Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 5th June 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, City Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services - 01522 873387 

No. Item


Confirmation of Minutes - 28 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 88 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 28 March 2019 be confirmed.


Confirmation of Housing Scrutiny Sub-Committee Minutes - 19 March 2019 pdf icon PDF 87 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2019 be confirmed.


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.


Councillor Helena Mair declared a Personal Interest with regard to the agenda item titled 'Homelessness in Lincoln - The Current Situation'. Her husband was a Trustee of the YMCA.


Councillor Pat Vaughan declared a Personal Interest with regard to the agenda item titled 'Financial Performance - Outturn 2018/19'. His grandaughter worked in the Council's finance department.



Homelessness in Lincoln - The Current Situation pdf icon PDF 76 KB


Yvonne Fox, Assistant Director of Housing:


·         Presented a report which provided the Performance Scrutiny Committee with information relating to the provision of homelessness services following the enactment of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 on 3 April 2019.


·         Explained that the definition of homeless or threatened with homelessness had also been changed, with the Act extending the number of days before a person became threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days. This change had been introduced to enable people to apply for help and advice at an earlier stage and to give the local authority time to prevent homelessness or give advice to enable the applicant to secure alternative accommodation.


·         Reported that a significant amount of work was required by local authorities in preparation for the new duties, which came into effect in April 2019. The Housing Solutions Team at the City Council had received specialist training and had worked very hard over the last year to ensure that the authority was statutorily compliant with the new Act.


·         Reported that a review was currently underway into the processes and procedures that were being used within the service to look at the best way to deliver the service in the future. This was in response to the increase in the number of people approaching the Council for advice and an increase in the number of people the authority had accepted a duty for following implementation of the Act.


·         Highlighted that the city had a shortfall of adequate temporary accommodation, with provisions that were in place not being sufficient for the current demand in terms of the number of units that people needed, the variety of needs required and the level of support available once a person or family were placed into that type of accommodation.


·         Updated the Committee on the successful bid from the Rough Sleeper Initiative to reduce and prevent rough sleeping in the city centre. A Rough Sleeper Project Team had commenced in October 2018 which encompassed multi-agency professionals and included accommodation at the Corner House, a complex needs unit owned and managed by the Framework Housing Association. An extension to the opening hours at the Nomad Night Shelter had also been introduced to include a day centre run by the YMCA, offering day services to those who were street homeless. In addition, the team had access to five bedsit type units provided by the YMCA to both relieve and prevent rough sleeping for those with limited options.


·         Reported that additional funding secured in December 2018 would see the opening of a ‘Somewhere Safe To Stay Hub’ with appropriate support workers. This would allow up to eight service users at any time to access the Hub, for a period of 72 hours. Whilst on site the service users would be assessed for all needs and started on not only their housing pathway but also facilitating access to health, substance misuse and other support services.


·         Invited members’ comments and questions.


Question: How many people had the Council dealt with or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


New Strategic Performance Measures pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:


The Business Manager, Corporate Policy:


·         Presented the new strategic performance measure set to the Performance Scrutiny Committee, for consideration.


·         Reported that the measures included within this set were to be reported to the Council’s Corporate Management Team, Performance Scrutiny Committee and Executive on a quarterly basis from quarter one 2019/20 and would replace the existing measure set reported over the past few years.


·         Reported that the new measure set was formed of 68 targeted measures, 17 volumetric measures and six corporate measures. Appendices A to C showed the new set of strategic performance measures with targets split by directorate and by quarterly or annual collection.


·         Invited members’ comments and questions.


Question: Given that the Major Developments Directorate did not have any measures associated with its service areas, was their performance measured in another way?


Response: The project management nature of the services delivered by the Major Developments Directorate meant that Post Implementation Reviews were undertaken on each particular project, focusing on whether the project was delivered on budget, on time and in accordance with the specification from a quality perspective.


Question: Why was there no target allocated to the number of incidents captured on CCTV?


Response: This particular measure was volumetric as it was considered inappropriate to set a target on something the Council was unable to influence. The number of incidents would still be measured and reported.


Question: Why had the target associated with waste and recycling been reduced by so much?


Response: This had been reduced in line with what was happening nationally in respect of waste and recycling and was considered as a more realistic level. This was a particular target that would be the subject of constant review and consideration as there were so many changes due nationally, together with the introduction of the new countywide Waste Management Strategy.


Question: Why had the target associated with the electorate been reduced?


