiler

               Replacement

-              High Street Ceiling Overboarding – anticipated cost of the scheme was £25,000 and would be funded by the

               following virements:

               .           Transfer of £9,000 from High Street Boiler Replacement

               .           Transfer of £6,000 from Gwenfo Primary School Boiler

               .           Transfer of £10,000 from Romilly Primary Replacement of Cast Iron Gutters

-              Romilly Ceiling Overboarding – anticipated cost of the scheme was £30,000 and to be funded by the following

               virements:

               .            Transfer of £7,000 from slippage for Ysgol Sant Baruc Overboard Ceilings

               .            Transfer of £17,000 from slippage from Pendoylan School Remodelling

               .            Transfer of £6,000 from Bryn Hafren Boiler Replacement

-              Ysgol Sant Curig Rebuild Deteriorating Masonry and Emergency Overboarding – anticipated cost of the

               scheme was £59,000 with the scheme to be funded by the following virements:

               .            Transfer of £20,000 from Barry Comprehensive Main Block Roof

               .            Transfer of £19,000 from Ysgol Sant Baruc Overboard Ceilings

-              Ysgol Nant Talwg – the Welsh Government had recently issued its allocation for 21st Century Schools Funding

               and it confirmed subject to completion of a business case to the Welsh Government a grant funding of £1.2

               million which had been allocated to the scheme for 2013/14.  This was an increase of £200,000 on the initial

               2013/14 budget but was a rephasing of grant rather than an additional grant so it was requested that the

               2013/14 capital budget be increased by £200,000 and the 2014/15 capital budget be reduced by £200,000 to

               reflect the funding reprofiling. 

  • Visible Services and Housing

-              Flood Risk Management – a request to delay funding for the following Flood Risk Management Schemes until

               2014/15 and include the said schemes in the 2014/15 Capital Budget:

               .           Flood Risk Management at Boverton - £250,000 to provide match funding if Welsh Government

                           approve the proposed scheme

               .           Flood Risk Management at Coldbrook - £138,000 to provide match funding required for increased

                           construction costs.

-              Gileston to Old Mill – request to increase Capital Programme by £2.750m funding approved by Welsh

               Government for the construction phase scheme. 

-              Housing Improvement Plan – request for a number of virements to amend budget to reflect the amount set

               out in Appendix E to the Housing Business Plan which was previously approved by the Cabinet on 2nd

               December 2013 (C2113 refers).

-              Emergency Contingency Works – virement requested to fund the following schemes:  Spawling concrete –

               survey and safety work £10,000; Llantwit Major Housing Lights £1,000; Retaining Wall Laleston Close,

               Gibbonsdown £12,500 and New Landlords Supply 93 Glebe Street - £5,000. 

  • Development Services

-              Regional Transport Consortia (SEWTA) – additional funding had been offered as set out below to ensure that

               this funding was spent within the financial year 2013/14 and it being noted that this had been built into the

               Capital Programme for 2013/14 using the Managing Director’s Emergency Powers:

               .             £3,000 for development of Road Safety Capital Schemes

               .             £14,000 for Bus Stop upgrades on A48

               .             £13,000 for additional Greenlinks Transport Minibus

               .             £24,000 for an additional Greenlinks Transport Minibus and accessible car.

 

In addition to the above funding further funding of £36,000 had been awarded towards the cost of the Railway Walk Cycle Scheme.  This totalled the award for 2013/14 to £220,000. 

 

-              Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) – following approval of additional funding by Natural Resources

               Wales of £30,400 to cover the following projects:

               .              £8,000 to fund preparation of new definitive map, analysis and reporting of CAMS data

               .              £3,500 to fund creation and improvement of Public Rights of Way Links

               .              £12,500 to fund a review and support annual clearance arrangements

               .              £2,500 to improve the path through public wildlife trust reserve by installing drainage

               .              £2,000 to establish a focus group to develop and deliver improvements for low use groups

               .              £1,900 to establish Barry Heart Walk

-              Wales Coast Path Development Programme – request to increase Capital Programme by £22,500 for Grant

                Funding allocated by Natural Resources Wales. 

