Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Tuesday, 11th September, 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 17 July 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.



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 161 KB


The Chairman asked about item 7 regarding the use of the digital monitoring company and that we are nationally 50out of 409.  Im very pleased to see that we were currently the highest ranked local authority in Hertfordshire.  When you do any looking at where we stand nationally that we will come from 50 down to number one.


L Roberts mentioned that in the comments that we should take pride in the fact our score is 98.8 but the industry benchmark is 83.4 so we are doing alright. 


The Chairman commented that this was excellent.


The Chairman also said that the information in the action points are excellent and that they came in on time.  Thank you all for that.



Leisure Contract KPI's and first quarter performance. pdf icon PDF 282 KB


Cllr Collins would like to introduce Steve Cox from Everyone Active who would be making the report tonight.  The purpose of the report is to provide you with an overview of how the contracts have started.  To provide information on the first three months have gone and to discuss some key performance indicators.  This will be the first time that there will be KPI’s on our sports contract.


B Hosier mentioned that he had left a hard copy report on the tables as there were some errors which had been changed.  The measurement for accidents should be 10,000 not 1,000 visits.  Also the target for accidents should be 0.05% not .05%.  Accident rates per 10,000 visits was shown as a percentage that should be shown as a number and the column to the right of that is the percentage.  B Hosier will ensure that the proper copy is placed on the records.

Action: B Hosier


B Hosier introduced Steve Cox from Everyone Active and then myself, Victoria Cody and Steve Cox will take any questions.


S Cox, Area Contract Manager for Everyone Active, said that he has been working for the company since 2009.  I have been overseeing the Dacorum Council contract since the start of the mobilisation. 


S Cox gave a presentation to The Committee and then summarised at the end.  It has been a challenging mobilisation but overall a successful start to the contract.  We are over the three month storm as it wasn’t an easy mobilisation but customer feedback has been generally very positive and the negative feedback at the beginning we worked very closely with the customer to overcome.  Excellent general and department managers appointed at every centre.   Overall very good feedback, fantastic refurbishment at Hemel due to open next week and facilities and activity programmes continue to operate as normal.


The Chairman asked if there were any questions.


Cllr Tindall said on paragraph 1.6 of the report you highlight that repairs and maintenance of the building and equipment had not been adequately carried out.  Cllr Tindall understood that DBC were responsible for repairs and maintenance of the buildings so therefore it would perhaps be apt to make a note of that.  B Hosier replied that it is for the building and plant that we were responsible for, all other responsibilities with the existing service provider as it does with Everyone Active. 


Cllr Tindall confirmed that he thought that DBC were responsible and perhaps there wasn’t the money to do it.  DBC must take a share of that responsibility.  B Hosier confirmed that there was a capital bid due to take that on board.


Cllr Tindall asked on 2.3 you mention the Operational Board, who on that Board has leisure management experience on behalf of the Council.  B Hosier confirmed that V Cody was on the board and she had managed a leisure operator at Slough Borough Council.


Cllr Tindall noticed that there are 30 clubs and asked if that was an increase or decrease from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.


Q1 Budget Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 143 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt presented the Budget Monitoring Report and then asked Committee for any questions.


Cllr Tindall enquired if there were dates for the utilities to give us the all clear for knocking down the rest of the Civic.  N Howcutt confirmed that there was a meeting next week with the utilities providers and that we have submitted plans which have been approved, we are cautiously optimistic that it is all going ahead as planned within the next six to nine months.  There is a DevCo report going to Cabinet which will set out more details of progress.


Cllr Tindall asked if there was any way something could be done if it’s going to take a long time for the utilities to be sorted.  N Howcutt confirmed that the costs were prohibitive, at present we are not committing those funds but if we think it may take longer then anticipated it may be something we would consider.


Cllr Tindall mentioned the slippage of £155k on the CRM project, we have an item in further down about staffing and the difficulty of professional recruitment, where we say about recruiting a professional resource are we talking about people.  L Roberts confirmed that it was a specific dynamics resource which is very highly competitive in the market, it’s not something that we need at that level full time, so it is a temporary resource.  We had difficulty at first we found someone, they’ve subsequently left because they were offered a full time job with Microsoft, we’ve now got someone else in.


Cllr Tindall said he was not too keen on people being labelled as a resource. 


The Chairman requested clarification on point 6.1 on overachievement of income £210k, the pressure is offset by net additional income over budget relating to Temporary Accommodation.  The Council’s own properties are being used to house tenants on a temporary basis, rather than more expensive bed and breakfast elsewhere.  The Chairman, thought it was a good thing but also does it impact the people on the housing list having to wait longer for them to be vacated.  N Howcutt confirmed this was use of assets that are not deemed appropriate for long term rental so it’s mainly use of assets above the shops, where we’ve got work to do in them, but in the short term they can be used temporary, so effectively using stock that we would rent to the private sector.  The levy that we get for temporary accommodation is significantly more than if we’d rented privately. 


The Chairman on point 7.5, the cost to the Council on void properties is driving a pressure of £30k, would that be fitting into the accommodation of short term letting.  N Howcutt advised that temporary accommodation is in the general fund, this is the HRA assets which effectively is what applicants on the waiting list are waiting for.  When these properties become vacant the reason they are void is not because we don’t have people waiting to go into them,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.


Q1 Finance and Resources Performance Report pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt introduced the report and then asked for any questions.


Cllr Tindall congratulated staff as the majority of them are under pressure as we’ve learnt from the last few meetings and it is appreciated what they have achieved. 


Cllr Tindall asked what the header was on the 5th column.  N Howcutt confirmed it was the last quarter.


