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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Chappell Room

Contact: Helen Lee  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Alex Scoggie.

2.

To approve, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 8 May 2017 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the above meeting, having been circulated, be approved as a correct record.

 

3.

Declaration of Interests.

Minutes:

None.

4.

Programme of Portfolio Holder Attendance pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Democratic Services Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee welcomed John Clarke, Leader of the Council and Michael Payne, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Resources and Reputation to discuss a range of issues relating to their areas of responsibility.  They were accompanied by the Chief Executive, John Robinson.

 

Councillor Clarke provided information on a range of issues identified by Members

 

·         Have there been any business contingency, emergency planning or business continuity strategies developed? For example to respond to drought or changes in the economic climate.

 

In total there are over fifty Local Resilience Forum plans covering Business Continuity and Emergency Planning requirements.  The Councils emergency plan received a complete re-write in January 2017, and Emergency Planning on call arrangement was revived and training delivered to all senior managers in 2017.

Flooding is one of Gedling’s greatest risks and we have specific emergency plans for dealing with flooding, this is scheduled to be reviewed in June 2018.

In the event of drought the Local Resilience Forum has plans for water supplies, which were activated recently for the Severn Trent Water shortage in June 2017.

 

During discussion the following points were made:

 

·         Members should be included in training as members of the community may look to them for assistance

·         It would be useful to have an information pack which contained relevant contact details in the event of an emergency

·         Lessons need to be learnt from the actions of the authority responsible for the Grenfell fire response

·         The first 12 – 24 hours are critical in any emergency and the need for good communications with the public was paramount

·         Members would find it useful to be informed about police incidents in their ward

·         It is vital to build relationships with other organisations and to work together to provide coordinated responses to emergencies.

 

·         In relation to building and developing relationships with partners at a local, regional, nationaland international level.  What relationships have been formed, at what level and what benefits have been derived?

 

Gedling has a large number of partners and is involved in a wide range of partnerships for many different reasons.  At a local level we are in partnership with the police, health, housing associations, local businesses and an array of voluntary and community groups.  This helps to improve people’s lives and the challenges presented by homelessness, anti-social behavior, unemployment, debt and housing growth can’t be addressed by any single organisation operating on its own.  We also provide services to other Councils for example payroll as a means of generating income in addition to operating as a landlord to a wide range of organizations, partly to generate rental income and partly to improve access to services.

At a regional level we are active within the arena of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the main purpose of which is to ensure that the priorities of Gedling are taken into account in the allocation of funding.  Gedling secured the largest allocation (£10.8 million) for a transport scheme for the Gedling Access Road.  The Leader also sits on two Executive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Council Plan 2016/17: Overview of Quarter 4 and Year End Performance pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Report of the Director of Organisational Development and Democratic Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Organisational Development and Democratic Services presented a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting,  informing the committee about the position against Improvement Actions and Performance Indicators in the 2016/2017 Gedling Plan.

 

The report gives figures for actions and indicators and a presentation provided additional information.

 

A number of mechanisms are used to find out how well the authority is perceived by the public and how it is doing in relation to other organisations. This includes:

 

·         A mystery shopper exercise.  An exercise ran from November 2016 to January 2017 and four categories were tested, calls, e-mails, letters and visits.   Customer service performance for all calls scored excellent.  All e-mails were replied within one day. Letters responses were courteous and friendly, premises accessible. and staff courteous and friendly. This exercise also included back office services.

·         An internal Services Survey.  This indicated that 79% of services have improved or maintained standards and 87% were satisfied with the way teams communicate with their customers.

·         Examining complaints.  There were more compliments and fewer complaints in 2016/17. 80% of compliments were about staff and 20% related to events.  When a complaint is received remedial action is taken.

 

Examples of encouraging indicators include:

 

·           Minor and other planning applications determined within eight weeks

·           Increased Bonington Theatre attendance

·           The response to Individual Registration canvasses up to 98% against 93% target

·           26 work experience placements

·           Customer satisfaction with overall customer service up to 94% against a 85% target

·           The level of anti-social behaviour has fallen.

 

There continue to be performance concerns and challenges relating to:

 

·         Sickness absence

·         Housing Benefit administration

·         Housing needs. 

·         Housing Empty homes.

 

During discussion the following points were highlighted

 

·         Sickness absence had been improving but is starting to increase.  Absence of one or two members of staff in a small team and long term absence can have a big effect on the statistics.  There is a policy of managing sickness absence, managers monitor rigorously with the aim of returning staff to work as soon as possible, all staff have a back to work interview when returning.

·         The reduction in staffing levels allied with not filling vacant posts will have an effect on some services.

·         Stress is not always work related.  The authority will refer to a counselling service if required.

·         Housing Benefit claims need to be processed as quickly as possible and processes are currently under review.

·         The lack of house building remains a concern, the speed of housing growth and number of affordable houses did not meet target.  The issue surrounding stalled sites is being addressed, however progress is slow, and this is an increasingly frustrating area. There has been some progress on the Teal Close development.

·         An officer has been engaged specifically to look at bringing properties back into use.

 

Councillor S Barnes left the meeting at 7.40

 

 

RESOLVED to:

 

·                     Note the progress against actions and performance indictors against the 2016/19 Gedling Plan.

6.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Report of the Democratic Services Officer.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

COMPLETED SCRUTINY REVIEWS 2015/16

 

·         Obesity

 

Progress on the implementation of recommendations arising from the Obesity review that relate to Leisure Services, will be available at the September Committee.

 

SCRUTINY REVIEWS 2016/17

 

·         Elderly Persons Working Group

 

The final report and recommendations arising from the Elderly Persons working group were discussed and, subject to minor alterations to the recommendations, agreed.  It was decided that any changes to the recommendations could be approved by the Chair of the working group.

 

·         Income Generation Working Group

 

The final report and recommendations arising from the Income Generation working group were discussed and agreed.

 

·         The Gedling Councillor Standard

 

Members were informed that this working group would commence in September.  Councillor Greensmith agreed to join the group.

 

 

SCRUTINY IN COMMITTEE

 

Members were informed that Councillor Peter Barnes, Portfolio Holder for Environment would be attending the September Committee. A request for questions and areas to be examined will be circulated prior to the Committee.

 

Councillors Truscott, Greensmith and Feeney left the meeting at 8.00pm

 

PROPOSED REVIEWS 2017/18

 

The Committee discussed and agreed to establish two new reviews:

 

·         Improving the effectiveness of scrutiny

 

This review will consider the effectiveness of the Committee, exploring different mechanisms for holding the Executive to account, examine ways to effectively monitor performance and develop a mechanism for selecting topics for review.

 

·         Promoting the transparency of the Council

 

Members will examine options available to increase interest and transparency of Council committees.

 

Councillors Lawrence, Paling and R Ellis agreed to be included in the working group. 

 

A request for Members for both these working groups will be sent to committee members and the wider membership of the Council.

 

INFORMATION UPDATES FROM PREVIOUS ITEMS AT COMMITTEE

 

Members requested that Councillor Collis, the Council’s Policy Advisor for the armed forces be invited to the next meeting to discuss actions taken by the Council to support the signing of the Community Covenant.

 

Councillor Miller raised the problem of uncollected contaminated bins and it was agreed that the service manager for refuse be contacted to find out what could be done to improve this problem.

 

Councillor Lawrence informed the Committee that he is now the Chair of the East Midland’s Council Scrutiny Network.  He briefly discussed the last meeting and asked that a publication from the Centre for Public Scrutiny be circulated to members of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

·         note the information relating to the Obesity review.

 

·         agree the Income Generation and the Elderly Person’s reviews and submit to Cabinet, requesting a response for the November Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

·         establish working groups to consider the effectiveness of scrutiny and the openness of the Council.

 

·         invite Councillor Collis to discuss the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

 

·         request information regarding the collection of contaminated refuse bins.

 

 

7.

Any other item which the Chair considers urgent.

Minutes:

None.

 


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