Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

72.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

73.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

In respect of Item 11 (Exchequer Service – Contract Performance Report), Councillor Fawthrop declared a non-pecuniary interest as an employee of British Telecom (BT).

74.

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 Tuesday 29th December 2020.

Minutes:

There were no questions.

75.

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE, RESOURCES AND CONTRACTS PDS COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 18 NOVEMBER 2020 (EXCLUDING EXEMPT ITEMS) pdf icon PDF 380 KB

Minutes:

The minutes (excluding exempt information) of the Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS meeting held on 18th November 2020, were agreed and signed as a correct record.

 

76.

MATTERS OUTSTANDING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD21005

 

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.

 

Matters Outstanding

 

A Member noted that at its last meeting the Committee had requested some additional Part 2 information in respect of the cost of agency workers.  The Chairman requested that this information be circulated to the Committee by the end of the week.

 

Work Programme

 

The Committee noted that the Property Investment Update would be presented to the Committee at the February meeting.  Members further noted that reports on ‘Bromley the Better Borough’ and the Housing Schemes would be presented to Executive in February (with the housing report being scrutinised by the Renewal, Recreation and Housing Committee).

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

 

77.

FORWARD PLAN OF KEY DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Minutes:

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

 

78.

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

Portfolio Holder decisions for pre-decision scrutiny.

Minutes:

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

78a

CAPITAL PROGRAMME MONITORING - 2ND QUARTER 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 460 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD20097

 

On 18th November 2020, the Leader received a report summarising the current position on capital expenditure and receipts following the 2nd quarter of 2020/21 and agreed a revised Capital Programme for the four-year period 2020/21 to 2023/24. The report highlighted changes agreed by the Leader in respect of the Capital Programme for the Executive, Resources & Contracts Portfolio. The revised programme for this portfolio was set out in Appendix A of the report and detailed comments on individual schemes were shown in Appendix B. 

 

Members noted that there were a number of post completion reports due for circulation to the Committee and requested that this be actioned as a matter of priority.

 

RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to note and acknowledge the changes agreed by the Leader on 18th November 2020.

 

79.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF EXECUTIVE REPORTS

Members of the Committee are requested to bring their copy of the reports due for consideration by the Executive on 13 January 2021.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the following reports on the Part 1 agenda for the meeting of the Executive on 13th January 2021:

 

(5)  DRAFT 2021/22 BUDGET AND UPDATE ON THE COUNCIL'S FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2021/22 TO 2024/25

Report FSD21001

 

The report sought approval of the initial draft 2021/22 Budget including the full year effect of changes agreed as part of the 2020/21 Council Tax report and savings approved during the year with the resultant impact on the Council’s medium term “budget gap”.  The report also provided details of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2021/22 which was published on 17December 2020 and represented a one year settlement only following the postponement of the longer-term Spending Review until 2021.  The outcome of the Fair funding Review and Devolution of Business Rates, which could have a significant impact on future funding, had been delayed by one year until at least 2022/23.  The Committee noted that there were still outstanding issues and areas of uncertainty remaining.  Any further updates would be included in the 2021/22 Council Tax report to the next meeting of the Executive.

 

In opening the discussion, the Chairman suggested that it would be helpful for service specific PDS Committees to review the individual growth items relating to their committees to ensure that robust plans to mitigate were in place.

 

In response to a question concerning the Beehive Housing Scheme, the Director of Finance confirmed that it was a finance lease whereby the Council would end up owning the properties at the end.

 

The Committee noted that in future by default any inflationary increases included in contracts would be linked to the consumer price index (CPI)  unless there was a compelling reason otherwise.

 

The Chairman proposed that in the interests of transparency in future the budget for Members’ Allowances should be separated from the Democratic Services budget.  This proposal was agreed by the Committee.

 

In response to a question concerning how likely it was that the Council would be in a position to deliver Phase 2 of its Transformation Programme, the Chairman suggested that it may be helpful for the Committee to undertake a review later in the year.  Currently the one-year local government financial settlement and delays around the delegation of business rates and the fairer funding review created a great deal of uncertainty.

 

The Committee noted that the income and rent in relation to investment property represented the best judgement that could be made at the current time.  The Director of Finance confirmed that in his opinion at this stage the assumptions outlined in the report were reasonable and that there was contingency to manage any risks.

 

Members noted that, in relation the Adult Social Care precept, there was currently no legislation enabling the Council to levy an Adult Social Care precept in future years and the assumption had to be made that the provision would not continue.  The Government had undertaken to review funding for adult social care where there were a number of undeniable pressures.

 

With reference  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

BENEFITS SERVICE MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 477 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD20102

 

The report provided information regarding the performance of the benefit services provided by Liberata during the period 1 April 2020 to 30 November 2020. A letter from Amanda Inwood-Field, Liberata’s London Regional Contract Director, was attached as Appendix 1. This communication provided Liberata’s perspective on performance, together with an update on initiatives to be introduced in the coming months.

 

In opening the discussion, the Vice Chairman requested that in future reports it would be helpful for the KPI to be shown in the graphs included within the report.

 

Members noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic the Service had adopted the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) “Trust and Protect” principles which enabled residents in receipt of Housing Benefit to submit information and evidence via email.  The policy was closely monitored.  Members noted that Liberata had a Corporate Visiting Team which included 6 Visiting Officers who, under normal circumstances, would visit vulnerable people at home.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, all documentation submitted by vulnerable claimants under the Trust and Protect principles would be reviewed once visits could resume.  Any incorrect documentation that had been submitted would result in an overpayment which would be subject to recovery.  The Chairman requested that a line in respect of this issue be added to the Corporate Risk Register.

