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To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 21 January 2019 (to be circulated).
The notes of the meeting of the Task and Finish Panel held on 21 January 2019 were agreed as a correct record, subject to the inclusion of reference to views expressed by Councillor N. Bedford supporting the development of a select committee framework based on the three cross-cutting themes of the Corporate Plan and the associated cessation of framework arrangements that relied solely on service functions.
Terms of Reference
To note the following terms of reference for the Panel which were agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 December 2018:
(a) That the Panel consider the future structure of the select committee framework to ensure that it complements the new executive portfolio and management structure of the Council, taking into consideration the options presented to the Committee at its meeting held on 29 October 2018;
(b) That the Panel consider:
(i) the retention of the existing framework of four select committees;
(ii) the introduction of an alternative framework of four select committees aligned with the new portfolio and service structure and the responsibilities of each select committee, to present opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness in scrutiny activity;
(iii) the introduction of an alternative framework of two or three select committees aligned with the new portfolio and service structure. and the responsibilities of each select committee, to present opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness in scrutiny activity; and
(iv) any other structure arrangement considered appropriate; and
(c) That the Panel consider arrangements to ensure that reports in respect of the Council’s adopted key performance indicators are made to the select committees as soon after the end of the relevant quarter as possible, and how best such reports can be presented to assist members in scrutinising performance against appropriate targets and the financial and resource implications for the authority; and
(d) That the Panel review the terms of reference of the existing select committees in terms of relevance and consider whether these could be improved.
The Panel noted its terms of reference, which had been agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 December 2018.
Overview & Scrutiny Select Committee Framework - Review
That the Panel continue its review of the current overview and scrutiny select committee framework, having regard to the scope and timescale for the review agreed at the previous meeting.
The Panel gave further consideration to proposals for the future structure of the select committee framework, based on the following themes of the Corporate Plan and the associated programme and project environment driving the Council’s aims for increased customer service, efficiency and effectiveness:
‘Communities’ Select Committee
· customer excellence;
· partnership working;
· behavioural insights;
‘Council’ Select Committee
· digital enablement;
· medium-term financial strategy;
· KPI and Corporate Plan performance monitoring;
‘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.
G. Blakemore and R. Pavey illustrated the scope of the various programmes within each theme of the Corporate Plan and the potential opportunities for scrutiny activity in respect of specific projects and business as usual activities, alongside the development of the ‘overview’ aspect of the role of each of the select committees, to provide policy development capacity through an enhanced pre-scrutiny (‘Overview’) role.
R. Pavey outlined some of the projects that would be undertaken through the auspices of the proposed Communities Select Committee to secure customer excellence, but emphasised the importance of defining relevant key performance targets and measures to drive effective scrutiny as part of the ongoing development of a Customer Service Strategy, which might include the analysis of telephone calls to the authority, the review of themes arising from complaint activity and consultation through methods such as the establishment of focus groups. R. Pavey indicated that the review of performance against ‘key’ customer satisfaction measure would be an important function of the proposed Communities Select Committee going forward and that this should also include member satisfaction with services provided by the Council. Members suggested that it would also be important to consider service performance in situations where no complaints or other feedback was received.
R. Pavey also advised the Panel of work to be undertaken around the behavioural insights theme of the Corporate Plan, to future-proof the services of the Council through the analysis of social demographics and behaviours and the mapping of digital capability, in order to ensure the appropriate design of service provision in the future. Members were advised that a number of the programmes within each theme of the Corporate Plan were cross-cutting and that specific scrutiny activity would be allocated to the most appropriate select committee. The Panel was reminded that, as agreed at the previous meeting, the consideration of performance monitoring information on the basis of ‘key’ performance indicators would generally be undertaken by the Council Select Committee, subject to the completion of the review of current performance reporting arrangements and a move to exception-based reporting. G. Blakemore confirmed that key services would be subject to appropriate scrutiny through the adoption of exception-based performance reporting arrangements and that the identification of ‘hot’ topics requiring scrutiny activity would be likely to be revealed through the review of the customer satisfaction measures to be detailed in the Customer Service Strategy.
The Panel was advised that it was important to ensure that Overview and ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Work Programme 2018/19
To review the work programme for the Panel (to be circulated).
The Panel was reminded that the Chairman would be required to report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 26 February 2019, on the progress of its review of the current select committee framework and the achievement of its work programme.
The Panel was advised that there was no additional business for consideration at the meeting.
Date of Next Meeting
To consider arrangements for a further meeting of the Panel, if required.
It was agreed that a further meeting of the Task and Finish Panel be held at 7.00pm on 27 February 2019 and that, if necessary, a final meeting be held on 14 March 2019 in order that the Panel can finalise its recommendations to be made to the Overview and scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 16 April 2019.