Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

56.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Harmer and Councillor Bennett attended as substitute.

 

Apologies for lateness were received from Cllr Dykes.

 

57.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Simon Fawthrop declared an interest as an employee of British Telecom (BT) and left the room during consideration of Item 9 (Minute 64) – BT/ICT Contract Monitoring Report - and Item 10 (Minute 63(10)) on the Leader’s decisions agenda -Replacement Financial System.  Councillor Marlow took the Chair for the duration of these items.

 

In respect of Items 10 and 15 on the Leader’s decision agenda, Councillor Rutherford declared an interest as his employer was a systems integrator for Oracle Cloud which was one of the official partners.  Councillor Rutherford stated that he did not think that Bromley Council would be using them as part of the ERP.

 

 

58.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting. 

 

Questions specifically on reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically on reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 12th November 2020.

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

59.

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE, RESOURCES AND CONTRACTS PDS COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD ON 8 OCTOBER 2020 AND 22 OCTOBER 2020 (EXCLUDING EXEMPT ITEMS) pdf icon PDF 367 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes (excluding exempt information) of the Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS meeting held on 8th October 2020, and the Special Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS meeting held on 22nd October 2020, were agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

60.

MATTERS OUTSTANDING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD20118

 

The report dealt with the Committee’s business management including matters outstanding from previous meetings and the proposed work plan for the remainder of the year.

 

The Vice-Chairman noted that at the last meeting it had been agreed that Officers should write to all schools regarding Section 106 funding.  It was agreed that this should be added to the Matters Outstanding Report.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted and updated as outlined above.

61.

FORWARD PLAN OF KEY DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the Forward Plan of Key Decisions covering the period October 2020 to January 2021.

 

 

62.

RESOURCES, COMMISSIONING AND CONTRACTS MANAGEMENT PORTFOLIO - PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY

Portfolio Holder decisions for pre-decision scrutiny.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports where the Resources, Contracts and Commissioning Portfolio Holder was recommended to take a decision.

62a

INSURANCE FUND ANNUAL REPORT 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Minutes:

Report FSD20077

 

The report advised Members of the position of the Insurance Fund as at 31st March 2020 and presented statistics relating to insurance claims for the last two years. In 2019/20, the total Fund value increased from £3.984m to £4.396m. A mid-year review of the Fund had also been carried out and it was estimated that the final Fund value as at 31st March 2021 would increase to approximately £4.6m.  The Committee noted that the position would continue to be monitored throughout the year.

 

In response to a question from the Chairman concerning whether the value of the insurance fund was too high, the Insurance and Risk Manager explained that currently insurance claims were unpredictable and there was potential for significant claims to be received.  Consequently, in the current climate it was prudent to maintain the value and undertake a review at the end of the next financial year. 

 

The Committee noted that at this point in time it was not possible to identify any significant trends in relation to the impact of the Covid pandemic.  Personal injury claims could be submitted up to three years after the incident and therefore it was a little too early to analyse the impact.  Generally the bulk of claims made to local authorities were public liability and highways claims and as yet there had not been a significant reduction in the number of claims received, although there had been a slight increase in the number of cycling claims due to issues with highways and potholes.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to note the report.

62b

TREASURY MANAGEMENT - QUARTER 2 PERFORMANCE 2020/21 & MID-YEAR REVIEW pdf icon PDF 515 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD20086

 

The report summarised treasury management activity during the second quarter of 2020/21 and included a Mid-Year Review of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy.  The report ensured that the Council was implementing best practice in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management.  Investments as at 30th September 2020 totalled £373.3m and there was no outstanding external borrowing.  For information and comparison, the balance of investments stood at £366.7m as at 30th June 2020, £336.1m as at 31st March 2020, and, at the time of writing the report (4th November 2020) it stood at £390.4m.

 

The Committee noted that there had been no investment exposure to the London Borough of Croydon.  The Director of Finance confirmed that the Council could be reasonably confident in lending to other local authorities and background checks were always undertaken prior to lending.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to

 

(a)  note the Treasury Management performance for the second quarter of 2020/21;

 

(b)  recommend that Council approve the 2020/21 prudential indicators as set out in Annex B1.

 

 

63.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF REPORTS DUE FOR DECISION BY THE LEADER pdf icon PDF 9 MB

Members of the Committee are requested to bring their copy of the reports due for consideration by the Leader on or after 25th November 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports on the Part 1 agenda which were due for consideration by the Leader on or after 25th November 2020:

 

(1)  BUDGET MONITORING 2020/21

Report FSD20058

 

The report provided firstly, the second budget monitoring position for 2020/21 based on expenditure and activity levels up to the end of September 2020, excluding the financial impact of Covid-19.  The report also highlighted any significant variations which would impact on future years as well as any early warnings that could impact on the final year end position. Secondly, the report identified latest indications of the financial impact of the Covid-19 situation which needed to be treated with some caution at this stage because of the ongoing uncertainty arising from moving out of lockdown to transition and ultimately the ‘new normal’. 

 

The Director of Finance introduced the report explaining that in terms of departmental budgets there were cost pressures but also underspends in the contingency so overall as far as ‘business as usual’ there was an underspend.  In terms of Covid-19, significant resources had come from Government but there were also pressures and burdens associated with Covid-19 and it was important that residents and businesses were supported.  This resulted in a shortfall in funding of £2m this year and a further £9m relating to Council Tax/Business Rate collection.  The Committee noted that these were broad estimates that needed to be treated with caution, however was clear that there were pressures arising from the uncertainty around how long the second wave would continue and what would be the overall impact.  In terms of managing the pressures, Members noted that Bromley was in a better position that some other local authorities.  Finally, in terms of the full year effect, the issues outlined in the report would need to be addressed as part of the 2021/22 budget which would be presented to the Committee’s meeting in January.

 

In response to a question the Director of Finance confirmed that the Council found itself in quite a strong position in relation to investment income and Treasury Management as a result of a number of two-year investments that had been made.  The Director of Finance confirmed that he was not expecting a reduction in the budget next year as a result of the benefit of the higher rates of investment prior to the changes in the market.  There would be an impact in relation to investment properties not just as a result of the Covid situation but also resulting from the ‘new normal’ and the impact on property investment income.

 

The Committee noted that compared to some other local authorities the Council found itself in a relatively good position in terms of the key tests.

 

RESOLVED: That the Leader be recommended to

 

(a)  consider the latest financial position;

 

(b)  note that a projected net overspend on services of £1,538k is forecast based on information as at September 2020.

 

(c)  consider the comments from Chief Officers detailed in Appendix 2;

 

(d)  note a projected reduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.

64.

BT/ICT CONTRACT MONITORING pdf icon PDF 461 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CSD16105

 

The Chairman, having declared an interest, left the meeting prior to the start of this item.  Cllr Christopher Marlow, as Vice-Chairman, chaired the meeting during the Chairman’s absence.

 

The Committee received the fifth performance report of the British Telecom (BT) ICT contract utilising the Pan London Framework covering the period 1st September 2019 to 31st August 2020. Ian Rodgers and Ian Withycombe

from BT attended the meeting to respond to questions.

 

The Chairman opened the discussion by thanking colleagues within BT and the Council ICT Team for their response to the challenges that Covid-19 had imposed on the operations of the Council.  The Committee recognised that the almost overnight move to in excess of 85% of staff working from home had required significant operational changes which had been delivered very smoothly with minimal impact on service delivery.

 

In respect of KPIs, the Assistant Director for IT reported that on 25th March 2020, the Westminster Pan Framework imposed a freeze on the KPIs and SLAs for the frameworks.  Discussions were taking place with the framework owners to agree when the freeze could be lifted, and Officers were anticipating that this would take place at the start of the New Year.

 

In response to a question surrounding the drop in performance in July and August, some months after the on-set of working from home, the Committee heard that beyond the onset of the Covid pandemic the Team had also been supporting the IT Transformation start up.  This had resulted in a number of calls to the IT Help Desk which mainly centred around training issues.  It was noted that now staff were working remotely some of the benefits of the sharing of knowledge that would occur in the office environment had been lost and as a result more calls were being made to the IT Help Desk.  In response to this more Help Desk staff had been recruited and an improvement in performance was anticipated.  The Assistant Director for IT confirmed that work had been undertaken with the Council’s Learning and Development Team to provide more training for staff.

 

The Committee noted that at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic BT had been asked to prioritise calls made by colleagues in Public Health and those providing the emergency response.  Staff had also been reassigned to support the setup of the Covid Response Team and this had inevitably had an impact on performance in relation to other service areas.  In addition to the challenges around the Covid response in May 2020, the Windows 10 Project had been restarted and this had further impacted on performance.

 

Members noted that limits on the size of email attachments had been imposed in order to protect the system from cyber-attack and the limits imposed could be reviewed.