  • Resources

-              Space Project Reduced Office Accommodation – request to vire budget from Dock Office Mechanical and

               Electrical – £10,000 and Dock Office Ground Floor Toilet and Kitchen Refurbishment - £48,000 to the Space

               Project Office Accommodation.  The revised Space Project Budget for 2013/14 would be £420,000.

 

Details in relation to the following schemes (having a value of £500,000) with a variance of 20% or more between actual spend to date and profiled spend were also contained within the report: 

  • Penarth Learning Community – the scheme was currently in construction phase and progressing well.  Amendments to programming / sequencing of works had resulted in actual expenditure currently exceeding the initial spend profile.  This did not adversely affect the final cost.
  • Vehicles Renewal Fund – expenditure had been slightly behind the profile due to second hand vehicles being purchased in year and some items of expenditure being delayed pending the outcome of decisions regarding future revenue services.

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the following recommendations be endorsed and be referred to Cabinet for approval, noting recommendation (2) was for referral to Council:

 

(1)       T H A T the following changes to the 2013/14 Capital Programme be approved:

  • Virement of £35,000 from the Education Asset Renewal contingency fund for emergency works at Albert Primary School.
  • Virement of £10,000 from Bryn Hafren Boiler Replacement to fund Barry Comprehensive Boiler House Remedial Works.
  • Virements: transfer £9,000 from High Street Replace Boiler Replacement, transfer £6,000 from Gwenfo Primary School Boiler and transfer £10,000 from Romilly Primary Replace Cast Iron Gutters to fund High Street Ceiling Overboarding.
  • Virements: transfer £7,000 from slippage for Ysgol Sant Baruc Overboard Ceilings, transfer £17,000 from slippage from Pendoylan School Remodelling and transfer £16,000 from Bryn Hafren Boiler Replacement to fund Romilly Primary Ceiling Overboarding.
  • Virements: transfer £20,000 from Barry Comprehensive Main Block Roof and transfer £19,000 from Ysgol Sant Baruc Overboard Ceilings to fund Ysgol Sant Curig Rebuild Deteriorating Masonry and Emergency Overboarding.
  • Virements to reflect the changes to the Housing Improvement Plan shown in the Housing Business Plan which was reported to Cabinet on 2nd December 2013 (Minute C2113).
  • Virement of £15,000 from Emergency Contingency Works to fund the following schemes; Spawling concrete / survey and safety work £10,000, Llantwit Major Housing Lights £1,000, £12,500 Retaining Wall Laleston Close, Gibbonsdown, and New Landlords Supply 93 Glebe Street £5,000.
  • Virement of budgets from Dock Office Mechanical and Electrical £10,000 and Dock Office Ground Floor Toilet and Kitchen Refurbishment £48,000 to the Space Project Office Accommodation budget.

(2)       T H A T the Cabinet be requested to recommend to Council the following changes to the 2013/14 Capital Programme:

  • Increase the 2013/14 Capital Programme for an additional £200,000 funding from Welsh Government for Ysgol Nant Talwg brought forward from 2014/15, and reduce the 2014/15 Capital Programme by £200,000 to reflect the change in funding profile.
  • Delay funding for Flood Risk Management schemes at Boverton £250,000 and Coldbrook £138,000 until 2014/15 and include these schemes in the 2014/15 Capital Budget.
  • Increase Capital Programme by £2.750 million funding approved by Welsh Government for Construction phase of Gileston to Old Mill scheme.
  • Increase the 2013/14 Capital Programme by £35,500 awarded towards the cost of the Railway Walk Cycle Scheme by Regional Transport Consortia (SEWTA).
  • Increase the 2013/14 Capital Programme £30,400 awarded by Natural Resources Wales by for the Rights of Way Improvement Programme.
  • Increase 2013/14 (£8,500) and 2014/15 (£14,000) Capital Programmes for funding Wales Coast Path Development Programme approved by Natural Resources Wales.

