Agenda and minutes

Venue: Level 8, Breckland House, St Nicholas Street, Thetford

Contact: Committee Services, Breckland Council  Tel: 01362 656870

Items
No. Item

62.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2007.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2007 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

63.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs. L. Pope, Mr. D. Burnip and Mr. T. Holden.

 

64.

Structure Review (Agenda Item 5) pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Report of the Operational Board.

Minutes:

The Revenues Strategic Manager presented the report and explained the background to and options for a revised management structure for the Anglia Revenues Partnership, which had been prompted by the departure of the Revenues Income Manager and to take account of the current and anticipated growth of the partnership.  It was therefore felt prudent to develop a more resilient management structure at this time to ensure that the excellent service delivery continued into the future.

 

With the close relationship between the Partnership and ARP Trading Limited, the opportunity had also been taken to recommend solutions that promoted the successful delivery of both entities.

 

It had to be appreciated, however, as with any situation where growth was being anticipated, that this would not be the final structure.  Positive action was being taken to promote a fourth and possibly a fifth partner for which, if successful, additional management resources would be required.  It would therefore be crucial for the delivery of the excellent performance and continual improvement required by the existing Partners that structures were kept under regular review as an integral part of any future Partnership expansion.

 

The recommended Option was Option 4.2.b – an expanded management structure comprising the posts of a Strategic Manager, Operations Manager and Performance & Support Manager, together with the posts of a Principal Benefits Officer and Principal Revenues Officer, and involving the employment of the Strategic Manager and the Operations Manager within ARP Trading Ltd. with the purchase of their management services back to the Partnership through a contractual arrangement.

 

The reasons for the recommendation were:

 

1.  It provided the most efficient and resilient solution for the future development of the ARP. It ensured that the skills developed within the past five years were retained for both the ARP and ARPT Ltd.

 

2.      The solution strengthened the management of the ARP to ensure that the maintenance of its high performance would continue during the immediate future when further growth and change were anticipated. It was, however, recognised that the future growth of the partnership would require further review of this structure and it was proposed that a commitment to review is made when further partners were introduced.

 

3.      The contractual relationship to deliver a managerial service to the ARP from the ARPT Ltd also strengthened the future consistency of management for the Partnership and protected the ARP from potential staff changes in the future. It was hoped that the current management team that had brought the ARP such success would continue to deliver the same excellent services for many years to come. However, a contractual arrangement that clearly defined the expectations for service delivery would ensure greater protection to the ARP into the future.

 

The Members for East Cambridgeshire District Council indicated their interest in taking up their option within the Partnership Agreement to join ARP Trading Ltd.  Given the progress that had been made in developing the trading role since East Cambridgeshire had joined the Partnership, it was felt to be an optimal time to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Performance Report for the period ending October 2007 (Agenda Item 6) pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Report of the Operational Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Updated performance statistics for the period ended 30 November 2007 were tabled at the meeting.

 

The Performance Manager presented the report and explained that the targets for BVPI 76c  (Number of fraud investigations per 1000 cases) (currently status ‘red’ for Breckland and East Cambridgeshire) were to be revised.  Following further advice from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the issue of measurement for this target, it had been established that the current targets were set unrealistically high and a report would therefore be brought to the next meeting to revise the targets for each of the Partner Authorities.

 

However, it was also noted that new national BVPIs were being introduced to replace the existing and these would be included in the new Service Plan.  Details of the new national targets were still awaited.

 

So far as performance in regard to the two ‘amber’ status targets were concerned (BVPI 78a – Average time for processing new claims (Forest Heath)) and 76d – Number of prosecutions and sanctions per 1000 caseload (East Cambridgeshire)), it was anticipated that these would have reached the target by the end of the financial year.

 

In noting the report, members felt it would be helpful to them if future reports could incorporate additional information on direction of travel and graphical performance illustrations.  In this respect, it was noted that each Partner Authority employed different performance management systems and, in order to avoid duplication of effort, it was suggested that the feasibility of using one of these systems to produce ARP performance reports be investigated.

