Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board
Thursday, 3rd January, 2019 6.45 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Penrith

Contact: Members Services  01768 817 817

Items
No. Item

SCb/52/01/19

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Tonkin, Councillor Robinson attended as substitute.

SCb/53/01/19

Minutes

To confirm and approve the minutes SCb/40/11/18 to SCb/42/11/18  of the extraordinary meeting of this Board held on 15 November 2018 and SCb/43/11/18 to SCb/51/11/18 of the meeting of this Board held on 15 November 2018 as a correct record of those proceedings (copies previously circulated).

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes SCb/40/11/18 to SCb/42/11/18 of the extraordinary meeting of this Board held on 15 November 2018, and the minutes SCb/43/11/18 to SCb/51/11/18 of the meeting of this Board held on 15 November 2018 were confirmed as a correct record of those proceedings.

SCb/54/01/19

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of the existence and nature of any private interests, both disclosable pecuniary and any other registrable interests, in any matter to be considered or being considered.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at this meeting.

SCb/55/01/19

Portfolio Holder Update pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Resources Portfolio Holder to update the Board on progress against their portfolio plan. A copy of the Portfolio Plan is attached for information.

Minutes:

The Board received an update from the Resources Portfolio Holder on the work being undertaken within their portfolio plan during 2018-2019.

 

She updated members on the following points:

 

·         Members were still frustrated with the quality of the IT provided to them. The Resources Portfolio Holder stated that there were issues with IT at an infrastructure level, but encouraged Members to respond to the survey which had been sent out by the IT Shared Services Manager. It was requested whether a workshop could be set up for Member’s benefit with IT, to have a session regarding IT equipment. The Member Services Team Leader was requested to action this.

·         The low level of attendance at Member training sessions was noted. The Resources Portfolio Holder expressed an opinion that all training sessions within a year should be scheduled at the same time as the calendar of meetings, with a prepared annual training calendar.

·         Concern was raised at the fact that the draft budget for 2019-2020 showed a deficit, however the Resources Portfolio Holder was content that the budget was a prudent one, and that any slippage was accounted for.

·         With the latest failure of the Castle Park group to secure lottery funding, the Resources Portfolio Holder feels that the money which had been set aside to work with the Castle Park group should be spent on improvements there, though that would fall under the Communities Portfolio.

·         Council Tax processing had taken a slight dip in performance, however this could be attributed to the integration of new software, which hadn’t gone as smoothly as was hoped. It was expected that should return to normal levels of processing quickly.

 

The Chairman thanked the Resources Portfolio Holder for her update.

 

The Resources Portfolio Holder left the meeting at 7.20pm.

SCb/56/01/19

Planning Enforcement update

To receive a presentation from the Development Manager, Planning Services on the work Eden District Council does with regard to Planning Enforcement.

Minutes:

Members received a detailed presentation from the Planning Services Development Manager on the work that Eden District Council does with regard to planning enforcement.

 

Members requested that the slides had been shown to Members of the Board should be distributed to all Members of the Council, along with copies of the Local Enforcement Plan. The Local Enforcement Plan should also be distributed to all parish council clerks, to enable them to inform all Parish Councils of the availability of the plan.

 

RESOLVED that the update be noted.

 

The Chairman thanked the Planning Services Development Manager for his presentation.

 

The Planning Services Development Manager left the meeting at 8.03pm.

SCb/57/01/19

Reports from Scrutiny Committee Meetings

To receive verbal updates from the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen.

Minutes:

The Board received a verbal update from the Chairman of the Housing and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED that the updates from the Chairman of the Housing and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Environment and Economy Scrutiny Committee be noted.  

SCb/58/01/19

Budget Scrutiny Review 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To consider report G2/19 from the Chairman of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group which is attached and which proposes to submit the comments, conclusions and recommendations of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group 2019-2020.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS that:

 

That the final report of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group 2019-2020 be approved including the following recommendations:

(1)          That the Budget Scrutiny process should have members from all recognised political groups, and that a number of standing deputies should be recruited at the same time as volunteers are sought.

