Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: R Perrin Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: email@example.com
This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.
The Chairman will read the following announcement:
“This meeting will be webcast live to the Internet and will be archived for later viewing. Copies of recordings may be made available on request.
By entering the chamber’s lower seating area you consenting to becoming part of the webcast.
If you wish to avoid being filmed you should move to the public gallery or speak to the webcasting officer”
The Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.
To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
There were no substitute members reported for this meeting.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 February 2019.
That the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 26 February 2019 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record subject to (Minute 60. Epping Forest Youth Council) and the removal of ‘Furthermore, Loughton Town Council considering a venue for cardiac screening to take place next year’ to ‘Furthermore, a venue had been found for the cardiac screening to take place next year.’
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To declare interests in any items on the agenda.
In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Council’s Code of Conduct, members are asked pay particular attention to paragraph 11 of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.
This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before overview and scrutiny which relates to a decision of or action by another committee, sub-committee of the Council, a joint committee or joint sub-committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a member.
Paragraph 11 of the Code of Conduct does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an overview and scrutiny meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.
(a) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct, Councillor G Mohindra declared a personal interest in agenda item 7 - South East Local Enterprise Partnership – Scrutiny of External Organisation by virtue of being a substitute member of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership Board for Essex County Council. He advised he would remain in the meeting for the discussion.
(b) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct, Councillor G Mohindra declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 - Essex & Herts Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) – ‘Digital Innovation Strategy’ by virtue of being the Vice Chairman of DIZ for Essex County Council. He advised he would remain in the meeting for the discussion.
(c) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct, Councillor A Lion declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 - Essex & Herts Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) – ‘Digital Innovation Strategy’ by virtue of being the Chairman of DIZ. He advised he would remain in the meeting for the discussion.
Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
To receive questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Committee.
(a) Public Questions
Members of the public may ask questions of the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee at ordinary meetings of the Committee, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Council’s Constitution.
(b) Requests to address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business), due to be considered at the meeting.
It was noted that there were no public questions or requests to address the Committee.
To undertake appropriate external scrutiny of the South-East Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Chairman welcomed the Chief Executive Officer, Adam Bryan from South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), who was in attendance to talk about the role of SELEP within the Epping Forest District and answer prescribed questions from members.
He informed the Committee that South East LEP was the largest outside London and had been established to provide a clear vision with strategic leadership, driving sustainable private sector-led growth and the creation of jobs in the south east. It brought together businesses, councils, universities and other industry influencers to form geographical partnerships across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. It had eight ports, a high speed rail link and national and regional airport capacity, which provided a significant economic gateway and strategic route between mainland Europe, London and the rest of the UK.
Based in Chelmsford, the SELEP consisted of a Chairman, Christian Brodie, three Vice-Chairman Graham Peters, George Kieffer and Geoff Miles and a board of 27 members which was a balance of local authority members and businesses. The Strategic Board was responsible for the vision, strategic direction and priorities of the LEP and an Accountability Board ensured that the LEP’s investments represented value for money and were subject to scrutiny with all the meetings being recorded.
The Governments ‘Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnership’ review provided two significant changes for LEPs, which were their governance arrangements and their future strategies. Following the Government’s Industrial Strategy in 2017, the LEPs had been tasked with producing local industrial strategies by March 2020. This would change the SELEP focus from projects supporting future jobs and freeing up land for housing development, to productivity and business productivity. Regarding the governance perspective, the Government wished to make the LEPs more transparent, stronger and resilient, which would result in the SELEP adopting a legal entity; change the composition of the Board to 20 members with two-thirds private sector; and an increased scrutiny and independence.
The Chief Executive Officer responded to a number of prescribed questions.
· There were currently no local growth funds within the Epping Forest District. He advised that SELEP responded to priorities at the Essex level and the Leader of Council was part of the SELEP Board. There were local projects within the surrounding areas that would benefit the District and provide partnership working;
· SELEP’s view on the Governments ‘Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships’ review, were that LEP’s needed to demonstrate that they could rise to the challenges set out in the review, to deliver and obtain funding in SELEP area;
· He advised that the geographical area of the SELEP worked well within the federal model, which created a unified response that was more impactful to the Government;
· SELEP supported local businesses through a growth hub, which provided business advise and support;
· SELEP would provided support to enhance the digital infrastructure in the District, through engaging with the Council on the Digital Innovation Strategy;
· SELEP had a close working partnership with the Invest ESSEX which would support the Council in attracting investment and growth ... view the full minutes text for item 73.
(Service Director (Community and Partnership Services)) To consider the attached report.
