Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Principal Democratic Services Officer
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Councillors Kate Haines, Pauline Helliar-Symons and John Jarvis.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 March 2016.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 March 2016 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
To answer any public questions.
A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.
The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.
Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions
There were no public questions.
Member Question Time
To answer any member questions.
There were no Member questions.
To consider the latest report on the performance of key services and corporate projects.
The Committee considered a report and supporting Appendix, set out on pages 15 to 54, which provided performance management information in relation to the Council’s activities and services.
Julie Holland, Service Manager, Business Improvement, introduced the report and stated that the majority of performance indicators were currently on track and were rated Green. A number of indicators were currently rated Amber or Red as follows:
· % Children who are currently subject to a Child Protection Plan (CPP) who are subject to a CPP for a second or subsequent time within 24 months;
· % Looked After Children living within 20 miles of their home;
· Number of WBC Councillors and Social Care staff who are known to be “Dementia Friendly”;
· Cumulative % of the eligible population aged 40-70 who received an NHS health check;
· HIV diagnosed prevalence per 1,000 people aged 15-59;
· Berkshire West Joint Commissioning Forum
· % Secondary Schools with a current Ofsted rating of “Good” or better;
· Kgs of residual household waste per household per annum;
· % household waste reused, recycled or composted;
· Capital Budget monitoring forecast position;
· % care proceedings completed in 2015/16 within 26 weeks of application;
· Reduce the education gap at Key Stage 2 level 4 between disadvantaged and other pupils for Reading, Writing and Maths;
· Number of affordable dwellings completed.
Julie Holland gave a further update on two indicators:
· Fosters – construction of the replacement building had started in April 2016;
· % of service users satisfied with Environmental regulatory services – quarter 4 performance was reported at 82% (Green).
Julie Holland also reported that service departments were in the process of reviewing indicators and targets to ensure that Officers and Members were receiving key information to enable them to carry out their respective roles effectively. Members felt that greater clarity on the tolerance range for Red, Amber and Green indicator status and the timeframe for each indicator (monthly, six-monthly or annual) would also assist Members.
The Committee considered each section of the report in turn. Members raised the following comments and questions in relation to specific indicators.
Agenda page 18 - % Care Proceedings completed in 2015/16 within 26 weeks of application – Members queried the value of the indicator which was influenced by the actions of partner organisations which were outside the Council’s control.
Agenda page 19 - % Looked After Children living within 20 miles of their home – Members requested further information on the actions being taken to achieve the indicator target.
Agenda page 31 – Reducing the education gap at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 – Members asked for further information on the impact of the new Ofsted regime and the implications for the Council if the education gap did not narrow.
Agenda page 32/33 - % of schools with a current Ofsted rating of “good” or better – Members requested an update on the implications for local schools of the Government’s recent policy changes on the forced academisation of schools.
Agenda page 37 ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To consider the ongoing Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes, issues considered during 2015-16 and a list of Overview and Scrutiny review suggestions for the 2016-17 Municipal Year.
The Committee considered a report, set out on Agenda pages 55 to 74, which set out details of the Overview and Scrutiny issues considered in 2015/16, the ongoing work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and a list of new Overview and Scrutiny suggestions for 2016/17.
The Committee was reminded of the established review selection criteria to be used in considering new Overview and Scrutiny suggestions:
· Whether the issue was of local and, preferably, current cocern;
· Whether a review could be linked to the Council’s Vision, Priorities and Principles;
· Whether the topic was already being reviewed elsewhere within the Council;
· Whether the topic was capable of being influenced by the Committee or the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees;
· Whether the scope of the topic was manageable;
· Whether sufficient resources were available to support the Scrutiny work;
· Whether, if a review was warranted, the priority was low, medium or high;
· Whether a review should be undertaken by the Management Committee, one of the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees, or a time-limited Task and Finish Group.
