Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 19 June 2018 9.30 am

Venue: Committee Room 2, East Pallant House. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services on 01243 534685  Email:  democraticservices@chichester.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

213.

Chairman's Announcements

The chairman will make any specific announcements.

 

Any apologies for absence that have been received will be noted at this point.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Kate O’Kelly to her first Overview and Scrutiny Committee following her appointment at Annual Council on 22 May 2018.

 

The Committee and all those present then observed a minutes silence for the late Steve Hansford. The Chairman expressed the great sadness felt by members and officers who had known Mr Hansford and wished to convey sincere condolences to his family.

 

The Chairman announced that Mrs Jones had recently retired. The Committee took the opportunity to express their thanks to Mrs Jones for her role in supporting the Committee.

 

Apologies had been received from Mr Galloway and Mr Ransley.

 

The Chairman explained that a minutes silence would also be held at 12 noon in remembrance of those who lost their lives and were affected by the Finsbury Park attack last year.

214.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to approve as a correct record the minutes of its meeting on Tuesday 15 May 2018, a copy of which is circulated with this agenda.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee will receive an update on progress against its recommendations to the Cabinet and the Council.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the minutes of the last meeting held on 15 May 2018.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

Matters arising:

 

Minute 209 (of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 relating to the Community Safety Review 2018):

 

With regard to car washing Miss Higenbottam read a response from Mrs Murphy, Divisional Manager which explained that the council chose not to renew the car washing contract in the autumn of last year and as yet no decision had been made as to whether or not to proceed with a car washing service.

 

Minute 211 (of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 relating to the Forward Plan):

 

With regard to the IT Strategy Mr Ward explained that Mr Forward had been appointed IT Manager. Mr Forward would be undertaking a review of the IT Strategy towards the end of the year.

 

Minute 211 (of the meeting held on 15 May 2018 relating to the Forward Plan):

 

With regard to potholes Mr Hyland read a response to the Committee’s letter to West Sussex County Councillor Bob Lanzer. The response explained that the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) Highways team had prioritised areas where roads had deteriorated over the winter period. An additional £540,000 had been made available to address potholes (providing at least 2,000 pothole repairs over the course of the year).

215.

Late Items

The chairman will advise of any late items which will be given consideration under agenda item 13 (a) or (b).

Minutes:

The Chairman explained that questions raised by Mr Lloyd-Williams and Mr Plowman would be addressed under item 11.

216.

Declarations of Interests

Members are requested to make any declarations of disclosable pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests which they might have in respect of matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

217.

Public Question Time

In accordance with Chichester District Council’s scheme for public question time and with reference to standing order 6 in part 4 A and section 5.6 in Part 5 of the Chichester District Council Constitution, the Cabinet will receive any questions which have been submitted by members of the public in writing by 12:00 on the previous working day. The total time allocated for public question time is 15 minutes subject to the chairman’s discretion to extend that period.

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

 

218.

The Novium Museum pdf icon PDF 62 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider the agenda report and to make the following resolution and the recommendation to the Cabinet:

 

A - RESOLUTION

 

That the the progress made on the procurement project for the management of the Novium Museum and Tourist Information Services be noted.

 

B - RECOMMENDATION

 

That the Cabinet approves the proposal in paras 5.1 and 5.2 of the agenda report.

Minutes:

This item was presented by Mrs Peyman.

 

Mrs Peyman summarised the report with particular reference to sections 3, 5 and 6. She described the main aspects of the options appraisal process and explained that option 3 was preferred.

 

The Committee received answers to questions including the following:

 

·       Were any alternatives considered other than those outlined in paragraph 3.2 of the report? Consideration was also given to altering the Novium building or seeking an alternative use for the building.

  • With regard to the business plan has consideration been given to extending the café and changing displays on a more regular basis? Officers are considering possible ways to improve the café offer. The new manager has also been working on a two year exhibition programme including a new games exhibition and a number of rolling local and national exhibitions.
  • Please provide details of the costs of each option. The business plan detailing the costings will be available to members in October.
  • What level of tourism does the museum generate for the visitor economy compared to the gallery and theatre? Current tourism figures are not available solely for the museum so a direct comparison with the gallery and the theatre is difficult however, it is estimated that the Tim Peake exhibition saw approximately 50,000 visitors to the city. (Please also refer to the post meeting note.)
  • Could the gallery and museum be merged? A possible merger has been explored but was not taken forward.
  • What are the main areas of expense for the museum? A large proportion of funding is spent on staffing, building costs, repairs, maintenance, exhibitions and marketing for the museum and Guildhall.
  • How does the museum generate income? The museum generates income from workshops, talks, lectures, grant funding and donations with work underway to enable contactless donations. Local partners and businesses continue to be approached for sponsorship support. Roman Week was very successful with 2,000 visitors to Priory Park. A partnership is also in place with the theatre for the production of the David Walliams play ‘The Midnight Gang’.

