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Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted by Kate Haines, Bill Soane and Shahid Younis.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 February 2018.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 February 2018 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 an update on the 21st Century Council change programme.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 9 to 30, which gave details of progress relating to the 21st Century Council change programme.
Julian McGhee Sumner (Executive Member for Finance), Heather Thwaites (21st Century Council Programme Director), Graham Ebers (Director of Corporate Services) and Matt Pope (21st Century Council Programme Manager) attended the meeting to provide the update and answer Member questions.
The report reminded Members of the key outcomes arising out of the 21st Century Council programme, including:
· greater access to Council services through digital channels;
· swifter resolution of issues and the ability for residents to track progress;
· greater focus on problem solving and customer responsiveness;
· a leaner, more efficient Council costing significantly less to run.
Heather Thwaites gave details of the latest developments:
· Phase 1 of the programme had been completed successfully;
· Phase 2 was to be delivered in two tranches with the programme extending to September 2018;
· implementation of the Customer and Locality provisions was progressing to plan;
· the People Services part of the programme was delayed resulting in a potential underachievement of savings.
Appended to the report was a paper from Manjeet Gill (Interim Chief Executive) which provided an assessment of the implementation of the programme to date. The Chief Executive’s overall assessment was that the programme was ambitious and bold and an appropriate response to help address, in part, the ongoing funding challenges facing the Council. The business case was considered to be sound, encompassing many initiatives that high performing Councils across the country were progressing.
The report also contained a list of key lines of enquiry which the Committee wished to explore, including:
· achievement of the programme against the September 2016 business case;
· delivery of financial savings against target and the impact of the delay in People Services;
· implementation of IT schemes on time and on budget;
· factors underlying the delay in the People Services part of the programme;
· progress in improving Councillor interactions with officers and residents;
· safeguards for residents who were unable/unwilling to self-serve using the Council website;
· management of the key risks outlined in the business case;
· the current state of staff morale and the organisational impact of interim/agency staff.
During the ensuing discussion Members explored the key lines of enquiry and raised the following points:
· In relation to the 21st Century Council IT improvements, were the changes achieved through the purchase of new systems or through achieving greater functionality from existing hardware and software? It was confirmed that the improvements were a combination of the two. Some improvements, such as the improved mapping system were the result of new investment.
· Did the new IT systems improve linkages to contractors and third parties? It was confirmed that this approach was a key part of the new systems. For example, Veolia (the waste contractor) was using the Council’s portals and software. The aim was to promote a “one Council” approach for the benefit of residents and customers.
· In relation to the delay in the ... view the full minutes text for item 81.
To confirm the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes for 2018/19.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 31 to 40, which gave details of the Overview and Scrutiny work programmes for 2018/19, as discussed at the previous meeting.
The report also contained a request from Finchampstead Parish Council for the inclusion of a Scrutiny item relating to the condition of footways, kerbsides and road signs. The request highlighted the following issues:
· Many road signs were ineffective due to being dirty, damaged, obscured and/or out of date;
· Many footways were unfit for purpose, especially for residents with mobility or visual impairments;
· Many kerbsides had accumulated debris which resulted in blocked gullies and uneven/slippery roadsides.
Members felt that the Scrutiny request was worth pursuing and agreed to include it in the work programme for the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Pauline Helliar-Symons advised that the following items should be added to the work programme for the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee:
· Care Leavers Council Tax Exemption;
· New Education Vision Strategy;
· Hearing the voices of young people;
· Draft Strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities;
· Children in care and care leavers survey.
Members considered the possible inclusion of an item relating to the new highways and transport contracts. It was felt that an update on the tendering process and timeframes should be sought before deciding whether to include an item in the relevant work programme.
It was agreed that the item on SDL delivery/Local Plan Update be amended to include updates on the Council’s 5 year land supply.
1) The 2018/19 Overview and Scrutiny work programmes, as amended, be approved;
2) the Scrutiny request from Finchampstead Parish Council be approved for inclusion in the Community and Corporate work programme;
3) the Overview and Scrutiny Committees allocate items from the work programmes to specific meetings during 2018/19;
4) the Director of Environment be asked to provide an update on the tendering process for the new highways contracts, prior to consideration of a specific Scrutiny item at the next meeting;
5) the next meeting of the Committee be held on 23 May 2018.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme.
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme as set out on Agenda pages 41 to 46.
Members welcomed the proposed Unauthorised Encampment Policy and agreed that the Parking Strategy 2018/22 be considered by the Committee.
1) the Executive Forward Programme be noted;
2) a review of the proposed Parking Strategy 2018/22 be included in the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2018/19.
Update reports from Chairmen or Nominated member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees
For the Chairman or nominated Member of the Committee to report back in its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.
The Committee noted that there were no further updates from the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.