Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 22nd November 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall

Contact: Democratic Services - 01522 873387 

Items
No. Item

35.

Confirmation of Minutes - 4 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 04 October 2018 be confirmed.

36.

Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee Minutes - 13 August 2018 and 10 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 13 August 2018 and 10 September 2018 be confirmed.

 

37.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

Councillor Pat Vaughan declared a Personal Interest with regard to the agenda item titled 'Treasury Management and Prudential Code Update Report - Half Year Ended 30 September 2018'. Reason: his Granddaughter was employed in the Finance section.

 

38.

Portfolio Performance Overview - Reducing Inequality pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Pat Jukes, Corporate Policy Business Manager:

 

·         Gave a presentation outlining the Performance of the Reducing Inequality Portfolio which included:

 

  • Contextual Information on the Reducing Inequality portfolio:

-       4,068 incidents handled by CCTV operators and these are helping support some key police prosecutions

-       The population of Lincoln in 2017 was now 98,438, rising from 97,795 in 2016

-       There were 17 organisations signed up to the Lincoln Living Wage and 95 employees had directly benefited from a pay rise as a result

-       Lincoln Community Lottery had 63 good causes signed up and had raised £8,279 to date

-       As of January 2017, 17.1% of Lincoln children were entitled to free school meals

-       Since October 2018, the Lincoln Social Responsibility Charter had 20 organisations already signed up.

 

  • Highlighted the following key points:

-       Lincoln had a significantly higher percentage of young residents than England – with 36% of the population aged 15-34 against the England’s average of 25.6%

-       For the first time in seven years the number of people registering in Lincoln from overseas had dropped to 1409

-       The number of recipients of Housing Benefits in Lincoln, had reduced by 5.4%, dropping from 8,691 in November 2016 to 8,218 in November 2017.

-       The number of Council Tax support claimants had also reduced by 20% over 5 years, reducing from 11,018 in April 2013 to 8,808 in April 2018

-       There were 1840 individuals claiming Universal Credit in May 2018 compared to 1635 unemployment claimants in June 2017, with Lincoln having the 2nd highest rate of claimants in our nearest neighbour set

-       The new Attainment 8 education measures showed Lincoln as just below East Midlands at a score of 45, compared to 45.4 – which is the sixth highest in our nearest neighbour set

-       The average Progress 8 education score for Lincoln was -0.15 which was just a little less than East Midlands score of -0.11, but left Lincoln in tenth place against our nearest neighbours

-       Annual crime levels had increased right across the country, but the total increase in crime in Lincoln was less than the increase in England and Wales

-       In fact – in terms of the Police Audit Family comparisons which looked at the comparable rates per 1000 people, Lincoln had the 6th lowest crime rate overall at 103.43 per 1000 people

-       Our new CCTV system had been able to capture 4068 incidents and had been able to support more police prosecutions.

 

a)    Invited members comments and questions

 

Question: Members asked why the crime figures had increased in Carholme Ward?

 

Response: CCTV were recording more incidents now and expected more crimes to be in the City Centre. Anti-Social Behaviour from Carholme Ward was coming from reported incidents and not CCTV. There was a distinction between what was reported and what was captured by CCTV.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted

39.

Reduce Inequality Progress Report pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Angela Andrews, Chief Executive and Town Clerk:

 

a)    provided Performance Scrutiny Committee with an update on the progress towards the Reducing Inequality priority in Vision 2020

 

b)    explained that it was agreed that the committee would receive a report each quarter from one of these Vision Groups to enable them to look into more detail at the progress of the Vision Groups Work Programme.

 

c)    highlighted the Council’s aspirations which covered the following:

-       Let’s help people succeed

-       Let’s provide help to the most vulnerable in our City

-       Let’s help people feel safe and welcome in their communities

-       Let’s empower people

-       Let’s ensure the best quality of life for people living in Lincoln

 

d)    detailed the key achievement over the past year which covered the following main areas:

-       Universal Credit Support Team

-       Customer Services

-       Revenues and Benefits

-       Housing

-       Corporately

-       Human Resources and Work Based Learning

-       Community Services

-       Planning

-       Recreational Services

-       Leisure

-       Communications

-       I.T

-       Civic and Leisure

-       Policy

-       All service areas.

 

e)    Invited members comments and questions

 

Question: Members asked whether the Citizens Advice Bureau would be able to support taking over Universal Credit as they were currently having funding taken away?

 

Response: This approach may be a way nationally to get more money into the Citizens Advice Bureau as there was some funding that came with taking on Universal Credit. The team that we currently have was costing £120,000, If this was funded nationally it would mean a £50,000 shortfall in resources. The skill set at CAB was very different. We had connections which could help claimants with their rent etc. when they transfer over to Universal Credit. We can only hope that the CAB could replicate our approach as it works.

 

Question: Members asked what would happen to staff in our Benefits Team.

 

Response: We were hoping that staff could TUPE which would be ideal but we were unsure at this stage.

 

Question: Members asked for a more detailed version of the Discretionary Rate Relief Policy.

 

Response: The policies hadn’t been advertised yet. Martin Walmsley had a meeting arranged next week to help promote the scheme.

 

Question: Members asked if the decision on the transfer of Universal Credit to the CAB could be appealed to government.

 

Response: The City Council needed a greater understanding on what the Citizens Advice Bureau propose to do.

 

Question: Due to the skill set there was within the Universal Credit Team, Members asked whether there would be possibility to attract funding by training the Citizens Advice staff.

 

Response: The scheme would need to be appropriately funded otherwise customers would not get the support that they need. We had currently overachieved by 400%. Since the announcement by Government on the 1st October there had been no other communication from Government.

 

Question: Members asked whether we had ever requested feedback from the Citizens Panel regarding how they understood vision 2020.

 

Response: A discussion took place about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Portfolio Holder under Scrutiny - Reducing Inequality pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Rosie Kirk, Portfolio Holder for Reducing Inequality:

 

a)    Presented a report which highlighted the following:

 

·         Key achievements for ‘Let’s Reduce Inequality’

·         Anti-Poverty Strategy

·         Corporate Social Responsibility

·         Social Value Policy

·         Community Cohesion Strategy

·         Community Strategies and Policies

·         Modern Day Slavery

·         Asylum Seekers and Refugees

·         Lincoln Community Lottery

·         Universal Credit

·         Welfare and Benefits Advice

·         Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support

·         Discretionary Rate Relief Policy

·         Welfare Reform

·         Crime and Disorder

·         Equality and Diversity

·         Financial Inclusion

·         Skills and Training (including Adult Learning and The Network)

·         Young People

·         Prevent

·         Public Protection

·         Domestic Violence

·         Programmes in place in Lincoln to tackle rough sleeping, addiction and ASB

·         Lincoln Intervention Team

 

b)    Invited members comments and questions

 

Question: Members asked what would happen if we didn’t get the Controlling Migration Fund Bid and how the City of Lincoln Council would afford to continue without it?

 

Response: There were various projects that were currently taking place such as: family support workers in schools, Step Programme which was linked to development plus, working alongside the volunteer centre and the Rogue Landlords project. There was a project with Lincoln College which helped people on low incomes get back into work.

 

Question: Members asked if the work in schools linked with language skills or personal development.

 

Response: Mainly language skills due to high migration in that area.

 

Question: Members asked what happened when the Neighbourhood Management Team leaves an area?

 

Response: Voluntary Services and Development Plus had set up boards within areas and would continue developing the boards to make sure there is a support system in these areas. The boards had issues with secretarial support and so there had been discussions regarding using the money they have towards secretarial support to help solve the issue. Relationships with partners were key for this to work.

 

Question: Members asked how many people would be earning the new living wage and claiming benefit?

 

Response: This data was not available as it was dependant on how many hours they worked. Community Leadership had some information through foodbanks stating there was an increase in people using foodbanks which included working families.

 

Question: Members asked how many slaves had been identified in Lincoln?

 

Response: The City of Lincoln Council continued to be vigilant but this would be a Police matter. There would be support in place for individuals who were taken out of slavery.

 

Question: Members asked if boards would keep the £1,000 received and how long they would continue to receive this for?

 

Response: The funding was up to the Council regarding timescales.

 

Questions: Members asked if the ASB team could look at issues regarding homelessness around City Hall to stop staff feeling scared when exiting the building?

 

Response: The security arrangements had been extended previously so that the security guards could carry out a patrol in the morning and early evening. Whilst these patrols took place the issue improved. If this issue had returned then this would need to be reported so that arrangements can be made to resolve this.

 

Question: Members asked how often the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Financial Performance - Quarterly Monitoring pdf icon PDF 179 KB

Minutes:

Rob Baxter, Financial Services Manager:

 

a)    presented the Financial Performance Quarterly Monitoring report for the second quarter (up to 31stDecember) which covered the following main areas:

 

·            General Fund

·            Housing Revenue Account

·            Housing Repairs Service

·            Capital Programmes

·            Capital Receipts

·            Reserves and Balances

 

b)   advised that for 2018/19 the Council’s net General Fund revenue budget was set at £14,276,460, including a planned contribution to balances of £288,360 (resulting in an estimated level of general balances at the year-end of £1,897,724).

 

c)    the General Fund Summary was currently projecting a forecast over spend of £299,600 (appendix A provides a forecast General Fund Summary).  This forecast variance was the result of a number of forecast year-end variations in income and expenditure against the approved budget.  Full details of the main variances were outlined in appendix B while the key variances are summarised below:

 

·           Car Parking Reduced Income £1,133,500

·           Development Management Increased Income £(84,810)

·           HIMO Fees Increased Income £(256,910)

·           Borrowing Contingency Reduced Cost £(200,000)

·           Balance Sheet Review increased Income £(70,170)

·           Income Volatility Reserve increased Income £(178,070)

·           Pay Contingencies Reduced Cost £(82,600)

 

d)    detailed the earmarked reserves and their forecast balance as at 21st March 2019 as outlined in Appendix G of the report

 

e)    invited members comments and questions

 

Question: Members asked if the delay of the fifth floor of the new car park not being open to the public was the reason for the decline in car park income?

 

Response: Officers explained that the delay of opening was not the reason for the shortfall as the car park was not full. There was an overall drop in parking across the City.

 

Question: Members asked why the specific reserves in 3.8 of the report were earmarked for one off releases?

 

Response: Those specific reserves were selected because the expenditure commitments relating to them had already been met from within existing resources and therefore the reserves were no longer needed.

 

Question: Members asked how old our current electric vehicles were.

 

Response: Sarah Hardy agreed to sought the information and circulate to attendees.

 

Question: Members asked why there was a reduction in HB payments?

 

Response: Less overpayments were being made by the Benefits team in year. This though meant that less debtor accounts were being raised, which impacted on income received against the budget, as the Council budgets for the reclaim of those overpayments.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

 

42.

Q2 2018-2019 Operational Performance Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Pat Jukes, Corporate Policy Business Manager:

 

a)    presented a summary of the operational performance position for quarter two of the financial year 2018/19 (from July 2018 to September 2018) to Performance Scrutiny Committee

 

b)    advised that regular monitoring of the Council’s operational performance was a key component of the Local Performance Management Framework, this report covered key service performance measures identified by Members and CMT as of Strategic importance

 

c)    outlined the four corporate measures:

 

·         Sickness – split by long and short term

·         Corporate complaints including Ombudsman rulings

·         Employee FTE headcount, vacancies and turnover

·         Staff appraisals completed

 

d)    explained that there was slightly less demand in Customer Services during quarter two compared to the last quarter with 677 less face to face enquiries and 2,053 less calls answered (mainly due to a reduction in Revenues and Benefits calls).

 

e)    highlighted that the overall sickness data as at the end of September was 1.93 days per FTE (excl. apprentices). This was 0.97 days less compared to quarter one and brings the cumulative total of sick days to 4.83 days which was 1.51 days less than last year and the lowest Q2 average in the last 6 years

 

f)     further highlighted key performance areas in Chief Executive’s:

 

·         The number of new starters on the apprenticeship programme had decreased to nine in Q2 this year from 18 in Q2 last year

·         The number of face to face enquiries had decreased to 4,873 from 12,123 in Q2 last year

·         The number of telephone enquiries answered had decreased again to 27,342 from 34,327 in Q2 last year

·         The number of users logged into the self-service system had increased again to 7,298 from 6,059 in quarter two last year

·         The average time taken to answer a call in customer services had increased by 36 seconds compared to Q2 last year, now reporting at 96 seconds which was below its lower target of 50 seconds

·         The in year collection rate for Council Tax was 52.80%, 0.37% lower than the figure of 53.17% reported in Q2 last year, but on target

·         The in year collection rate for Business Rates had decreased this quarter to 60.57% from 61.13% in Q2 last year. It was however above its target of 58.69%. 

