Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting

Minutes:

It was agreed not to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2019 as members were unaware that the minutes had been published. The minutes will be signed at the next meeting.

 

2.

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

3.

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]

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

4.

Public Participation

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

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

 

5.

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

Minutes:

None.

6.

Action points from the previous meeting

Minutes:

It was agreed that the actions from the previous meeting would be carried over and discussed at the next meeting in November. 

 

7.

Financial Regulations Update

A presentation will be given on the night relating to this item.

Minutes:

N Howcutt provided the committee with a presentation on the financial regulations update.

 

Councillor Adeleke sought clarification that an officer could sign off a decision under £100k without the Portfolio Holder or Leader being involved. N Howcutt explained that the decision would be made by the S151 officer and would inform the Portfolio Holder. It would also be included in the budget monitoring report that is presented to Cabinet and Council. He added that they also had to follow grant conditions. Councillor Adeleke queried if the involvement of the Portfolio Holder and Leader was for information purposes only or if they were able to influence the decision. N Howcutt advised it was for information only.

 

Councillor Claughton asked if the committee were shown the original budgets or the revised budgets in the performance data. N Howcutt advised they were provided with both and were also shown the reconciliation between the both.

 

Councillor Tindall asked if it would be normal practice that any decisions made under these arrangements would be reported to the next meeting of this committee. N Howcutt said these decisions were fully transparent in OSC and Cabinet reports.

 

The Chairman asked if the update was Dacorum specific or if it was a requirement by Government. N Howcutt advised that the financial regulations should be reviewed every year but that wasnt a requirement; he said they chose to do it and felt it was a prudent approach. He added that the changes were Dacorum specific, and that from his experience Dacorum had a low level of officer approval.

 

The Chairman thanked N Howcutt for his presentation.

 

8.

Review of Commissioning Procurement Standing Orders and Commissioning Procurement Strategy pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

B Hosier introduced the report and explained that the commissioning and procurement strategy sets our strategic direction from a procurement perspective within the council, and our standing orders were a set of rules and regulations to ensure we comply with all EU and UK legislation and local policies. Typically our standing orders were reviewed annually at officer level but if there were any major changes they would need to consult this committee, Cabinet and Council. He added that the standing orders form part of the Councils Constitution.

 

He explained that there was a National Procurement Strategy that had been put together by the LGA (Local Government Association) and it was recommended that Dacorum adopt that strategy. He said the strategy had moved on since the 2014 version and had a much more flexible approach. Following consultation, it also reflected Local Governments priorities for the next few years. He drew attention to the diagram within the report which he hoped gave a snapshot of what the strategy focused on.

 

Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 1.5 relating to the level of maturity in each area. He asked if the LGA had provided guidance to local councils as to what level of maturity they should aim for. B Hosier advised that he and Andrew Linden had self-assessed. He said they had been very honest about where they felt each service was at but also council wide. He said the review was undertaken in 2018 so we would have moved on since then.

 

Councillor Claughton queried why we were relaxing procedures in relation to the lower levels of work, and what assurances can they give that this isnt being done to save staff costs. B Hosier advised there was a dedicated team of four professionally qualified officers within procurement and there was only a certain amount of projects they can be involved with and spend time working on during the day. He said if they were working on low value procurements they wouldnt get the value back for the officer time like you would for the higher value and more complex procurements. He said we would get a far better return council wide by focusing resources on the bigger contracts. N Howcutt added that we needed to ensure we receive maximum value for money for our procurement team. He advised that the levels hadnt been changed for eight years so we were not talking about significant increases when you take in to account natural inflation over those years.

 

Councillor Guest said that she welcomed raising the threshold if that is going to simplify and speed up the process. She also felt it was good to support local businesses. B Hosier agreed they wanted to support local businesses as much as possible.

 

Councillor Symington suggested it would be useful to know the number of contracts that fall in to each of the categories. B Hosier agreed he could provide that information.                                                                                                Action: B Hosier

 

Councillor Taylor asked what commodities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes:

November: B Hosier advised that the Car Parking Charges item would be Part 1, not Part 2.

 

There were no further changes to the work programme.