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Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members
The Committee was advised of apologies for absence from Councillor Steven Lee, Councillor Sue Wyeth-Price, and Lead Councillor Carla Morson.
Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda. Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.
If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.
Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.
There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.
To confirm the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 28 February 2023.
The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 28 February 2023 were agreed.
Committee members with queries about specific performance indicators in the report had been asked to submit these in advance to the Policy Officer, Strategy, Performance and Events, to enable an explanation to be given at the meeting.
The Policy Officer, Strategy, Performance and Events, introduced the report submitted to the Committee. She indicated that the key performance indicators (KPIs) within the report included thirty-five quarterly and five annual KPIs. The meeting was advised that data not yet available for three annual KPIs would be included in future performance monitoring reports to the Committee. The Policy Officer, Strategy, Performance and Events, reminded the Committee of the RAG ratings for the quarterly recorded KPIs, and advised that the Joint Executive Head of Housing Services, the Joint Executive Head of Communications and Customer Services, and the Joint Executive Head of Organisational Development were in attendance to respond to questions.
The Joint Chief Executive advised the meeting that he had added an introduction to the report to highlight some matters that were worked on in 2022/23 and not often captured by KPIs, such as support for Ukrainian families and national and royal events during the year, along with areas of risk, for example, planning performance and the Council’s finances.
During the ensuing discussion a number of questions were asked and clarifications offered:
· A member questioned the lack of a target for some KPIs within the report submitted to the Committee, and referenced the KPI for the number of affordable new homes completed each year as an example. In response, the Joint Executive Head of Housing Services indicated that setting targets for matters outside the Council’s control was problematic. He suggested the feasibility of setting related targets for the Council’s own new build housing but advised that the number of affordable new homes completed each year was outside the control of the Council and a related target would be of limited use.
· With reference to the targets for the number of net new additional homes (KPI H&J3) and the number of empty homes (KPI H&J2) as examples, another member questioned why targets were set for some KPIs outside the control of the Council and not others. In response, the Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Housing indicated the value in knowing if permissions for new homes were being granted and residential properties were not being built out.
· A member of the Committee queried the reduction of KPIs earlier in the year to the current thirty-five quarterly and five annual indicators and the decision to include some that apparently recorded processes and outcomes not within the control of the Council, and suggested the benefit of the Committee selecting performance indicators to monitor from those collected as part of the Council’s service plan process. In reply, the Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Housing invited the Committee to advise further on possible changes to the KPIs in order to better enable service improvements. The Joint Executive Head of Organisational Development ... view the full minutes text for item OS4
The Lead Councillor for Engagement and Customer Services introduced the item, highlighting the progress achieved by the Council’s Customer Services since the previous update to the Committee in October 2022. The Lead Councillor for Engagement and Customer Services advised the meeting of the growth in the number of residents registered to use the MyGuildford portal, the accessibility of the Council’s website, and the staffing levels within the Customer Service team. The Committee members were advised to use the councillor email address for customer service queries.
A member of the Committee suggested improving the communication with residents contacting the Council, especially those with inquiries relating to planning applications. The Joint Executive Head of Communication and Customer Service undertook to circulate the councillor email address after the meeting to ensure matters raised through Councillors were progressed.
A member of the Committee praised the reduction in call wait times and the increase in the percentage of calls answered shown within Appendix 1 of the report submitted to the Committee. In addition, the call back process was commended by the Committee member. The Joint Executive Head of Communication and Customer Service advised that the percentage of calls answered the previous week was 93%. She stated that the call back function was still deployed by customer services but not as often as previously.
In reply to questions from a Councillor, the Joint Executive Head of Communication and Customer Service confirmed arrangements for reporting common issues raised by residents to the relevant services and indicated that the three top issues raised by residents were Council Tax, refuse and recycling collections, and planning.
The Chair thanked the Lead Councillor for Engagement and Customer Service and the Joint Executive Head of Communication and Customer Service for attending.
RESOLVED: That a further performance update report on Customer Services be provided to the Committee in six months’ time.
G-Live and Leisure Management Scrutiny Working Groups
To consider the re-establishment of working groups to scrutinise the Council’s G-Live and Leisure Partnership Agreement contracts monitoring and report back to the Committee.
[For information, the Council entered into a ten-year contract and lease to operate G Live with HQ Theatres Guildford Limited (HQT), ending on 30 September 2021. The Council’s asset management responsibilities are for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the structural parts and the access road. HQT [since acquired by Trafalgar Entertainment] are responsible for all other maintenance and replacement items for the building and equipment. This contract was extended to September 2024.
The Council entered into a 10-year Leisure Partnership Agreement (LPA) with Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) with effect from 1 November 2011, to deliver leisure services throughout the borough at Guildford Spectrum, Guildford Lido and Ash Manor Sports Centre. GLL has sub-contracted elements of the service to Wealden Leisure Limited trading as Freedom Leisure. The contract was extended to the end of October 2023 and a further (and final) two years is under consideration.]
The Chair introduced the item and asked if the Committee agreed the re-establishment of the two working groups to scrutinise the council’s G-Live and Leisure Partnership Agreement contracts monitoring. The meeting was advised that overview and scrutiny had reviewed the contracts monitoring in this way for several years.
RESOLVED: That two working groups be established to scrutinise the Council’s G-Live and Leisure Partnership Agreement contracts monitoring and report back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.