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 93 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2015.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2015 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 were received from Councillors C Carter and Irving.



Urgent Business (Agenda Item 3)

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.





Declaration of Interests (Agenda Item 4)

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate and must leave the room, for the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest. 


In the interests of transparency, Members may also wish to declare any other interests they have in relation to an agenda item, that support the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.





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.


Councillors Bambridge, Canham, T Carter, Chapman-Allen, Darby, Duigan, Turner and Wassell were in attendance.



Executive Member Portfolio Update (Agenda Item 6)

Councillor Lynda Turner, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services, has been invited to attend the meeting to update Members on key ongoing issues and policies within her portfolio and to answer any questions.


Councillor Turner, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Community & Environmental Services had been invited to update the Commission on the Environmental Services side of her portfolio.  She introduced Emily Spicer, Shared Environmental Services Manager.


The new kerbside Recycling Revolution had started on 1 October 2014 and ten road shows had been held to promote the improvements to the scheme and the additional items that could be recycled.  Quarter 3 had seen an increase in dry recyclables from 20.48% to 22.38%


Recent court cases for fly tipping offences had seen some successes with costs awarded to the Council and fines issued.  These matters were only taken to court when it was in the public interest.   There had been 150 fly tips reported by the public in Quarter 3 and 97% of those had been collected by the end of the next working day.  The Council was working closely with anti-social officers employed by Flagship. 


Members were encouraged to use the ‘Report It’ button on the Council’s website and to encourage their constituents to do the same.


The Serco contract was regularly monitored and in the recent Customer Survey they had achieved over 90% customer satisfaction. The amount of waste to landfill had reduced since November.  The business continuity plan was being reviewed. 


The Council’s decision to introduce a charge for providing waste bins to new properties had achieved a 100% take-up and in 2013/14 had resulted in £26,300 in income and for the current 2014/15 year that amount had risen to nearly £28,000. 


The good news story was that there had been savings made on the budget due to early payment discount.


Councillor Gilbert noted that the grass cutting season was approaching and he asked if there had been any progress on using machines which collected the grass cuttings.  The Environmental Services Manager said that she was working with Serco and looking at all options.


Councillor Joel was pleased to be able to report on a very prompt response by Serco to a call about missed bins.


The Vice-Chairman was pleased about the recent successful prosecution of a Thetford landlord for fly tipping.  There had been a discussion on Radio Norfolk about the cost of fly tipping in Norfolk as a whole and he wondered if there was any data on the cost to Breckland.  He felt that the Council needed to publicise their figures for responding to fly tipping reports to enforce the message that if the public reported it, it would be cleared.


The Deputy Leader agreed and added that sadly if fly tipped rubbish was left other people tended to add to it, so the sooner it could be reported the better.  Again she urged Members and Officers to pass on the message that fly tipping could be reported to the Council by phone or through the website.


Councillor Gilbert thought that phoning was not as successful as using the website as he was aware of a resident who had reported some fly tipping by phone that had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


ICT Contract (Agenda Item 7)

To receive a verbal update.


The Head of Information & Customer Access advised Members that he had been in post for a couple of weeks and he had been looking at the IT provision across both Councils.  He would give a verbal update and Simon Linsley and Steve Leggater (NCC – also new in post) were present to answer questions.


Progress had been made with the backlog of projects but there were still concerns as there were some critical deadlines approaching and resource issues had been identified.


There were currently 31 live projects of which eight were red, eight were orange, 11 were green and four were blue (complete).  Progress had been driven by Breckland interim staff.  A Governance Board was being put in place to monitor performance and to look at the project plans and risk register.  There was still a lack of performance data, despite repeated requests.


A meeting had been set up between NCC and CPBS (Compass Point Business Services) to progress some of the projects.


There was a need to invest in more permanent resources and it was proposed to get resources from the transformation reserve.  It had already been agreed to utilise internal audit to review end-to-end processes.


He then moved on to update Members on some of the on-going projects:


·         Members IT Refresh was on schedule and there would be a demonstration of the equipment at the next Council meeting.

·         Disaster Recovery was improving and should be completed in April.

·         PSN Compliance was due to be completed by the end of April but there were two areas where additional information was needed.

·         Desktop Refresh was behind schedule but two critical areas were being delivered (HR and Democratic Services).

·         Citrix Farm was being replaced to provide PSN compliance and enhanced functionality.  Due to the need for specific skills the Council had committed to support the NCC Server Team with an additional two engineers for four months.  The resource was within the current budgets.

·         Exchange Server (Mail) was an area of concern as the current system was approaching end of life and was not PSN compliant.


In conclusion progress was being made and plans were being put in place to address areas of concern and critical projects working alongside NCC and Compass Point.  More capacity and expertise were needed. 


The Head of Information & Customer Access said that he would welcome the opportunity to return to the Commission to provide further updates and was happy to answer any specific questions.


The Chairman thanked Mr Leggater for coming as the Commission had been trying to get someone from NCC to come and talk to them for some time.  Councillors and Officers were not happy with the level of service being provided.  Nor were they happy that they had found it necessary to recruit staff to do the job that they were paying NCC to do.  At least that was their perception.  It was a serious issue and as more and more responsibility was devolved to local level there was more and more reliance on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Task and Finish Groups (Agenda Item 8) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Report of the Leader of the Council, requesting a Task & Finish Group to consider the financial details and due diligence of the LABV project.