The Chairman reminded the Committee of the ongoing organisational change programme: 21st Century Council. It was likely that some of the Overview and Scrutiny review suggestions would fall within the work of the 21st Century Council programme. Members felt that it would be useful to receive a briefing on the 21st Century Council programme as it would impact significantly on the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees over the next few years.
The Committee considered each of the Overview and Scrutiny request submissions in turn. During the Committee’s discussions Members made the following points:
End to End Reporting of Data and Analytics Capability – Councillor Shahid Younis
Members were referred to the details of the suggestion, set out on Agenda page 63. Councillor Younis presented the suggestion and highlighted the importance of accurate, timely information for both Officers and Members. Members needed up-to-date information in order to oversee performance and identify issues as quickly as possible. With modern technology there was no reason why this could not be achieved.
It was agreed that this suggestion was supported in principle and should be referred to the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee for further consideration. Members also noted that the suggestion may fall within the 21st Century Council work programme and may not be pursued if it was duplicating work already under way.
Housing Rents and Housing Benefits – Councillor Lindsay Ferris
Members were referred to the details of the suggestion, set out on Agenda page 64. Councillor Ferris presented the suggestion and highlighted the importance of joined up working when different services interacted with Council tenants and other customers.
It was agreed that the suggestion had merit, but it was felt that this issue, along with similar service issues, would fall within the remit of the 21st Century Council project. Consequently, it would be discussed as part of the proposed Overview and Scrutiny Member briefing on 21st ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider a report which sets out ideas for improving and strengthening the Overview and Scrutiny process and generating greater public involvement.
The Committee considered a report, set out on Agenda pages 75 to 79, which gave details of a number of suggested improvements to Overview and Scrutiny processes and procedures. The suggestions were based on best practice examples from other local authorities and the Centre for Public Scrutiny. The aim of the suggestions was to improve public awareness about Overview and Scrutiny and make meetings and reports more effective.
The specific suggestions related to:
· More rigorous agenda setting in order to improve meeting formats;
· Improving the content of reports to focus on clear recommendations;
· Introducing Calls for Evidence to raise the profile of new Scrutiny reviews;
· Improvements to the Council website to raise the profile of Overview and Scrutiny;
· Greater use of social media to increase awareness of ongoing reviews and upcoming meetings;
· Introducing an Overview and Scrutiny section into Wokingham Borough News;
· Monitoring pf public questions to the Executive and Council;
· Tracking of Overview and Scrutiny recommendations to ensure that decisions are followed up;
· Ensuring that Task and Finish Groups carry out a self-evaluation to support continuous improvement.
Members discussed each of the suggestions and agreed that they were worthy of support.
Members also considered a suggestion from the Chairman that future meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee commence at 7.00pm rather than 7.30pm. If agreed, this change would bring the start time of the Management Committee into line with the other Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
1) the proposed suggestions for improving Overview and Scrutiny be approved;
2) the impact and effectiveness of the proposals be monitored and reviewed by the Management Committee during the year;
3) future meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee commence at 7.00pm.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme.
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme, as set out on Agenda pages 81 to 86, and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme as set out on Agenda pages 87 to 88.
Members considered that the proposed Waste Strategy – re3 report (June 2016 Executive item) may be a suitable item for consideration by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
RESOLVED: That the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme be noted.
Overview and Scrutiny Member Training
To consider the format and content of the Overview and Scrutiny Member training session, to be held on Monday 6 June 2016.
The Committee considered the format and content of an Overview and Scrutiny training event, to be held on Monday 6 June 2016.
The aim of the event was to build an understanding of the key elements of Overview and Scrutiny and the development of skills which would assist Members in their roles. The session would explore the operation of Overview and Scrutiny at Wokingham Borough Council and use examples of best practice from around the country.
Members considered the itinerary for the training session and confirmed that the format and proposed content were suitable.
1) the proposed format and content for the Overview and Scrutiny training event on 6 June be confirmed:
2) Overview and Scrutiny Members be reminded about the event and be encouraged to attend.