Agenda and minutes

Service Delivery Committee
Tuesday, 21st March, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Offices, Station, Wigston. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@oadby-wigston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

48.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillors Ms K M Chalk and Mrs L Eaton.

49.

Appointment of Substitutes

To appoint substitute Members in accordance with Rule 4 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

50.

Declarations of Interest

Members are reminded that any declaration of interest should be made having regard to the Members’ Code of Conduct. In particular, Members must make clear the nature of the interest and whether it is 'pecuniary' or ‘non-pecuniary'.

Minutes:

None.

51.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 17 January 2017

To read, confirm and sign the minutes of the previous meeting in accordance with Rule 17 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on 17 January 2017 to be taken as read, confirmed and signed.

52.

Action List Arising from the Meeting held on 17 January 2017 DOCX 32 KB

Minutes:

In respect of the action points marked ‘Facilities Services Update’ (Minute Ref: 45), Councillor J W Boyce stated that a full viability study ought to be commissioned across all car parks in the Borough, not just restricted to car parks at Kirkdale Road and Countesthorpe Road, South Wigston. The viability study was to fully explore the feasibility and suitability of the options for parking regulations, restrictions and potential for appropriate charging vis-a-vis the costs of management and enforcement and parking requirements between the Borough’s three town centres.

 

The Chair made reference to the possible introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems as a means to enforcing parking regulations.

 

Councillor Mrs L M Broadley stated that viability study and accompanying report to be brought to this Committee should not be delayed for too much longer.

 

RESOLVED THAT:

 

The Action List be noted by Members.

53.

Petitions and Deputations

To receive any Petitions and, or, Deputations in accordance with Rule 24 of Part 4 of the Constitution.

Minutes:

None.

54.

Community Services Update DOCX 864 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 13 - 20) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Community Services Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager added that there were two legal avenues available to the Council to address the outstanding cases in respect of gas safety compliance: an application to the courts for an injunction once the Gas Safety Certificate had expired; or enforcement action under alternative legislation, (viz. Environmental Protection Act 1990) to commence action at an earlier date.

 

Councillor D M Carter enquired as to whether there was a possibility of an in-house bid by the Council for the Borough Wide Cleaning Contract (BWCC).

 

The Director of Services / Monitoring Officer and Interim Community Services Manager jointly-advised that there was hopeful of the same and that if any in-house bid was received it would be considered impartially. It was stated that any in-house bid would require extensive review and work to determine whether it was feasible.

 

Councillor Mrs L M Broadley stated that she was concerned at the possibility of no in-house bid being forthcoming given statements made at previous meeting of the Committee by Officers that there would be an in-house bid.

 

Councillor Miss A R Bond enquired as to the costing of the current contract and the numbers of staff involved.  In relation to Chartwell House, Oadby she stated that a number of complaints had been raised with standards of cleanliness by residents.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager advised that 90% of the current cleaning contract was already externalised, with the bulk completed by two separate contractors. The current in-house team was said to consist of one caretaker and three part-time cleaners totalling c. £250,000 per year. He stated that there were currently a lot of ad-hoc arrangements in place in terms of cleaning without any detailed specification on what was required on a daily/weekly basis. In relation to the tender process, a detailed specification had been drafted in consultation with all managers responsible for each building. He advised that the new BWCC was to be self-monitoring and monitored by the Council on a periodic basis to ensure the contractor was performing well and in accordance with the specification.

 

Councillor K J Loydall commended Officers’ work undertaken to reduce current and former tenant arrears and the progress made on empty/void properties. He further asked if any former tenant debts written-off could be written back-on in the future.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager advised that the write-off criterion had been agreed with the Finance and Accountancy Manager. Any debts over 6 years old were to be submitted for write-off: however, if a former tenant came back to live in the Borough or if it was found out where the tenant was currently residing, the debt could be re-instated.

 

Councillor L A Bentley asked how many empty/void properties there were within the Borough and how this interlinked with levying of Council Tax.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Disabled Facilities Grants and The Lightbulb Project DOCX 862 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 21 - 27) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Community Services Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor Mrs L M Broadley stated that there were no specified timeframes contained within the report in view of concerns that most adaptations, due to their very nature, applied for under Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG’s) were required soon as possible. She further enquired as to what written assurances had been received from Leicestershire County Council (LCC) confirming that the full amount allocated by the Government for 2017/18 for DFG’s would be received by this Council.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager advised that Lightbulb Project (LbP) had run several pilot schemes and the results, compared against other Borough and District Councils, were completed in a shorter timescales primarily due to the LbP having direct access to Occupational Therapists (OT’s). He stated that not all delays in commencing and, or, completing DFG’s were solely attributable to the Council but involved other factors, most notably awaiting receipts of details from the applicant. He advised that adaptation turnaround times were to be monitored monthly as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and reported back to this Committee every six months. He advised that assurances, albeit not in writing, had been provided by LCC but this could not account for subsequent policy changes in the changing political landscape.