 

Turing to the issue of Members’ IT, the Committee noted the proposals to start a project to review Member IT requirements in 2021 (in advance of the next Local Government elections).  The Vice-Chairman proposed an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

SCRUTINY OF THE RESOURCES, COMMISSIONING & CONTRACT MANAGEMENT PORTFOLIO HOLDER

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Resources, Commissioning and Contracts Management, Councillor Graham Arthur, attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Committee.  Councillor Arthur gave a brief introduction highlighting the following issues:

 

  • Preparations were beginning for a new way of working
  • The pandemic had brought with it several advantages, not least an enforced move to flexible working.
  • The almost overnight move to 85% of staff working from home whilst preserving all essential services would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
  • This had only been achievable due to the combination of flexible staff with a 'can do' attitude and the IT capacity to ensure state of the art technology available to support them.
  • Bromley had played host to its first digital day conference. This had brought together eminent speakers and an agenda including the latest digital and A.I. technology. The innovations talked about at the conference were now informing the transformation programme and would directly influence the way of working going forward.
  • The relationship with B.T. had been key and the Council had once again been short listed for a national partnership award.
  • 1550 new IT kits have been rolled out from a Covid secure Civic Centre.
  • Necessary to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution which had been made by the Facilities and Support Services Manager, The Assistant Director of Customer Services, and their teams.Facilities Services had delivered a Covid safe environment for staff whilst Customer Services had built on that to ensure that all possible services could be delivered.
  • Similarly, the Learning and Development Team had shown extraordinary innovation in the way contact with staff had been maintained and all manner of training aids made available to stimulate and improve working.  The Executive Assistant for Resources, Commissioning and Contracts Management would be liaising with HR staff to prepare a full report on the ongoing Health and Wellbeing Work including tackling the impact of isolation.  This would be brought to the Committee in the new year.
  • Working from home was likely to have a significant impact on the deployment of resource. In February the Council had a clear idea of investment plans for office requirements. This was based on a 70% desk occupancy, allowing for a set number of site visitors, and with a budget of £20m. Work was now underway to model what revised requirements will be and it was likely that there would be significant change.
  • The Property Team were conducting an in depth study of the Council estate to determine just what could be released for disposal.  This would cover the operational estate as well as investment properties.
  • The process of disengaging from both Amey and their sub-contractor Cushman and Wakefield was underway. Those staff to be TUPE’d had been identified and key contracts such as cleaning had been put out to tender. Moving forward, work was underway to establish the central property services department, with recruitment to two new posts complete resulting in a more efficient way of handling property matters. The Council was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

SCRUTINY OF THE EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE LEADER

Minutes:

The Executive Assistant to the Leader, Councillor Aisha Cuthbert, attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Committee.  The Members noted the updated that had been circulated prior to the meeting and Councillor Cuthbert responded to questions, making the following comments:

 

  • Since the start of the pandemic there had been an increase in the divorce rate and the consequence of this was that there had been an increase in loneliness.  Community Links were looking at ways in which people across the Borough could be brought together.
  • In terms of looking towards next year, the plan was to continue the momentum that had built up and harness the power of the thousands of volunteers who had responded when they were needed at the start of the pandemic.

 

 The Committee thanked the Executive Assistant for her update and congratulated Councillor Cuthbert on the very successful Mums and Dads event in Orpington which had been very well received.

 

67.

COST OF AGENCY WORKERS pdf icon PDF 484 KB

Minutes:

The report provided information on the use and cost of agency workers across the Council and the ten highest paid agency workers.  This information was provided to the Committee taking into account the Council’s duty of care for affected individuals and the requirements of the DPA/GDPR Regulations 2018.

 

In opening the debate, the Chairman welcomed the reduction in the use of agency workers as evidenced in table 1 within the report.

 

In response to a question concerning whether the use of agency workers could be further reduced, the Director of HR highlighted the ongoing national shortage of experienced qualified social workers which impacted on the Council’s ability to recruit good quality permanent staff.  The Chairman of the Children, Education and Families PDS Committee reported that at its last meeting that Committee had commissioned a piece of work around the various initiatives that were in place to recruit and retain experienced social workers.  The Committee noted that around 85% of social workers with the Department were on permanent contracts the Council was performing very well in comparison with other local authorities.

 

Members noted that there were a range of reasons why agency staff could be used such as for a time-limited project where specific expertise was required or if a service review was being undertaken.  In such circumstances the use of agency workers represented value for money.  The Chairman asked that future reports provide a slit between social work agency staff and non-social work staff.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

68.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006, AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business referred to below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

 

The following summaries

refer to matters involving exempt information

 

 

69.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 8 OCTOBER 2020

Minutes:

The Part 2 (exempt) minutes of the meeting held on 8 October 2020 were agreed, and signed as a correct record.

70.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF EXEMPT EXECUTIVE REPORTS (if any)

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports on the Part 2 agenda for decision by the Leader on or after 25 November 2020:

 

(15)  FORMAL CONSULTATION ON OUTLINE SERVICE PROPOSALS AND PROCUREMENT STRATEGY OF A REPLACEMENT FINANCIAL SYSTEM (PART 2)

  Report FSD20087

 

The Committee noted the report.

 

(17)  CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING 2ND QUARTER 2020/21

 

The Committee noted the Part 2 Appendix.

 

71.

PART 2 COST OF AGENCY WORKERS

Minutes:

The Committee noted the report.

 

Original Text: