Agenda and minutes
Venue: Civic Centre, Gravesend, Kent
Contact: Committee Section
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Leslie Hills; Councillor Gary Harding appeared as his substitute. An apology for absence was also received from Cllr William Lambert.
The Minutes of the meeting held 14 June 2018 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
To provide Members of the Overview Scrutiny
Committee with an update against the options approved by Members in
respect of the Service Review Process.
The Corporate Change Manager and Principal Accountant provided Members of the Overview Scrutiny Committee with a 6 month update against the options approved by Members in respect of the Service Review Process.
The Corporate Change Manager gave details of the Council’s progress on achieving £2.9m of savings. Members of the Cabinet approved a number of options put forward by officers from the eight service reviews completed; amounting to £1.46m.
Overall there is a further £400,000 to be delivered
The Committee went through Appendix Two ‘Service Review Options – Progress against agreed options – June 2018’ and raised the following points:
Economic Development and Town Centre Management
Members of the Committee felt that, although this option had been labelled as ’completed’, the savings target (£66,000) had not actually been achieved.
Following a question from the Committee, the Principal Accountant advised that the figures reported when the option was agreed were estimates and that when finalised; the actual savings were slightly lower than had been estimated.
2. Gravesend Borough Market
Members of the Committee requested more detail about the current tourism offer at the pop-up stall in the Market, including the following:
· The level of usage of the pop-up stand, in particular compared to level of previous usage at Towncentric.
· Further detail on how successful the new tourism offering has been since its inception
· Further analysis on what the pop-up stall is being used for by the public, what is the most popular area of enquiry.
Members of the Committee did not feel that the savings figure reported (£41,000) represented a true saving because GBC are using casual staff to fill the Gatekeeper posts that had been ceased. Members felt that reporting a saving against this when a permanent solution to the Gatekeeper issue had not been put in place was not a true representation of the savings achieved.
They Committee felt that the savings should be removed from the report in future (and the Medium Term Financial Plan), until such a time when the issue is resolved and there is either no expenditure on casual staff or a permanent solution has been implemented and costed.
Members sought clarity/further information on the following:
· The role of the casual staff employed in the Gatekeeper role in comparison to the role of the previous officers in post.
· Details of the number of casual staff that GBC employ for this role and whether they are involved in any other activities / duties.
· Further detail on the differences between employing casual staff and permanent employees (contractual arrangements etc.)
· Further detail on the ‘real’ saving in this area; i.e. what is the actual value of the saving once the costs associated with the casual staff are taken into account.
· More information about the alternative options to the Gatekeepers that have been considered / rejected and those that are still under consideration, including:
- Rising bollards
- Installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
- Discussions with the bus company regarding re-routing or buses ... view the full minutes text for item 75.
Scrutiny Reviews - Oral Update
The Chair confirmed the Membership of the two new Scrutiny Review sub-groups as detailed below:
Scrutiny Review of Grass Cutting and Horticulture
Cllr John Burden (Chair)
Cllr Lyn Milner
Cllr Makhan Singh
Cllr Gary Harding
Cllr Leslie Hills
Cllr Sara Langdale
Scrutiny Review of Council Controlled Property Companies and Directorships
Cllr Conrad Broadley (Chair)
Cllr Leslie Hills
Cllr Karen Hurdle
Cllr John Burden
Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox
Cllr Jenny Wallace
Members were advised that works have commenced on identifying the right officers to support each of the topic reviews and on the preparation of the draft terms of reference for each review, with a view to officially starting in September 2018.
The Chair requested that the draft terms of reference for each review are sent to both the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee for approval.
Resolved that the Committee noted the progress made with the two Scrutiny Reviews.