Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall, Queen's Square, Priory Meadow, Hastings TN34 1QR
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Items No. Item
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2014 be approved as a correct record
The Head of Corporate Services presented a report to advise Members of the performance against 2014/15 targets and performance indicators in part II of the corporate plan. The report included a summary of financial information.
Members noted that the new banking contract with Lloyds bank went live from 1 December 2014, efforts would continue to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements by March 2015.
Discussion took place regarding the administration of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). The Head of Finance advised that it was likely the 2014/15 budget for DHP would be fully committed by the end of the financial year. The grant the council received from the government for allocation as DHP would be reduced by 33% in 2015/16. At its meeting on 2 February 2015, Cabinet had agreed to write to the local Member of Parliament regarding the budget for DHP. In line with the recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny review of changes to the welfare system, the Revenue and Benefits Service Manager had met with representatives of local advice agencies to discuss how the impact of DHP payments could be maximised. Consideration had also been given to supplementing the funding for DHP’s from the council’s budget.
Members were pleased to note that occupancy of the council’s industrial units remained high, despite the challenging economic climate. Councillor Birch added that a new tenant had recently been found for one of the industrial units which had been refurbished using funding from the Answers in the Carbon Economy (ACE) programme.
The Head of Finance explained that increased emphasis had been placed on the checking process for this service, this had enabled the council to achieve positive feedback as part of its audit report. Whilst the targets for council tax collection rates and the average number of days process change in circumstance information for council tax and housing benefit payments had not been met in this quarter, it was not considered necessary to review the overall targets at this time.
The committee thanked the Electoral Services team for ensuring a smooth transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER). The Head of Corporate Services acknowledged that this had been a challenging and complex project, and the team were continuing to refine their working practices. Members were keen to ensure that the changes to electoral registration did not adversely affect electors’ entitlement to vote. The Head of Corporate Services explained that the council had been allocated an additional grant to maximise the registration of electors. The Electoral Services team had recently held an event to encourage local students and young people to register to vote. Members considered the use of social media to raise awareness of the changes.
Members welcomed the introduction of tablet, to improve the accessibility of committee documents and reduce the need to produce printed meeting papers. The committee thanked all those involved in implementing the changes.
Discussion took place regarding the Overview and Scrutiny work programme. Members noted that an ambitious programme of reviews had been undertaken in ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
- Appendix A - Significant Contracts Schedule , item 19. PDF 49 KB
- Appendix B - East Sussex Procurement Hub Work Programme 2014/15 , item 19. PDF 210 KB
Councillor Roberts, as Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny review of outsourced contracts introduced the review team’s findings to the committee.
The purpose of the review had been to examine whether the council was achieving best practice in procurement. Members had considered the possible impact of reforms to procurement legislation by central government. The review team had also explored the council’s contract management arrangements, to ensure optimum results were received from outsourced services.
The Chief Auditor gave an overview of the review process. Throughout the review, Members had met with key stakeholders including East Sussex Procurement Hub, the Federation of Small Businesses and council officers with relevant contract management expertise to gather evidence and inform the recommendations arising from the review. Members also considered previous contracts which had been let, and good practice which could be applied to future procurement exercises.
The committee welcomed the recommendations from the review and thanked the review team for their report.
1) The sustainable procurement policy is updated and submitted to Cabinet for approval;
2) Procedures are embedded to readily assist transparency of social value built into procurement through the procurement initiation document template, and;
3) The Overview and Scrutiny committee are informed when training on public contracts regulations 2015 has been delivered
The reason for this decision was:
To ensure that the review findings and recommendations are reported and will be followed up.
The Senior Corporate and Democratic Services Officer provided an update on the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2014/15. Members continued to work on the two remaining reviews which had been identified as a high priority at the annual meeting in June.