Agenda and minutes

Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 11 January 2018 7:00 pm

Venue: Ground Floor, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh SO50 9YN

Contact: Cheryll Kemsley, Democratic Services Officer Tel: 023 8068 8112 Email:  cheryll.kemsley@eastleigh.gov.uk  Natalie Wigman, Corporate Director Tel: 023 8068 8405 Email:  natalie.wigman@eastleigh.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

Vice-Chair in the Chair

In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chair, Councillor Cross, became the Chairman for this meeting.

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To consider the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was AGREED -

 

That the Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 9 November 2017 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

Councillor Pragnell expressed his disappointment that the Minutes did not fully convey the Panel’s concerns regarding the Hampshire County Council (HCC) proposed cuts to bus and community transport services, and the impact this would have on the vulnerable and the elderly in the community.

 

He requested that a copy of the letter to HCC be attached to these minutes.

24.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare interests in relation to items of business on the agenda.  Any interests declared will be recorded in the Minutes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest in relation to items of business on the agenda.

25.

Chairman's Report

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chairman, Councillor Cross advised that there was no report on this occasion.

26.

Late Reports pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Performance and Governance Manager, which had been deferred from the last meeting.

 

The report on this subject had been requested by the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Grajewski and related to the number of late reports being circulated after the main agenda had been published.

 

Agendas for committees were published eight days in advance. This was a statutory requirement and ensured there was enough notice to hold the meeting and information disseminated could be read and understood in advance.

 

Out of the 183 reports that went to Committee between January and December 2017, fifteen percent were published after the eight day statutory notice deadline. The majority were late due to valid reasons which were sometimes out of the Council’s control; however to ensure that late reports were minimised as far as possible, an improvement plan has been implemented which was set out in the report.

 

Councillor Grajewski, in attendance at the meeting, reiterated her concerns and frustrations since she had first raised the matter in April 2011. Since then she had raised it on a number of occasions with the Audit and Resources Committee and the external auditors, the latter of which had cited it as a specific issue in their report, with the understanding that any late reports would be monitored and the reasons logged. This process appeared to have slipped before it was fully embedded and late reports were happening again on a regular basis. She added that she was extremely disturbed that a late report regarding car park charges had recently been considered by Cabinet with less than two hours’ notice, and although she welcomed the reduction in car park charges, she urged this Panel, together with the Audit and Resources Committee, to get on top of the issue of late reports.

 

Councillor Pragnell stated that he shared Councillor Grajewski’s frustration, felt there was little substance in the report, and Appendix A did not contain a single reason why reports were late. The Lead Specialist for Performance and Governance (Elections and Democratic) responded that reasons for lateness had not been collected but would be from now on. Since the report she had delivered report writing training to the majority of report authors and had reiterated to them that late reports would not be accepted, except in exceptional circumstances.

 

The Panel understood that going through a complete service redesign over the last two years had had an impact on staff new and old; and that information from external sources had not always been available until the last minute. It was hoped that this would now settle down and, with training in place, they hoped to see an improvement.

 

Councillor Corben referred to paragraph 10 and advised that the percentage of the five late reports for Audit and Resources committee should read (21%) as stated in Appendix A, and not (24%).

 

The Corporate Director – Strategy, advised that timely reports were very important and with the report writing training taking place she hoped Councillors would see an improvement. There had been difficulties during the service redesign due to staff turnover and she thanked members for their patience and suggested a half yearly update in the summer. In response to what a good working target looked like she advised that ‘excellent’ had to be zero late reports, and ‘good’ would be those with a genuine reason, i.e. external information, and no significant other factor.

 

The Panel hoped that, with the processes now in place, the next report would show a marked improvement.

 

It was AGREED - 

 

That the report be noted and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Complaints and Compliments Review 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Customer Service Manager outlined the complaints procedure that analysed the number of complaints received and resolved in the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2017, together with how many had been escalated from Level 1 to Level 2 stage of the Council’s Complaints Procedure.

She advised that it did not cover every circumstance in which someone contacted the Council with a matter of concern. In most cases, the concerns or complaints received were resolved informally with the Council’s normal business process, which was a request for action (Service Request). However, if the complainant was not satisfied with the outcome of this informal process, then the procedure was able to move into a more formal mode which was Level 1 stage of the Council’s complaints procedure.  This would usually start with the complainant writing to the Chief Executive, the Service Area or the Customer Service Manager either specifically or by implication, asking for the matter to be reviewed more formally.

421 complaints were resolved during this period, of which 131 were dealt with as ‘Service Requests’, policy objections or third party complaints. Of the remaining 290 complaints dealt with under Level 1, twelve of these were escalated to Level 2. The reason for the disparity in figures in paragraphs 11 and 13 of the report was due to complaints that were received by the Council during the 2016/17 period but not resolved until the new period 2017/18, a total of 26.

 

Conversely, 588 compliments had been received by members of the public who had actively chosen to contact the Council to express their thanks in relation to an aspect of the Council’s activity, of these; sixteen were for individual service units, with the remaining 572 relating to compliments made for individual staff members.

The Vice-Chair in the Chair thanked the Customer Service Manager for her report and invited discussion from the Panel.

The Panel welcomed the report and posed a variety of questions which were fully explained by the Customer Service Manager.  During discussion, the Panel felt that the ‘total’ column in the tables in the report could be slightly misleading and suggested that it be omitted in future; and that the table in paragraph 13 be reflective of the decision upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman, identified in paragraph 18.

 

The discussion concluded on a very positive note as the Panel was extremely pleased to learn that 572 members of the public had actually taken the trouble to compliment staff, and Members requested that their congratulations be passed on to the staff.

 

It was AGREED -  

 

(1)         That the analysis of recent formal complaints be noted;

 

(2)         That the analysis of compliments from customer feedback be noted and staff congratulated; and

 

(3)         That the analysis of the data supplied in the annual report from the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) be noted.

 

28.

Action List pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Minutes:

The Panel considered its action list from previous meetings, which set out the recent decisions and actions arising from the Panel.   

 

It was AGREED -

 

That the action be removed from the list.

29.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Minutes:

The Panel considered the Forward Plan of Key Decisions.

 

It was AGREED -

 

That the Forward Plan be noted.

30.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Minutes:

Panel members considered their Work Programme and added Housing Policy (Housing needs/Homelessness/ Affordable Housing, and Emergency Planning Scrutiny to May 2018; and Late Reports Update to the July.

 

It was AGREED –

 

That the Work Programme be noted and updated.