Cllr Douris asked about the comments column which had not been populated.  C Baker advised that the performance system had been upgraded and this needs to be looked at but he would ensure they were there for the next meeting.  L Roberts agreed to take this action.

Action: L Roberts


The Chairman confirmed the recommendation and this was agreed.



Q1 Legal Governance & Democratic Services Performance Report pdf icon PDF 179 KB

Additional documents:


M Brookes presented the report and asked for questions.


Cllr Tindall asked about the windfall from the unlawful advertising fines, if it went into the pot.  M Brookes confirmed this went to Government although we did get costs awarded. 


The Chairman asked if this was joint advertising as the amounts are the same.  M Brookes advised he would provide the details but he thought the firms were linked.

Action: M Brookes


The Chairman queried the CCTV alarm receiving centre, is the external companies working alongside Cupid Green or separate.  B Hosier said that at the moment we pay separate companies for both fire and burglar alarm monitoring.  What we are looking at doing with CCTV staff and to bring in some money, so we are trying to set up an alarm monitoring centre, initially to be able to reduce the cost of delivering that service to Council properties and potentially to look at trading to go out to schools and public to generate some income.


Cllr Douris asked if the Active Communities Manager was a DBC or EA appointment.  B Hosier confirmed it was EA who appointed.  It was a key role for them to perhaps go into community centres or even peoples homes.


Cllr Douris declared an interest in that he sits on PATROL representing DBC, he gave to the Portfolio Holder for Parking, a booklet about the annual report, which is highly regarded in the industry and he didn’t think that Dacorum submits a report.  B Hosier confirmed that the report was passed to him and this year is the first year we have been asked by PATROL to submit a report which is what we’ve done, that went off about three or four weeks ago. 


Cllr Tindall asked about the 188 FOI’s received and asked if we could have more detail.  M Brookes confirmed that broad areas might be possible.  Cllr Taylor advised that tomorrow night at Audit there will be a very comprehensive report and the list is voluminous.  If there are any questions let him know and he’ll speak to John Worts.


The Chairman confirmed the recommendation and it was noted.




Q1 Performance, People & Innovation Performance Report pdf icon PDF 320 KB


L Roberts presented the report and asked for any questions.


Cllr Douris asked about the usage of the big screen down in Reception, is it used for promoting events in the Borough. It appears that we don’t do it very much and it’s a resource that’s in the public eye, where we can let people know what’s going on in the Borough.  L Roberts will ask Kelvin, she is aware that we put things that relates to us but she isn’t aware of wider events so will have to ask.

Action: L Roberts


The Chairman confirmed that if it was local issues we should look at that.


The Chairman asked about sickness and that we had worked with JNC regarding mentoring people on long term sickness.  He would like to know the percentage of long term and short term sickness and if long term sickness had an adverse affect.  L Roberts confirmed that it had but that they had both been affected.  With the long term sickness in the 1st Quarter, where people had expected to have surgery, they still didn’t have surgery in March so we are now having an impact in the 2nd quarter.


The Chairman set out the recommendations and they were agreed.



Medium Term Financial Strategy Report pdf icon PDF 481 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt presented the report and asked if there were any questions.


Cllr Tindall wanted confirmation on the date in 5.2 that the report was presented to Audit in July, and if that was 2018.  N Howcutt confirmed it was.


Cllr Tindall queried the pension contributions in table 3 there are some zeros in that line and he would have thought that 1% was more appropriate.  N Howcutt confirmed that the expectation is that there is a one off requirement historically, it’s not going to be ongoing. 


Cllr Tindall mentioned the staff pressures as this links in to the sickness as he believes because of staffing pressures and the fact we may not have as much staff as we need, we then have problems with pressures and stress on other staff, which means we perhaps get more sickness.  It’s a horrible viscous circle.  It says that Council Officers continue to work with other authorities and have we formed a partnerships in order to share the load.  N Howcutt said that there’s lots of small partnerships and also Building Control are looking at partners, there are some suggestions for my team, but he is interested in looking at economies of scale with purely back office.  It’s not necessarily to reduce the cost but it helps with resilience.  Also it helps with succession planning, if there is some commonality it will come through more and more.  The new normal concept that will be rolled out within the next few months will look at that partnership working.


Cllr Tindall mentioned the implementation of Universal Credit, we had an excellent report that identified the problems associated with the Government paying benefits 5 weeks in arrears, that could mean we end up with arrears of payments from residents.  Are we looking at factoring in the potential for Council Tax arrears going forward.  N Howcutt that Universal Credit will impact the HRA and we have increased the bad debt provision for the next four years to allow for that and then tailing off when we believe that the welfare reforms have been embedded, which will hopefully reduce over time. The issue with Universal Credit at the moment is that it is going to get rolled out from December but over a four year period and we have no understanding of what that peaks and troughs is going to be.


Cllr Tindall said he was thinking about Council Tax collection.  N Howcutt said it would link into the Council Tax Support programme.  We haven’t factored in non-payment as we have a fairly good Council Tax Support process but it is worth consideration.


Cllr Barrett asked about the budget assumptions and utilities you’ve got 5% year on year increase, is that quite high.  N Howcutt said that if you take into consideration retail generally you would be looking at 3-4% and that includes petrol, which is a large chunk of that.  It’s not a large budget item but it is something that we’ve been seeing. 


The Chairman confirmed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 111.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 110 KB


The inclusion of the performance of the leisure contract needs to be included on the work programme every six months for the first two years.


The Chairman confirmed that the next meeting on 09 October was cancelled due to lack of agenda items.  The next meeting will be held on 06 November.


The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.