The Leader of the Council introduced the report as Chairman of the LABV (Local Asset Backed Vehicle) Board.


At the last full Council meeting the project Partner had been agreed and the Board were now undertaking some intense work before the matter was returned to Council to be finalised.  To ensure that due diligence was observed the report was suggesting that a Task & Finish Group (T&FG) should be involved.


The Strategic Property Manager then explained the reasons for the request and the importance of ensuring that the project created value for money.  The T&FG would be asked to independently review the detailed financial proposals. 


The proposal was in the ‘Financial and Legal Close’ stage and had to be completed by 26 March so it was a tight timescale.  Due to that he proposed that delegated authority be given to the T&FG to report directly to Council, rather than back to the Commission.


The Chairman suggested a Special, single item meeting of the Commission instead.


The Strategic Property Manager then turned to the composition of the T&FG.  Due to the complexity of the financial details it was proposed that six Members would be a manageable size and it was further suggested that some of those be selected from the Audit Committee as they would bring expertise to the Group.


The Leader of the Council drew attention to paragraph 1.9 of the report and emphasised the sensitive nature of the confidential information that the T&FG would be reviewing and asked Members to bear that in mind.

The Chairman had discussed the proposal with the Chairman of the Audit Committee and they had agreed that six would be a good number – three from Audit and three from Scrutiny and that those Members should have technical knowledge and provide representation form those areas where work would be carried out.  He proposed himself and Councillors Jermy and Kybird as representatives from the Commission.


He acknowledged the tight timescale but felt that one meeting would not be enough, three were needed. 


The proposed representatives from the Commission were agreed and it was confirmed that Councillor Jordan (Chairman of Audit) would decide on the three representatives from that Committee. 


The Strategic Property Manager asked for clarification of the meetings required and the Chairman said that there should be an initial briefing with Officers, then a meeting of the Members to decide what other information was needed and a final meeting in March.  The outcomes would be reported to a Special meeting of the Commission which would then make a report to Council.


Health Scrutiny (Agenda Item 9)

To receive an update on the Norfolk Health Scrutiny Committee.


The Chairman noted that a number of issues had been raised when the Commission had discussed the problems of Watton Medical Practice.  One issue was that there was no duty for health professionals or the NHS to be consulted on planning applications.


Councillor R Richmond had attended a meeting at which six surgeries had voiced concerns that they would not be able to cope with the additional patients from the large number of housing schemes coming forward in Dereham.  They had asked him to pass on their concerns to the Commission.


The Chairman said that it confirmed the issues previously identified.  There was a serious shortage of GPs in Breckland and the de-registration of patients that had happened in Watton might happen elsewhere.  Medical practices needed to be informed about future development to give them the opportunity to plan for increased patient numbers.  The Commission had discussed the possibility of lobbying MPs to change Planning Law to make medical people statutory consultees.


The Assistant Director Community said that housing growth and the retention of GPs were both issues.  Lincolnshire had similar problems.  Planning Authorities needed to get together with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to deal with the issues.  Meetings were taking place at high level to see how best to address planned housing growth and medical service provision.


Councillor Kybird said the issue of GP recruitment was the subject of a Task & Finish Group of the County Health Scrutiny Committee.  They were looking at the number of patients per GP and the number of appointments, which were both rising, causing an imbalance in the system.  There was also a need to focus on Care Homes.


Councillor Matthews pointed out that Swaffham Surgery had land and had wanted to expand but had been told they could not by the NHS.  Practices needed to lobby the NHS to tell them of their problems and raise awareness and then the NHS should lobby the Government.


The Deputy Leader noted that Shipdham Surgery wanted to expand to take on a new GP but had no money to build an extension.


Councillor Darby was aware that patients from the Watton Surgery were now being seen in Swaffham and dental patients from Swaffham travelled to Watton for treatment.  There would be problems when the new developments in Swaffham were built.


Councillor R Richmond thought that the medical practices were already lobbying but they had specifically asked the Commission for help.


The Assistant Director Community said the problems were recognised from an Officer point of view.  He asked Councillor Richmond to reassure the practices that conversations were happening.


Councillor Kybird reported that the Health Scrutiny Committee had been told that there was no need for new surgeries in the next ten years.  The GP services were commissioned by the NHS and there was a move to do that jointly with Primary Care Groups, but that was not currently linked to the provisions of buildings, etc.  Everything needed to be joined up.



Scrutiny Call-ins (Agenda Item 10)

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




Councillor Call for Action (Agenda Item 11)

To consider any references.




Work Programme (Agenda Item 12) pdf icon PDF 69 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 Key Decision Plan is attached for Members’ information.

Additional documents:


It was noted that the Capita contract would be on the Agenda for the next meeting and possibly Inspector Paul Wheatley who would be invited to report back on what the Police were doing with regard to the closure of Public Enquiry Offices.


The Leader of the Council advised that he had written to the Police on behalf of the Council about the lack of consultation on those closures.  He suggested that the Chief Constable should be invited rather than the Inspector, or whoever had carried out the review.


Next Meeting (Agenda Item 13)

To note the arrangements for the next meeting to be held on Thursday, 26 March 2015 at 2pm in the Anglia Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.


The next scheduled meeting would be on 26 March 2015 at 2pm (following full Council in the morning).


The date of the Special meeting was agreed as 17 March 2015 at 2pm in the Norfolk Room, Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham.