Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Tuesday, 17th July, 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

No. Item



To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting


The minutes from 12 June 2018 were agreed and then signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Elliot and The Chairman confirmed that Cllr McLean would be arriving late.



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




Action points from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Douris said that the layout of the action points was very good and there was a lot of detailed information included.


Cllr Tindall suggested that the action points were numbered.

Action: Member Support


Cllr Tindall was concerned that the costs were not included for DBC v Ryan Bailey.  M Brookes to confirm.

Action: M Brookes


Cllr Tindall mentioned the customer services information did not identify the date on the column and the commentary was incorrect.  M Rawdon apologised for the error in the commentary. 


Cllr Douris confirmed that the figures and commentary was not the current details and were from the last meeting.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 113 KB


The Chairman confirmed he would always like the work programme to be at the end of the Agenda.

Action: Member Support


N Howcutt advised that some changes had been made to the Work Programme and Members may want to quickly review.


Councillor Douris commented on the presentation where the comments spill over the page.  N Howcut noted this and confirmed it would be rectified.

Action: N Howcut



Financial Outcomes of Contract Management of Voluntary Sector pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Tindall declared an interest as he works with CAD on the Domestic Abuse Forum. 


M Rawdon introduced the report and asked if there were any questions.


Cllr Tindall congratulated Officers as this seemed to be a success.  Case Study 2 on P40 seemed to be a case of child abuse rather than domestic abuse.


Cllr Douris queried whether the amount of debt written off should be in a Part 2 report.  The Chairman agreed this should be Part 2.


Cllr Douris would be interested to know what the 83 clients that Mediation Herts saw represented as a percentage of tenants.  M Rawdon will ensure that information is sent to the Committee.

Action: M Rawdon

The Chairman declared that he was very pleased to see the good work P21, point 7.2 relating to the contractual relationships with the voluntary sector.  The Chairman said well done to everyone involved.



Update on Universal Credit pdf icon PDF 131 KB


L Warden updated on the status with Universal Credit in Dacorum setting out the likely impact and the steps we are taking to mitigate the potential risks.  A lot of the information is unknown and we are constantly receiving new instructions which makes establishing the risks more difficult.  We have been talking with DWP to try and build relationships, with other authorities to try to learn from what they have done and also with CAB.  There is also an internal Working Group which N Howcutt Chairs.  We are continuing to do what we can but it’s difficult with so much uncertainty.


Cllr Taylor  raised concerns about the level of debt that has been reported in the paper.  LW advised that this is not definite because it’s all unknown, but it could be correct on a worst case scenario basis and we would expect this to decrease once more details are known.  The other authorities we have contacted who are more advanced with the roll out of Universal Credit debt levels are less than expected but we have nothing to model this on because we do not have any data.


Cllr Taylor asked if he could take comfort that it is a worst case scenario and officers are working to address this.  N Howcutt advised we have a very small number which is a very different group of demographic than we would expect by the full roll out.  We don’t know when the full roll out will be completed, we also know that any debt issues that other organisations have had could be very different because Universal Credit is constantly changing. 


N Howcutt confirmed that there is a line people can call if they’ve got problems which is now Freephone, it wasn’t before, so people will raise their issues earlier than they would before.  We don’t have any real indicator what rent debt levels people have and how that will impact with Dacorum population demographic.  We don’t really have any clear understanding of how it will be rolled out and how quickly, so if we rolled out everyone at the same time there would be a larger debt arrears than if you did it slowly.


N Howcutt mentioned that the delay of payments was more when they first started on Universal Credit and other concerns around landlords not accepting tenants on Universal Credit were a bigger issue previously than they potentially are now, since there is more legislation to stop them doing that.  It’s a moving feast, we don’t know what the liability is, we believe there will be a liability and increased rent arrears, we’ve allowed for that in the HRA Business Plan.  Until we have more definitive understanding of the volume, the clients and demographics we will not have a better understanding of modelling it.


N Howcutt explained that the Working Group is meeting every three weeks and every time we have an update from Central Government we will feed that into our models.  We will bring another paper  ...  view the full minutes text for item 98.


Communications presentation

Presentation to follow.


Kelvin Soley gave a brief presentation outlining the role of the Department.  Corporate projects, Campaigns and Events, website, consultations, staff engagements among others. 


Cllr Douris thanked Kelvin for the presentation and said that is was he who requested it.  Cllr Douris requested that a copy of the presentation be available for everyone.

Action: K Solely


Cllr Douris mentioned that the presentation shows 18039 residents but the slide shows this in views, is it views or residents – are they the same or different?  K Solely said that it refers to the number of views and it depends what the campaign is.


Cllr Douris asked for confirmation that one of Kelvin’s team was leaving and wondered if the person was going temporarily and if they would be replaced?  KS confirmed that they would be doing a 13 month secondment for HCC who approached us directly, we have already appointed a replacement for those 13 months.


Cllr Douris said it was very interesting to see that only 2% of the population read the paper.  He went on to say that he does not think that the department sells itself enough.  For example the Leisure Services Contract where he felt that the Borough didn’t actually portray itself to the public.  He felt it may have been let down a bit by the internal comms team, but since he started this questioning it feels to him as though there was a far greater level of comms  communication to the public than there was beforehand. He asked Kelvin if he  recognises any weaknesses that have taken place within the team and whether he has looked at strengthening those and continuing to strengthen them, and of course the fact that the team have won awards, something which probably nobody in this room knew anything about, which is a shame.  We want to sell to the residents of Dacorum what a great place Dacorum is and what a good Borough Council we are, we have an awful lot going for us.


Cllr Harden said that he thought the Leisure Contract was a difficult thing purely because of the procurement element, so there was some difficulty for our Communications Team when there was a lot of social media activity from the Sport Space side.   Everyone Active have done very well with all their publicity and promotions after the contract and maybe there is a lesson learnt for us internally with how to deal with that - and certainly we did put out a lot of promotions straight after the contract.  It may be a case of when Social Media clashes with the legality of internal procurement and how we deal with that, is probably an area where we can learn something.


Cllr Douris said that he accepted everything Cllr Harden said.


Cllr D Collins asked how much monitoring of social media sites comms does.  For example, if he wanted to find out the views of people in Berkhamsted he said he would go to Everything Berkhamsted and it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 99.