Agenda and minutes

Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

No. Item


Minutes (Agenda Item 1) pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2013.



The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2013 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Apologies and Substitutes (Agenda Item 2)

To receive apologies for absence and to note substitute Members in attendance.


Apologies for absence had been received from Mr Cowen, Mrs Irving and Mr Rose.  Mr Bambridge was in attendance as Substitute for Mr Rose.


Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting (Agenda Item 5)

To note the names of any non-members or public speakers wishing to address the meeting.


Mrs Canham, Mr Smith and Mrs Turner were in attendance.


Executive Member Portfolio Update (Agenda Item 6)

Councillor William Smith, Executive Member for Internal Services, has been invited to attend the meeting to update Members on key ongoing issues and policies within his portfolio and to answer any questions.



Mr Smith, Executive Member for Internal Services had been invited to update the Commission on his Portfolio.


He advised Members that his Portfolio employed more staff than any other:


  • 65 at the Anglia Revenues and Benefits Partnership (ARP)
  • 7.69 in the Human Resources Team
  • 1½ for ICT (the ICT & Customer Services Manager being a shared post with South Holland)
  • 20 in the Customer Contact Centre
  • 5 at the Dereham Customer Service Centre and
  • 4 at the Thetford Customer Service Centre.


The Portfolio had an employee related budget of about £3million for 2013/14.  Between 2010/11 and 2012/13 total savings of over £876,000 had been achieved, which was on a par with the Shared Services savings.  Further efficiencies were anticipated through the new contract with Norfolk County Council for ICT provision and additional partners and changes at the ARP.  He thanked his Directing staff, Managers and Officers for the considerable work done to achieve those savings.  He then gave a brief overview of each area of the Portfolio:



Up until 2010 Steria had provided ICT support under contract.  Savings of about £565,000 had been made by bringing that service in-house whilst four options were considered for the way forward.  Those options had been:


  1. to join with ARP Partners
  2. to go with NCC
  3. to keep in-house; or
  4. to join with Compass Point (used by South Holland)


NCC had been chosen and the Council now had access to 250 ICT support staff (in place of the previous 6 or 7) and also access to additional expertise.  Six posts had been transferred to NCC and six to West Suffolk, who had taken over ARP ICT responsibility.  The NCC contract would be managed by a Governance Board and had a strong Governance Document.  It was such a good document that the Executive at NCC wanted to use it as a model throughout the County Council and Mr Smith thanked the ICT & Customer Services Manager for the amount of work he had put into that.


The support function to Members had been replaced and Councillor Bambridge, as e-Champion, was now the point of contact between Members and ICT.  The system worked well and saved money.


One Member of staff had been retained and transferred to the Contact Centre to maintain the website.  It was noted that although the Portfolio had responsibility for maintaining the website it did not edit the content – that was up to each service area.


ARP (Copies of the ARP prospectus were circulated to Members)

The Partnership had been set up in 2004 by Breckland and Forest Heath.  They had both been experiencing significant problems with revenues and benefits.  At one time it had taken 100 days to process a claim – that was now down to 7-9 days.  The Partnership now consisted of four authorities with two more likely to join shortly.   It delivered efficiencies of over £2million per year and over the eight years of its existence there had been an £8.25million saving on revenues and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Contact Centres (Agenda Item 7)

Report of the Director of Commissioning.


This item had been discussed under Agenda Item 6 above.  The item was noted.



CCTV and Grants (Agenda Item 8)

To receive a verbal update on CCTV and Grants from the Executive Member for Localism, Community and Environmental Services.


The Community Development Manager gave Members a brief overview of the reasons behind the changes to the Match Funding process.  From feedback received following previous applications it was clear that people found the forms complex and the time taken to make the decision too long.


Under the previous process the Grant Panel had only met quarterly.  Applications received immediately following a Panel meeting had to wait three months for the next meeting and if additional information was required that compounded the delay.  Larger grants then had to be passed on to the Cabinet cycle which increased the length of time applicants had to wait.


The aim of the new process was to reduce the turnaround from five to six months to an average of eight weeks.  That would be achieved by using the SharePoint system.  All information would be stored on the website.  Applications would be scanned in, scored against priorities and guidance and any additional information could be requested and added to the system.  An e-mail would then be sent to all Executive Members.  They could log-on, score and comment on the application.  The Grant Panel had been scrapped.


After 14 days officers would check the comments and note any conditions requested.  Small grants would be approved under Delegated Powers.  Large grant applications would go straight to Cabinet.


The final version of the new paperwork was almost ready.  There was now just one form for all types of grant distributed by the Council.  It could be posted out and there was also a printer-friendly version.


The new system had already been trialled with a few groups and feedback had been positive.  The process had been simplified, the Corporate Objectives made clear and the scoring criteria explained.


Mr Joel asked if Ward Members would be notified of applications and was advised that a question on the new forms asked for confirmation that Ward Members had been notified.  If left blank the form would be returned to the applicant.  Ward Members would be e-mailed when an application was received and advised of the likely decision date.  Ward Members could then comment and give reasons for their support, or otherwise.  It was a good opportunity for community groups to engage with Ward Members.


Mr Bambridge thought it would be good if all applications could be listed on the Members’ Page for Members’ information as they might be interested in applications from adjoining Wards.


The Executive Member for Localism, Community and Environmental Services said that she would make sure that all Members had a copy of all the paperwork, including the scoring criteria and guidance on meeting targets.  She emphasised that Members could get involved and enjoy the publicity of being part of the grant process.


The Chairman noted that the National Lottery reviewed areas they had given money to and wondered if the Council did the same.


The Community Development Manager said that they had not done so to date, but that it was in the work programme to review.  The new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Health & Scrutiny (Standing Item) (Agenda Item 9)

To receive an update on the Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee.


Mr Kybird circulated a diagram of the new organisational set-up of Norfolk Health Scrutiny.  Norfolk would continue to operate a Joint Health Scrutiny Panel although it was not a statutory duty.  District Council appointees to the Panel had to also be members of the County Scrutiny Panel.  There would be regular meetings.  Members of the public could attend Panel meetings.


There would be briefing sessions for new County Councillors on the changes to Health Scrutiny and it was suggested that it would be good for the Commission to receive that briefing.


Mrs Turner was aware that Breckland was touched by three Clinical Commissioning Groups and she had sought guidance on the role of the District Council as it was not appropriate or experienced enough to give advice.  Mr Kybird said that it was difficult to know the level of involvement until Policy was set.


Mr Bambridge was aware that one of the concerns of members of the public was the ambulance service.  He asked what was happening to it.


Mr Kybird confirmed that the ambulance service had been scrutinised twice in the past nine months by the Scrutiny Panel.  Any change in the type or level of provision had to come to the Panel to ensure equitable provision across the whole County.  In response to concerns about ambulances queuing outside the hospital the Chief Executive had reported to the Panel and said that changes were being made.


Mrs Canham said that people that lived on the edge of the district might come under Suffolk Health Authority.  She asked if there was any joint scrutiny and was advised that there was, particularly for mental health.



Scrutiny Call-ins (Standing Item) (Agenda Item 10) pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To note whether any decisions have been called-in for scrutiny.


A Minute extract regarding the reference from the Commission to the Cabinet meeting held on 12 February 2013 is attached for Members’ information.  


It was noted that Cabinet had agreed to the Commission’s recommendation regarding the land at Mackenzie Road.



Councillor Call for Action (Standing Item) (Agenda Item 11)

To consider any references.




Work Programme (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 65 KB

(a)               A copy of the Commission’s work programme is attached.  The Commission is asked to agree any additions, deletions or amendments to the programme as appropriate.


(b)        Member Issues:  In accordance with the Commission’s protocol for member leadership, which states that members of the Commission will take the lead in selecting topics for overview and scrutiny and in the questioning of witnesses, members are invited to put forward items for selection for future review.


A copy of the Forward Plan is attached for Members’ information.

Additional documents:


The Health Scrutiny briefing mentioned by Mr Kybird at Agenda Item 9 would be added to the Work Programme. 


Mr Kybird also suggested that Members should be aware of the Emergency Response Plan.  Mrs Turner said that communities were being encouraged to have an emergency plan.  Plans could be very simple or major action plans and could include information on what to do in the event of specific contingencies; identifying places of safety, listing resources, etc.


It was agreed that Community Resilience and Members’ involvement in that should be included on the next agenda.  Mrs Turner said that the Emergency Planning Officer would come to the meeting.


It was clarified that although there were no meetings shown on the draft work programme for June and July they were still scheduled to go ahead – but agenda items had not yet been put forward.  The Scrutiny Officer was in the process of arranging a workshop for Members facilitated by the Training Officers, to formulate topics for future discussion.


Next Meeting (Agenda Item 13)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on 16 May 2013 at 2.00pm in the Anglia Room, Elizabeth House, Dereham NR19 1EE.



The arrangements for the next meeting on 16 May 2012 at 2pm in the Anglia Room were noted.