Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL.

Contact: Lucy Tricker, Democratic Services Officer  Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committeemeeting held on 5 March 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 5 March 2019 were approved as a correct record.

2.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

The Chair raised one item of urgent business regarding the proposed expansion of the Civic Offices. He recollected that a report on the Civic Offices expansion had come before the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny in November 2018, and that at this meeting the committee had requested to see a full business case, but this had still not been provided. He felt that this project was now moving quickly, and wanted the committee to be able to see the business case for the project before it was agreed by Cabinet. He stated, that with Members agreement, he would write to the Leader and the Chief Executive to ask for this to be presented to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The membership agreed to this proposal.

3.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

There were no interests declared.

4.

End of Year Corporate Performance Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Strategy, Communications and Customer Service introduced the report and stated that this set out the progress of key performance indicators (KPIs) for 2018/19, and that in total 68% of KPIs had achieved their target; and added that 50% of KPIs had improved on their score from 2017/18. She commented that this report also set out the proposed KPIs for 2019/20 and new suggested targets so the Committee could comment, before it went to Cabinet for approval in July.

The Chair opened the debate and highlighted the KPI on page 21 of the agenda regarding the percentage of primary schools judged ‘good’ or better. He asked why this was a missed target and the reasons for the negative direction of travel over the year. The Strategy Manager confirmed that a decision nationally to change the calculation explained the sudden change during the year.  She stated that whilst most KPIs the council monitors worked to a financial year, schools data normally worked to an academic year which started and finished in September. She elaborated that historically, if a school had become an academy, they were not considered in the KPI until an OFSTED inspection had taken place; but now they were included in the calculation and this took into account the predecessor school’s rating. The Chair replied that the committee should be careful in interpreting the direction of travel, due to the statistical nature of the KPI, but felt that having 1/10 schools in the borough not achieving a ‘good’ or better rating was poor.  He asked what actions were being taken by the Council to support schools, and if the service were considering any additional action. The Director of Strategy, Communications and Customer Services replied that the education team met regularly with schools on an individual, as well as a group basis with headteachers. She added that the team also ran broader programmes such as forums for head teachers to allow discussions.

The Chair then drew the Committee’s attention to page 21 of the agenda and the KPI relating to street cleanliness and litter, as this had been doing well, but was now falling back. He asked what factors were influencing the decline in street cleanliness. The Assistant Director Street Scene and Leisure replied that although the KPI had not been met, they were better than the national benchmark. He then described how in tranche 3 the performance was below target, even though tranche 1 and 2 had been better, and this seemed to be becoming a trend from previous years. He explained that tranche 3 occurred in late winter, which presented additional problems for the team, for example gritter teams often worked late nights during tranche 3 and therefore could not work the next day so staff numbers were lower. He stated that a new action plan was being put in place to combat this issue, and the team were looking at re-zoning sweeping areas and purchasing new smaller mechanical sweepers, as the larger mechanical sweepers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

The Chair called for the following items to be added to the Work Programme:

1. An update on the Communications Strategy, with an invite to go out to selected editors of local media outlets.

2. A Commercialisation Strategy Update, to understand in greater detail how the Council found commercial finance and how this was benchmarked and processed.

3. A report on community forums and engagement, with Chairs of local community forums invited.

4. A report on external partnership relations, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership, and where they’re working well and improvements to be made.

5. A report regarding apprenticeships.

6. Asset Strategy Update.

7. Council Tax Scheme to be moved forward from January so the Committee can look ways to keep council tax frozen before the budget reports.

8. An update on the Overview and Scrutiny project.

The Chair asked if the Work Programme could be populated accordingly and distributed to Members.