Response: This had initially been reduced to represent a more realistic figure, however, it was proposed that this particular measure be changed to volumetric given that it was up to an individual whether or not they submitted an application to go onto the electoral register. This proposal would be considered by the relevant Portfolio Holder in due course.


It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Q4 2018-2019 Operational Performance Report pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:


The Business Manager, Corporate Policy:


·         Presented the Performance Scrutiny Committee with a summary of the operational performance position for quarter four of the financial year 2018/19.


·         Reported key headlines from performance results in respect of those areas performing well:


-       the number of users logged into the self-service system MyInfo had increased from 9,865 at quarter four last year to 10,199 at quarter four this year;

-       the average time take to answer a call in customers services had decreased by 12 seconds compared to quarter four last year at 92 seconds;

-       the business rates collection rate had exceeded its upper target of 99.15% at 99.81%;

-       the average days taken to process housing benefit claim changes of circumstances had beaten its five day target at 4.12 days;

-       the percentage of invoices paid within 30 days had improved from 95.17% in 2018 to 97.79% this year;

-       the total number of users of health and recreation facilities increased by 29,740 users since quarter four last year to 247,921 this year;

-       the percentage of food health and safety controls that should have been completed and had been had improved from 82.1% in quarter three to 96.5% in quarter four;

-       Lincoln premises achieved an average food hygiene rating of 4.69 out of a possible 5;

-       the percentage of planning applications approved was above its target of 97%, outturning at 98%;

-       the number of empty homes brought back into use reached 47 in 2018/19;

-       the rent collected as a proportion of rent owed had surpassed its target of 96.50%, achieving outturn of 99.24%;

-       the final level of tenant arrears was better than the target of 3.50% with an outturn figure of 2.66%;

-       the percentage of reactive repairs completed within target time was above the target of 97.50% at 98.65%;

-       face to face enquiries at City Hall had decreased in quarter four to 4,731 compared to 9,826 in quarter four last year;

-       new benefit claims had decreased from 7,296 in quarter four last year to 5,252 in quarter four this year. Universal Credit had affected the housing benefit claims, but Council Tax support was also reduced.


·         Reported those areas where performance could be improved were noted as follows:


-       the in-year collection rate for Council Tax had decreased by 0.41% since quarter four last year, outturning at 96.76%, although just above the lower target;

-       the level of outstanding customer changes in the revenues team had increase to 437 in quarter four this year, from 121 in quarter four last year;

-       the percentage of waste that was recycled or composted had increased to 34.94% this year but was still below its lower target of 35%;

-       the time to determine a planning application had deteriorated from 59.4 days in quarter three to 68.81 days in quarter four;

-       the satisfaction of public protection and anti-social behaviour complainants on how the complaint was handled had decreased from 92.7% in quarter three to 81%  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Financial Performance - Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 218 KB


The Chief Finance Officer:


·         Presented to the Performance Scrutiny Committee the provisional 2018/19 financial outturn position on the Council’s revenue and capital budgets, including the General Fund, the Housing Revenue Account, the Housing Repairs Service and Capital Programmes.


·         Reported 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.


·         Reported that the financial performance quarterly monitoring report for the third quarter predicted a shortfall against the revised budget of £206,302. The provisional outturn for 2018/19 now indicated that this shortfall had decreased by £159,946, resulting in an overall budget shortfall of £46,356 and represented a variance against the revised budget of 0.33%. Full details of the main variances were provided in Appendix B, but the key variances were summarised as follows:


-       car parking – reduced income of £1,015,648;

-       housing benefit overpayments – reduced income of £604,533

-       homelessness bed and breakfast – increased expenditure of £101,418

-       borrowing costs – reduced expenditure of £270,063

-       earmarked reserves – released increased income of £280,220

-       contingencies released – reduced costs of £175,930

-       business rates Section 31 grants – increased income of £385,881

-       revenues and benefits new burdens – increased income of £180,207.


·         Reported that the following contributions to earmarked reserves were requested as part of the report:


-       planning delivery fund – the transfer of £95,000 of grant income received to fund an additional post to support large scale applications in 2019/20;

-       overachievement of crematorium income – the transfer of £100,000 of surplus income, net of increased cost, to an income equalisation reserve to mitigate against future fluctuations in income levels;

-       revenues and benefits shared service – transfer of £100,00 of new burdens funding to a reserve to be utilised in 2019/20, as determined by the Joint Committee.


