Agenda and minutes

Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny
Tuesday, 26th March, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting


The minutes of the meeting held on 5 February 2019 were agreed and then signed by the Chairman.



Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mclean.



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]



Councillor Douris declared an interest as a company he was involved with rents a commercial garage from DBC.



Public Participation

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


There was no public participation.


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





Action points from the previous meeting

Report to follow


There were no actions to be followed up from the previous meeting.


Q3 Budget Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 203 KB

Additional documents:


N Howcutt introduced the item and highlighted some key points within the report.


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 4.2 on page 10 and queried the health and safety aspect. N Howcutt advised that geographical surveys were completed throughout the year where people notice depressions and mounds in land etc. and further work is needed to identify what the issues are. These are often linked to utilities, leaks etc.


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 5.2 on page 11 regarding £200k for garage premises. He queried if the underspend was the result of the review and queried when it would be completed. N Howcutt replied it was the budget for the maintenance of our garages which hasn’t been spent in recent years. He said it was the expectation that the garage strategy which is under review at the moment, there would be a more robust and definitive outline capital investment programme in the garages which will go forward to 2019/20 onwards. A report on this will come back to this committee when proposals are submitted.  


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 7.4 on page 13. He queried the £450k spend and if it had been published anywhere prior to this as he had no record of seeing it before. N Howcutt explained there were two costs; one was the costs incurred by ceasing the previous contract and the second was to ensure everything ran smoothly from day one. Councillor Tindall said he didn’t recall this money being discussed before. N Howcutt advised that an amount of money was discussed for concluding the old contract and implementing a new contract and it fell within the parameters of those numbers.


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraphs 7.2 and 7.4 regarding Everyone Active memberships. He asked if it was stated in the contract whether or not they’re allowed to increase their membership levels over the inflation rate. N Howcutt advised that within the bidders information it was advised that a payment would be made to them to cover the costs if the membership levels weren’t achieved within the first 6 months of the contract. M Brookes added that the prices were protected to a maximum of 4% or CPI, whichever was greater. Councillor Tindall asked if that was for the duration of the contract and M Brookes confirmed it was but added that it excluded clubs. Councillor Tindall highlighted that it has only increased by 2% so far so could potentially increase further. M Brookes explained there was a process for putting forward a price increase so they would have to justify the reasons for it before implementing anything. He added that the re-modelling of the centre was taken into account for the recent increase. N Howcutt then added that they agreed KPI’s annually which is linked to membership prices and it wasn’t in their interests to over-charge people.


Councillor Adeleke referred to paragraph 4.1 on page 10. He understood that it costs the council more to use agency staff and queried the reasons why we were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Q3 Finance & Resources Performance Report pdf icon PDF 305 KB

Additional documents:




N Howcutt introduced the report. He said there was nothing to add to the report and welcomed questions from the committee.


Councillor Tindall queried why there were no additional risks on the register relating to Brexit. N Howcutt advised that the risk register had been updated and also an additional report detailing the detailed issues relating to Brexit went to Cabinet last week. He said there were highlighted concerns in the Brexit strategy but financially there was nothing significant to be concerned about in the short term.

Councillor Tindall asked if we had considered the implication if there was a drop in the Pound (£). N Howcutt explained that it wouldn’t have an impact as they had renewed contracts before Brexit and those contracts were fixed so there was nothing of concern standing out, and all treasury investments were in Uk institutions in pounds sterling.


Councillor Adeleke asked what percentage of staff were Non-UK Nationals. Councillor Elliot said there was no obligation to disclose that information but those that did totalled to 10.



The report was noted.



Q3 Corporate & Contracted Services Performance Report pdf icon PDF 118 KB

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M Brookes introduced the report. He said there was no major issues to report to the committee and welcomed any questions.


Councillor Tindall referred to paragraph 4 on page 43 and queried if the Council had applied for the costs of the ASB cases. M Brookes said the Council would always apply for the costs but it was down to the discretion of Court whether to grant or not. He said he would have to speak to the relevant case officer for more details and let the committee know.                                                                                          Action


Councillor Barrett referred to page 44 and queried what the planning challenges were. M Brookes said it was largely that we weren’t taking in to account things that we should have done in the final decision but he would have to speak to the relevant officer for more details and let the committee know.                                     Action


Councillor Taylor advised they had signed off the Induction programme for the Councillors newly elected in May. He explained that they were looking at ways to police mandatory training for members which can all be found in the minutes of the last Member Development Steering Group (MDSG) meeting. He explained that so much time and energy is put into the Members Induction and the annual training programme and he hoped that the new process would be more robust and effective. He highlighted that members training now sat under Councillor D Collins portfolio.


Councillor Tindall added that he had still tried to attend all training sessions after being a councillor for 40+ years so there was no excuse for any councillors to not attend training.


Councillor Douris referred to page 46 relating to Electoral Services where it was explained that 24,865 household enquiry forms were returned by post, of which 15,056 were no changes and 9,809 had changes. He queried if there was any way we could make it clearer that the forms don’t need to be returned if there were no changes. He said this was a staggering number and such a waste of officer time.

M Brookes advised that it was made clear on the form, as well as lots of advertisement and social media awareness. He explained that we couldn’t change the form but suggested we could send an accompanying leaflet to highlight it further. Councillor Douris felt that the cost for additional leaflets probably wouldn’t have enough of an effect to make it worthwhile.


Councillor Chapman referred to page 44 advising of the sale of 4 garage sites to a housing association for £1.5m and queried if we were looking at other possible garage sites. N Howcutt explained that there were 19 more sites they were awaiting independent valuation from and then possibly going to market. He added that garages currently had a 73% occupancy.


Councillor Chapman said he was very pleased to see the recruitment of a Compliance Officer.



The report was noted.



Q3 Performance, People & Innovation Performance Report pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Report to follow

Additional documents:




B Trueman presented the report on behalf of Linda Roberts.


Councillor Douris commended the officers for the PSN compliance.


Councillor Chapman said he was pleased to see the reduction in sickness. He then referred to page 5 (PP_R016 Failure to effectively and proactively manage all aspects of employee relations) and said it was so important to see we continued to provide dedicated support and coaching for all managers engaged in employee relation issues.


Councillor Adeleke referred to paragraph 4.2 and queried if the sickness absence improvement related to long term or short term sickness. He also queried which presented more concern, long or short term sickness. B Trueman said he thought it was a combination of both but the breakdown was detailed in the KPI’s. He said he would need to speak to HR about more detailed information.


Councillor Tindall understood there wasn’t a lot that can be done about long term sickness but the short term sickness needed to be addressed, particularly if it was related to stress at work, issues between managers and employees, etc.


Councillor Chapman felt it might be useful to know the cost to the council for using agency staff and asked if this could be reported to the committee in the future. N Howcutt agreed.



The report was noted.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 108 KB


There were no changes to the work programme.


Before the meeting closed, Councillor Tindall highlighted that this Finance and Resources OSC meeting was the last in the cycle before the Borough Elections in May and he thanked Councillor Chapman for always chairing the meeting so well.