Meeting documents

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 11th July, 2017 2.00 pm

Date: Tuesday 11th July 2017 Time: 2.00 p.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR L. ELIAS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (293K/bytes)


Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from:-

Councillors M. Cross (Corporate Overview Member), J. Holt, T. Sharrem and S. Thomas.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations made.

Noted
5. THE IMPROVEMENT AND WELL-BEING OBJECTIVES FOR THE COUNCIL
Report (138K/bytes)
Appendix (3M/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service which was presented to Members to consider the Council's Improvement and Well-being Objectives.

The Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein, in particular, the Improvement and Well-being Objectives formed the basis of the Council's business plan.

The Council was currently functioning under two pieces of legislation:-

- Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009; and
- Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.


The Well-being Objectives need to form part of the central planning arrangements identified through the Council's business plans and links would be made to the Public Service Board (PSB) Well-being Plan next year.

In response to a question raised on the waste target the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service said that the figure had been amended based on officers assessment of past performance and strategies to set a realistic figure for 2017/18.

A Member asked if a full risk assessment with regard to Communities 1st had been undertaken. The Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service commented that the Well-being Objectives had been developed to provide a preventative and early intervention approach to mitigate the impact. As a Council we are unsure of the full impact however, the Public Service Board is aware of the concerns and the Environment & Regeneration Directorate would be taking the lead on assessing any funding and risk impacts.

Reference was made to a duplication on page 20 of the Well-being Objectives TS.6 and TS.7 and the Corporate Performance Manager undertook to amend the document before presenting to Executive Committee.

In response to a Member's question regarding pupils with a chance of achieving A & A* grades, the Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service said that this was not a full range of indicators and with regard to high achieving pupils the performance indicators could be refined to incorporate this.

With reference to the Enterprise Zone, the Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service commented that with regard to creating employment in the Borough the numbers had been disappointing, but there was an opportunity to support the wider area of Blaenau Gwent and attract inward investment to create jobs at a local level. The Officer said he would seek clarification on the timeframe and extensions of rate relief for businesses.

A Member raised concerns that Blaenau Gwent would not achieve the targets set for education owing to changes to the curriculum. The Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service said that concerns had been identified nationally in relation to the trend information. There had been changes to the curriculum and the Authority had set a target on their best assessment. He pointed out that there had been some improvements in the categorisation of schools.

In response to a Member's question on the number of people living in residential care homes, the Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service said that the Director of Social Services presented a detailed report on a quarterly basis to the Social Services Committee in terms of performance information. He pointed out that social care costs were not funded in the same way as health care.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that:-

i. The suggested amendments be incorporated into the Council's Well-being Objective document;

ii. the Well-being Objectives act as the Council's Improvement Objectives in order to satisfy both pieces of legislation identified in Appendix 2; and

iii. for the Executive to endorse the Well-being Objectives prior to submission to Council for approval and publication before 31st July, 2017.

The following non Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Members left the meeting at this juncture:-Councillors D. Bevan, S. Healy, J. Millard, J.C. Morgan, T. Smith, G. Thomas, H. Trollope and B. Willis.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (46K/bytes)
Attachment (53K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 13th June, 2017, whereupon:-

Town Centre CCTV

With regard to questions raised regarding CCTV the Corporate Performance Manager informed Members that a systems review report would be presented to the September meeting of the Committee.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted.

Agreed
7. PROPOSED SCRUTINY COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME 2017-18
Report (77K/bytes)
Appendix (704K/bytes)

The Draft Forward Work Programme for 2017/18 was submitted for consideration by Members.

The Corporate Performance Manager spoke to the report and informed the Committee that this was a fluid document that could be updated throughout the cycle to include additional topics for consideration.

A Member queried the item on Contracts Over 500,000 report regarding Abertillery Leisure Centre.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Draft Forward Work Programme for 2017/18 be agreed.

Agreed
8. TREASURY MANAGEMENT ANNUAL REVIEW REPORT 1ST APRIL 2016 TO 31ST MARCH 2017
Report (121K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (178K/bytes)
Appendix A (25K/bytes)
Appendix B (22K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Accountant - Capital Services which was presented to give Members the opportunity to scrutinise the Treasury Management activities carried out by the Authority during 2016/17. Three reports were presented to Committee:


- the Annual Investment Strategy;
- half yearly report; and
- end of year report.

The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted that during 2016/17; the Authority took 7.4 million of long term borrowing and 7.43 million of short term borrowing and has performed well in terms of its Treasury Management activity.

The Officer clarified points raised by Members including how surplus cash had been invested with the Authority's Bank. Interest received on investments was low but security of the capital sum was high. He also informed Members that short term debt was used for day to day cash flow whilst long term debt was needed to finance capital expenditure. The maximum amount the Council could borrow was 150 million.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Treasury Management Annual Review for 2016/17 be approved.

Agreed
9. TASK & FINISH GROUP - WORKING IN A PAPERLESS ENVIRONMENT
Report (137K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (82K/bytes)
Appendix 2a (99K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (53K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (55K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (749K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer which was presented to inform Members of the options recommended from the Task & Finish Group in relation to the current ICT for Members.

The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the points contained therein; in particular the report was presented to the February 2017 meeting of this Committee and was deferred until the new Council cycle.

Discussion ensued regarding options for ICT, including Members preference to either receive papers via ICT or hard copies as well as Members purchasing their own equipment.

In response to a Member's question on computer hardware, the Chief Finance Officer commented that at this stage focus was on Member's needs in the first instance.

Another Member commented that other organisations had systems that were user friendly and needed very little training to operate.

The Chair invited the Executive Member - Corporate Services to speak to the report.

The Executive Member commented that with regard to IT equipment it was necessary for each individual to decide what system would suit them best. He referred to the impact that a paperless environment would have on staff within the Business Support Division. He agreed with the consensus that Members should purchase their own IT equipment and that a dedicated Member's workspace be allocated within the Civic Centre for the independent and labour groups.

In response to a Member's question, the Chief Finance Officer commented that initial basic training in ICT procedures had been successful but ongoing training and the use of informal Member "Champions" to continue training in less formal settings had been more problematic. He clarified that any ICT equipment purchased through the Council would be supported by the SRS.

Councillor D. Wilkshire left the meeting at this juncture.

A brief discussion ensued when the Chief Finance Officer clarified points raised, and it was

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, to present to Executive Committee a new recommendation to:


- Expand the current scheme, to identify the Members who wish to use IT and those who wish to remain using paper;


- For all Members, who wish to use IT, to either pay for their own IT equipment (procured through the Council) or to use their own devices (subject to suitability); and


- Identify IT work spaces for Members.

Agreed
10. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (63K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the list of draft agenda items for the next meeting to be held on 4th September, 2017.

RESOLVED that the following items be presented to the next Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee, namely:-

- WAO Audit - Summary of Local Reviews BGCBC

- WAO Service Planning


- WAO Good Governance when Determining Significant Change


- Transforming Blaenau Gwent Programme - Joint Finance/Performance Report - Quarter 1


- Transforming Blaenau Gwent Programme - Update on Financial Efficiencies under the Major Projects - Quarter 1


- Public Spaces Protection Orders


- CCTV

Agreed