Meeting documents

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 8th January, 2018 10.00 am

Date: Monday 8th January 2018 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

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

PresentAndReport 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 (288K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The following apologies for absence were reported:-

Councillors: J. Collins

G. L. Davies

M. Day

K. Pritchard

L. Winnett.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (184K/bytes)
Cofnodion (178K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 27th November, 2017 were submitted.

It was noted for points of accuracy that:

- Item 7 - Third paragraph should read 105.852 million and not 105,852 million.

- Item 9 - Section 5 - Resources: the Chief Finance Officer clarified that the ICT for Members report would be presented to Full Council and not the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (42K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 27th November, 2017, whereupon:-

It was agreed to confirm a date with the Head of Public Services for a Member Briefing Session on the Vacant Units and the Enterprise Zone.

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

Agreed
7. SCRUTINY TASK AND FINISH GROUP STAFF ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY REVIEW
Report (120K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (88K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (410K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (117K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (46K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Organisational Development which was presented for the Members of the Scrutiny Committee to agree the scope of work to be undertaken by the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Task and Finish Group with respect to the staff Attendance Management Policy.

The Head of Organisational Development spoke to the report and highlighted the Background and Context as well as the Options for Consideration. The Officer informed Members that I-Trent training had been undertaken by senior managers and the system was being rolled out across the Council for use by all staff.

A Member commented that there were areas of contradiction within the Attendance Management Policy regarding Doctor's Certificates. He said that stress had been a major issue among staff and by putting additional burdens and expectations on them would only exacerbate their issues. The Head of Organisational Development highlighted that the outturn last year was an average of 12.5 days sickness per person and this needed to be addressed. The Officer also noted that the Occupational Health Service had changed over the past year and early indications were positive.

A question was asked whether all departments use this Policy, as the figures indicated that some departments were much better than others. The Officer explained that substantial information was collated and that all Managers apply the policy, some more stringently than others. All Senior Managers have a priority in their service areas to reduce sickness absence and she stated that she believed that all were committed to reducing the level of sickness absence.

It was felt by a Member that the Authority had a duty of care to its employees and with the current flexibility of homeworking this could be deemed beneficial to staff with minor illnesses. It was noted that the Task & Finish Group would visit neighbouring authorities to look at the way they manage sickness absence and best practice.

A Member commented that Line Managers were key in the responsibility of protecting and line managing their staff and that robust processes were needed, such as the policy.

The Head of Organisational Development highlighted to Members that the policy does not include school based staff but that did not mean the Task and Finish Group could not make suggestions for recommendations to be made to governing bodies.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the forgoing, that Option 2 be accepted namely:

- To establish a Task & Finish Group with the scope as set out in Appendix 2 in order to review the current policy and make recommendations for any improvements identified; and

- The Chair requested nominations to the Task & Finish Group and the following Members were agreed:
„ Councillor L. Elias - Chair
„ Councillor M. Cook - Vice-Chair
„ Councillor M. Cross
„ Councillor K. Hayden
„ Councillor B. Summers
„ Councillor J. Wilkins

Agreed
8. COLLECTIVE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
Report (118K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (831K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (159K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the HR Manager which was presented to provide Members with the Collective Grievance Procedure set out in Appendix 2 for comment prior to being presented to Council for adoption.

The Head of Organisational Development spoke to the report and highlighted that the current Council's Grievance Procedure makes reference to collective grievances but does not set out the procedures to be adopted and also that owing to an increase in the number of collective grievances a procedure had been developed in consultation with trade unions.

A question was asked regarding the amount of grievances raised and the Head of Organisational Development explained that there had recently been 2 collective grievances where the current Policy had been used. She stated that in recent years there had been an 81% increase in grievances whether collective or individual.

In response to a question regarding the increase in grievances and the reason why, the Officer explained that as an example, where service change had taken place or line managers applying a policy that the employee did not agree, grievances had been made. It was noted that approximately 90% of grievances received representation from the Union.

A Member enquired if there was a link between grievances and sickness and the Officer responded that grievances sometimes resulted in sickness absence, and it was noted that the grievance procedures and sickness policy needed to be aligned.

