Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee (01.01.2002 - 25.05.2017) - Thursday, 2nd October, 2014 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX. View directions

Contact: James Harris  Democratic Services Officer - 01730 234098

Items
No. Item

12.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors A Carew, L Evans, R Harris,

A Muldoon and I Thomas.

13.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s Announcements

14.

Confirmation of Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2014.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2014 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

15.

Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

16.

Financial Forecast at Quarter 1 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report enclosed.

 

FOR INFORMATION

Minutes:

Simon Little, Service Manager (Finance) introduced the report.  At this early stage there was a forecast deficit of £203k. 

 

In response to questions, the Executive Director explained that the reality of the Retained Business Rates scheme was not as simple as EHDC retaining 50% of the rates collected.  He referred to Appendix D of the report which illustrated that EHDC would retain approximately £2million out of a total collection of £30million. 

 

The committee sought some background to the potential IT overspend of up to £248k, as there had been an underspend the previous year.  In reply it was confirmed that this was being looked into and an overspend in any given year did not necessarily mean that the council was paying more for the service overall.  Concern was also raised that the cost of the joint waste contract with Winchester City Council was estimated to be £136k more than the original budget. The Executive Director confirmed that if the IT remained as a predicted overspend at Q2, a full explanation would be given in the report and a relevant officer in attendance to answer questions.

 

The committee received a presentation from the Executive Director on the property investments that the council had made.  Currently £1.5million remained in the fund and the investments already made were predicted to return £120,000 in 2014/15.

 

In response to questions on the Woolmer Trading Estate, he confirmed that it had historically and continued to realise a good return for the council.  It was on budget for this year and improvements had recently been made to the fabric of the units.

 

Following the discussion the committee NOTED the report.

17.

Performance Dashboard - Q1 2014-15 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Copies of the Q1 Performance Dashboard have been circulated under separate cover.

 

FOR DECISION

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered the report and made reference to the ways in which the public engaged with the council.  A suggestion was made that the telephone lines opened an hour earlier and closed an hour later.  In reply, the Executive Director explained that if contacting out of hours, research undertaken previously had concluded that residents would generally prefer to contact the council between 6pm and 8pm.  Whilst this would require resourcing, the technology existed to allow officers to work from home.  There was a team working on personalised customer engagement and options for the provision of an out of hours service would be considered. 

 

In response to questions, the staff sickness reporting process was explained.  The council took a robust and supportive approach and the committee was pleased to learn that the council’s sickness rate was below the private and public sector averages.

 

Recruitment was also discussed, with particular reference to Planning and Built Environment.  The committee encouraged new Planning Officers to speak with councillors in order to develop their knowledge of localities.

 

Following the discussion it was resolved that the report and the Q1 Performance Dashboard be NOTED.

18.

Freedom of Information Requests

At the invitation of the committee, a briefing will be given on the nature of the Freedom of Information Requests received by the Council, along with the costs incurred in responding to them.

 

FOR INFORMATION/DISCUSSION

Minutes:

The Executive Director gave a short presentation on Freedom of Information requests. 

 

Between 1 January and 15 July 2014, the council had received 415 Freedom of Information requests.  Of these, 146 had been from companies, 113 from the media and 45 from residents.