 

The Executive Director for Finance for East Cambridgeshire District Council stated that it was encouraging to note the rapid performance in his Council’s performance and recorded his pleasure with the results.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and the Revenues Strategic Manager be asked to investigate the feasibility of using of one of the existing performance management systems employed by the Partner Authorities to produce ARP performance reports, including the additional information requested.<1>

66.

ARP Joint Committee Statement of Accounts 2006-07 (Agenda Item 7)

Report of the Operational Board.

Minutes:

The Chief Accountant explained that it had not been possible to produce the Statement of Accounts in time for this meeting due to technical problems.  The problems had now been resolved and it was proposed that the accounts should proceed to audit stage to meet that deadline and reported to the next meeting of the Joint Committee.

 

         RESOLVED that, in the circumstances, the Statement of Accounts proceed for audit and be reported to the next meeting of the Joint Committee.

 

 

 

67.

Budget 2008-09 (Agenda Item 8)

Report of the Operational Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The 2008-09 Budget papers were tabled at the meeting.

 

The Chief Accountant reported that as discussed at the last meeting (Minute 52/07) and following consultation and agreement with the Heads of Finance of Forest Heath and East Cambridgeshire District Councils, a ‘vacancy factor’ for preparing the establishment budget had been introduced, resulting in a small net reduction in the overall budget.

 

The Performance Manager drew attention to a previous decision for the provision of a staff room, subject to confirmation that revenue funding to cover any additional rent/service charge for this was available.  It was now confirmed that there was sufficient budget available to meet additional revenue costs.  It was confirmed that any capital cost would fall to Breckland Council and was subject to that Council’s approval.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)         the Budget for 2008-09 be approved;

(2)         a Budget Summary be circulated to the Members of the Joint Committee for information.

68.

Service Plan 2008-09 (Agenda Item 9) pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Report of the Operational Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Performance Manager presented the report which updated Members on the progress made since the last meeting and sought approval of the Service Plan and performance measures for 2008-09.

 

The targets had been simplified to make them more meaningful, certain of the existing national BVPI targets that were to be replaced would be retained as local performance indicators and annual projects had been included.

 

The proposed new national BVPI targets remained to be clarified within the Service Plan and the review of the section on Risks remained to be finalised pending further feedback.

 

With regard to the section on Partnership Development, it was noted that Forest Heath District Council’s priorities had been amended and the report needed to be updated accordingly.

 

It was suggested that a reference to the management arrangements should be included.

 

So far as risk management of the Partnership was concerned, it was felt that this should be integrated across the three partner authorities to avoid duplication.

 

RESOLVED that

 

(1)         the draft Service Plan and performance measures for 2008-09 be approved, subject to final amendments in respect of Risk Management,  inclusion of a reference to the management arrangements and to updates on national BVPI targets and the priorities relating to Forest Heath District Council; and

(2)         the officers be asked to pursue the integration of risk management across the three partner authorities.

 

 

69.

Local Housing Allowance - Update (Agenda Item 10)

To receive a verbal update.  (Previous minute 58/07 refers.)

Minutes:

The Benefits Manager gave a verbal update on progress regarding the introduction of the new Local Housing Allowance scheme (LHA) under the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (previous minute 58/07).

 

Publicity on the LHA was being prepared and the computer system was in place.  A project sponsor was also in place and recruitment of a Project Manager was under way.  The necessary infrastructure to implement the new scheme was also in the process of being set up.

 

There remained a number of key issues to be resolved relating to the types of payments that would apply under the new scheme.

 

This was a fundamental change to the housing benefits system and a considerable amount of work was required to incorporate the changes into existing policies.

 

The position was noted and Members asked the Benefits Manager to provide them with explanatory information on the new scheme in advance of the publicity leaflets.<1>

 

70.

Items for Next Meeting

To note items for inclusion on the agenda for the next meeting.

Minutes:

The following items were noted for the next meeting:

 

  • Local Housing Allowance – update
  • Performance Update
  • Statement of Accounts
  • Changes to Performance Measurement
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council – Update on option to join ARP Trading Ltd.

 

71.

Next Meeting

To agree a date for the next meeting (a suggested date is 28 February 2008).

 

Minutes:

         RESOLVED that the next meeting be held on 28 February 2008.