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To allow schemes to proceed in the current and future financial years.

 

 

788     REGULATORY REPORTS – IMPROVEMENT TRACKING (MD) –

 

The report sought to update the Scrutiny Committee on the above matter since it was last reported to the Committee in September 2013.  The report in itself set out the summary of recommendations and proposals which were included in regulatory reports and to track implementation of improvements to address those recommendations / proposals.

 

Set out in Appendix 1 to the report was a list of all recommendations / proposals made in regulatory reports since January 2011 where recommendations / proposals had not yet been fully implemented.  This included:

  • WAO Data Quality Review (August 2013) - actions underway.
  • Wales Audit Office Information Management Review Feedback (April 2012) - actions not progressing.
  • Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report (January 2012) - actions completed.
  • Wales Audit Office Review of HR and Workforce Planning (November 2011) - actions well underway.
  • Wales Audit Office Report on Delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants (November 2011) - actions well underway.
  • Wales Audit Office Review of Technology (October 2011) - actions nearing completion.
  • Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report (January 2011) - actions completed.

The Scrutiny Committee was asked to confirm that those actions that fell within the remit of the Committee that were identified as such had been completed and if agreed to refer the matter to the Audit Committee where they would be removed from the tracking report.  Once removed these completed actions would be archived along with the minute reference to maintain a clear audit trail.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following actions be agreed as completed:

  • WAO Data Quality Review (August 2013) – SCC/001
  • WAO Annual Improvement Report (January 2012) (actions 1, 2 and 4)
  • WAO Information Management Review (April 2012) (actions 2 and 3)
  • WAO Review of HR and Workforce Planning (November 2011) (action 1)
  • WAO report on Delivery of Disabled Facilities Grant (November 2011) (actions 3, 4 and 5).

(2)       T H A T the Data Quality Review (August 2013) action 3 L978A be agreed to be deleted.

 

(3)       T H A T the matter be referred to the Audit Committee for further consideration.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-3)    In order to achieve continuous improvement of Council services.

 

 

789     QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND ACTION MONITORING REPORTS: QUARTER 2 – CORPORATE AND CUSTOMER SERVICES (DR) –

 

The Operational Manager – Corporate Policy and Communications referred specifically to action CC01/A006 which had been delayed as a consequence of the final implementation of the new CMS and approval of the Customer Service and Chanel Strategies.  She indicated that work would resume following approval of the same and it was anticipated that all work planned for 2013/14 would be completed by the end of the financial year.  In regard to action CC04/A039 and CC07/A048 she indicated that the effectiveness of guidance would be evaluated once in place.  She also alluded to training currently provided by the Community Cohesion Officer to address Hate Crime.  A new protocol had been developed however this was yet to be agreed by the Police.  The Chairman in response to the latter requested that an information only report should be provided to all Members of the Council at the appropriate time following the launch of the new protocol. 

 

The Chairman referred to specific progress in relation to action CC01/A006 with the Operational Manager responding by indicating that difficulties had arisen due to a staff vacancy which had led to a considerable backlog of subject matter to be translated.  Discussion ensued with Members of the Committee referring to current Welsh language data in respect of service requests.  The Operational Manager responded by indicating that the Welsh language users’ focus group had identified a number of concerns surrounding the reliability of information that was contained on the Council’s Welsh language website.  She also made reference to the standards required by the Welsh Language Commissioner which had to be statutorily met. Reference was also made to the possibility of utilising translation software to automate translation into Welsh but these had proved unreliable.  It was stressed that the updating of the website was resource intensive as it had to be kept up to date on a daily basis.  Discussion ensued in regard to Census figures for 2001 and 2011 and comparisons of Welsh users over the period in concluding minor reference to Welsh Government figures.

 

The Chairman’s attention then turned to action CC02/A018 and its progress to date.  In response the Operational Manager indicated that internal processes had been audited and recommendations on Equality Impact Assessment process had been internally agreed.  She also felt that the undertaking of equality impact assessments were low down on the priority for some officers and only mandatory training was required of Chief Officers.  An e-learning module had been created and would be reviewed and adapted for inclusion on the Council’s suite of training.  She also indicated that the Council’s Equality Officer provided support and some assistance to officers in the preparation of such assessments.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Quarter 2 performance monitoring in respect of Corporate and Customer Services be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Operational Manager be requested to prepare and circulate an information only report to all Members of the Council following the launch of the new Hate Crime protocol.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In acknowledgement of progress made to date.

 

(2)       To ensure awareness of the Hate Crime protocol.

 

 

790         QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND ACTION MONITORING REPORTS: QUARTER 2 – RESOURCES SERVICES (DR) –

 

The following update was provided by officers in respect of slipped actions:

  • RS01/A010 – Invest in the improvement of the Council’s leisure centres in partnership with Parkwood – The Head of Financial Services indicated that it was anticipated to be completed by the financial year end.

The Head of Strategic ICT updated the Committee on progress in respect of the following actions:

  • RS03/A031 – Implement a desktop technology refresh to upgrade the Council’s laptops and PCs together with installation of the latest Microsoft Office software – It was anticipated that this would be completed by 1st April 2014.
  • RS04/M013bQ – Average Site Morse position (ranking of quality websites) in England and Wales – This had been adversely affected by the changeover to the new website but was expected to improve.  The Council was currently 11th out of 432 Authorities in England and Wales.
  • RS05/A051 – Maintain compliance with information security standards as required – Confirmation had just been received from the UK Government Cabinet Office that the Council’s application for compliance had been approved.  Annual compliance assessments would need to be undertaken by the Council with each assessment becoming more challenging.  It was likely that in future years further resources would be required.

The Operational Manager (Democratic Services) updated the Committee on progress in respect of the following:

  • RS05/A038 – Develop and introduce protocols to increase public engagement and participation in the Council’s scrutiny process and meetings – It was indicated that a report would be shortly submitted to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group which would include a draft protocol for consideration.  A separate report in regard to public speaking at the Council’s Planning Committee would be shortly considered by the Cabinet.  It was anticipated that subject to approval of both sets of arrangements they would then be considered by the Constitution Working Party / Cabinet / Council.  It was likely that these would become operational from the beginning of the next Municipal Year.
  • RS05/A041 – Implement key recommendations arising out of the WAO Scrutiny Improvement Study – It was indicated that representatives of the WAO would be attending the next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group to present initial feedback prior to the issuing of the final all-Wales report. 

It was also noted that a Scrutiny Member Satisfaction Survey would also be considered at the next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group and once approved would be circulated to Members of the Council.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Quarter 2 performance monitoring in respect of Resources Services be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of progress made to date.

 

 

791     QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND ACTION MONITORING REPORTS: QUARTER 2 – CORPORATE AND CUSTOMER SERVICES SICKNESS AND LEAVERS (DR) –

 

The Head of Human Resources referred to the number of employees who left the Authority with 10 out of 20 service areas showing attrition rates lower than the previous year.  There was a total of 5.29% of all staff turnover which compared favourably to the previous year which showed a turnover of 6.2%.  Leaver information could be broken down into further categories with figures including resignations, retirements, redundancies, dismissals and the end of fixed term contracts.  He also alluded to the likely increase in redundancies over the next two years due to various reasons previously reported to the Committee. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Quarter 2 performance monitoring in respect of Corporate and Customer Services Sickness and Leavers be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of progress made to date.

 

 

792     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) –

 

The report detailed progress in respect of uncompleted recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for the 1st Quarter April to June 2013 (Appendix A), the 2nd Quarter July to September 2013 (Appendix B) and the 3rd Quarter October to December 2013 (Appendix C).