·         Reported that, following the final outturn being known, it was proposed that the £95,000 planning delivery grant and £100,000 crematorium income were transferred into reserves as previously agreed. However, due to the significant reduction in housing benefit overpayments within the revenues and benefits area, it was proposed that only £45,000 of the new burdens funding was transferred into the reserve. These transfers to reserves were reflected in the provisional outturn position.

·         Reported that the savings target included in the Medium Term Financial Strategy for the 2018/19 Towards Financial Sustainability Programme was £3,800,000. Progress against this target, based on the outturn position, showed a secured total of £3,828,050. A summary of the provisional outturn position was shown in the table at paragraph 3.15 of the report.


·         Reported that for 2018/19 the Council’s Housing Revenue Account net revenue budget was set at zero, resulting in an estimated level of general balances at the year-end of £1,023,099. The financial performance quarterly monitoring report for the third quarter predicted an underspend of £5,000. The provisional outturn for 2018/19 now indicated an underspend of £3,467 and would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Treasury Management Stewardship and Actual Prudential Indicators Report 2018/19 (Outturn) pdf icon PDF 174 KB


The Group Accountant, Technical and Exchequer:


·         Presented the annual treasury management stewardship report, which was a requirement of the Council’s reporting procedures under regulations issued under the Local Government Act 2003 and covered the treasury management activities and the actual prudential and treasury indicators for 2018/19.


·         Reported that during 2018/19 the Council complied with its legislative and regulatory requirements. The key prudential indicators for the year, with comparators, were set out in paragraph two of the report, with full details of transactions in year and performance against the Prudential Indicators included at paragraph four and Appendices A and B of the report.


·         Confirmed that borrowing was only undertaken for a capital purpose and that the statutory borrowing limit and the authorised limit were not breached.


·         Reported that key issues of activity during 2018/19 were as follows:


-       the Council’s total debt, including leases and lease-type arrangements, at 31 March 2018 was £115,696 million compared with the Capital Financing Requirement of £120.131 million. This represented an under-borrowing position of £4.435 million, which was currently being supported by internal resources. Additional long term borrowing would be taken in future years to bring levels up to the Capital Finance Requirement, subject to liquidity requirements, if preferential interest rates were available;

-       the Council’s investments at the 31 March 2019 were £29.2 million, which was £13.6 million higher that at 31 March 2018. Average investment balances for 2018/19 were £22.344 million, which was higher than estimated balances of £14.97 million in the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018-23 due to the timing of borrowing taken. This referred to the principal amounts of investment held, whereas the investment values included in the balance sheet were based on fair value. In most cases, this would simply be equal to the principal invested, unless the investment had been impaired;

-       actual investment interest earned on balances was £143,000 compared to £77,000 estimated in the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018-23;

-       the interest rate achieved on investments was 0.77% which was 0.26% above the target average seven day LIBID rate, with the average in 2018/19 being 0.51%.


·         Invited members comments and questions.


Question: The report set out that there was a significant increase in short term borrowing. Why was this?

Response: The Council was fortunate in that it was able to access the market through other local authorities at very low rates, which was much more beneficial than longer term borrowing.


It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Strategic Risk Register - Quarterly Review pdf icon PDF 71 KB


The Chief Finance Officer:


·         Presented the Performance Scrutiny Committee with a status report of the revised Strategic Risk Register as at the end of the fourth quarter 2018/19.


·         Reported that two changes to the assessed levels of likelihood and impact of risks identified on the Risk Register, as follows:


-       risk 4 – to ensure compliance with the statutory duties and appropriate governance arrangements were in place. Although a disaster recovery facility and procedure were in place, in light of aging infrastructure and the development of a new IT Strategy, a review of the IT disaster recovery arrangements and consistency with business continuity plans would be developed. This risk had therefore been increased slightly from Amber: possible/major to Amber: probable/major;

-       risk 9 – failure to mitigate against the implications for the Council following the outcome of Brexit. A localised Brexit exercise had been undertaken by the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum with partners and organisations in February 2019. A working group had been established to understand impacts on residents and governance including current partnerships and contracts pending delay of the Brexit vote and implementation of Article 50, with an internal action plan developed and monitored through the working group. In light of this, the risk had decreased from Red: almost certain/major to Amber: probable/major.


It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Work Programme for 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the Performance Scrutiny Committee work programme be approved, subject to the inclusion of an item on the car parking income generation strategy for the Committee’s meeting in August 2019.


Exclusion of the Press and Public


RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business because it was likely that if members of the public were present there would be a disclosure to them of ‘exempt information’ as defined by Section 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.


Strategic Risk Register


The minute associated with this item was set at minute number 9 above.