 

Members also suggested the following improvements:

 

·       Additional dressing up clothes for children

  • Provision of an evening or pop-up restaurant
  • A greater use of the Roman connection such as provision of a glass floor/viewing platform
  • Utilising Boxgrove artefacts for a future exhibition
  • Installing a greater number of displays on the walls including mosaics

 

Mrs Peyman explained that a number of these suggestions had already been considered however she would pass on the idea of utilising the Boxgrove artefacts to the museum manager.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.     That the progress made on the procurement project for the management of the Novium Museum and Tourist Information Services be noted.

  1. That the Committee be provided with a progress update at its meeting in November 2018.

 

RECOMMENDED TO CABINET

 

That the Cabinet approves the proposal set out in paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2 of the agenda report.

 

Post meeting note

 

With reference to the question relating to the visitor economy Mrs Peyman provided the following information below:

 

(Details contained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 218.

219.

Sickness Levels within Chichester District Council pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee considers the agenda report and its four appendices and is requested to consider the following recommendation:

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee reviews the current position regarding sickness absence within Chichester District Council and the proposed actions as set out in paras 5.1 to 5.5 of the agenda report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was presented by Mr Mildred. Mr Radcliffe was also present.

 

Mr Mildred summarised the report with particular reference to sections 3, 4 and 5. He also circulated 2016/17 benchmarking figures from the LGA Workforce Survey. He explained that there were many reasons why the level of sickness absence appeared high. Notably, following the transfer of Westgate staff the figures had increased as the Westgate staff had always averaged lower sickness absence. It can also be difficult to compare results with other local authorities as the council has an in-house Depot where others have outsourced. Due to the nature of the manual work at the Depot its staff often have higher levels of sickness absence. Mr Radcliffe added that the figures for smaller teams are often skewed if there is one long term sickness case.

 

Mr Mildred emphasised that the approach to sickness absence moving forwards would be more personalised. He explained that currently sickness is recorded on the online HR system and in some cases it was possible that there had been a lack of face to face discussion with the manager on return to work. In addition (where appropriate) resilience will now be tested at job interview stage.

 

The Absence Management Policy is to be rewritten and the new policy will set out clearly the expectations for both employees and managers. New triggers for welfare meetings and formal cautions are to be set and will help improve consistency of application. Methods of notification of sickness and back to work interviews will also be prescribed in the policy, again improving consistency of application. The corporate Stress Risk Assessment procedure is also being updated and will focus on personalised wellbeing plans to ensure that the council is doing all it can support employees and reduce stress related absence.

 

Mr Mildred emphasised that the council is already proactively managing sickness and the formal management processes have resulted in several dismissals each year in recent years.

 

The Committee received answers to questions including the following:

 

·       Why has there been a rise in the average number of sickness absence days over the last six years compared to the Office of National Statistics downward trend? The figures for the Office of National Statistics include those who are self-employed who are more likely to continue to work through illness compared to an employee who may be signed off by a doctor and therefore unable to return to the workplace as quickly. The council has experienced a significant growth in the amount of long term sickness in that six year period.

  • Could stress related sickness be compared with the private sector as well as other local authorities? Where appropriate private sector best practice is considered although stress has risen nationally not just in local authorities.
  • Did the Shared Services project have an effect on stress related absence? The teams affected by the Shared Services project have not seen high stress related absence rates.
  • Could the increase in stress be due to a greater nationwide mental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 219.

220.

Consultation Review Task and Finish Group - Terms of Reference and Scoping Outline Plan pdf icon PDF 53 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to note the attached terms of reference and scoping outline plan for the Consultation Review Task and Finish Group.

Minutes:

This item was presented by Mr Foord.

 

Mr Foord summarised the terms of reference. He explained that as part of the work on the communications strategy it had become timely to revisit how consultations are delivered and how they could be improved. In order to complete the review a member task and finish group would be required. To date Mr Galloway and Caroline Neville had volunteered.

 

The Chairman asked the Committee for volunteers. Mrs Plant and Mr Moss put themselves forward. The Chairman indicated she wished to act as an observer at the meetings.

 

Mr Foord agreed to contact members with possible dates.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.     That the Terms of Reference for the Consultation Review Task and Finish Group be agreed.

2.     That Nigel Galloway, Adrian Moss, Caroline Neville and Penny Plant be approved as members of this Task and Finish Group.

221.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee's 2017-2018 Annual Report and 2018-2019 Work Programme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider the agenda report and its two appendices and to make the following resolution and recommendation:

 

A – RESOLUTION

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s 2017-2018 Annual Report and the 2018-2019 Work Programme be agreed.

 

B - RECOMMENDATION

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s 2017-2018 Annual Report and the 2018-2019 Work Programme be noted.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was presented by Mr Hyland.

 

Mr Hyland explained that Mrs Jones had compiled the report which would go on to the Full Council for noting.

 

The Committee received answers to questions including the following:

 

·       Is there an update on the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) management agreement? The purpose of the discussion at the Committee had been to document the work but a further update will be provided in November.

·       Should the Corporate Plan Review include a Task and Finish Group as per previous years? This will be considered by officers who will update members.

·       Will there be a further update on the Housing Strategy? The final report from the Housing Strategy Task and Finish Group will be provided in September with the final strategy considered in March.

·       Will the Education Review include a focus on academies? Academies have been included in previous reviews. A number of factors will be considered including the recently highlighted importance of readiness for work.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.     That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s 2017-2018 Annual Report be agreed.

  1. That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2018-2019 Work Programme be agreed.

222.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 154 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider the attached latest version of the Forward Plan and to consider whether it wishes to enquire into any of the forthcoming decisions.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Forward Plan but did not wish to discuss any items further.

223.

Late Items

(a)  Items added to the agenda papers and made available for public inspection

 

(b)  Items which the chairman has agreed should be taken as matters of urgency by reason of special circumstances to be reported at the meeting

Minutes:

Mr Lloyd-Williams had emailed members and officers requesting reassurance regarding the status of the city centre following the announcement that the department store House of Fraser would be closing.

 

Mrs Hotchkiss responded by explaining that with regard to business rates the council had not been made aware of any businesses that had suffered as a direct result of their rates as any large increases had been mitigated. To date no applications for hardship relief had been received. Mrs Hotchkiss outlined the trend for online shopping which had started to change the type of offer consumers require from the high street with greater emphasis placed on services such as cafes and salons. She explained that the council is keen as part of the Chichester Vision project to encourage businesses to consider the city centre as a destination providing in-store experiences and activities and a greater variety of leisure, learning and exercise options.

 

Mrs Hotchkiss reminded members that a business rates briefing would take place prior to the Full Council meeting in July.

 

With reference to the need for in-store experiences members commented on the need for specialist shops and a conference centre or large venue to encourage cultural events. With regard to the House of Fraser building it was suggested that it could be converted to accommodation to provide housing at an affordable rate for those trying to get on the property ladder.

 

In response to a question regarding developing out of season tourism on the Manhood Peninsula Mrs Hotchkiss explained that the council had been looking at ways to support the project.

 

Members thanked Mrs Hotchkiss for responding to Mr Lloyd-Williams concerns.

 

The Chairman then read a question from Mr Plowman regarding a section of the planning service. Mr Ward advised that the matter should be referred to Mr Frost outside of the public meeting.

224.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested in respect of agenda item 13 (Award of a Services Concessions Contract) to make a resolution that the public including the press should be excluded from the meeting on the following grounds of exemption in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 namely Paragraphs 1 (information relating to any individual) and 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) and because, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption of that information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Minutes:

The Committee took a vote to go into Part II which was agreed.

 

RESOLVED

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of agenda item 13 (Award of a Services Concessions Contract) agrees to make a resolution that the public including the press should be excluded from the meetings on the following grounds of exemption in Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 namely Paragraphs 1 (information relating to any individual) and 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) and because, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption of that information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  

225.

Award of a Services Concessions Contract

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is requested to consider the confidential Part II exempt* agenda report and its appendix (printed on salmon paper for members and relevant officers only) and

 

(a) to note the outcome of the review and (b) to make any comments to the Cabinet on the proposal outlined in para 5 of the agenda report.

 

*[Note The grounds for excluding the public and press during this item are that it is likely that there would be a disclosure to them of ‘exempt information’ of the description specified in Paragraphs 1 (information relating to an individual) and 3 (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)) of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972]

Minutes:

This item was presented by Mrs Dodsworth.

 

Mrs Dodsworth summarised the report with particular reference to sections 3, 5, 6 and 9.

 

The Committee received answers to a number of part II questions.

 

Following discussion the Committee were in favour of the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee notes the outcome of the review outlined in paragraph 5 of the report.