Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted from Kate Haines and Ken Miall.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 July 2018.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 July 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 update reports on the Council’s duties under the Equality Act 2010 relating to the Council’s workforce and the development of improved Equality Impact Assessments.
The Committee considered two reports, set out at Agenda Pages 13 to 42, which gave details of progress relating to the Council’s statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010.
The Committee were reminded that the Equality Act 2010 placed general and specific duties on public bodies including the Council. The General Duty required the Council to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who shared a protected characteristic and those who did not. The protected characteristics were: age, sex, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
In order to demonstrate compliance with the Equality Duty, public bodies had specific duties to publish information and set out and monitor Equality objectives. At its meeting on 30 March 2017 the Executive agreed the following Equality Objectives:
Objective 1 – services are easily accessible for all our residents and are capable of responding to the changing needs of our communities;
Objective 2 – vulnerable individuals and groups are supported and looked after;
Objective 3 – consultation and engagement are effective and inclusive for all our communities;
Objective 4 – the Council’s workforce is committed to equality and reflects the communities it serves;
Objective 5 – the Strategy and Commissioning team will lead on the Council’s commitment to equality through service commissioning and delivery, improved procurement and partnership working.
In 2017, the Executive and the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee agreed that an annual monitoring report on Equalities be submitted to each body to ensure that suitable progress was being made against the Council’s Equality Objectives.
In relation to Objective 4 (Council workforce) the Committee considered the WBC Equality Monitoring Workforce Report for 2017/18 (Agenda pages 13 to 29). The report demonstrated how the Council was complying with the Equality Duty in relation to its workforce, specifically how it captured data about employees (excluding schools) and related this data to the protected characteristics and other relevant indicators. Sarah Swindley, Lead Specialist, Human Resources attended the meeting to introduce the report and answer Members’ questions.
The report highlighted the following equality issues:
· Gender – the Borough population was an equal split between male and female. However, the Council’s gender profile was 74% women and 26% men. The Council’s salary profile demonstrated a skew towards women occupying lower salary ranges.
· Age – while the Council’s age profile was not representative of the Borough, it was similar to the national picture for local authorities with 42% above the age of 50 and only 12% under 30.
· Disability – from the information provided 4.4% of the workforce had a disability, but this could be higher as 33% did not declare their status. 2.8% of the Borough’s population had a declared long-term health problem or disability.
· Ethnicity – the reporting indicated that the workforce was more diverse than the local population, with 79% of the workforce being White British compared to 88% of the Borough’s population.
· Religion and Sexual Orientation – the ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To consider Terms of Reference for the Overview and Scrutiny review of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 43 to 48, which set out proposed Terms of Reference for a Scrutiny review of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract with a specific focus on the grass cutting service.
The report reminded Members that the current Borough-wide Grounds Maintenance contract had commenced in April 2016. The contract had been awarded to ISS Facility Services Landscaping (subsequently taken over by Tivoli Group Ltd) following a joint procurement exercise with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Following a large number of complaints in May/June 2018 about grass cutting across the Borough, a request had been submitted to the Committee to carry out a review of the service. The proposed Terms of Reference included a number of key objectives for the review, including:
· Understanding the key terms of the contract with Tivoli Group Ltd and the joint management arrangements with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead;
· Reviewing the delivery of the grass cutting service in terms of frequencies, timings, local priorities and complaints handling;
· Analysing how the service operates with partners such as Town and Parish Councils and community groups;
· Reviewing performance management data and the financial operation of the contract;
· Understanding best practice from other parts of the country and the potential for service improvements.
The report also included a list of potential witnesses and a timetable which envisaged that the Committee would finalise its report to the Executive at its meeting on 21 November 2018. The report also included a draft Call for Evidence, which was a public notice giving details of the review and inviting residents and community groups to submit evidence to the Committee.
1) the proposed Terms of Reference for the Scrutiny review of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract be approved;
2) the proposed Call for Evidence relating to the review be approved for publication.
To consider a report on the operation of the Council’s grounds maintenance service as a starting point for a detailed scrutiny review.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 49 to 54, which provide background information on the operation of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract. The report provided baseline information about the contract which provided a starting point for the Committee’s Scrutiny review.
Norman Jorgensen (Executive Member for Environment, Leisure and Libraries), Peter Baveystock (Service Manager, Cleaner, Greener and Reactive Highway Services) and Emma Pilgrim (Specialist, Place Clienting) attended the meeting to introduce the report and answer Member questions.
The report stated that the current Grounds Maintenance contract commenced in April 2016 following a joint procurement exercise with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. The contract was let to ISS Facility Services Landscaping and was subsequently taken on by Tivoli Group Ltd following a buy-out of ISS in 2018.
The report gave details of the scale of the contract which covered 4.4 million square metres of parks and verges across the Borough, over 50 sports pitches and over 100 play areas. The contract had a value of £809k and included a £40k performance bonus.
Following a public consultation in 2014 it was decided that the contract would move to an outcome/output specification which would offer more flexibility by moving away from a rigid maintenance programme.
The report also gave details of the performance indicators used to underpin the contract. These included inspection scores, stakeholder/customer satisfaction, sports user satisfaction, justified complaints, community involvement, staff development and the identification of new income streams. The report highlighted a failure in service delivery relating to grass cutting which had generated a significant number of complaints which peaked in mid-May 2018. Officers were working with the new Tivoli Area Manager to improve service performance. This had resulted in the deployment of extra resources at no additional cost to the Council.
In order to address the issues outlined in the report the Chairman had agreed a set of Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) which comprised:
KLOE 1 – Grounds Maintenance Contract
Provide more details on the key terms of the Grounds Maintenance contract, including the terms of the output/outcome specification.
Explain how the contract is structured to deliver a more flexible approach to grass cutting.
In relation to the 2014 public consultation, provide a summary of the consultation process and a copy of the consultation outcomes report/decision sheet which sets out the rationale for moving to an output/outcome specification.
Explain how the £40k performance bonus is awarded and how it is linked to the performance management of the contract.
Explain how the contract is structured to enable input variations to ensure that the agreed outputs/outcomes are met.
KLOE 2 – Stakeholder Engagement
Provide evidence of progress against each of the six priorities identified in the report for the development of the contract.
KLOE 3 – Market Engagement
Explain the contract specification variations between WBC and RBWM.
Provide details of any working relationship between the two boroughs in relation to the management of the grounds maintenance contracts.
Provide details of any feedback on the operation ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
To discuss the work programme of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
The Committee considered its forward work programme and that of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as set out on Agenda pages 55 to 68.
The Committee noted that an extraordinary meeting would be arranged to consider a Call-In of the 26 July Executive decision on the School Crossing Patrol service.
Members also considered the potential for more time-limited task and finish groups to consider items from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programmes.
RESOLVED: That Councillors Batth, Croy, Ferris and Houldsworth meet to consider the content of the work programmes and the feasibility of establishing time-limited Task and Finish Groups.
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 relevant Chairmen provided updates on recent issues considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and future Agenda items.
RESOLVED: That the update reports be noted.