Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Committee Section  Email: committee.section@gravesham.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

22.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Cllr Ian Thomas (Canterbury) and Cllr Dave Wilson attended in his place.

An apology for absence was also received from Dawn Hudd (Medway Council).

23.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 5 December 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

Further to minute 20 (05.12.2020), the Chair asked for feedback on the decision to ask officers to create a simple report with statistics showing how much money the Partnership had saved each of their respective Councils. It was noted that Gravesham had retrieved previous Value for Money (VfM) reports – one from Gravesham and one from Swale – and had sought advice on the approach preferred by others.  Canterbury did not consider this work necessary for them as they had only recently undertaken due diligence works ahead of joining the partnership, whereas there is no desire to progress this work.  Medway was satisfied that the Partnership still continued to provide value for money and therefore did not require an exercise to be carried out. GBC would update its earlier work and share.

The Chair noted that Gravesham had created a couple of Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCo’s) in the recent past and, since people tended to trust Councils, Gravesham was proud to make their ownership of these companies clear. However, he felt that this link had been lost by the Partnership. The Chair suggested that information in relation to the Partnership be inserted into planning permission documents and possibly planning application documents. It was also suggested that this information be included in pre-application enquiries. It was noted that the partner local authorities always sought to use the Partnership and whilst advertising the Partnership was an excellent idea, this cost money. However, the more business the Partnership attracted, the more surplus it could potentially make.

Following discussion on this subject, it was agreed that partners investigate and instigate the inclusion of information in relation to the South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership in all types of planning application related documentation.

24.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Cllr Dave Wilson declared an other interest in that he was having some building works undertaken at his home address and had engaged South Thames Gateway Building Control Partnership.

25.

Monitoring Report: December 2019 to February 2020 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

The report updates the Joint Committee on the current forecast for the 2019/2020 financial year and gives details against the progress of the objectives of the Business Plan 2019/2020.

Minutes:

The Director of the STGBCP introduced the report which updated the Committee on the current forecast for the 2019/20 financial year and gave details of the progress against the objectives of the Business Plan 2019/2020.

The Committee was informed that reversions had been a major feature of the Partnership’s work this year and would continue into the next.  Whilst this had enabled the Partnership to increase its regularisation income by 63% above budget forecast and mitigate pressure against the building control account, it had resulted in additional resourcing pressure.  As this work had progressed from enquiry, through initial inspection/assessment to an application being submitted so had the pressure moved from technical administration to surveying.   With a higher proportion of reversions residing in the Canterbury area, a surveyor had been allocated from another team area to work 2/3 days per week assisting with these applications. 

The area of reversions was currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to better understand the scale and to identify any potential high-risk projects and future resource needs for local authorities.  Their current assessment was that some Approved Inspectors were not reverting work promptly or efficiently and that this area of work was placing a significant burden on workloads for local authority building control bodies, and that the impact may be unevenly distributed.   The Director agreed with this assessment as, having attended the last Kent Building Control Managers meeting, the majority had only indicated small levels of reversions, none at the level the Partnership had experienced. 

Owners were highly influenced by builders and architects when choosing their building control provider.  The difficulties some had experienced had made them reconsider recommending an approved inspector which may be a factor in the Partnership’s market share for quarter 3 increasing by 5% to 71% compared to the same quarter last year.   The Partnerships three biggest competitors were Harwood’s with an estimated market share of 8%, Assent with around 5% and Vantage with 2%.

IT development had continued with the introduction of folders within the document management facility.  These generate an application creation and would enable faster location of plans/documentation when carrying out site work on large developments.

Members would be aware of the acquisition of Tascomi by Idox and one of the Director’s concerns at the time was how this would impact on delivery of improvements.  The Director felt that the system was starting to experience some of effects as, despite extensive beta testing of the online inspection booking and enhanced mobile app, final updates had yet to be concluded for both these developments to go live.

The largest part of the surveyors’ role was assisting clients towards compliance; this was a two stage process in the area of plans submission, and when the work was in progress on site.  The site work was an area where compliance assistance and enforcement sit side by side. Enforcement would be necessary if contraventions occur on site and the builders did not correct the work, then  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Schedule of Meetings 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

This report sets out the proposed meetings schedule for the 2020/21 municipal year.

Minutes:

The Chair noted that Canterbury City Council would be hosting the Joint Committee in 2020/2021 and requested that a single Chair be appointed by the hosting authority. Director of Finance and Procurement, Canterbury City Council confirmed that the Chair was likely to be Cllr Ian Thomas.

The venue for next year’s meetings could either be the Guildhall or the Military Road offices both of which had parking facilities. The meeting considered that the Guildhall was easier to get to.

On another matter, the Director advised that her surname would be changing from Boughton to Weaver in the near future and her email address would be janine.weaver@stgbc.org.uk.

Resolved that the Joint Committee agreed:

a)    the timetable of meetings for the 2020/21 municipal year (as set out in paragraph 3.3 of the report); and

b)      that Canterbury City Council provides a secretary to the Joint Committee for the 2020/21 municipal year.