Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

An apology of absence was received from the Director (Corporate Services).

2.

Minutes

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 02 February 2017 were signed by the Chair.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

4.

Annual Review of the Audit and Counter Fraud Shared Service pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To provide Members of the Performance and Administration Cabinet Committee with a copy of the annual review that has been conducted in respect of the Audit & Counter Fraud shared service with Medway Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services Manager provided Members of the Performance & Administration Committee with a copy of the annual review that has been conducted in respect of the Audit & Counter Fraud shared service with Medway Council.

 

The Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services Manager stated that the review is carried out to find out if the service is meeting its targets and allows for any improvements or changes that may be needed to be identified; a copy of the review findings is attached at appendix two with the main objectives listed as bullet points on page 14. 

 

Concern was raised by a Member regarding the team leader’s opinions that their workload is exceeding their salary range and asked for clarification.

 

The Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Services Manager clarified that there is no daylight between the officer pay range and the team leader pay range and there are no incremental rises within the range as the Medway Council pay system is different meaning that at the moment, effectively team leaders are only paid a marginal bit extra than their officers. Stuart Bobby (Director – Corporate Services) and Phil Watts (Medway Chief Finance & Section 151 Officer) have agreed that a review of the team structure and grading will be the first job for a newly appointed service manager.

 

A Member questioned when the appointment would be made and the Audit & Counter Fraud Shared Service Manager advised that the advertising of the post should be within the week following HR getting approval from Cabinet at Medway with the position hopefully filled within a couple of months. There was then a question as to whether this had gone through Cabinet at Gravesham and it was confirmed that it had not. 

 

Members voiced their concern over the position, even if it is a minor approval, not going to Gravesham’s Cabinet meeting and asked that it be put down in writing how GBC have been involved in the decision making, if it has been carried out by the appropriate officer and will GBC continue to be consulted in the future.

The Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) assured the Committee that he would take the question back to the Director (Corporate Services) to discuss but Medway do have delegated authority to make the decision in conjunction with Gravesham. The Director (Corporate Services) has been in contact with Medway regarding this however  a written clarification  will be emailed out before the next committee meeting to address Members concerns.

 

5.

Update on the Revenues & Benefits Shared Service pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To provide Members of the Performance & Administration Committee with an update on the development of a shared service with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for Revenues & Benefits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) provided Members of the Performance & Administration Committee with an update on the development of a shared service with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for Revenues & Benefits.

 

The Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) highlighted the following points:

 

  • The main body of officers will be situated at T&M (Tonbridge & Malling Council) and Gravesham officers will be moved via TUPE transfer. GBC staff will remain on their current terms and conditions but will be employed by T&M
  • There will still be a hub of officers working at Gravesham which means there will be no impact to residents with regards to face to face contacts
  • The staff have been briefed on the decisions made so far and they will be offered the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns with HR
  • A MyAccount function will be implemented to give residents access to their Revenues & Benefits account details online 24/7 at a time that suits them. This will also provide a facility for customers to complete claim forms etc online but there will still be a service available to residents who cannot get online 
  • Implementation of an online staff portal to enable a central and consistent means of communicating key information to staff at both sites

 

Finance

 

The two lead officers from both Councils met to decide upon the budget for the shared service and a proposal will be put forward for the next Board meeting; a discussion will be had with them around staffing budgets for both Councils beforehand.

 

Legal

 

The two legal departments have worked together and have drafted a legal agreement document which is to be signed by both Councils; this will also go to the Project Board meeting.

 

IT

 

The digital platform has been looked at, GBC has Firmstep which is an external company whereas T&M will use an in-house platform, a meeting is taking place with, Northgate on the 15 September 2017 to discuss a shared service layer being used with the Revenues & Benefits back office function..

 

A common E-Forms Package is also desired where customers can apply for all various discounts, housing benefits, repayments etc via an online form across both authorities; there is a meeting on Wednesday, 13 September with a potential software supplier to do this.

 

Property Services

 

Location is key and an initial meeting has been held with T&M Property Services Team regarding where the team will be located; ideally it will be next to the Revenues & Benefits team with Housing being moved out. GBC officers will go to the location and get involved with designing a layout; Property Services have advised they will officially need four months’ notice to carry out the full relocation with the help of IT Services.

 

HR

 

The HR Department are contacting all staff affected by the merger in GBC and are going through various issues with them including different payments dates, travel arrangements, terms and conditions etc as well as discussing possible home working for those staff who require it, for example, transport  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Discretionary Business Rates Scheme Policy 2017 pdf icon PDF 193 KB

A verbal introduction will be provided to the Committee on the Discretionary Business Rates Scheme Policy 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager (Revenue & Benefits) presented the Committee with the Council’s policy for the Granting of the Discretionary Business Rates Relief and handed out a simplified version of the policy to all Members. The Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) worked through the hand-out with the Committee; it is attached as a supplementary for Members consideration.

 

The Chair thanked the Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) for creating the simplified version and voicing it to Members and asked that if there was anything that Members didn’t understand or wanted to be included in the policy should be emailed to the Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits).

 

Following Members questions and comments the Service Manager (Revenues & Benefits) explained that:

 

·         Central Government ideally wants all of the grant money awarded to all local authorities to be spent  and our policy has been created to ensure that happens

·         He would come back to Members with the statistics of the average increase in rates for them as a result of the recent revaluation

·         The initial policy was compiled by an external company who were paid to do it for all authorities within Kent. It was a minimal amount of money costing only a few hundred pound or so

·         Delegated responsibility was given to the Director (Corporate Services) to approve the policy so the updated policy will be in place by the time of the next Committee meeting

 

Members noted the Discretionary Business Rates Scheme Policy 2017. 

 

7.

Corporate Performance Update: Quarter 1 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To present Members of the Performance and Administration Cabinet Committee with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as set out within the Council’s Corporate Plan 2015-19, for Quarter 1 2017/18 (April to June 2017).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Performance Manager presented Members of the Performance and Administration Committee with an update against the Performance Management Framework, as set out within the council’s Corporate Plan 2015-19, for Quarter One 2017-18 (April to June 2017).

 

The Corporate Performance Manager outlined the following key points about the report:

 

  • Since the last meeting of the Committee the 2016/17 year-end outturns were published. The 2016/17 year presented some very strong outturns for the Performance and Administration portfolio, particularly in concern of the NNDR collection rate that, at 99.1%, represented a record outturn for the council.
  • As a result of the 2016/17 outturns, performance targets for 2017/18 were revisited and, in some areas, become more challenging.
  • The report presents that outturns for Q1 in some areas have not met their newly revised target. Despite this it is considered that GBC is performing very well across the portfolio and are in fact ahead of respective Kent averages in many areas.
  • In regards to PI 41 (Internal Audit recommendations), there are genuine reasons for the outturn falling from the last quarter that aren’t related to the levels of staff performance. This includes low staff levels in certain departments resulting in an inability to fully implement audit recommendations. Despite this 4 of the 10 identified issues have now already been resolved since the end of Q1 and it is anticipated the remainder will be addressed in the coming quarter.
  • In regards to the Revenues and Benefits service, performance tends to dip in Quarter One due to annual billing taking place as well as other administrative work, such as sending out benefits/billing letters etc. Despite this, in consideration of processing times (New Claims and Change of Circumstances) specifically, 2017/18 has been one of the council’s best performances for a first quarter.
  • At the next Committee meeting, a presentation regarding housing benefit overpayment and council tax and business rates recovery will be provided so that Members can fully understand the two areas  and how they are administered. This will be supported by the provision of the methodologies for the respective performance indicators to understand how the performance outturns are calculated.
  • In concern of corporate debt, a working group has been established that pulls together details of all of the debt from departments and discusses the best practice needed to recover it; when chasing debt officers of all of the departments cross check the total  debt owed to all departments so that one recovery  can be responsible for contacting the debtor instead of three separate ones

 

The Chair thanked the officers for an informative report.