 

In respect of the Administrative delays referenced in the report, noting that the issue had now been rectified the Chairman requested that details of the lessons learnt be included in the next report to the Committee.

 

In conclusion, the Chairman thanked colleagues in Liberata for the work they had been undertaking during the Covid-19 pandemic noting that under the circumstances levels of performance had been very good.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

81.

REVENUES SERVICE MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 218 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD20101

 

The report provided information regarding the performance of the Revenues Services provided by Liberata for the six months from 1 April 2020 to 30 November 2020. A letter from Amanda Inwood-Field, Liberata’s London Regional Contract Director, provided an update on each individual service and was attached at Appendix 1 to the report with statistical data relating to the Revenues Service attached at Appendix 2.

 

In respect of the collection rates for the different Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), the Committee noted that different approaches were taken in terms of collection and that, when the impact of Covid-19 was taken into consideration, performance across all BIDs was comparable previous years.  Following a brief discussion, it was agreed that this issue should be referred to the Renewal, Recreation and Housing PDS Committee for further review.  The Chairman asked that extracts of the relevant legislation (in respect of why the two bills would not be combined) be provided to Councillors Tickner, Rutherford and Morgan for information.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Finance highlighted that the performance in respect of collection of Council Tax was good however challenges remained in terms of not having a virtual court or enforcement.  The Committee noted that the planned virtual court at the Civic Centre had not yet met as this was dependent on action being taken by the Court and Tribunal Service.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

82.

EXCHEQUER SERVICE - CONTRACT PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 776 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report FSD21002

 

The report provided information regarding Liberata’s performance in the provision of Exchequer Services for the period 1st April 2020 to 30th September 2020, with an updated position as at 30th November 2020.

A letter from Amanda Inwood-Field, Liberata’s Contract Director, provided an update on each individual service and was attached at Appendix 1 to the report with statistical data relating to the services shown in subsequent appendices.

 

In opening the discussion, the Chairman welcomed the significant reduction in the use of cheques and commended staff on the work that had been undertaken to achieve the reduction.

 

In response to a question, the Assistant Director for Exchequer services explained that the small LBB Client-side Team was primarily there for contract monitoring purposes as well as undertaking some of the statutory work that the Council was required to undertake in respect of benefit claims.

 

A Member noted that since the last report to the Committee in July 2020, a new line had been added to table 3 (the factors affecting out of year collection) in respect of Debts on Hold by LBB Departments with the debt amounting to £1,950,982.72.  The Committee requested that a breakdown of the debt be circulated to Members of the Committee following the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

83.

CUSTOMER SERVICES CONTRACT MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 927 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD21006

 

The report provided information on the performance of the Customer Service Contract provided by Liberata for the period 1st June 2020 to 30th November 2020.  A letter from Amanda Inwood-Field, Contract Director for Liberata, provided an update on each individual element and was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Committee noted that there was a process in place to remove ‘My Account’ registrations of any residents who moved out of the Borough and further details of this process would be provided following the meeting.  Members noted that a new KPI had been introduced to ensure consistency of service on any given day. 

 

Members discussed how the service was able to achieve 100% satisfaction and expressed concern that anonymous responses could be provided.  The Committee noted that Liberata had planned to undertake a review of the Customer Satisfaction Survey and data collection, but this had been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Chairman requested that further information about the customer survey and how responses were collected be included in the next report to the Committee.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

84.

REVIEW OF VIRTUAL MEETING PROCEDURES pdf icon PDF 400 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CSD21009

 

The report provided an overview of the virtual meetings arrangements which had been in operation since May 2020.  Special meetings of the Urgency Committee and the Executive were held on 19 March 2020, to set up emergency decision making arrangements prior to The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 coming into force. A special meeting of the Urgency Committee was held on 6th May 2020 (the first virtual meeting) to agree the arrangements, key rules and protocols for virtual meetings. Full details are set out in the reports and minutes of the various meetings.  It was noted that The regulations were time limited and only applied to meetings taking place before 7th May 2021.

 

In opening the discussion, the Chairman noted that Executive meetings had now been restored and would take place virtually until such time as face-to-face meetings could be held.

 

A Member expressed the view that as the Urgency Committee had taken the original decisions back in March 2020 and May 2020, that was the appropriate committee to undertake a review of the arrangements, rather than the Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS (ERC PDS) Committee.  The Chairman explained that as the main scrutiny committee ERC PDS was in a position to undertaken a review of the operation of the virtual meeting procedures.

 

The Committee discussed the need to ensure that, where appropriate, members of the public were able to ask oral questions at Committee meetings.  It was agreed that the time limit for public oral questions should be restricted to 15 minutes.  Whilst welcoming the transparency of public questions some members emphasised the need to ensure the security of any meetings held in public.  The Chairman highlighted that there were currently security measures in place for the Council’s virtual meetings and that the Democratic Services Officer hosting the meeting had the ability to eject from the meeting anyone who may be causing disruption.

 

RESOLVED: That the Leader and Full Council be recommended to

 

1.  Ensure that, where appropriate, members of the public be permitted to ask oral questions at Committee meetings with the time limit for questions set at 15 minutes and

 

2.  Note that the provision of oral public questions at meetings should be reviewed and terminated in the event of abuse.

 

 

 

85.

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

 

 

86.

EXEMPT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 18 NOVEMBER 2020

Minutes:

The Part 2 (exempt) minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2020 were agreed, and signed as a correct record.

 

Original Text: