Agenda and draft minutes

Resources Scrutiny Panel (Now Growth, Infrastructure & Resources Scrutiny - See this link for meetings prior to May 2017)
Thursday, 10th November, 2016 7.00 pm

Items
No. Item

345.

RECORD OF MEETING

To confirm the record of the meeting of the Resources Scrutiny Panel held on 11 August 2016 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Record of the Meeting of the Resources Scrutiny Panel held on 11 August 2016, copies of which had been previously circulated were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

346.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any disclosable interests under the Code of Conduct and the nature if those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

347.

PETITIONS, DEPUTATIONS AND QUESTIONS

To receive any petitions, deputations and questions received from Members of the Public in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 217.

 

The total time allowed for this item shall be 30 minutes. Petitions, declarations and questions shall be dealt with in the order in which they are received. Questions may also be submitted at short notice by giving a written copy to the Committee Administrator 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.

 

The total time allowed for questions at short notice is 15 minutes out of the total time of 30 minutes. Any petitions, deputations and questions that have been submitted with prior formal notice will take precedence over questions submitted at short notice. Any questions that are not considered within the time limit shall receive a written response after the meeting and be the subject of a report to the next meeting.

Minutes:

No petitions, deputations or questions had been received.

 

348.

QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS

To consider any questions with notice from Members received in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rules No 219 and 219A.

Minutes:

No questions with notice had been received from Members.

 

349.

NOTICES OF MOTION FROM MEMBERS

To consider any Notices of Motion from Members submitted in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule No 220.

Minutes:

No notices of motion had been received from Members.

 

350.

CONSIDERATIONS OF ANY MATTER REFERRED TO THE PANEL FOR A DECISION IN RELATION TO CALL IN OF A DECISION

To consider any matter referred to the Panel for a decision in relation to call in of a decision in accordance with Procedure Rule 206.

Minutes:

No matter had been referred to the Panel for a decision in relation to call-in of a decision in accordance with Procedure Rule 206.

 

351.

Quarter 2 Financial Management Report pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To receive Report No 191/2016 from the Director for Resources

(Report to be circulated under separate cover)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No. 191/2016 was received from the Director for Resources. The purpose of the report was to inform all members of the full year forecast position at Quarter 2 for 2016/17 and to alert them to any issues that may impact on the Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

a)     The Financial Crisis Support budget would reduce in 17/18 however there was no change to the policy and additional funds could be made available from an earmarked reserve if required.

b)     Overspends in the People Directorate was due to pressures on demand led budgets.  In these cases, the Council has a statutory duty to respond.

c)     Members sought clarification as to what the S106 monitoring budget was spent on.  (Following the meeting, the Assistant Director clarified that the budget was used as a contribution to staffing costs).

d)     The ‘total uncommitted funding available’ set out in the capital section was funding not formally committed to projects in the capital programme at this point.  Officers clarified that some of this funding was ring fenced so could not be used freely and for some funding other commitments had been provisionally made e.g. supporting the Free School bid, but a formal project not yet created

 

AGREED:

 

1.     That the Panel NOTED the Report.

 

352.

Quarter 2 Performance Management Report pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To receive Report No. 194/2016 from the Director for Resources

(Report to be circulated under separate cover)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No. 133/2016 was received from the Director for Resources. The purpose of the report was to provide members with strategic oversight of the Council’s performance for Quarter 2 of 2016/17.

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

a)     The same range of comparators should be used in all areas to make the reports more consistent.

b)     Members sought clarification that issues raised at Scrutiny would be reported to Cabinet.  The Chair confirmed that he had a pro-forma to complete in order to inform Cabinet of issues raised at the Scrutiny Panel.

c)     Project Sunshine had a RAG rating of amber.  This was a reflection on the substantial amount of work that needed to be done before the ‘go live’ date of the 5th December 2016. 

d)     The new website should go live in January 2017. It would be a ‘soft launch’ in January and would then be launched more publically when additional functionality became available.  The Panel requested to view the new website before launch. The Director for Resources confirmed they would be inviting Rutland Access Group and other companies to test the website and accessibility before it went live.

e)     The Director for Resources confirmed that a number of changes had been made to improve the Customer Services Team.  Those changes included extra staff, additional training and standardisation of responses/greetings. The front waiting area was in the process of being remodelled. In future it would hold a front desk with a workstation so that people could self-serve.  Floor walkers would also be available during busy times of the day and the area would be fitted with a more relaxed seating area. The front desk would also complete a survey to identify the split between corporate visitors and public visitors to the reception area.

 

AGREED:

 

1.     That the Panel NOTED the content of the report.

2.     That the Panel would be able to view the new website before launch.

 

353.

Compliments, Comments and Complaints: Annual Report pdf icon PDF 182 KB

To receive Report No 198/2016 from the Director for Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No. 150/2016 was received from the Director for Resources. The purpose of the report was to provide an overview of the management and effectiveness of the Council’s Compliments, Comments and Complaints Policy.

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

a)     The Monitoring Officer confirmed that neither she nor RCC had any jurisdiction over parish councils and could not deal with parish council complaints. The Monitoring Officer reported that she would advise ward members of any Parish Council complaints received in the future.

b)     The Panel congratulated the department on a thorough report and suggested that on occasion more detail might be helpful.

c)     Members commented on the number of complaints received regarding Christmas refuse collections.  They requested that if the collection date falls on a different day to the normal collection, that the general public are informed of the change.

d)     Council Tax Banding is not a function of RCC it is done by the Government Valuation Office Agency and a link can be found on the RCC website.

 

AGREED

 

1.     That the Panel NOTED the content of the Report.

2.     That the Director for Resources would pass the Panels comments regarding Christmas refuse collections on to the Director for Places.

 

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Meeting Adjourned 8.05pm

Meeting recommenced 8.15pm

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354.

Poverty scrutiny project pdf icon PDF 317 KB

To receive Report No 195/2016 from the Director for Resources

Minutes:

Report No. 153/2016 was received from the Director for Resources. The Scrutiny Commission had agreed to undertake a review of Poverty in Rutland. The project objectives were:

 

·           To develop and agree definition(s) of Poverty in Rutland;

·           To develop a Council policy in the form of a White Paper to be approved by Full Council that will outline for Rutland how the Council will act to positively impact on poverty within the County.

 

The following areas were identified for the Resources Scrutiny Panel to take forward:

 

·           Review of the Crisis Fund

·           Financial Awareness

 

The Director explained that Debt was added after a separate meeting with the Chair.

 

The Director for Resources introduced guest speakers Mr J Green representing Clockwise Credit Union - Leicestershire and Rutland Branch and Mrs Sheila Fletcher representing Citizens Advice Bureau - Rutland.

 

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8.30pm Director for Resources left the meeting

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During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

a)     Some of the awards for the Crisis Fund were referrals rather than financial awards.  They were classed in the report as financial awards but may have had no cost to the authority. Members asked for the actual amount of funding awarded to be included in future reports.

b)     The Panel expressed concern that the Council does not currently routinely review the system to discover what impact (if any) the crisis funds awarded had on the claimants.  This was debated at length.  Officers explained that if they had repeat claimants they were aware of issues.  However, if claimants do not present themselves again, the Council did not contact claimants to see how they are getting on.  It was noted that there was a cost to this.

c)     It would be helpful if the list of identified organisations who could also offer assistance was up-to-date.  People could then be signposted to these associations when they come to us for Crisis Fund awards.  The Council does have a list but there may be other organisations who can also support.

d)     The Panel requested a more in-depth breakdown of the profile of people who come to RCC for crisis fund awards.  The Panel were informed that, although this was not an in-house system, officers would see what information could be made available.

 

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Councillor Stephenson left the meeting at 9.10pm.

Mr J Green – Clockwise left the meeting at 9.10pm.

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e)     It was confirmed that the Crisis Fund budget would not be reduced in the next budget – it would remain at £25k

f)      CAB explained that individuals were often reluctant to seek advice and when they did it was often too late.  Council officers added that whilst they encouraged individuals to take advice, there was no guarantee that this advice was sought.  Officers were considering options as to how we may offer support conditional of advice being sought.

g)     Members agreed that the Council should try to persuade schools to teach financial life skills to children and that this issue should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 354.

355.

REVIEW OF FORWARD PLAN

To consider Scrutiny issues to review

Copies of the Forward Plan will be available at the meeting

Minutes:

The panel reviewed the Forward Plan.

 

 

356.

ANY URGENT BUSINESS

To receive any items of urgent business which have been previously notified to the person presiding.

Minutes:

No items of urgent business had previously been notified to the Chairman.

357.

DATE AND PREVIEW OF NEXT MEETING

16th February 2017

Minutes:

Thursday 16 February 2017 at 7.00 pm, Council Chamber

 

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The Chairman declared the meeting closed at 10.05pm.

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