(2)          That officers be instructed to do research into how other Council’s manage their Budget Scrutiny process with a view to streamlining the process in the future. The outcome of such research should then be reported back to this Review Group.

(3)          That the practise of the circulation of budget papers in addition to meeting notes, allowing them to consider recommendations in greater detail should continue on a permanent basis.

(4)          That to make most efficient use of Executive Members, Officers’ and Members of Budget Scrutiny Review Group’s time, during the budget setting process, one single day should be set aside and all Portfolio Holder budget meetings should be held on that day, to be agreed when the Calendar of Meetings for the forthcoming year is being prepared.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered report G2/19 from the Chairman of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group which proposed to submit the comments, conclusions and recommendations of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group 2019-2020.

 

The Chairman of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group expressed his thanks to the Director of Finance, the Assistant Director Financial Services and the Member Services team for their assistance in the work of the Budget Scrutiny Review Group.

 

RESOLVED that the Executive be recommended to approve the following recommendations from the Budget Scrutiny Review Group:

 

1.            That the Budget Scrutiny process should have members from all recognised political groups, and that a number of standing deputies should be recruited at the same time as volunteers are sought.  

 

2.            The officers be instructed to do research into how other Council’s manage their Budget Scrutiny process with a view to streamlining the process in the future. The outcome of such research should then be reported back to this Review Group.

 

3.            That the practise of the circulation of budget papers in addition to meeting notes, allowing them consider recommendations in greater detail should continue on a permanent basis.

 

4.            That to make the most efficient use of Executive Members, Officers and Members of Budget Scrutiny Review Groups time, during the budget setting process, one single day should be set aside and all Portfolio Holder budget meetings should be held on that day, to be agreed when the Calendar of Meetings for the forthcoming year is being prepared.

SCb/59/01/19

Increasing Participation - Final Report pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider report G1/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which is attached and which asks Members to consider findings and recommendations of the Increasing Participation task and finish scrutiny group.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS that the Board:

 

(1)          comment upon the final report which is attached as appendix 1 to this report;

(2)          recommend the findings of the draft report to the Executive, subject to any comments of the Board, as follows:

(i)    there be an increase in ongoing publicity on the role/work of the Council including:

·          regular press releases/social media presence,

·          improvements to information on Eden District Council’s website; and

·          the production of an easy guide to which Council has responsibility for which service;

(ii)   Group Leaders be recommended to take a non-partisan approach and nominate experienced Councillors to act as mentors for new Councillors;

(iii)  Members of the Task and Finish Group work with the Assistant Director Legal Services to develop an induction programme for new Councillors to include;

·          training sessions; and

·          support material such as; an induction booklet containing:

·          Council structure,

·          who’s who/leads for all areas,

·          Councillor role descriptions,

·          how Council makes decisions,

·          what Members must/should/can/can’t do,

·          the role of scrutiny,

·          how to approach casework,

·          mentoring/support networks,

·          procedures,

·          statutory declarations.

(3)       recommend the findings of the draft report to the District Returning Officer subject to any comments of the Board, as follows:

(i)   That there be an increase in ongoing publicity on the role/work of Councillors to encourage new candidates including:

·                posters;

·                press/social media releases;

·                improvements to information on Eden District Council’s website; and

·                a day in the life of a Councillor to illustrate how a good work/life balance can be achieved.

(ii)   That a booklet be developed for prospective candidates to include:

·          the election process – signposting to the Electoral Commission Information rather than re-inventing wheel;

·          support available before/after elections;

·          Councillor role descriptors – what Councillors must/should/can do;

·          Members’ Code of conduct;

·          A typical meeting calendar to provide information regarding time commitments;  and

·          Organisational structure charts.

(iii)  That briefing sessions/open evenings be provided for potential candidates.

