Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2012.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2012 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Vice-Chairman.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence had been received from Cllrs Duffield and Williams. The absence of Cllr Quadling was noted.
Declaration of Interest
Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.
The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a personal or prejudicial interest.
Cllr A Steward declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 9 – Breckland, Gt. Yarmouth & South Holland Shared Management, by virtue of being a Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development.
The Chief Executive declared a personal interest in the same Agenda item with regard to page 56 paragraph 4.5.
To note whether the Chairman proposes to accept any item as urgent business, pursuant to Section 100(B)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
Neil Fordham (present for that Agenda Item only) tabled to all Members a copy of the completed Pay Policy for Members’ information, with a scheduled implementation date of 31 March 2012. The HR Manager advised that it was a factual statement. Due to the Localism Bill implemented at the end of 2011, and the tight timeframe, it had not been possible to follow the normal scrutiny path of the Local Joint Consultative Committee and the General Purposes Committee, although it would in future years. It would form part of the Council Agenda on 23 February 2012.
To adopt the unconfirmed minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee held on 26 January 2012.
It was noted that the word ‘sort’ had been incorrectly spelt, and should read ‘sought’ with regard to the recommendation at Minute No. 6/12.
Subject to the above it was,
RESOLVED to adopt the unconfirmed Minutes of the Local Joint Consultative Committee meeting held on 26 January 2012.
Report of the Human Resources Manager.
The HR Manager presented the report which outlined the options for the delivery of corporate Health and Safety for Breckland Council, and for Members’ benefit, she gave some background information.
Cllr Kybird stated that most Health & Safety Policies included a clear definition as to who would be the first point of contact, and he felt the Policy gave no clue to Contractors as to who they should communicate to, he also questioned who in the Council had knowledge of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations. The HR Manager explained that there would be a selection of procedures sitting underneath the Corporate H & S Policy Statement which would set out Health and Safety practice. Her interpretation as to what would happen if a building was to be constructed, would be that a procedure would set out in specific terms how contractors would be dealt with. Following comments from the LJCC on 26 January 2012, the overarching Corporate H & S Policy Statement had been amended as shown on page 17 of the Agenda, with reference to Construction Design and Management related activities.
In answer to a question raised by Cllr Kybird as to whether the procedures would be completed in time for the 6 month review, she stated a lot of work had already been completed on them. She advised the aim was for Managers and staff to take more responsibility with regard to their own health and safety, with the Chief Executive having ultimate responsibility.
She confirmed that all the procedures would go to the General Purposes Committee.
Cllr Kybird wanted it noted that a second tier of procedures would come through, and the Vice Chair agreed that this would be minuted.
RECOMMEND to Council that :
a. Health and Safety is delivered internally by the HR and Environmental Health Teams with support from Norfolk County Council
b. A joint Health and Safety Policy is adopted by both Breckland District Council and South Holland District Council and options for partnership working are explored to increase efficiency
c. A new service delivery methodology is adopted incorporating manager and employee self-service and online tools to reduce reliance on Officers in HR and Environmental Health
d. A review is conducted in 6 months to monitor activity and resources required
To note that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 at 10.00 a.m.
The arrangements for the next meeting on 7 March 2012 at 10.00 a.m in the Norfolk Room were noted.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider passing the following resolution :
“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded for the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1, 2 and 4 of the Schedule 12A to the Act”.
ITEMS FROM WHICH THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC ARE EXCLUDED
RESOLVED that under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involved the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Breckland, Great Yarmouth & South Holland Shared Management
Report of the Leader
Cllr Steward declared a personal interest as she was a Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development.
The Chief Executive presented the draft report that would go to the three Councils to consider a joint management arrangement between the authorities.
Key benefits for Breckland Council would be further savings, additional capacity within the structure and it would further cement Breckland’s political position as a Member led authority, and enshrine the principles entered into with South Holland.
Cllr Borrett stated that given the overall size of the budget he did not believe the savings for Breckland to be very big, and was concerned that costs being shared across the three authorities were inequitable, and thought that a different arrangement would have been in place given that Breckland had been through the process before. The Chief Executive stated that apportionment of costs had been discussed through the three Leaders, and that maybe a further conversation with the Leader of Breckland Council could take place.
