Agenda and draft minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Tuesday, 4th July, 2017 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

No. Item



There are no minutes to sign.


The minutes of the Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 7 March 2017 were not available; Councillor Chapman offered his apologies and agreed that a set will be presented for signature post meeting.


Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence


No apologies for absence were received. 


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest


A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered -


(i)            must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent


and, if the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest, or a personal interest which is also prejudicial


(ii)           may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter (and must withdraw to the public seating area) unless they have been granted a dispensation.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Members’ Register of Interests, or is not the subject of a pending notification, must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal and prejudicial interests are defined in Part 2 of the Code of Conduct For Members


[If a member is in any doubt as to whether they have an interest which should be declared they should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer before the start of the meeting]





Public Participation

An opportunity for members of the public to make statements or ask questions in accordance with the rules as to public participation




Consideration of any matter referred to the committee in relation to call-in




Budget Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Chapman referred to provisional outturn report found at pg 3 of the agenda pack.  He asked if there were any questions about it.  Councillor Douris noted that a number of these questions had been raised at the Audit Committee which had taken place the previous week. 


Councillor Douris referred to pg 7 of 17 of the report, in respect of the Waste Services Income.  He asked if it was related to the AFM (Alternative Financial Model), and if the figure could be relied on.  Councillor Elliot confirmed that the income did relate to the AFM, however said that the figure could not be relied upon. 


Councillor Douris went on to refer to pg 8 of the agenda pack (pg 5 of 17 of the report), specifically item 3.9.  He noted the pressures of £100k that related to the Pay & Display, caused by savings that had not been achieved due to contractual negotiations; He asked when this contract was due to terminate.  B Hosier said that the current contract expires on 31 March 2018.  He said that DBC was about to commence the tendering process with the parking enforcement contract.  He said that they would be ready to have this new contract in place by 1 March 2018.  Councillor Douris asked if this would be a direct contract between DBC and the contractor; B Hosier confirmed this.  He said that the current ongoing contract is with Watford Council, while the new contract would be procured by DBC going to market. 


Councillor Chapman asked if the costs of £15k that related to additional costs incurred from upgrading Pay & Display machines to accepting new £1 coins were final, or if any further machines required updating; B Hosier confirmed that all machines had been updated and this was the final cost. 


Councillor Silwal referred to paragraph 3.10 (pg 6 of 17 of the report), and asked for further clarification regarding the pressures of approximately £120k in relation to Third parties.  B Hosier said that this related to a large invoice that had submitted to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) in respect of the library and registry office; this was a service charge for facilities management.  However, he said that HCC were not satisfied with the meterage of the building (this is what the management fee is based upon).  He said that there was a meeting tomorrow (5 July 2017) with HCC to discuss this.  The last resort was for HCC to conduct their own measurements of the disputed areas.  The sizing has been undertaken by an independent third party to measure the size of each of the areas in The Forum.  B Hosier said that this matter needed to be resolved, however this would hopefully be in a better position by close of play tomorrow; he said he was happy to provide the Committee with an update via email. 


Action point.  B Hosier to provide Committee with an update regarding the status of HCC’s outstanding invoice. 


Councillor Chapman referred back to item  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


Finance and Resources Q4 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Chapman introduced the report, and invited the officers and portfolio holder to offer any comments on it.  He invited any questions from the Committee. 


Councillor Douris referred to pg 40 of the agenda pack and noted that ‘CSU10 - Call Handling: Average wait time’.  The report indicates that the target has been met, however in real terms the result has decreased from the previous year from 178 seconds to answer from 2016, to 198 seconds.  He questioned whether this should be rewarded with a tick at green level, however he noted that the move to The Forum may have impacted on this figure.  Councillor Harden noted that there were issues with the telephone system which had an impact on calls waiting time; he said that this system was no longer in use, and the telephone system had now migrated over to a virtual system.  As a result, next month’s call waiting figures should show an improvement in call waiting times.  He confirmed that the explanation given at CSU11 also applied to this item. 


Councillor McLean asked for a further explanation regarding a virtual call handling system.  B Trueman explained that telephone system at the Civic System were analogue lines; on the move to The Forum, these were then converted to digital telephone lines.  This initially caused problems during the transfer process, however they had now been resolved.  Councillor Taylor asked of this now meant that the notice on the top of the DBC website had been removed; B Trueman confirmed it had. 


Councillor Chapman referred to the Sign Off comments at pg 35 of the Agenda pack.  Specifically “The drop in Business Rates collection occurred with the late addition of a significant property to the rating list mid-March 2017 therefore reducing the opportunity to collect the rates dues and a company that frequently pays late but in full.  With these additions the collection rate would have been maintained at 98.  3%”.  He asked what was being done in respect of companies that were consistently paying late but in full, and what were the reasons behind it. 


