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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

140.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillors Nathan, Gallagher and Bell-Bradford

141.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None

142.

Declarations of Interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation
  carried on for profit or gain.

(b)   Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c)   Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d)  Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e)  Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or  
 longer.

(f) Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

 

 

 

Minutes:

None

143.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That, subject to the addition of Councillors Chowdhury, Hyde and Chapman to the list of Apologies for Absence - the minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2019 be confirmed and the Chair be authorised to sign them

144.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair stated that the item on Presentation – Maximising the role of Scrutiny would be taken as the first item on the agenda, followed by Quarter 1 Performance, Financial Monitoring, Use of Agency Staff and Presentation IT

 

145.

Public Questions

For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.

 

Minutes:

The Chair outlined the procedures for Public questions, filming and recording of meetings and fire evacuation procedures

 

The Chair stated that she had received a request to consider a matter in relation to Customer Care standards from a Member of the Public, and that she had written to him on that subject and would be pursuing that further and respond to him, and therefore the Committee would not be discussing the matter that evening

146.

Use of Agency Staff pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety, was present for discussion of this item, and was accompanied by Alan Grant, Human Resources

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         Members were informed that the number of temporary workers by Directorate has been steady in the past year, however there have been some peaks in holiday periods. Work is taking place to look at the number of temporary workers that have been with the Council for over 12 weeks, and reviewing this to ascertain if there is a permanent requirement for these posts

·         E&R Public Realm are currently employing the most temporary staff, and work is taking place with management to establish if the requirement is permanent, or is just covering for annual leave/sickness

·         The analysis of service requirements for agency workers has led to departmental targets being set, with a view to reducing to a long term annual target of 10%. A medium term target is 11.7%, and current progress against this target is c.12.69%

·         A set of principles has been adopted to support the reduction of agency workers

·         Offers and contracts have been moved onto the Council’s online recruitment system, and both are now sent out at the same time as a verbal offer is made. DBS checks will also be moving onto the online system

·         It was stated that it is anticipated the numbers of agency staff would reduce in the next few months, and there is a commitment at CMB to ensure that the numbers are reduced

·         Reference was made to the fact that the individual agency staff targets per department should be included in future reports

·         In response to a question it was stated that a new shorter version of the sickness procedures policy would hopefully be implemented shortly, and managers would be able to manage sickness more effectively

·         Members expressed the view that future reports should be more detailed and have comparative figures from previous years and include departmental targets, and explanations if these had not been met and remedial measures that are being put in place

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

(a)   That the report be noted and future reports include

comparative figures from the previous year, and explanations if these had not   been met, together with remedial measures that are being put in place to address these

(b)  That future reports provide information detailing the targets/actual use of agency staff per department, in addition to those detailed for the Council overall

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull, and Alan Grant for attending

147.

Performance /Scrutiny - Presentation

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present for discussion of this item, and was accompanied by Roger Dunlop, Director of Strategy and Change, and Annette Hobart, Strategy and Change

 

During consideration of the presentation (copy interleaved), the following main points were made –

 

·         Members noted examples as to how other Local Authorities consider performance information

·         Members were informed that pre-decision scrutiny could include aligning this function to the Council’s priorities, outcomes and policy framework, early involvement in future decisions or policy changes, and not necessarily just reviewing the final report going to the Executive. Pre decision scrutiny can also act as a sounding board for policy changes and implications, representing the voice of communities

·         How to choose scrutiny topic – this could include reviewing the Forward Plan, key corporate plan commitments, upcoming consultations, intelligence from performance reporting framework

·         Centre for Public Scrutiny – this supports local authorities and other public bodies to effectively scrutinise their organisation, and to hold Executives to account on behalf of the Public

·         Good scrutiny guide 2019 refers to the importance of maintaining a watching brief on the local area, and how local people experience, and influence, the services delivered to them by public bodies and others. The guidance makes specific reference to member’s ability to access a digest of information about the area. Using evidence and gaining expertise is essential to enable scrutiny to make informed judgements on what it should be looking at

·         Key information for scrutiny committees – Centre for Public Scrutiny guide lists a range of information as key to enabling scrutiny to perform its role – the Council plan, Partnership Plans and strategies, the Council’s overall budget and policy framework, and the medium term financial strategy, quarterly performance reports, quarterly finance figures, risk registers, complaints digests/information, external improvement plans and activities. The Council’s own research and insight, information from benchmarking clubs, including CIPFA, and the LGA, and information from Ombudsman investigations can be utilised

·         The model adopted by PPS for the Universal Credit scrutiny proved very effective in hearing from partners, staff and residents, getting out into the community, and visiting services to see how things worked first hand. Scrutiny could also adopt a similar approach, where there are concerns about performance or lack of progress. Scrutiny could also look to move beyond the formal scrutiny structure and consider holding meetings in different venues, hearing from staff or residents about specific services etc.

·         Should be core standards for performance reporting to scrutiny – reports should be clear, concise and avoid jargon, information should be based not just on data but context. Benchmarking data should be used, where and when this is available, customer complaints and satisfaction data should also be referred to where this is available. In addition, where performance is off track the report should address the key questions, and relevant senior officers from key services should attend to respond to queries, and take away any issues. Issues should also be followed up in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 147.

148.

Quarter 1 Well run Council/Council Targets pdf icon PDF 305 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present and was accompanied by Roger Dunlop, Director of Strategy and Change, and Annette Hobart, Strategy and Change

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         The targets for corporate performance indicators for 2019/20 have been agreed

·         In 2018/19 96.6% of Business Rates were collected, and in quarter 1 of 2019/20 25.3% of Council Tax was collected, which is as expected, and is on target for year end

·         Noted that the number of visits to the Customer Care Centre, and the number of phone calls through Contact Islington has continued to reduce. The number of online transactions in Quarter 1 was below target, however, overall the longer term trends show a reduction in both calls and visits, and a move to more online transactions

·         The Council is now looking to develop Contact Islington into a customer transaction centre, which handles all routine calls, and basic transactions, on behalf of Council services

·         Sickness amongst Council staff has decreased in the past 12 months, and the trend is expected to continue, following measures that have been put in place

·         Reducing agency staff –agency staff currently account for 12.8% of the workforce, and this has increased from the same period last year

·         In relation to ensuring fair progression for BME and disabled staff, data for the end of Quarter 1 indicated that BME staff accounted for 20.2% of the top 5% of earners across the Council, a slight improvement on last year. The proportion of Disabled staff in the top 5% of earners remains similar to last year at 5.8%

·         Councillor Hull informed the Committee that two additional indicators in relation to carbon emissions will be included in the Quarter 2 figures

·         Members noted that Scrutiny Committees would be consulted on determining PI’s at an early stage for the next municipal year

·         A Member referred to the fact that affordable home is not a true PI and that this should be amended to social housing for rent. Councillor Hull stated that he would investigate this

·         A Member expressed the view that the information on agency staff was different in two of the reports that evening and information presented should be presented consistently

·         A Member also referred to the fact that the number of people killed/seriously injured on streets should be included in future reports

·         Reference was also made to the fact that there should be a PI that measures how responsive the Council is to the public

·         Discussion took place as to the removal of the major works PI in relation to Partners and that there is a need, given the level of complaints from residents about Partners, and that there needed to be some measure put in place to hold Partners to account. It was stated that if the Housing Scrutiny Committee wished to propose an appropriate PI in this regard this could be considered

·         Reference was made to the high levels of stress prevalent in E  ...  view the full minutes text for item 148.

149.

Quarter 1 Performance statistics - Crime pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present, together with Keith Stanger, Service Manager Community Safety and Crime Reduction, and Catherine Briody, Head of Youth and Community Services

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         The Safer Islington Partnership has led on 5 priority areas – Crimes involving young people, Hate Crime and ASB, Drugs and Adult Offending, VAWG, Domestic Abuse, and Exploitation and Extremism

·         Overall crime reduction of 5%, while crime across London rose 4% in the same period. There has been a small increase in violent crime of 0.4%

·         Significant reduction of over 60% in theft snatch offences, as a result of the co-ordinated partnership response. Continued reductions in serious youth violence, youth violence, gun crime, knife crime, and knife crime victims under 25

·         27% reduction in robbery offences in the past year, following a peak in 2017/18. The Police have robbery cars available, allowing for faster identification of perpetrators

·         Domestic violence offences continue to rise by 7%, in line with a London wide increase, and positive outcomes for victims remains a challenging area

·         There has been a small increase of 6% in racist hate crime, but there have been reductions in all other forms of hate crime

·         Action Plan from the scrutiny on school exclusions is being overseen by a Task and Finish Group, to address the connection between exclusions, offending and exploitation

·         Despite a reduction in violent crime types, the challenges remain with serious incidents in Islington, and continued fatalities across London. There is increased complexity of the issues that young people are presenting with, including trauma, due to abuse and neglect, and early childhood experiences, inability to self-regulate, and risk of criminal exploitation. There has been a further reduction in first time entrants, and improved custody and reoffending rates amongst YOS people

·         Work has been taking place re: violence against women and young people, and there has been a recent improvement in the DA crime sanction and detections rate, but work to hold more perpetrators to account remains a priority for the VAWG Strategy Board

·         Anti-social behaviour and hate crime – Islington Community MARAC 2018/19 review is now complete, achieving excellent results on supporting 46 high risk vulnerable victims of crime. Now considered one of best CRM’s in England, with Islington Learning Disability Partnership now referring victims of Hate Crime

·         Creation of a wide ranging action plan, following a multi-agency workshop on dealing with the complex street population issues in Stroud Green Road, to be rolled out borough-wide

·         Plan in place to continue to increase the number of young people undertaking Hate Crime training, and delivery of a successful Hate Crime Awareness week – 13-20 October

·         Over 80 confirmed Safe Haven locations, with many more venues that are interested in becoming safe havens

·         There has been ongoing multi-agency work around hot spots across the borough that are recording higher rates of crime, and ASB, compared to the borough average. This includes the Finsbury Park Area, Archway/New  ...  view the full minutes text for item 149.

150.

Financial Monitoring pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present for discussion of this item

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         It was noted that there is a forecast General Fund overspend of £0.504m, without taking into account the corporate contingency budget of £5.080m

·         The Housing Revenue Account is forecast to break even over the year

·         It is forecast that £119.206m of capital expenditure will be delivered in 2019/20, against the 2019/20 capital budget of £144.205m

·         The agreed 2019/20 budget included savings totalling £13.775 for the 2019/20 financial year. Of these £9.559m are currently on course for delivery, £0.375m have an ‘Amber’ risk, and £2.5m Red savings are considered high risk, and £1.341m Black savings are now considered delayed/undeliverable, in the current financial year. Replacement savings for the undeliverable savings are being sought, and these will form part of the 2020/21 budget report

·         Members expressed the view that future reports to the Committee should indicate the details of the Red and Black savings, detailing reasons why these had not been met and compensatory measures being put in place

·         Reference was made to the deficit in E&R and whether this is a structural deficit that need rectifying in the base budget. Councillor Hull stated that this was being looked at and that he would assess the position before any changes are made to the structural budget

·         It was also stated that the reasons for the high level of staff suffering stress in the E&R Department needed to be investigated

·         A Member enquired whether there were any plans to electrify the vehicle fleet and it was stated that about 50% of the fleet was now electrified, however there were difficulties at present with replacing refuse vehicles as the technology was not available for these currently to be replaced reliably

·         Discussion took place as to progress on capital spend on the HRA and that more detailed information on this would be provided in future report

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the report be noted

(b)  That future reports to the Committee include details of the Red and Black savings, as referred to above, indicating the reasons why savings are not being delivered, and remedial measures being put in place to address these

(c)   That in a future report on sickness to the Committee the figures for E&R include

(1)  a breakdown of sickness figures for both management and manual staff, details of the levels of stress amongst staff and why this is so high

(2)  details of sickness procedures that are in place in the department

(3)  details of whether the overspend in E&R is a structural overspend and whether an amendment is proposed for the budget to rectify this

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull for attending

151.

Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

152.

Monitoring Report

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

153.

IT Strategy - Presentation

Minutes:

Councillor Andy Hull, Executive Member Finance, Performance and Community Safety was present for this item, and was accompanied by Jon Cummings, Interim CIDO

 

During the presentation, copy interleaved, the following main issues were raised –

 

·         Members were informed of the proposed roll out of software and systems

·         Changes and strategy to improve the future – continuous update – a growing proportion of software, including windows, is now on continuous update, which means that incremental changes are provided more frequently, as opposed to ‘big bang’ versions

·         Move to cloud/software as a service – Council are deliberately moving to Cloud where software is provided as a service, and updates undertaken by the vendor, at scale, in a manner that is generally invisible to the Council

·         Enterprise and Application Planning – Under the new IDS structure is the Enterprise Planning Group. This group is tasked with documenting and agreeing to a 3 and a 5 year plan for enterprise technology, and an associated investment plan. Adhering to this plan is key in reducing/managing technology debt, avoiding nasty surprises, and ensuring the cyber security of the organisation is maintained at an acceptable level. Where compromises are required, decisions can be taken informed by fact, and in a culture of active risk management

·         Councillors Champion, Poyser, O’Sullivan and Gantly indicated that they would be willing to serve on the Sub-Committee

 

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the presentation be noted

(b)  That a sub - committee of Policy and Performance be established with a view to ensuring the Digital Strategy progress is to the timescales envisaged, and is ‘rolled out’ effectively across the Council

(c)   That additional Members, to those indicated above, wishing to serve on this sub- committee notify their names to Democratic Services

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Hull and Jon Cummings for attending