Meeting documents

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 4th September, 2017 10.00 am

Date: Monday 4th September 2017 Time: 10:00 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

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

PresentAndWithAlsoReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR L. ELIAS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (178K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The Chair welcomed David Wilson and Non Jenkins from the Wales Audit Office to the meeting.

The following apologies for absence were reported:-

Councillors J. Collins, L. Winnett

Temp Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service
Corporate Director of Social Services

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations made.

Noted
5. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (235K/bytes)
Cofnodion (173K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 13th June, 2017 were submitted.

RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (187K/bytes)
Cofnodion (181K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 11th July, 2017 were submitted.

RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
7. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (53K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 11th July, 2017, whereupon:-

Enterprise Zone Relief Programme

The Head of Public Services informed Members that the Business Rate Relief was announced on an annual basis by the Welsh Government. The Council was in the final year of the Enterprise Zone Relief Programme and since the beginning of the programme 5 years ago 391 jobs had been created. A Members Briefing Session would be arranged to address Members questions and the Welsh Government would be invited to attend.

Contracts over 500,000

In answer to a Member's question regarding the costs of the removal of asbestos from Abertillery Leisure Centre, the Head of Technical Services commented that further investigation was being carried out and the Council would re-tender the contract for the removal of the asbestos when more detailed information was available. He clarified that a Pre Demolition Refurbishment (PDR) had to be carried out independently with specialist licenced contractors and could not be carried out by in-house staff. He added that the Council were pursuing the cost associated with the delay in the removal of the asbestos with the Surveyor and that the demolition of Abertillery Leisure Centre would continue.

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

Agreed
8. WALES AUDIT OFFICE SUMMARY OF LOCAL REVIEWS - BLAENAU GWENT COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL
Report (154K/bytes)
Appendix (268K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Temporary Head of Paid Service/Lead Corporate Director which was presented to provide Members with the Wales Audit Office Summary of Local Reviews. The five reviews were carried out between October 2016 and January 2017 and included the WAO detailed findings, conclusions and proposals for improvement. The five reviews were:-

- Information Technology
- Asset Management (focus on buildings and workplace transformation)
- Risk Management
- Partnership and Collaboration
- Data Quality

Information Technology

In response to a Member's question regarding how capacity was managed across the Shared Resources Service (SRS), the Chief Finance Officer commented that although managing capacity was challenging Blaenau Gwent Council along with Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport Councils were in a transitional phase with the aim of operating single IT systems for a range of services and that would alleviate capacity issues within the service.

Asset Management

Reference was made to the issue that the Council did not have robust systems in place to support its Strategic Asset Management Plan. The Head of Technical Services commented that since the WAO Review a Property Maintenance Strategy 2017 to 2021 had been formally adopted by the Authority with financial provision for a future Planned Works Programme but further work was required in the areas of data collection.

A Member enquired as to the likelihood of all local authorities operating the same system. The WAO pointed out that although there had been significant service changes it was for the Council to decide whether or not to operate the same systems as its neighbouring authorities.

Risk Management

The Chief Finance Officer informed Members that the Resources Directorate were responsible for Risk Management and was working to ensure that its Risk Management Policy was applied robustly and consistently throughout the Council.

Partnership and Collaboration

The WAO found that although the Council were improving its partnership and collaboration working, further improvement needed to be made to evaluate what outcomes and improvements were being delivered.

Data Quality

The Head of Policy & Performance commented that the consolidated Performance Team were working with Directorates to support areas identified in the review and were looking to address all the proposals for improvements to build into the business planning process.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
9. WALES AUDIT OFFICE SAVINGS PLANNING - BLAENAU GWENT COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL
Report (128K/bytes)
Appendix (165K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer which was presented to give Members the opportunity to consider the Wales Audit Office Savings Planning. The report covered the 2016/17 planned savings and a review of the Financial Efficiency Projects (FEP's) and included the WAO detailed findings, conclusion and proposals for improvement.

In response to a Member's concern regarding planning future budgets whilst Welsh Government settlements were provided year on year, the WAO commented that careful prediction and educated assessments needed to be considered when planning future financial savings. He highlighted that cost pressures linked with the increase in Looked After Children (LAC) would need to be built into savings planning.

The Chief Finance Officer explained that during the last budget setting process it had been decided to plan for 1 year due to the forthcoming elections. Over the next 2 financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20 indicative savings proposals would be developed and detailed information shared with Members.

The Head of Policy and Performance commented that there was a level of assurance that the issues raised would be addressed through the business planning process and the Authority were working hard to continue with this.