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following actions detailed below be accepted as completed:

 

16 July 2013

Min. No. 237 - Revenue Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2013 to 31st May 2013 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That future reports be reformatted to provide Members with information in graphical and percentage format and to include more detailed profiling.

 

 

 

New format now being presented – see Revenue and Capital Monitoring report on this Committee meeting’s agenda.

Completed

Min. No. 238 - Capital Monitoring Report for the Period 1st April to 31st May 2013 (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That a report detailing other bridge strengthening schemes be presented to the Committee in due course.

(2)   That a report on the Cashless Catering and Management Information System detailing the benefits and any issues be presented to the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources) and (Lifelong Learning).

 

 

 

(1) and (2) To be timetabled.  Added to work programme.

Completed

10 September 2013

Min. No. 396 - Social Media (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the document 'Social Media: A Guide for Councillors' be circulated to clerks of Town and Community Councils.

(3)   That the report also be referred to the Community Liaison Committee.

 

 

(2)    Completed

 

 

(3)   Report to be presented to March meeting of Community Liaison Committee.

Completed

01 October 2013

Min. No. 443 - Collaborative Working CCTV Proposal (REF) – Recommended

(1)   That a further report be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee on the detailed costings relating to the procurement exercise in relation to collaborative working CCTV proposal prior to the final decision being taken by the Cabinet on the matter.

(2)   That Cabinet be requested that they ensure that the equipment used for the provision of the Council’s CCTV facility is appropriately 'future proofed'.

 

 

(1)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

 

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, on 2nd December, noted the report. 

(Min. No. C2101 refers).

Completed

15 October 2013

Min. No. 499 – Revenue Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2013 to 31st August 2013 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the Cabinet be requested to consider the ongoing maintenance commitment of Rhoose Point and the nature reserve (in particular the management of the site) and to establishing an appropriate budget.

 

 

(3)   That the Committee receives a further report in respect of any future liabilities in respect of the maintenance of Rhoose Point and the nature reserve.

(4)   That the Committee receives a further report on the breakdown of the underspend in Catering Services.

(5)   That the Head of Financial Services be requested to ensure that future Revenue Monitoring reports contain a monthly breakdown of actual overspends in respect of Adult Services.

(6)   That the Cabinet be invited to examine the feasibility of introducing incentive schemes to maximise value for money from allocated budgets.

 

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, on 18th November 2013, resolved that no recommendations from the Committee be taken forward as all implications would be considered during the normal budget monitoring and setting process.  (Min. No. C2065 refers)

Completed

(3)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

 

(4)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(5)   Now included in reports – see report to this Committee at agenda item 6 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring.

Completed

 

(6)   Cabinet, on 18th November 2013, resolved that no recommendations from the Committee be taken forward as all implications would be considered during the normal budget monitoring and setting process.  (Min. No. C2065 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 500 – Capital Monitoring Report for the Period 1st April to 31st August 2013 (MD) – Recommended

that the Committee endorse the following recommendations and refer the same to Cabinet and Council for approval:

(1)       Llanmaes Flood Management Scheme – reduce the budget to £100,000 and include any future Welsh Government grant allocations for this scheme in the Capital Programme.

(2)       Sustainable Waste Management scheme – increase the Capital Programme by £82,000 – funded from WG grant.

(3)       Skate park at Page Road, Penarth scheme – reduce 2013/14 budget to £50,000 (carry forward £124,000 to 2014/15).  Amend title of scheme to 'Paget Road Public Open Space Improvements'.  In addition include a further sum of £100,000 for this scheme in the 2014/15 Capital Programme upon receipt of the next tranche of S106 funding for Penarth Heights (Council approval required).

 

 

This item was removed from decision tracking as Cabinet and Council were considering the budgets.

Completed

Min. No. 501 – Building Services – A Plan for Change – Recommended

(2)   That the Cabinet be satisfied that an appropriate investigation into areas of alleged misconduct by employees is carried out.

 

Cabinet, on 18th November, resolved

(1)   That the contents of the report be noted, however work was still continuing and any concerns raised would be more appropriately dealt with by the S.151 Officer who would review the staffing implications on an ongoing basis.

