Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Committee Services  01362 656870

Note: SPECIAL JOINT MEETING WITH AUDIT COMMITTEE 

Items
No. Item

Mr. J.P. Cowen - In the Chair

1.

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs. S. Miller and Messrs. A. Byrne, R. Childerhouse, K. Gilbert and J. Gretton.

2.

Declaration of Interest

Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that 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 person or prejudicial interest.

Minutes:

The following declarations were made:

 

  • Mr. R.G. Kybird – Personal interest by virtue of his profession as a local builder and user of services
  • Mr. S.G. Bambridge – Personal interest by virtue of his business profession and user of services
  • Mr. J.P. Cowen – Personal interest by virtue of his profession as an Architect in practice in the district and user of services.

3.

Non-Members wishing to address the Meeting

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

Minutes:

Members

 

Mr. W.P. Borrett

Councillor C. Bowes

Mrs. M.P. Chapman-Allen

Mr. P.D. Claussen, Executive Member, Economic & Commercial

Mr. P.J. Duigan

Lady Fisher, Executive Member, Governance

Councillor E. Gould, Chairman, Development Control Committee

Mr. J.P. Labouchere

Mr. D. Myers

Mr. W.H.C. Smith, Executive Member, Business Transformation

Mrs. A. Steward, Executive Member, Planning & Environment

 

Representatives from Capita Symonds

 

Mr. Ian Edward, Commercial Director

Ms. Sarah Hetherington, Human Resources Adviser

Mr. David Jolley, Planning & Building Control Director

Mr. Robert Proctor, Pensions Manager

Mr. David Spencer, Executive Director

Mr. Mark Todman, Transition Director

4.

Proposed Externalisation of Planning & Building Control (Agenda Item 6 - Part A)

Report of the Executive Member (Business Transformation).

Minutes:

With regard to the order of business, the Chairman announced that the key principles involved in this matter would be considered first in open session, with other exempt matters being considered later in the meeting following due consideration of a motion to exclude the press and public.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive then introduced the report and summarised the background to the issues and proposals as set out in the report.

 

The Chairman explained that an amendment to part (i) of the recommendation was proposed by the insertion of the words “subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence and the Member Assessment Panel,” between lines 2 and 3.

 

It was clarified that the intent of the amendment was to require the Deputy Chief Executive to report back on the outcome of the due diligence process, bearing in mind that a Member Assessment Panel had been established to feed back into the process.

 

Upon being put to the vote, the amendment was carried and the Committee agreed to recommend to Council that the Council’s Planning and Building Control Services be contracted out to Capita Symonds Limited for a term of 15 years commencing on 1st April 2009, subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence and its consideration by the Member Assessment Panel, at a price and otherwise in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the report.

 

The bid had been negotiated around the following five key outcome criteria (as set out in paragraph 3 of the report):

 

        i.      Significant income to the Council

      ii.      Substantial efficiency savings

    iii.      Improvements in the quality of the planning and building control services

     iv.      Strong governance arrangements for the effective delivery of a contract

       v.      Provision for the return of strong planning and building control services upon the termination of the contract

 

Members then questioned the representatives from Capita Symonds at length.  Questioning was concentrated around the following issues:

 

  • The provisions for the return of the service to the Council upon termination of the contract.
  • Whether the same level of access to planning officers currently enjoyed by elected members and the public would be maintained.
  • The ability and expertise within the company to maintain progress on the key projects of Thetford Growth Point and the Local Development Framework, as well as maintaining performance levels generally.
  • The provisions for the transfer and retention of existing staff, including pension provisions.
  • The scope for growth and improvements in the provision of the service, in particular regarding the upgrading of the OCELLA planning system to provide for on-line planning applications.
  • The provisions relating to efficiency savings and improvements.
  • The implications from Local Government Review (LGR).
  • Contract costs and implications on costs arising from changes in service demands and income share and profit provisions.
  • Governance arrangements.
  • Provisions as to support services.

 

Assurances were given by the Capita Symonds representatives that there were no specific proposals affecting the level of access to officers enjoyed by members, although improvements to systems and the service generally over time  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

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 public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.”

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

6.

Proposed Externalisation of Planning & Building Control (Agenda Item 6 - Part B)

Minutes:

Questioning continued in more detail, looking at specific aspects of the contract and the business case in relation to the due diligence process.  It was acknowledged a number of issues remained to be clarified and firmed up as part of this process and these were identified and discussed.

 

In conclusion, members were satisfied that the proposals could be supported.

 

It was noted that recommendation (vi) in the report had been duly approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on 13 January 2009.

 

RECOMMEND TO THE COUNCIL that, on the basis of the evaluation of Capita’s tender against criteria specified by Executive Members (but subject, in addition, to paragraph 49 of the report),

 

(1)         the Council’s Planning and Building Control Services be contracted out to Capita Symonds Limited for a term of 15 years commencing on 1st April 2009, subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence and to consideration by the Member Assessment Panel, at a price and otherwise in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the report;

(2)         authority be delegated to the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Assistant Director (Governance) and Portfolio Holder for Business Transformation, to settle the detailed terms and conditions of the contract and execute the agreement with Capita on behalf of the authority, provided that in the opinion of the Portfolio Holder they accord with, and give effect to, the five criteria set out in paragraph 3 of the report;

(3)         authority be delegated to the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chief Executive and Assistant Director (Governance), to take any step that is required to secure the implementation of the contract, including the power to make any decision in respect of staff and other resources within the planning and building control establishment and their associated support services and to specify a date for the commencement of the contract;

(4)         notwithstanding the general delegations set out in paragraphs (2) and (3) above, the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Assistant Director (Governance), be required to report any change to any provision affecting or likely to materially affect the value of the contract to the Council to the Cabinet before the contract is executed; and

(5)         approval be given for the creation (within budget) of a contract monitoring officer post at grade 7 or 8 (subject to job evaluation).