Monitoring Report - September 2019 to November 2019
- Meeting of Meeting administered by Gravesham Borough Council, South Thames Gateway Building Control Joint Committee, Thursday, 5 December 2019 10.00 am (Item 18.)
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 Director of the STGBCP further briefed the Committee on the additional training undertaken by staff, performance statistics and other key information from the report.
The Committee noted the information provided and raised the following comments:
- The report indicated that it was the correct decision to ensure the staff were given high levels of training and it was vital to retain those trained up staff members to maintain the workload of the Partnership
- The public needed to understand that there was a cost implication involved for carrying out the work
The Director of the STGBCP advised that the public pay a regularisation fee based on the type of work that was being done, i.e. a specific fee for a two story building compared to a single storey. The fees were set as part of the charges legislation in accordance with the CIPFA guide and in line with the charges across Kent so that STG did not price itself out of the market. At the previous meeting it was agreed that the Partnerships fees would increase by 2% in January 2020.
The Director of the STGBCP updated Members on an email that had been circulated to customers asking them to pay an additional £150 to receive extra information on their premises. The email was from the liquidators and following the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) body carrying out a review, they found that the records that the customers would receive upon payment were no different to the information that could be easily accessed by an FOI request, at no charge, from the Partnership. The fact that customers did not need to pay that additional £150 fee couldn’t be broadcasted on STG’s website due to legal issues however the administration team were instructed to inform customers that they didn’t believe they would receive any new information from that payment.
The Chair questioned whether or not the truth could be told to customers without any legal repercussions. An example being: ‘the LABC had carried out trials of paying the additional payment and had received no new records or information in addition to what was already available’.
Following further discussion, it was agreed that it would be better if the message regarding the irrelevant payment was broadcasted through the four Councils’ Communication teams. The Chair advised that he would ask Gravesham’s Communications Manager to contact the Director of the STG Building Control Partnership to agree the specific wording regarding the additional payment being irrelevant and then circulate the response to the four local authorities. Once a common theme and wording was agreed then it could be pushed out to the public to make them aware.
In response to a query regarding the Reserves, the Director of the STGBCP explained that £40,000 had been contributed to the Reserves as currently there wasn’t any funds in there due to it all being used to reduce the budget overspend last year. The Chair was happy with the funds being earmarked for the Reserves.
Resolved that the Committee noted the information contained within the report.