(2)   That the Visible Services and Housing Cabinet Working Group receive further update reports and consider all implications.

(Min. No. C2066 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 502 – School Reorganisation Proposals for Welsh Medium Primary School Places in Barry: Ysgol Gwaun Y Nant and Oakfield Primary School (REF) – Recommended

(3)   That the further report requested by the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on the matter be also submitted to this Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

Reported to 10th December 2013 meeting of Scrutiny Committee.

Completed

12 November 2013

Min. No. 590 - The Financial Position in Adult Services (DSS) – Recommended

(4)   That the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee be authorised to write to the relevant Welsh Government Minister expressing concern in regard to the implications of implementing the First Steps Initiative in particular the ongoing financial implications for the Council should the current formula for the allocation of funding be continued to be based on the Older People Formula in the financial year 2014/15.

 

 

 

The Chairman has sent a letter to the relevant Assembly Minister setting out the Committee’s concerns regarding the future funding arrangements in regard to the First Steps Initiative.

Completed

10 December 2013

Min. No. 687 – Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2014/15 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the initial Revenue Budget proposals for 2014/15 be noted and that the Cabinet be informed of the outcome of the Scrutiny process on the matter subject to recommendations (3) and (4) below and subject to the below cost pressures being prioritised and referred to Cabinet for further consideration.

(3)   That the recommendation (2) of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) of 2nd December, 2013 on the initial Revenue Budget proposals as set out below be noted and referred to Cabinet for further consideration:

'(2)   That the Initial Revenue Budget Proposals for 2014/15 be noted together with the cost pressures in the Social Services Directorate as amended at the meeting.  It was the view of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) that these cost pressures would need to be fully funded in view of the ever increasing demand for Adult Services’ Community Care Packages and the difficulties in predicting the requirement for children’s residential placements.'

(4)   That the recommendation (2) of the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) of 4th December, 2013 on the initial Revenue Budget proposals as set out below be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for further consideration:

'(2)   That the initial Revenue Budget proposals for 2014/15 including cost pressures and savings proposals be noted, subject to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) being requested to ask the Cabinet to investigate the feasibility of utilising charities / third sector organisations to assist in the procurement of furniture in respect of savings proposals V11 and V12 for 2014/15.'

(5)   That the Scrutiny Committee would wish to make the Cabinet aware of the need to effectively communicate to service users and the public of the implications of the funding reduction from Welsh Government which may be impaired when taking account of the suggested saving proposals for 2014/15 in respect of the Council’s Communication Team (C3).

 

 

 

Cabinet, at its meeting on 16th December, 2013 noted the report which was to be forwarded to the Budget Working Group.

(Min. No. C2139 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 688 – Initial Capital Programme Proposals 2014/15 (MD) – Recommended

(1)    That the Initial Capital Budget Proposals for 2014/15 be endorsed and that Cabinet be informed of the Scrutiny Committee’s deliberations on the matter.

 

 

 

Cabinet, at its meeting on 16th December, 2013 noted the report which was to be forwarded to the Budget Working Group.  (Min. No. C2140 refers)

Completed.

Min. No. 690 – The Living Wage (MD) – Recommended that Cabinet be requested on behalf of the Council to seek a way of raising a campaign for the improvement of the Minimum Wage on a UK wide basis and lobby the UK / Welsh Governments to include in future Revenue Support Grant Settlements appropriate funding to ensure that the minimum wage could be adopted.

 

Referred to Cabinet for consideration at its meeting on 27th January 2014.

Completed

Min. No. 692 – Presentation – Recommended that the proposed Business Case / Contract for a regionalised Regulatory Service comprising Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Licensing when available be the subject of a further report to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the progress against the remaining recommendations identified as ongoing as detailed in the report be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise Members of the progress with Scrutiny Committee recommendations.

 

(2)       To note progress in respect of those uncompleted actions.

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