·         The level of outstanding customer changes in the Revenues team had increased to 749 in Q2 this year, from 624 in Q2 last year

·         The average (YTD) days to process new housing benefit claims was below its target of 24 days with a figure of 28.16 days.

·         The number of Housing Benefits/ Council Tax support customers awaiting assessment had increased from 810 in quarter two last year to 1,491 in quarter two this year

·         The percentage of risk-based quality checks made where Benefit entitlement was correct had decreased from 87.50% in quarter one to 84% in quarter two, also below its target of 91.50%.

 

g)    Further highlighted key performance areas in Directorate for Communities and Environment

 

·         The total number of CCTV incidents handled by operators had increased by 877  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Strategic Risk Register - Quarterly Report Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Rob Baxter, Financial Services Manager:

 

a)    updated members with a status report of the revised Strategic Risk Register as at the end of the first quarter 2018-19

 

b)    Since reporting to Members in August 2018, the Strategic Risk Register had been reviewed and updated by the relevant Assistant Directors. This review had identified that there have been some positive movement in the Risk Register. There had also been an additional risk added No. 8 Decline in the economic prosperity within the City Centre.

 

a)    highlighted the revised Risk Register outlined in Appendix A of the report

 

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

44.

Scrutiny Annual Report 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Clare Stait, Democratic Services Officer:

 

a)    presented the Scrutiny Annual Report for 2017/18 for comments, prior to being referred to Full Council for approval.

 

b)    Advised that within the Constitution it states that the scrutiny committees should produce an annual report to Council. Chairs of the Scrutiny Committees do produce individual reports to Council during the municipal year, however, the attached Scrutiny Annual Report (Appendix 1) summarises the work of the scrutiny committees for the full year and highlights the key achievements made under scrutiny in 2017/18.

 

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

45.

Treasury Management and Prudential Code Update Report - Half Year Ended 30 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Pat Vaughan declared a Personal Interest in the following item.

 

Sarah Hardy, Group Accountant:

 

a)    Presented to Members a report which covered the Council’s treasury management activity and the actual prudential indicators for the period April 1st to September 30th 2018.  This is in accordance with the requirements of the Prudential Code.

b)    Updated members on the following main areas:

 

·         The Council’s capital expenditure plans;

·         How these plans were being financed;

·         The impact of the changes in the capital expenditure plans on the prudential indicators and the underlying need to borrow; and

·         Compliance with the limits in place for borrowing.

 

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

46.

Budget Review Process 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Minutes:

Rob Baxter, Financial Services Manager:

 

a)   presented to Members the process for the scrutiny of the proposed budget and Council Tax for the 2019/20 financial year and the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-2024.

 

b)    It was proposed that the scrutiny of the budget was undertaken in two separate stages; firstly all members would be invited to a briefing session which would;

 

·         assist them to gain a greater understanding of the financial environment in which the Council is currently operating;

·         provide the opportunity to ensure that they are up to date with the latest changes in local government finance, and;

·         understand the impacts that these conditions have had on the financial position of the Council, the issues that it faces and how the Council was responding to these.

 

This briefing session would allow all members the opportunity to gain a greater understanding and awareness of the Council’s financial position, thus aiding further scrutiny of the budget and in the case of the opposition party if desired the preparation of an alternative budget.

 

c)    Secondly, a more traditional scrutiny process would be undertaken to review in more detail the MTFS and the robustness of the proposed budget options and Council Tax for the 2019/20 financial year.  This would be undertaken in a committee format as the Budget Review Group with the appropriate governance arrangements in place.

 

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted

47.

Work Programme for 2018-19 - Update pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Clare Stait, Democratic Services Officer:

 

  1. presented the draft work programme for 2018/19 as detailed at Appendix A of her report

 

  1. advised that the work programme for the Performance Scrutiny Committee was put forward annually for approval by Council; the work programme was then regularly updated throughout the year in consultation with the Performance Scrutiny Committee and its Chair

 

  1. reported that items had been scheduled in accordance with the existing work programme and officers’ guidance regarding the meetings at which the most up-to-date information could be reported to the committee; the work programme also included the list of portfolio holders under scrutiny

 

  1. requested any relevant comments or changes to the proposed work programme for 2018/19.

 

RESOLVED that: the work programme be noted subject to the inclusion of the following item at a future Performance Scrutiny Committee:

 

·         Neighbourhood Management Report Update