Venue: Council Chamber, Catmose, Oakham
Contact: Joanna Morley 01572 758271
Apologies were received from Mr N Begy.
RECORD OF MEETING
To confirm the record of the meeting of the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee held on 12 September 2019 (previously circulated).
The minutes of the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 12 September 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any personal or prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Act 1992 applies to them.
No declarations of interest were received.
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 216.
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 of the total time for 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.
No petitions, deputations or questions had been received.
QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS
To consider any questions with notice from Members received in accordance with the provisions of Procedure rule No. 218 and No. 218A.
No questions with notice from Members had been received.
NOTICES OF MOTION FROM MEMBERS
To consider any Notices of Motion from Members submitted in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule No. 219.
No notices of motion had been received from Members.
CONSIDERATION OF ANY MATTER REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE FOR A DECISION IN RELATION TO CALL IN OF A DECISION
To consider any matter referred to the Committee for a decision in relation to call in of a decision in accordance with Procedure Rule 206.
No matter had been referred to the Committee for a decision in relation to a call-in of a decision in accordance with Procedure Rule 206.
To receive Report No.181/2019 from the Strategic Director for Resources.
Report No.181/2019 was received from the Strategic Director for Resources.
Mr Della Rocca, Strategic Director for Resources, introduced the report the purpose of which was to inform Members of the full year forecast position at Quarter 2 for 2019/20 and to alert them to issues that may impact on the Medium Term Financial Plan.
During discussion the following points were noted:
· The estimated £55k expense of officer time incurred on Brexit related work would be charged against the Brexit fund at the end of the year. The remainder of the £105k allocated Brexit funding would be put in earmarked reserves.
· The funding originally earmarked for the Officers’ Mess project had been released back into unallocated funding reserves. A feasibility study had shown that there was no business case for investment so the Council chose not to pursue this further with the MOD.
· The Oakham Enterprise Park project had been part cancelled as original costs of £2.2 million had escalated to £2.8 million and there was no business case for continuing. If the project was still viable at £2.8 million, and tenants who were prepared to pay market rates could be found, then the project would be resurrected and presented again to Cabinet for a decision.
· At a recent meeting, tenants of Oakham Enterprise Park had been asked whether they wanted to keep the prison wire that surrounded the development and they had confirmed that they did.
· The Places directorate had several vacancies at the moment and the cost of interims had placed some pressure on their budget.
· Members commented that the increase in charges for road closures had made it more difficult and expensive for charitable organisations to put on events. It was confirmed however that the charges only covered staff and overheads and that there would not be any subsidies for particular groups.
· Road closures fees for VE day celebrations next year would be charged at the normal rate.
· Councillor Brown advised Members that any parishes who were putting on an event to celebrate VE day should complete an events form, detailing the organisers and their contact numbers, which could then be used by all of the blue light services in the event of an emergency.
· Although many business owners had complained about the level of business rates that they paid, the Council website page https://www.rutland.gov.uk/my-business/business-rates actually showed that the business rates that many high street shops paid were in fact relatively low and often discounted.
· Members queried how the new 30 minutes free parking had changed behaviours around parking. Officers confirmed that income from parking fees was still increasing.
· The Council was not allowed to profit from green waste collection. It had been proposed that the Green waste charge remained the same for 2020/21 at £35.00 as the need for inflationary pressures had been offset by an increase in subscriptions at this stage.
That the Committee NOTED the report.
To receive a presentation on MyAccount from Andy Nix, Head of IT and Customer Services.
An introduction to MyAccount was given by the Strategic Director for Resources who highlighted the following points:
· The new MyAccount system would be launched in early 2020. The system had been set up in response to customer demands to access more services online and to offer a system which allowed incidents and issues to be reported straight away.
· Officers wanted to produce a system that was better than the majority of other Councils’ online account systems and to do so with a much smaller in-house budget.
· Some of the benefits of the new online system included:
- It could be accessed outside of normal office hours
- A reference number would be given so progress could be tracked
- Once an account was set up proactive information could be received
- Further functionality such as integrated payments could be added
- It had been designed to enhance the existing customer services channels
Following a screen demonstration from Andy Nix, Head of IT and CST, and further discussion, the following points were noted:
· The level of engagement by residents with the new system would be carefully monitored so that other customer service channels could be reviewed. However it was the Council’s intention to always have multiple channels available as it recognised that some residents would not be able to access online services or may prefer to speak directly to someone either in person or by telephone.
· Mr Nix confirmed that the site had been laid out so that it would meet the Government’s accessibility standards by September 2020. Members commented however that certain aspects, such as white font on pastel coloured icons, made it less accessible.
· Members questioned whether MyAccount would overlap with ‘fix my street’ for reporting potholes.
· At the moment, photos could not be uploaded on MyAccount when reporting a pothole however for other workflows, such as applying for a new bus pass, they could be.
· Officers wanted to encourage customers to register as a user but guest access was available.
· Users needed to be reminded that although they could go back and forth between pages, once they reached the final page and a reference number was created they could no longer go back to amend anything.
· Members felt that better pictures could be used for the safeguarding icons as it was not very clear what they represented.
· Greater consideration needed to be given to the language used so that it better reflected the words and language that residents would use.
· MyAccount would be embedded at the end of a website page so that the entry point would be after having read a lot of information on the subject. However, if residents already had an account they could miss some of this information so Members recommended that signposting to the particular website page should also be included.
· The Council would like to encourage people to use the online service, especially for more transactional services.
· A benefit of being registered for the site was that tailored information e.g. councillors’ names, ... view the full minutes text for item 370.
REVIEW OF FORWARD PLAN AND ANNUAL WORK PLAN
To consider the current Forward Plan and identify any relevant items for inclusion in the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee Annual Work Plan, or to request further information.
The Forward Plan is available on the website using the following link:
During discussion of the Annual Work Plan and review of the current Forward Plan the following comments were noted:
· The work of the Biodiversity Task and Finish group was on track and the group would be able to report to the Committee at their meeting on 13 February.
· Two additional meeting dates for the Committee to consider the Local Plan before it was submitted to Cabinet had been confirmed. The dates for these meetings were 19 December 2019 and 9 January 2020.
· The Committee would be updated on when to expect the Road Safety Strategy
· The Chair had received a briefing note on the provision of conservation advice and this would be sent out to all committee members.
· A report on the work being done by the Oakham Regeneration Board had been scheduled for the meeting on 9 April but this would likely be moved into the next municipal year’s meetings in order that the report could contain more substantial information.
· It was confirmed that Councillor Gordon Brown was the cabinet member responsible for the delivery of the Zero Carbon activity.
· The Treasury Management Strategy and Capital Investment report would include some information on asset returns which would allow members to determine what additional information they might need.
The Committee agreed to meet privately to further discuss the work programme for the forthcoming meetings.
ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS
To receive any other items of urgent business which have been previously notified to the person presiding.
No other urgent business was received.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Thursday 13 February 2020 at 7pm.
Special meeting: Thursday 19 December at 7pm.