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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Ms Rehill, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

301.

Membership

Substitutes are not permitted to this Committee, unless a Member of the Committee has been unable to attend meetings for a period of three months or longer.

Minutes:

There were no changes.

302.

Communications and apologies

(a) Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

No apologies were received.

303.

Declarations of interests (if any)

Members are required to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, other pecuniary interest or non‑pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows:

 

a.     Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

b.     Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

c.     Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

d.     Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

e.     Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

f.      Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

g.     Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where –

(a)    that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and

(b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

Minutes:

There were none.

304.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 34 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2014.

 

In accordance with the Constitution no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2014 be approved and signed as a correct record.

305.

Procurement Monitoring pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To consider the ATTACHED six-monthly report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Procurement Manager was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented and a number of points discussed, including:

-        the Committee asked that the start date for the contracts be listed in future reports.

Action by: Procurement Manager

-        the Committee was advised that the dust truck contract had been retendered as Dennis Eagle had tried to increase its price by citing the delayed contract commencement date.

-        CCTV contract was now a partnership arrangement, so could be deleted from the list.

-        a broker was used for the insurance contracts. The broker was selected via a tender.

-        the credit card contract was for Council spend. A tender process was used as it was a competitive market. The Committee asked for a copy of the criteria for the tender.

Action by: Head of Finance

-        Revenues & Benefits would retain the Civica system as resources had been invested into its adoption. The Committee asked Officers to look at the feasibility of offering discounts on Council Tax if customers switched from postal to electronic communications and billing.

Action by: Head of Finance

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

306.

Webcasting - a review pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report on the webcasting service.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented and a number of points discussed, including:

-        there had been a substantial increase in the number of webcast viewers in the past two years.

-        the Committee suggested that the webcast service could be better advertised to the public via Twitter, Facebook etc.

Action by: Democratic Services Manager

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and that Officers seek greater publicity for the webcast service.

Action by: Democratic Services Manager

Councillor Graham arrived.

307.

Financial Monitoring (regular item) pdf icon PDF 76 KB

 To consider the ATTACHED update.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance was in attendance for this item.

 

The report was presented and a number of points were discussed, including:

-        the number of negative variances had diminished in the past 2-3 years.

-        the Committee asked how much trade waste was recycled and how much was placed in landfill.

Action by: Head of Finance

-        the Committee noted that a surplus was being achieved even before taking contingency funds into account. The Committee suggested that Officers should look at ways in which the surplus could be used to alleviate the costs for 2015/16.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and that Financial Monitors be asked to look at ways in which the 2014/15 Budget surplus could be used to alleviate the costs for 2015/16.

Action by: Head of Finance

308.

Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To consider the ATTACHED report.

 

*** The appendices to this report are available on the Council’s website. To reduce paper waste, no hardcopies have been printed. ***

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Portfolioholder for Finance, Director of Finance, Head of Finance and the Finance & Business Manager were in attendance for this item.

 

A presentation was made (attached as an appendix to these minutes) and a number of points discussed, including:

-        there may be higher growth in the Business Rates but Officers, as a prudent approach, were assuming it to be flatter.

-        the Committee suggested that the Council needed to be more aggressive in how it managed its assets, as they were the key to increasing income. Sometimes this would mean working faster and to tighter deadlines; the Committee was aware of cases were it had taken too long periods to develop/lease out assets etc. The Portfolioholder concurred that the Council must work faster and with a more commercial mind-set, for example the Radlett café’s lease had fallen through when the prospective tenant pulled out, whereas there should have been at least two prospective tenants in place to avoid such a scenario.

-        the Committee suggested that some of the Strategy’s content was irrelevant or unnecessarily historic and that it would be better if it were like the content on the presentation slides. Officers commented that external auditors etc liked such details but that they would seek to streamline the content.

-        the Committee suggested that the Strategy should be more explicit about the importance of, indeed necessity for, incoming raising. Income generation was the route to financial sustainability in the light of ever decreasing Government grants. Officers agreed that revenue raising was a critical ingredient for the long-term financial health of the Council.

 

RESOLVED that

                           i.          the report be noted.

                          ii.          the Financial Strategy be streamlined by excising irrelevant content, in particular any unnecessary historic commentary.

                        iii.          that the Strategy should be more explicit about the need for incoming raising.

Action by: Head of Finance

309.

O&S Learning and Development

(a)         To note any forthcoming dates for overview and scrutiny learning and development opportunities; and

 

(b)         To receive feedback from Members and Officers in relation to any overview and scrutiny related learning and development events.

Minutes:

Noted that two relevant courses were available for Scrutiny Councillors:

·         16 December 2014 – annual CfPS Parliamentary seminar, which had been given excellent feedback by Councillors who had previously attended the seminar.

·         20 November 214 – LGIU Influencing Skills.

310.

Reports from Scrutiny Committees

The Chairman of the Resources and Environment Scrutiny Committees will report on the work of their respective committees in the current municipal year to date.

Minutes:

Environment was due to receive a presentation on Enterprising Councils and a report on Waste and Recycling.

 

Resources was looking at ways to make scrutiny less about presentations. In future Officers would have to provide written reports and attendance would be dependent on what issues the report threw up. Each Committee Member had also been asked to follow up an old Scrutiny Review and establish what had happened to its recommendations. The Chair commended this approach.

311.

Overview and Scrutiny Budget

The current balance stands at £5,650. [Annual budget £8,850]

Minutes:

Noted the budget status and that there were sufficient funds for any development work arising from the data profiles generated by the University of Hertfordshire.

312.

Forward Planning Programme of the Executive & Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider the ATTACHED Forward Planning Programme and identify possible issues for scrutiny.

To consider the Committee’s ATTACHED work programme and requirements for Officer and/or Portfolio Holder attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Agreed to reorganise the meeting with the Executive to 24 or 26 November 2014 (prior to Group Meeting or Council).

 

Committee Members to come up with suggestions on how to take forward, with the Executive, the data gathered by University of Hertfordshire.

Action by: Committee Members.

 

The data had been sent to Planning and the Chamber of Commerce link officer. The profiles should be used to inform any forthcoming revisions to the Core Strategy and other Council policies.

Agreed that the data should be sent to the Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement and the Portfolioholder for Planning and Localism.

313.

Any other business which the Chairman considers urgent

In accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by the Access to Information Act of 1985, no urgent business may be raised unless it has been approved by the Chair.  The item and reason for urgency must be announced at the start of the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Griffin raised the issue of the Good app on the Council iPads and whether there was not a more convenient and easier way to access Council emails. Currently some Councillors were not accessing their emails regularly

 

Agreed that a report be presented to the December meeting on the functionality of the iPad, in particular accessing Council emails as easily as possible.

314.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings of the Committee are scheduled to take place

at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices, Borehamwood, as follows:

 

·        Tuesday 16 December 2014

·        Monday 9 February 2015

·        Tuesday 31 March 2015

·        Tuesday 23 June 2015

·       Tuesday 28 July 2015.

 

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 16 December 2014.

Appendix: Financial Strategy presentation pdf icon PDF 311 KB