A Member thanked the WAO for all their hard work in undertaking the reviews and welcomed their input to help Blaenau Gwent improve.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
10. WALES AUDIT OFFICE - GOOD GOVERNANCE WHEN DETERMINING SIGNIFICANT SERVICE CHANGE - BLAENAU GWENT COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL
Report (131K/bytes)
Appendix (192K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Chief Finance Officer and the Head of Policy & Performance which was presented to inform Members of the Wales Audit Office detailed findings, conclusions and proposals for improvement.

The WAO representative spoke to the report and highlighted the points contained therein including that although this review was undertaken for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council there would also be a national report prepared for consideration by all Local Authorities across Wales. She emphasised the report looked at the significant service change that impacted on front line services only.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
11. QUARTER 1 (APRIL TO JUNE) FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE REPORT
Report (120K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (349K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (369K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Temporary Head of Paid Service and Lead Corporate Director which was presented to provide Members with the quarterly Finance and Performance information, key themes and notable activity across the Council.

The Head of Policy and Performance spoke to the report and highlighted the points contained therein. The report gave Members a snapshot of the Council's position at any given time.

In response to a Member's question regarding funding, the Head of Public Services commented that the 100 million investment for a new automotive technology business park was developed and administered by the Welsh Government. Blaenau Gwent was represented in order to participate in the process.

Another Member enquired about income generation through advertising sales and the Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager commented that income targets through an advertising scheme on roundabouts had been in place for a number of years and had yielded limited revenue. Specialist agencies had been approached to help develop further advertising revenue but little success had been achieved.

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

The Executive Member commented that there would be an opportunity to work with the new Managing Director when she took up her post on 16th October, 2017 to consider opportunities to support income generation. It was noted that Trade Unions actively supported courses on income generation.

A Member highlighted the sickness and supervision figures. The Chief Finance Officer commented that supervisions were undertaken in Directorates and a Task and Finish Group would be arranged to look at absenteeism as highlighted in the last meeting.

RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
12. INTRODUCTION OF PUBLIC SPACES PROTECTION ORDERS
Report (299K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Policy, Partnerships and Engagement Manager. The report was presented to update Members on new legislation in relation to proposed Public Spaces Protection Orders to be implemented across the Borough.

The Policy, Partnership and Engagement Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the four potential areas identified through engagement with the police and the use of evidence gathered on anti-social behaviour.

The Officer clarified that Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO's) would replace Designated Public Place Orders (DPPO's) which would cease to exist on 20th October, 2017.

In response to questions raised the Officer confirmed that the introduction of PSPO's would streamline the process and lead to a better understanding of what powers were available to Community Safety partners to tackle anti social behaviour. He added that the four identified areas would be evaluated annually and that alternative areas could be added if evidenced.

A Member suggested that the report be deferred and an all Member briefing session be arranged, prior to the report being presented to Council, for Members to gain a better understanding of the PSPO's before a decision could be made.

A brief discussion ensued when it was

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that;

i. the report be deferred; and

ii. an all Member briefing session be arranged, prior to the report being presented for decision at Council.

Agreed
13. TOWN CENTRE CCTV SERVICE DELIVERY OPTIONS
Report (149K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager which was presented to provide Members with an update on the CCTV service which included recommendations for the future of the service.

In response to Members' questions regarding costs and quality of the service and evidence requested from the Police, the Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager commented that the cost of delivering the current service was 172,000 per annum and a response had not been received with regard to potential contributions from the Police and local businesses to help maintain the service. With regard to detailed information on evidence requested by the Police, the Officer would request that data from the Control Room at Newport and report back to Committee in due course.

The Officer commented that there were 62 cameras in total in Blaenau Gwent and at present the majority of cameras were working, however, the cameras in Brynmawr were not due to technical issues and there was a further issue with 8 other cameras. He added that it took BT between 60 and 80 days to replace cameras with local repairs being dealt with sooner. The Officer informed Members that 36 images were being monitored at any one time in the Control Room at Newport and the quality of the images was good for an aging analogue system.

The Chair informed Members of his visit to the Control Room and highlighted options with regard to maintaining the current system or procuring a cheaper record only system.

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

The Executive Member drew Members attention to the need for careful consideration of the financial cost of operating a CCTV system against other priority areas. He commented that there were difficult decisions to be made with regard to future savings proposals.

The Head of Policy & Performance suggested that the CCTV service could be considered as part of the financial efficiency savings and full cost details of each option including the cost of a record only system and potential contributions from Police and local businesses would need to be provided in the Outline Business Case.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the following additional option be endorsed, namely:-

- that the CCTV service be considered as an Outline Business Case as part of the budget setting process.

Agreed
14. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (44K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the list of draft agenda items for the next meeting to be held on 16th October, 2017.

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

- Corporate Improvement Plan Stage 2 Review of Progress 2016/17
- Performance Management Improvement Framework
- Collaboration Progress

Information Item

- Annual National Performance Information

Agreed