Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions
Contact: Callum Wernham Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Alison Swaddle, Paul Fishwick, and Phil Cunnington.
Jackie Rance attended the meeting as a substitute for Alison Swaddle, and Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey attended the meeting as a substitute for Paul Fishwick.
Shirley Boyt, Anne Chadwick, and Rachelle Shepherd Dubey attended the meeting virtually, and were therefore marked as in attendance, and they were not able to propose, second, or vote on items.
To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2021
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 24 November 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the third bullet point on agenda page 6 being amended to state “until at least Easter 2023”.
Declaration 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 proposed Capital and Revenue Bids for the Communities, Insight and Change and Resources and Assets Directorates
The Committee considered a report, set out in agenda pages 17 to 84, which set out the revenue and capital bids for the Directorates encompassing Communities, Insight and Change, and Resources and Assets.
Parry Batth (Executive Member for Environment and Leisure), John Halsall (Leader of the Council), John Kaiser (Executive Member for Finance and Housing), Stuart Munro (Executive Member for Business and Economic Development), Gregor Murray (Executive Member for Resident Services, Communications and Emissions), Christine Bennett (Assistant Director for HR and OD), Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive (Director of Resources and Assets)), Nick Spencer (Digital Delivery and PMO Manager), Sally Watkins (Assistant Director Digital & Change), and Jackie Whitney (Head of Customer Delivery) attended the meeting to answer Member queries.
It was noted that a large deal of uncertainty remained with regards to a number of the bids, and some of the bids were subject to change in the coming weeks once the Local Government Finance Settlement had been received. Officers commented that they would endeavour to hit the required deadlines for the Committee meeting scheduled on 5th January 2022 if possible, and added that any questions submitted from Members in advance of the meeting would be useful to assist in the provision of more in-depth answers on the evening.
Communities, Insight, and Change
During the ensuing discussions, Members raised the following points and queries:
· In relation to bid CIC R6, ReCustomer App for Council Tax and selected services, what were the potential benefits of this app? Assistant Director response – The service was keen to understand best practice from a number of other Authorities to see the benefits from a customer perspective. As such, the bid was placed for 2023/24 to allow time for detailed research and benchmarking.
· With regards to the proposed paperless Borough News, had the potential impacts on some residents been taken into account? Assistant Director response – This bid was included within the first version of proposals, but following further consideration this bid would be withdrawn due to certain negative impacts to residents.
· In relation to bid CIC R2, Land Charges shortfall in income, could this bid be explained further? Deputy Chief Executive response – The ongoing expectancy was that there would be a shortfall in land charge fees. As such, a growth bid was being proposed to eliminate the unachievable level of the income stream.
· In relation to bids CIC R3 and R10, implementation of new HR target operating model, what was the growth portion of this bid aiming to achieve? Assistant Director response – The revenue bid was for the increased baseline within the HR budget to deliver services for internal customers, with a strong leadership team enabling an improved delivery of HR functions. The special item was to provide transitional posts to support changes in the interim period, which would tail off in 2023/24. It was noted that the description of the two bids was the same, which would be clarified in future versions.
· In relation to bid CIC R1, additional people ... view the full minutes text for item 61.
To consider the work programme for the remainder of the municipal year
The Committee considered their work programme, set out in agenda pages 85 to 86.
The Committee were advised that the items related to the Borough Wide Parking Management Strategy and the Customer Journey item had been delayed to the next municipal year, as the projects required additional time prior to presentation. In addition, the Arts and Culture Strategy update had been postponed as many of the projects had been delayed due to the pandemic. Once additional projects and activities had been carried out, an update would be taken to the Committee.
It was requested that officers ascertain how much ongoing funding was available to enact the Arts and Culture Strategy.
The Committee requested a further update regarding bringing the public protection partnership back in house at their March 2022 Committee meeting.
1) Callum Wernham be thanked for attending the meeting;
2) Items relating to the Borough Wide Parking Management Strategy, the Customer Journey, and the Arts and Culture Strategy update be considered during the next municipal year;
3) Officers ascertain how much ongoing funding was available to enact the Arts and Culture Strategy;
4) A further update regarding bringing the public protection partnership back in house be considered at the March 2022 Committee meeting.