C Baker explained that there were two different issues.  The first related to a significant building on Maylands Business Estate that had been in operation since November 2016 and DBC were only advised of its position on the ratings list in the middle of March 2017.  C Baker explained that collection rate is calculated on total income received against total liability; therefore a great deal of liability was then added at the end of the year.  He said that the rules in respect of when instalments for businesses were due meant that nothing was due to be paid until the following financial year.  However, he said that the company had another property at Maylands, and were good creditors, therefore he was  satisfied that DBC would catch up with these outstanding payments. 


C Baker said that the second issue related to a large office property that was currently empty and owned by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.


Legal Governance and Democratic Services Q4 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Chapman introduced the report, and invited the officers and portfolio holder to offer any comments on it. 


J Doyle referred to the recent elections conducted by DBC; he said that all reports and feedback indicated that they were successfully completed, and that the process had been praised by all parties and their agents.  He was very pleased with the continual improvements in the way elections are conducted.  J Doyle confirmed he was happy to take any questions from the Committee that related to Democratic Services. 


Councillor Harden passed comment on the new counting process.  He said that in the past elections, members had expressed concerns to S Marshall and J Doyle about the slowness of the count, and the time taken for the result to be declared.  Because of this, the election team had completely changed the counting process, and had put in place a new system, which was operated during the most recent two elections.  Councillor Harden said that as a result of this the speed of the count was very much improved.  He was extremely encouraged by the team taking on members concerns, learning lessons on what did not work, and developing a new improved system.  Councillor Douris wished to endorse this comment, and added that he thought the recent elections had been excellent; He was sure that members of all parties would wish to endorse this. 


Councillor Silwal referred to pg 52 of the agenda pack, specifically the red Inherent Risk Score of ‘16’; he asked why this was so high? J Doyle said that the red was the impact if something were to go wrong with the election process.  He said that in this case, the financial penalties would be substantial, as well as significant reputational damage, if a mistake in the election process were occur.  J Doyle went on to emphasise that all the planning and execution of the recent elections meant that this had not been allowed to happen, however it was essential to highlight that if something were to go wrong, there would be significant consequences. 


Councillor Harden added that the current controls that had been put in place were what produced this risk score.  He said that there were 16 red warnings to highlight any potential risks.  J Doyle said that election planning meetings had been regularly conducted since January 2017, where the Senior Management Team went through the proposed election plan, and then met more and more frequently as the election approached, to ensure that the plan was being met.  He said that it was indicative of the strength of the plan that DBC were able to cope so well with the announcement of a snap parliamentary election. 


R McLean said that he would like to take the opportunity to formally record his thanks to J Doyle and the entire Democratic Services team for all their support during his mayoral year, both with the High Sheriff tours, and town and parish liaisons.  Although he was reticent to highlight individuals, he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.


Performance, People and Innovation Q4 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Chapman introduced the report, and invited the officers and portfolio holder to offer any comments on it.  Councillor Harden said that the report contained some information of particular interest; he highlighted complaints handling and sickness absence, and commented that these were very positive figures in areas that HR dealt with.  Councillor Harden said that the team were doing a lot with Digital Dacorum, as well as identifying/addressing a number of improvements with efficiencies within the council. 


Councillor Chapman referred to the Sign Off comments at pg 8 of 13 of the report “The HR team continues to provide dedicated support and coaching for all managers engaged in employee relation issues.  We also enjoy good relations with our recognised Trade Unions (Unison and Unite)”.  He commented that when recent JNC meetings had been conducted, officers had attended in full, however only one trade union representative was present; he said that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure maximum input from both sides.  He asked if unions could be encouraged to attend to ensure this. He noted that the time of the meeting had already been re-arranged to take place earlier to encourage union attendance.  Councillor Chapman stressed that the meeting was working extremely well, which was why he was keen to have the full complement of union representatives.  Councillor Taylor added that although there three union representatives on the JNC, in practice only one representative regularly attended, and this individual was leaving in July.  Council Taylor questioned whether they were doing justice to the union membership by not taking the opportunity to fully engage with this Committee.  Councillor Harden noted these comments, however said that union representatives could only be encouraged, they could not be compelled to attend.  M Rawdon also noted these comments, and said that he would bring them to the attention of the union representatives. 


Action Point: M Rawdon to highlight these comments to the trade union representatives, with the intention of encouraging trade union representatives to fully engage with JNC.


Outcome: At the invitation of the Chairman, the Committee noted and agreed the contents of the Performance and Risk report Quarter 4 2016/17 for Performance, People & Innovation. 


Action points from the previous meeting


The report was not attached to the agenda; therefore no detail was available to the Committee.  Councillor Chapman apologised for this, and requested that this was made available to the Committee for the next meeting.  Councillor Chapman also proposed moving Action Points from the previous meeting to item 6 of the agenda for future meetings.


Work Programme


The work programme was not available to the Committee; Councillor Chapman once again apologised.  He also requested that this was made available to the Committee after the meeting.  He confirmed that this would remain the final item of the agenda.