 

Councillor J W Boyce stated that the LbP and OT’s ought to have a close, working relationship to commission adaptations that are both affordable and appropriate. He opined that turnaround times for adaptations were also affected by the comparative age of the applicant, insofar as the requirements of older applicants were generally more easily and quickly met vis-a-vis younger applicants. He emphasised the importance of a bespoke model of service-delivery in respect of each applicant.

 

Councillor L A Bentley sought assurances that this Council’s initial contribution (of £25,640) was ring-fenced and that no subsequent contributions would be sought during the first full year of operation if, for instance, another Leicestershire Borough or District withdrew from the LbP. He said he was uneasy about this uncertainty.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager advised that the withdrawal of a constituent authority could entertain the possibility of an increased figure-share contribution from this Council towards the administration costs of the LbP.

 

Councillor K J Loydall raised concerns in respect of: the holding and ownership of the LbP contract(s), the responsibility of the client-facing function; the restricted access to information to properly carry out governance checks; and the potential liabilities arising from the termination of the existing contract. He noted that no answer had been received to his question put at an earlier meeting of the Committee (held on 05 July 2016) in respect of whether the £1m start-up grant awarded to the LbP was still current. The Member further enquired as to: whether the discretionary top-up funding provided year-on-year by this Council was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Review of Pest Control Service DOCX 876 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendices (at pages 28 - 35) and the supplementary agenda update (at pages 1 - 8) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Community Services Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor L A Bentley opined that report was based on too many ill-defined assumptions and that an exact, fully-itemised specification of services and costs was required so that Members could make a fully-informed and evidence-based decision.

 

Councillors D M Carter and Mrs L M Broadley stated that the Council should approach the matter as private-sector based business opportunity insofar as to capitalise on the existing and widely appraised in-house expertise to provide a Council-ran competitively-price and high-quality service(s) to residents in this and neighbouring Boroughs and Districts. Councillor L M Broadley added that a 12-month review period ought to be considered to provide a sufficient-enough evidence base.

 

Councillor Dr T K Khong stated that a 12-month review period was more advantageous so to account for the seasonal variation in demand for services. He further enquired as to whether the review and the provision of services were predicated upon the existing Scale of Fees and Charges or a proposed, revised Scale.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager stated that comparative study of the public and private-sector charging structure(s) was first required to be able to respond.

 

Councillor Mrs S Z Haq enquired as to whether any local assessment had hitherto been undertaken to ascertain market-driven demand for additional services.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager reported that no local assessment had been undertaken apart from those case studies obtained from other local authorities.

 

Councillor K J Loydall recommended a 12-month review period together with incremental reports being brought back to this Committee to ascertain whether a sufficient enough evidence base has been accumulated to justify a continued review.

 

The Chair and Councillor G A Boulter advocated that an six-month review period was adequately indicative to provide a sufficient-enough evidence base in order to ascertain whether a private-sector based business opportunity was achievable. A six-month timeframe was said to allow the Council to gauge the local, market-driven demand, to assess all the options available and implement any changes that may be necessary ahead of the end of the financial year 2017/18.

 

Councillor J W Boyce moved that:

 

(i)        A review of the Council’s pest control services be undertaken over a period of six-months, with an update report to be brought back to the next meeting of the Committee scheduled for June 2017; and

(ii)       The Community Services Manager be granted delegated authority do anything necessary to give effect to the above at (i) including, but not limited to, undertaking all the necessary steps and actions required to:

 

(a)       deal with any and all residual matters to otherwise promote and deliver a private-sector based business model in relation to pest control services;

(b)       determine the appropriate benchmarking and setting of any revised Scale of Fees and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Oadby and Wigston Advisory Services DOCX 858 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report and appendix (at pages 36 - 42) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Community Services Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor D M Carter enquired as to: whether both Helping Hands and Citizens Advice Leicestershire were jointly-involved in the provision of advisory services (i.e. immigration advice) to asylum seekers (at page 38); and  if there was any identifiable reason to explain the sudden decrease and increase in employment and immigration-related issues in quarter three, respectively (at page 39).

 

The Interim Community Services Manager stated that the provision of basic advice was jointly-delivered by both organisations and asylum seekers signposted between the two. The decrease in employment-related issues was possibly due to fewer appointments during seasonal period and the increase in immigration-related issues due to the establishment of Kennedy House, South Wigston as an asylum centre.

 

Councillor J W Boyce enquired as to whether the two organisations were duly-licensed to provide immigration advice in light of the recent changes in legislation: if they were not licensed, their role was to direct and signpost advisees accordingly.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager stated that he would revert back.

 

Councillor D M Carter moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 36).

 

Councillor J W Boyce seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The contents of the report be noted by Members.

58.

Corporate Enforcement Update DOCX 863 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 43 - 47) as delivered and summarised by the Interim Community Services Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor L A Bentley commended the important and efficient work undertaken by the Clean and Green Team.

 

The Member further requested that the Council make better use of its full prosecutorial powers towards irresponsible dog-owners and flight-tippers and to publicise successful prosecutions using the appropriate communication channels (viz. Letterbox, the Council’s website, social media etc.) to widely-instil a deterrent to others.

 

The Director of Services informed Members that a letter had been sent to Leicestershire County Council (LCC) outlining the Council’s concerns

 

Councillor Mrs S Z Haq enquired as to whether the itemised price-tariff for the disposal of non-household items at the Oadby Recycling and Household Waste Site (from April 2016) had increased occurrences of fly-tipping within the Borough.

 

The Interim Community Services Manager stated that the requested information was not immediately available to draw a conclusion on the matter at the present time. He advised that a record was being kept of fly-tipping occurrences within the Borough and the associated clean-up costs incurred to the Council and that that the situation would continue to be monitored closely and Members informed periodically.

 

Councillor Mrs L M Broadley welcomed the’ fly-tipping’ and ‘accumulations’ definitions provided at paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8 of the report (at page 45). She further enquired as to whether the definition(s) and enforcement action(s) applied to occurrences to the rear of privately-owned commercial premises (viz. refuse areas).

 

The Interim Community Services Manager stated that he would seek clarification on the legal position in relation to occurrences on commercial premises.

 

Councillor Miss A R Bond expressed concern regarding the accumulation of rubbish in the wooded area/copse adjacent to ASDA on Leicester Road, Oadby (A6) and the perceived lack of responsibility taken by the legal proprietor(s). She requested that enquires be made to identify the responsible legal proprietors of the land in question.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 43).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The contents of the report be noted by Members.

59.

Leisure Services Update DOCX 874 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 48 - 54) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor Mrs L M Broadley enquired as whether the requirement of a further, composite report and capital scheme in relation to car parking at Brocks Hill Country Park / Parklands Leisure Centre (at paragraph 3.7) was to present a further delay on the urgent realisation of a footpath to the site from Wigston Road, Oadby.

 

The Interim Chief Finance Officer stated that a c. £40k provision within the capital programme was earmarked for the footpath which was best combined into a single, capital scheme to make better financial and logistical sense. He advised that no delay was envisaged by the bringing forward of a composite report and scheme.

 

Councillor D M Carter moved the recommendation(s) as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 59).

 

The Chair seconded the recommendation(s).

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

(i)     The information provided within the report be noted by Members;

(ii)    The endorsement and promotion of the range of opportunities to the wider audience, including volunteering, be furthered by Members.

60.

Facilities Services Update DOCX 857 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 55 - 56) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor Mrs S Z Haq requested that the periodic failing of street lights on Sandhurst Street, Oadby, and the long elapses of time between the reporting and fixing of the same, be investigated and the Highways Authority informed.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 55).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The information provided within the report be noted by Members.

61.

Operations Services Update DOCX 854 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 57 - 58) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

The Chair moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 57).

 

Councillor D M Carter seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The information provided within the report be noted by Members.

62.

Customer Services Transformation Update DOCX 852 KB

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 59 - 60) as delivered and summarised by the Director of Services / Monitoring Officer which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.

 

Councillor K J Loydall moved the recommendation as set out at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 59).

 

The Vice-Chair seconded the recommendation.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED THAT:

 

The information provided within the report be noted by Members.

 

The Chair expressed his gratitude to Members of the Committee for their assistance and contributions to debates throughout the municipal year.