A Member referred to recent press headlines regarding equality of pay and asked if the Authority was satisfied that the correct process had been adhered to. The Officer explained that an equal pay process had been carried out a number of years ago, through job evaluation, and there were no outstanding issues. She stated that the only area that has not been job evaluated was the Senior Management Structure.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be accepted, namely:

- To consider the attached Collective Grievance Procedure and provide any relevant comments prior to adoption by Council.

Agreed
9. PROGRESS REPORT CONTRACTS OVER 500K
Report (112K/bytes)
Appendix (70K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Technical Services which was presented to provide Members with updated information on the progress of capital projects over 500,000 in cost, undertaken within the Authority.

The Head of Technical Services spoke to the report and highlighted the salient points contained therein.

Abertillery Leisure Centre Demolition

A Member referred to the Abertillery Leisure Centre Demolition and requested an update. The Officer explained that a retendering process had been carried out and a new contractor had been awarded at the sum of 998 thousand. Residual material from brown asbestos had been discovered which resulted in the demolition work having to be suspended for health and safety reasons. He explained that following this a review a second survey was carried out where it was agreed to retender for the removal of the asbestos.

The Chair made reference to the original Contractor that had been employed and the Officer stated that it was customary to carry out a PDR Survey prior to any work commencing, but unfortunately on this occasion the consultants failed to identify asbestos and it was the intention of the Authority to seek legal advice regarding this. He said that it was hoped that the asbestos clearance would commence after May, 2018.

A question was asked in relation to the extra 998 thousand for the removal of the asbestos and whether there would be any additional costs other than the 398 thousand initially allocated. The Officer assured Members that the asbestos issue had been well managed. He also informed Members that with regard to finances the Council had ring-fenced 1 million 2 years ago for pending demolition work and the remainder of that would prove beneficial; there were also contingency plans in place.

Adrian Lewis Site

A Member requested an update on the Adrian Lewis Site as well as the situation with National Resources Wales. The Officer advised that a contract had been awarded for the removal of gasoline bottles etc., and subsequently a geographical survey of the residue had been carried out to determine the content, the results of which were currently being compiled. If found that the content was not contaminated there would be the opportunity for recycling, however provisions had been made in the Forward Work Capital Programme.

Trinity Chapel, Abertillery

A question was asked if work had been completed on Trinity Chapel, Abertillery, and the Officer confirmed that works had been completed and an update would be provided.

Civic Centre

Issues were raised regarding the long awaited refurbishment of the Council Chamber and issues in the Executive Room in relation to the 'Hearing' facility.

A request was made for a breakdown of costs and the works undertaken on the Civic Centre and Anvil Court to date. The Officer undertook to provide this information.

Six Bells School

A request was made for an update on the funding approved by Council for Six Bells School and the Officer advised that 800 thousand had been allocated and that tenders were being reviewed as well as communications being carried with relevant organisations. He stated that work was being undertaken on the costs of the 2nd stage project.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted, namely:

- That Members consider and monitor progress against the contract attached in Appendix 2 and:

I. Provide comment on the information included within the report; and

II. Request further information and clarification where required.

Agreed
10. RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND HANDBOOK
Report (97K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (362K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (2M/bytes)
Appendix 4 (245K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Financial Services and Risk & Insurance Manager which was presented to provide the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee revisions to the Risk Management Strategy and Risk Management Handbook.

The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the salient points contained therein.

Following a question in relation to the risk implications The Chief Finance Officer stated that all reports have risks however, the purpose is to outline how risks can be mitigated.

ICT

A Member asked if there were any potential risks regarding SRS as he felt that the service Members should have been receiving was not forthcoming. The Officer agreed there were risks but mainly to the ICT infrastructure rather than the provider of the service. However, the Officer stated that a review may be needed in the future to improve the service.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted, namely;

- That Appendix 2 and 3 are considered and subsequently the report be progressed to the Executive Committee.

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

No. 10 AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

Consideration was given to the Agenda Items for the next meeting to be held on 19th February, 2018.

It was agreed to remove the Annual Review of Staff Attendance Management report from the list of agenda items, which would be provided as part of the report from the Task and Finish group.

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

- Transforming Blaenau Gwent Programme - Finance / Performance Report - Quarter 3

- Treasury Management - Strategy Statements 2018/19

- Customer and Digital Progress

Agreed