(iv)  That there be an increase in engagement regarding forthcoming elections with under-represented groups through organisations such as Awaz (who provide support to under-represented groups).

(v)   That there be an increase in contact with Secondary Schools and the Youth Parliament.

(4)          that the Deputy Chief Executive be instructed to forward this report to the Eden Association of Local Councils.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered report G1/19 from the Deputy Chief Executive which asked Members to consider findings and recommendations of the Increasing Participation Task and Finish Scrutiny Group.

 

Members of the Task and Finish group in attendance wished to extend their thanks to the Member Services Officer for all her help and the amount of work which had been put into the work of the Task and Finish Group.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1.            The Board recommended the findings of the draft report to Executive as follows:

 

(i)    There be an increase in ongoing publicity on the role/work of the Council including:

 

·         Regular press releases/social media presence,

·         Improvements to information on Eden District Council’s website; and

·         The production of an easy guide to which Council has responsibility for which service;

 

(ii)  Group Leader be recommended to take a non-partisan approach and nominate experienced Councillor to act as mentors for new Councillors;

 

(iii) Members of the Task and Finish Group work with the Assistant Director Legal Services to develop an induction programme for new Councillors to include:

 

·         Training sessions; and

·         Support material such as: an indication booklet containing:

·         Council structure,

·         Who’s who/leads for all areas,

·         Councillor role descriptions,

·         How Council makes decisions,

·         What members must/should/can/can’t do,

·         The role of scrutiny,

·         How to approach casework,

·         Mentoring/support networks,

·         Procedures

·         Statutory declarations.

 

2.            Recommend the findings of the draft report to the District Returning Officer as follows:

 

(i)            That there be an increase in ongoing publicity on the role/work of Councillors to encourage new candidates including:

Posters;

·         press/social media releases;

·         improvements to information on Eden District Council’s website and;        

·         a day in the life of a Councillor to l illustrate how good work/life balance can be achieved.

 

(ii)  That a booklet be developed for prospective candidates to include:

 

·         The election process – signposting to the Electoral Commission information rather than re-inventing the wheel;

·         Support available before/after elections

·         Councillor role descriptors – what Councillor must/should/can do;

·         Members’ Code of Conduct

·         A typical meeting calendar to provide information regarding time commitments; and

·         Organisational structure charts

 

(iii)         That briefing sessions/open evenings be provided for potential candidates.

 

(iv)         That there be an increase in engagement regarding forthcoming elections with under-represented groups through organisations such as Awaz (who provide support to under-represented groups).

 

(v)          That there be an increase in contact with Secondary Schools and Youth parliament.

 

3.            That the Deputy Chief Executive be instructed to forward this report to the Eden Association of Local Councils.

SCb/60/01/19

Treasury Management Transactions Report 1 April 2018 to 30 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To consider report F1/19 from the Director of Finance which is attached and which seeks to enable the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board to monitor the treasury management activities of the Council.

 

RECOMMENDATION that the report be noted.

Minutes:

Members considered report F1/19 from the Director of Finance which enabled the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board to monitor the treasury management activities of the Council.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

SCb/61/01/19

Scrutiny Work Plans 2018-2019 pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider report G3/19 from the Chairman of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board which is attached and which seeks to set out the current and possible future agenda items for the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board and Council Scrutiny Committees. The report invites suggestions for possible agenda items from all non-Executive Members.

 

RECOMMENDATION that any agenda items for the next or future meetings be agreed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered report G3/19 from the Chairman of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board which set out the current and possible future agenda items for the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Board and Council Scrutiny Committees. The report invited suggestions for possible agenda items from all non-Executive Members.

RESOLVED that no items be added to the work plan.

SCb/62/01/19

Any Other Items which the Chairman decides are urgent

Minutes:

No urgent items were discussed at this meeting.

SCb/63/01/19

Date of Next Scheduled Meeting

The date of the next scheduled meeting be agreed as 4 April 2019.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 4 April 2019.