The Chairman of Essex & Herts Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ), Councillor A Lion advised that the Council had become involved in DIZ through the expansion and funding received from the Government, which had provided superfast broadband to the rural areas of the District reaching up to 99.67% households.
The Council wished to expand and capitalise on the digital opportunity, therefore the DIZ was expanded out to the catchment area of the Princess Alexander Hospital. Initial investigations looked into the opportunities for public services to use digital services to transform service delivery, improve efficiency and provide a more joined-up service for the customer. In addition, partners were looking at how infrastructure investment could help future-proof local economic success and to make this area a strong choice for job retention and growth. The DIZ comprised of five district council areas including Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire and Broxbourne along with partners from various public bodies including the health, economy, County Council, higher education, business and the voluntary and community sector.
The Strategic Partnerships Manager advised that the DIZ had significantly raised the profile and the understanding of the current and future digital economy in this area and had pioneered a truly multi-agency, multi-area, multi-sector approach to digital innovation and integration. The partnership had successfully worked in several areas which included;
· Jointly commissioning a strategic long-term overarching strategy to focus work;
· Bidding for external funds on the understanding that collective bidding opened opportunities to access funds that partners would not access individually such as LGA/ Design Council, DCMS LFFN programme;
· Researching potential applications across various geographies – Open Data Source, Common Assets Register, Town Centre Wi-fi;
· Bringing the widest range of stakeholders and partners together for masterclasses on different aspects of the digital revolution;
· Coordinated and jointly supported the delivery of Superfast Broadband across the geography including enhanced investment; and
· Establishing consensus on the importance of digital as a core, enabling platform for all the partners in delivery of their services and serving the future needs of residents and businesses.
A Digital Innovation Strategy for DIZ had been completed, setting out long-term ambitions and an understanding of the area’s current and future digital strengths and challenges in an over-arching combined digital plan. Endorsement was being sought from all the DIZ partners and the strategy document would be a key element of any future bids for external funding and form part of the key information to be sent to digital businesses looking to expand or relocate into the area.
The Digital Innovation Zone would be well placed to fully engage with the Government’s new industrial strategy and help shape how local partners individually and collectively responded to the digital challenge. It was intended that, once adopted, a high-profile launch event would be delivered to further raise the identity, visibility and positioning of the DIZ and promote the strategy to Government and key industry stakeholders.
The Committee enquired how this strategy would become more locally involved and improve the high street for residents. The Strategic ... view the full minutes text for item 74.
(Councillor P. Bolton (Chairman of Task and Finish Panel)) To consider the attached report.
The Chairman of the Task and Finish Panel, Councillor P Bolton advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had established the Panel to undertake a review of the Council’s existing overview and scrutiny select committee framework, considering the adoption of a revised executive portfolio structure that complemented the new senior management structure of the Council.
Councillor P Bolton advised that the Task and Finish Panel had met several times in January and February 2019 and discussed the structure of three select committees based on the Corporate Plan for 2019/20 municipal year; Stronger Communities; Stronger Council; and Stronger Place. Each of these select committees would consider a focused and achievable work programme, developed from the Portfolio Holder and service delivery aims and objectives along with any relevant community priorities. In addition, the performance monitoring would be considered by one select committee.
The Committee enquired how the live data on performance reporting would be delivered to members at the meeting and how could it be effectively scrutinized, if members received the information at the meeting. Also, whether external organisations could still be requested to attend the Committee. Councillor P Bolton advised that members had requested relevant data, rather than the current form of performance reporting, which was out of date and consisted of huge amounts of paper work. The Chief Executive advised that the information would be provided to members days before the meeting rather than weeks, to ensure that the information was relevant and up to date.
The Committee also commented on the inconsistencies of the work programmes of the previous select committees and how the new framework appeared to reflect a refreshed and more balanced programme.
The Customer Services Portfolio Holder asked where the work from the Resources Select Committee would be absorbed. The Chief Executive advised that it would be considered under the Stronger Council Select Committee, as this committee would consider all the performance reporting information going forward.
The Chairman thanked the members and officers, who had supported the Task and Finish Panel.
(1) That a new overview and scrutiny select committee framework, based on a structure of three select committees, be established with effect from the commencement of the 2019/20 municipal year;
(2) That the titles and responsibilities of each select committee, based on the themes of the Corporate Plan for 2018-2023, be agreed as follows:
(a) Stronger Communities Select Committee
· customer excellence;
· partnership working;
· behavioural insights;
(b) Stronger Council Select Committee
· digital enablement;
· medium-term financial strategy;
· Corporate Plan and Key Performance Indicator monitoring;
(c) Stronger Place Select Committee
· St. John’s Road redevelopment;
· North Weald (masterplanning and re-location of council services);
· local plan;
· growth, skills and employment; and
· Council housebuilding.