Cllr English asked what was meant by the job title, Director of Place. He could not see why a more appropriate title could not be found, as he believed the title did not convey anything to anybody. The Chief Executive explained that the “Place block” was part of the organisation that worked with Members on their priorities and how they wanted to shape the place of Breckland; he agreed to give further thought as to a better description for that Director, and if Members had any ideas on an alternative title, to pass them to him for consideration.<1>
Cllr Steward congratulated Breckland and South Holland on what they had already achieved during their time working together, and whilst the initial savings of the proposal were not as dynamic as she would have hoped to achieve, there would be opportunities for savings in the future.
There were different structures within the three authorities and Cllr Borrett asked if Members could do anything to make the way meetings and structures were common across the three authorities without diminishing local accountability in each Council. The Chief Executive gave examples of where alignment had already taken place and stated that the Monitoring Officer was looking at how the Constitutions could be aligned.
The requirement of Officers and Members being flexible in developing new ways of working was felt by Cllr Steward to cover Cllr Borrett’s concerns with regard to consideration of the cost implications.
The Chief Executive, Assistant Director of Commissioning, Environmental Health & Building Control Manager, HR Manager and Senior HR Advisor left the room.
Members were not aware of what elected Members at Gt Yarmouth and South Holland had said about the proposals, or of any plans for a proposed meeting to enable Members from the three authorities to meet. They felt it was crucially important for Members to get together before making a decision.
The Directors, Managers and Officers returned to the room.
The Chief Executive believed that the benefits to all three authorities were equal ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
Environmental Health & Licensing Review
Report of the Assistant Director, Commissioning.
The Assistant Director of Commissioning presented the report which was to request authorisation to implement changes in the Environmental Health and Licensing Service at South Holland Breckland. He summarised the structure charts in the Appendices and the rationale of the proposals. The proposed model/structure was scalable and expandable.
Whilst Cllr Bambridge was very pleased that local teams were being kept, he believed it unreasonable that the Environmental Health and Licensing Teams should pay for the secure and effective IT connection, and that thought should be given as to which actual departments paid for the ‘pipe’ connection.
The Pro Forma B was explained by the Assistant Director of Commissioning, and with regard to ICT, the IT Team had led the proposals as well as working on wider negotiations about the future of the service. Mobile and remote working was a firm part of the proposal.
Cllr Sherwood who was Chairman of the Licensing Committee was very pleased that independent teams for Licensing would be kept. It was crucial to have one IT system and migration to the Lalpac system had already been done, however he had serious concerns with regard to staffing and time, should there be a need to migrate to another IT system. He asked for assurances that there would be sufficient staffing capacity and that inspections would be carried out by suitably trained staff.
He had attended a Westminster Briefing on the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act. Attendees, consisted of members from the Home Office, Magistrates Association and Institute of Licensing, Police Officers as well as Councillors and Officers and had a high level of experience and knowledge, and when asked if they thought the changes would result in more decisions being taken to Appeals, 75% believed that would be so, which would create more work for the Licensing Team. He therefore asked for assurances that the proposals would not be to the detriment of the service standard.
In response to Cllr Sherwood’s concerns with regard to Lalpac, the Assistant Director of Commissioning explained that they had been working with Members and colleagues at South Holland to show them both the differences and benefits in being on the same platform as Breckland. He was confident the Licensing Team would meet and exceed the standards and the proposed structure would not be to the detriment of the service. Job Descriptions would be revisited after formal consultation, and staff would be trained appropriately to undertake the work required.
With regard to balancing charging and income, any new work would be reflected in charges. As exact staff resource costs were known as were the costs of undertaking precise pieces of work, all the information was available to reflect the true cost of charges moving forward.
Cllr English had asked at the previous General Purposes to be provided with details of salary scales to enable Grades to be quantified for each post and asked that it be borne in mind for future Committees along with diagrams printed in colour, as he found ... view the full minutes text for item 19.