Agenda and minutes

Resources Scrutiny Panel (Now Growth, Infrastructure & Resources Scrutiny - See this link for meetings prior to May 2017)
Thursday, 16th February, 2017 7.00 pm

Items
No. Item

600.

RECORD OF MEETING

i)             To confirm the record of the meeting of the Resources Scrutiny Panel held on 10 November 2017 (previously circulated).

ii)            To confirm the record of the meeting of the Joint Resources and Places Scrutiny Panel held on 18 January 2017 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Record of the Meeting of the Resources Scrutiny Panels held on 10 November 2016 and 18 January 2017, copies of which had been previously circulated were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

601.

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.

 

602.

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.

 

603.

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.

 

604.

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.

 

605.

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.

 

606.

QUARTER 3 FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT REPORT pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To receive Report No. 37/2017 from the Director for Resources.

(Report circulated under separate cover)

Minutes:

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             Oakham Cemetery:

·                     Oakham Town Council (OTC) had decided not to take on the maintenance of Oakham Cemetery. Therefore, this would stay with Rutland County Council who would not be provided with a contribution for grounds maintenance from OTC.

·                     Concern was raised that OTC is the only parish in Rutland that do not maintain their Cemetery, this matter would be raised with OTC on a future occasion.

·                     Mr Mathias, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Places (Highways, Transport and Market Towns) informed the Panel that he would feedback if there was any legal requirement for OTC to maintain Oakham Cemetery.

ii)            There had been an increase in weddings leading to an increase in revenue for registrars.

iii)           There has been a reduction in the revenue for Building Control. This was due to a drop in demand for this service which could have been caused by increased usage of external providers. Mr Mathias would provide the Panel with a written answer as to the reasons for this drop in revenue.

iv)           Rutland County Council (RCC) would work with the Schools Forum and individual schools to avoid financing the Dedicated School’s Grant overspend.

v)            Members commented regarding underspends on the Better Care Fund and questioned whether schemes that had been delayed should proceed if existing performance was not affected. This would be raised at Cabinet.

vi)           It was confirmed that when business units at Oakham Enterprise Park become vacant, there may be a need to undertake remedial or other work prior to them being re-let. This would be addressed as part of the budgeting process.

 

AGREED:

 

That the Panel NOTED the Report.

 

607.

QUARTER 3 PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To receive Report No 36/2017 from the Chief Executive.

(Report circulated under separate cover)

Minutes:

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             Members noted they would like Cabinet to seek reassurance from Officers that action is being taken where performance was below target.

ii)            Members asked for Cabinet to look at the fly tipping problem, if it was not addressed, the issue would get worse.

iii)           Mrs Mogg, Director for Resources, confirmed that there were no significant issues with the Agresso upgrade. The annual leave module is not yet fully implemented but the intention had always been that this would be part of the next step of the project. This indicator should be green.

iv)           Benchmarking had been done with other local authorities with regard to calls answered in one minute in customer services. The Council is in line with other authorities, and does not have the resources to enable all calls to be answered within one minute. The Council was encouraging customers to channel shift to use the website.

v)            Members commented on the processing for Housing Benefit claims being categorised in red. It was noted that the Benefits team had been through a review, with staff members moving to new jobs. This is likely to be a short term performance issue, with improvements before quarter 4, when the backlog is cleared and the introduction of a risk based procedure for processing claims.

vi)           Mrs Grinney, Revenues & Benefits Manager, confirmed that all claims were backdated to the date that the claim was received by the Council.

---oOo---

 

Mr Mathias left the meeting at 19:35 and did not return.

 

---oOo---

 

AGREED:

 

That the Panel NOTED the content of the report.

 

608.

DEMONSTRATION OF NEW WEBSITE

To receive a demonstration on the new Council website from the Director for Resources.

Minutes:

Mr Nix, Head of IT and Customer Services, gave a presentation on the new Rutland County Council website that is due to launch 6th March. The main changes to the website include the following:

 

i)             New Content Management System which was based on partnership with West Lindsey District Council, North Kesteven District Council and Lincoln City Council.

ii)            The website was designed to work across a range of devices to include mobiles, tablets and desktop computers.

iii)          Each webpage from the current website had been re-created for the new website and had been checked for accuracy.

iv)          There was now less than 500 pages on the website.

v)            Designed to encourage use of the search bar.

vi)          39 new online forms that were sent directly through to Customer Services.

vii)         New mapping – users could put their postcode into a search bar and find locations near them that they can go to, for example to find the location of car parks and details.

viii)        Users could view their Council bills and benefit claims via an online account. This would reduce calls made to the Council.

ix)          Users could do a self-assessment online for any Adult Social Care needs they might have. This was linked with Liquid Logic.

x)            The content management system allows rotating content, for instance the top popular pages.

xi)          Customer Services were to promote the website after launch, including advising people to use the self-service stations available at reception.

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             The new website was due to go live on the 6th March 2017. With the Customer Service team promoting online services.

ii)            Members questioned why the navigation headings had ‘My’ at the beginning. Mr Nix noted that he would look into this if it takes value away.

iii)           Improvement had been made to access to planning applications. Users would be able to use the mapping tool to search for planning applications.

iv)           More development was required with regard to making payments easier, this would follow phase 2 of the project.

v)            The homepage could be programmed so that it could automatically highlight emergency out of hour’s numbers on bank holidays.

vi)           Praise was given to the team behind the creation of the new website.

vii)         Mr Nix would provide a link to the new website to all Panel Members and welcomed further feedback.

viii)        The Panel requested a progress report be presented to them in October/November 2017.

609.

INFORMATION FOR SCRUTINY POVERTY PROJECT pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive Report No 29/2017 from the Director for Resources.

Minutes:

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             Members asked for a list of identified organisations that could support people, which specific needs they catered to and which organisation the Council goes to first. It was noted that Ms Grinney has an up to date list.

ii)            Discussions would be had with Mrs G Curtis, Head of Lifelong Learning, regarding what schools do in terms of teaching their students about finances.

iii)           Members suggested a survey could be done by School Governors regarding teaching finance to students.

iv)           Mr Della Rocca would liaise with Heads of Service to ask them to advise Revenues and Benefits staff on any issues or signs they should look out for when processing Crisis Loans.

v)            Miss Waller noted that Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), may not wish to disclose when a client referred to them had taken advice.  She asked whether clients could be asked to give permission for this information to be disclosed so as to enable the Council to track whether clients take up support. Mr Della Rocca would investigate whether this was possible.

vi)           It was suggested to add wording from the Final Notice letter to all reminder letters asking whether the relevant person is struggling to pay their Council Tax.

vii)         Mrs Grinney informed the Panel that residents could pay over 12 months or later in the month if they are struggling. The Council does try to be flexible.

viii)        The Council checks if mail is returned where for example residents may be posted abroad, service of delivery is assumed if sent.

ix)           Mr Della Rocca commented that the Council want more people to pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit. People were still coming in person and paying at Customer Services and the Museum. Changes would be made to all reminder letters to promote payment by Direct Debit.

AGREED

 

The Panel DISCUSSED the contents of the Report.

 

610.

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 with the following items to be added:

·         Street Naming and Numbering

·         Freedom of Information Annual Report

 

611.

ANY URGENT BUSINESS

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

Minutes:

There was no other urgent business.

 

612.

DATE AND PREVIEW OF NEXT MEETING

Next Meeting:

Thursday 27 April 2017

Minutes:

Thursday 27 April 2017 at 7.00 pm, Council Chamber