(3) That the consideration of quarterly performance monitoring information in respect of the Corporate Plan and the Council’s adopted suite of Key Performance Indicators be undertaken by the proposed Stronger Council Select Committee, subject to the implementation of the exception-based reporting arrangements;
(4) That the draft terms of reference for each of the new ... view the full minutes text for item 75.
(Interim Transformation Programme Manager) (Report to follow).
The Interim Transformation Programme Manager, G Nicholas informed the Committee that the Corporate Plan 2018-2023 was the authority’s key strategic planning document. It laid out the journey the Council would take to transform the organisation to be ‘Ready for the Future’ and linked the key external drivers influencing the Council services, with a set of corporate aims and objectives, grouped under three corporate ambitions.
A Corporate Specification for each year (previously called the Key Action Plan) detailed how the Corporate Plan was being delivered through operational objectives, with these in turn linked to annual service business plans.
The success of the Corporate Plan was assessed through the achievement of a set of benefits, each measured through one or more performance indicators, focussing on what the Council achieved for customers. Management Board, Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committees had overview and scrutiny role to drive improvement in performance and ensure corrective action was taken where necessary.
The Interim Transformation Manager advised that a number of the performance indicators had not reached their end of year targets, although these had been monitored, reported and modified throughout the year. Furthermore, the way in which members would receive performance information would be changing to focus on the indicators that were not being achieved rather than a report on all of the indicators. The Chairman advised that on a whole, the Council had achieved a good performance and the Committee had no further questions.
That the outturn position for Quarter 4 2018/19, in relation to the achievement of the Corporate Plan for 2018/23 had been considered and noted.
(Interim Transformation Programme Manager) To review the proposed reporting format for the Corporate Plan Action Plan 2019/20 (year 2) (Report to follow).
The Community and Partnership Service Director, J Chandler informed the Committee that the Corporate Plan Action Plan provided the mechanism for reporting the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and key programmes of work, which highlighted the Council overall performance against the Corporate Objectives.
The Year 2 Action Plan, which covered 2019/20 had been streamlined to enable an improved focus on how the Corporate Objectives had been met. It reduced the number of KPIs from 47 to 13 and key corporate programmes of work to 11. The reporting format had also been revised to provide a more concise presentation of information and greater clarity on performance. This would be reported as a KPI or a corporate work programme. The KPIs would continue to have defined targets that would be reported quarterly, if they were ‘below target’ or ‘required attention’ with a narrative relating to the performance and corrective action being taken and the corporate programmes would be ranked with a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) rating. The 11 corporate programmes currently being worked on were positioned under the corresponding Corporate Aims, Stronger Communities; Stronger Places or Stronger Council.
The Committee advised that the performance reporting was greatly improved and appeared to contain the information that members required to scrutinise the Council’s performance, although some of the descriptions needed to be refined and further details included. The Interim Transformation Programme Manager advised that the information would be current and that officers would be able to give progress updates at the meetings, enabling members to have accurate data to scrutinise. The Community and Partnership Service Director wanted to confirm that this was the right direction that the Committee were happy with and that it would continue to develop throughout the year.
The Chairman concluded that the Committee were happy to recommend the reviewed KPIs and RAG rated programmes for 2019/20 with Committee’s comments incorporated.
(1) That the new reporting format for the Council’s Corporate Plan Action Plan be noted; and
(2) That the reviewed KPIs and Rag rated programmes for 2019/20 be recommended to Finance Performance Management Cabinet Committee.
(Service Director (Customer Services)) To consider the attached report.
The Service Director for Customer Services, R Pavey updated the Committee on the progress of the Customer Service Programme which included the Civic Offices Reception;Corporate Contact Centre (CCC);Systems and Digital Development; and Customer Satisfaction.
The CCC had continued to evolve and grow as more services were integrated, achieving resolution of customer enquiries at the first point of contact. Furthermore, other areas such as Housing and Revenues and Benefits would be process mapped and included at a later date. The call volumes had increased from 81,000 in 2017/18 to 118,000 in 2018/19 and resolution at first contact had increased from 27% to 35%, which was a strong incentive to move more types of service contact into the CCC. The appointment of a new Customer Service Manager would provide the capacity to allow the integration process to accelerate.
In addition to this Member Services had moved to the Customer team. This would ensure a sole contact point that was resilient and focussed, to support members with timely responses to queries and with the digital journey and paperless agendas.
The major piece of work on Systems and Digital Developmenthad been the launch of the new website in early January 2019. The focus of the new website had been transactional, to encourage customers to self-serve and help the Council achieve back-office efficiencies. The move to the new website had been accelerated due to security concerns around the former website’s platform and unfortunately there were some elements that were incomplete although key transactions were functioning as expected. Customers feedback had helped to prioritise and develop the new website further and a new quarterly report on the Customer Excellence would be presented to the Stronger Communities Select Committee.
Finally, Customer Satisfaction was the key indicator for the Council’s performance, demonstrating how well the Council had put the customer at the heart of everything it did. A new feedback process called Govmetric had been installed, which allowed the customers to provide feedback on each contact with the Council via telephone and e-mail through the CCC and website visit. Currently the website had received disappointing reports but many of the issues had been rectified and key themes that emerged had received devoted resources to resolve those issues. The feedback and customer satisfaction data would form part of the quarterly report to the Stronger Communities Select Committee.
The Service Director for Customer Services advised that the Civic Offices Reception and systems and digital development remained key aspects going forward to achieve Customer Excellence. The Key Performance Indicators on Customer Satisfaction and Resolution at First Point of Contact would assist members in assessing the Councils success in achieving Customer Excellence. Regarding Behaviour and Insight work, this information would enable the Council to future-proof its services by meeting changing customer needs. The work would involve gathering and analysing data, to really understand the customers and the changing trends within that base. There were also opportunities with potential partners to see what may exist for joint provision to improve ... view the full minutes text for item 78.
To consider and comment on the draft O&S Annual Report 2018/19.
The Committee is asked to consider whether they are happy with the draft report (attached) and to make amendments where necessary. Any comments should be submitted to Democratic Services by Friday 10 May 2019 for inclusion in the final version.
A copy of each Select Committee section has been sent to the relevant Chairman of that committee for comments and there were additional items to be added, following the recent Neighbourhoods and Resources Committee meetings.
The final report will be submitted to the next Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 4 June 2019 for endorsement and then onto Council on 30 July 2019.
The Committee noted the draft Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report and that any comments should be submitted to Democratic Services by Friday 10 May 2019.
Councillor S Neville enquired about the circulation of the questions and answers provided by the County Council Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills and Passenger Transport, when he had been unable to attend the Committee for external scrutiny of the Essex County Council’s Passenger Transport in June 2018. The Deputy Chief Executive advised that circulation had probably been through the Members Bulletin and he would ensure it was put into the next Members Bulletin.
Councillor J H Whitehouse asked that a summary of the different select committees decisions or outcomes be included within each selection of the annual report. The Chairman advised that she noted the comments of the Committee and that in conjunction with the relevant committee Chairman the information would be included. The Annual report would be presented again to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in June and then presented to Council in July 2019.
The Cabinet’s forward plan of key decisions is reviewed by the Committee at each meeting, to provide an opportunity for the scrutiny of specific decisions to be taken over the period of the plan. Wherever possible, Portfolio Holders will attend the Committee to present forthcoming key decisions, to answer questions on the forward plan and to indicate where appropriate work could be carried out by overview and scrutiny on behalf of the Cabinet.
The Deputy Chief Executive advised that the Cabinet’s work programme had decreased towards the end of the municipal reflecting the completion of the Executive’s work programme. He advised that the Leader would attend the first meeting of Overview and Scrutiny in the new municipal year to outline the priorities for the forth coming year and set out the work programme which develop over time.
Executive Decisions - Call-In
To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in.
There had been no decisions called in for the consideration at this meeting.
Progress towards the achievement of the work programmes for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and each of the select committees, is reviewed by the Committee at each meeting.
(a) Current Work Programmes
The current overview and scrutiny work programmes are attached as an appendix to this report.
(b) Reserve Programme
A reserve list of scrutiny topics is developed as required, to ensure that the work flow of overview and scrutiny is continuous. When necessary, the Committee will allocate items from the list appropriately, once resources become available in the work programme, following the completion of any ongoing scrutiny activity.
Members can put forward suggestions for inclusion in the work programme or reserve list through the adopted PICK process. Existing review items will be dealt with first, after which time will be allocated to the items contained in the reserve work plan.
The Chairman advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Wok programme for 2018/19 had largely been completed with a few items placed on hold for the 2019/20. At the first annual Overview and Scrutiny meeting June 2019, the Committee would reconsider the outstanding items and future programme.
Communities Select Committee
Councillor H Whitbread advised that she had nothing further to add, but that she would like to thank the former Director of Housing, A Hall for all of his help throughout the year, following his retirement.
Governance Select Committee
There was nothing further to add.
Neighbourhoods Select Committee
There was nothing further to add.
Resources Select Committee
Councillor A Patel advised that the committee’s work programme had been completed. He also thanked the Assistant Director (Accountancy), P Maddock who had recently left the Council.