Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny (Policy and Performance) Committee
Tuesday, 12th February, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: HMS Brave Room - Dover District Council. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Brough  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

96.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J M Heron and M Rose.

97.

Appointment of Substitute Members

To note appointments of Substitute Members.

Minutes:

It was noted that in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 4, Councillor B Gardner had been appointed as substitute member for Councillor J M Heron.

98.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 37 KB

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in respect of business to be transacted on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members.

99.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 November 2018, 13 November 2018, 4 December 2018 and 15 January 2019 (to follow).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 November 2018were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

100.

Public Speaking

Please note that in accordance with the agreed Protocol for Public Speaking at Overview and Scrutiny, the right to speak only applies to agenda items 11 to 14.

 

The right of the public to speak does not apply to the following agenda items: Apologies, Appointment of Substitute Members, Declarations of Interest, Minutes, the Forward Plan, the Scrutiny Work Programme, any agenda item that is not accompanied by a written report and items that are exempt business.

 

Members of the public wishing to speak must register to do so by no later than 2.00 pm on the second working day before the meeting.

 

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager advised that no members of the public had registered to speak on items on the agenda to which the public speaking protocol applied.

101.

Decisions of the Cabinet Relating to Recommendations from the Scrutiny (Policy and Performance) Committee

The following decisions were taken by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 4 February 2019 in respect of recommendations from the Scrutiny (Policy and Performance) Committee:

 

·         Appointment to Local Plan Project Advisory Group

 

Minutes:

Members received the decisions of the Cabinet relating to recommendations made by the Committee.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Cabinet decisions relating to recommendations from the Scrutiny (Policy and Performance) Committee be noted.

102.

Issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet, Scrutiny (Community and Regeneration) Committee or another Committee

There are no items for consideration.

Minutes:

There were no items of business.

103.

Items called-in for Scrutiny or placed on the agenda by a Member of the Committee, any individual Non-Executive Members or Public Petition

(a)    Items placed on the agenda by a Member of the Committee or any individual Non-Executive Member

 

       Any individual Councillor may request that a matter is placed on the agenda of one of the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committees by providing Democratic Support with notice of the matter prior to the agenda being published.

 

       There are no items for consideration.

 

(b)    Items the subject of Call-In

 

       Executive Decisions may be called-in by the Chairman or Spokesperson of the Scrutiny (Policy and Performance) Committee or any three non-executive members.

 

       There are no items for consideration.

 

(c)    Public Petition

 

       There are no items for consideration.

Minutes:

There were no items of business.

104.

Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 175 KB

It is intended that Members should use the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to identify topics within the remit of the Committee for future scrutiny.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions to the Committee for its consideration.

 

Councillor B Gardner raised the issue of where decisions in relation to the Local Plan were made and was advised that all decisions would go to the appropriate committee.

 

RESOLVED:   That the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions be noted.

 

105.

Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 75 KB

It is intended that the Committee monitor and prioritise its rolling work programme.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Scrutiny Work Programme to the Committee for its consideration.

 

 

RESOLVED:  That the Work Programme be noted.

106.

COUNCIL BUDGET 2019/20 AND MEDIUM-TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2019/20–2022/23 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To consider the presentation and attached report of the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) presented the report on the Budget 2019/20 and the Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20-2022/23.

 

The key points for the budget were:

 

·         That the General Fund budget was funded for 2019/20;

·         That the Housing Revenue Account was funded for 2019/20;

·         That the Capital and Revenue Projects budget was funded for 2019/20;

·         That the Prudent General Fund balances were maintained at over £2.7m;

·         Council Tax increase of £4.95 which maintained the lowest Council Tax in East Kent;

·         That overall net expenditure levels had increased slightly, in line with inflation; and

·         That there were no significant reductions in funding for services and no major changes in staffing levels.

 

In response to concerns raised by Members over the Council’s property investment strategy and the risks that owning retail properties posed, the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) advised that the Council had used only 25% of the revenue generated in the budget with the rest going into reserves. In addition, the Council had invested in very little high street property and had tried to diversify its investments.

 

Members were informed that in respect of the salary vacancy provision this was generated by the gap between a member of staff leaving and the post being filled. As such it was an estimate based on previous years rather than a target.

 

The Council also had a number of projects underway, including the redevelopment of Norman Tailyour House.

107.

FEES AND CHARGES 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider the attached report of the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) introduced the Fees and Charges 2019/20 report.

 

In response to a question from Councillor M R Eddy concerning the increase in local land charge fees it was stated that the search fees had been revised following a time monitoring exercise undertaken as a result of an audit recommendation. As a result of this exercise, whilst overall cost of a standard search (LLC1 and CON29) did not change greatly the cost of individual CON29 questions did. However, this was a better reflection of the actual time taken to produce and provide the information. As part of this it was considered no longer appropriate to charge the administration fee as a separate fee and that each question would be costed to include the relevant element of administration. This was consistent with the current practice for the majority of Kent Authorities and resulted in more competitive fees for the individual questions. In view of this it was possible that the authority would see an increase in business.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

108.

Matthews Close, Deal pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider the report of the Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial) (to follow).

Minutes:

The Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial) presented the report on the background to the Cabinet granting an easement at Matthews Close, Deal.

 

Councillor B Gardner expressed concern that the cost to the developer of the easement had directly resulted in the loss of 3 affordable houses on the site.

 

Members debated the merits of asking the Cabinet to allocate the funds generated by granting the easement to affordable housing as opposed to being allocated to the General Fund.

 

It was moved by Councillor B Gardner, duly seconded by Councillor M R Eddy, and

 

RESOLVED:     That it be recommended to Cabinet that it be proposed that the receipts from the Matthews Close ditch be put into the affordable housing fund.

109.

Performance Report - Quarter 3 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To consider the attached report of the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Leadership Support presented the Performance Report – Quarter 3 2018/19. Overall, there had been an improvement in the performance indicators (PIs) with a decrease in the number of red and amber indicators since Quarter 2.

 

There were 23 Green PIs, 5 Amber PIs and 5 Red PIs for Quarter 3. The 5 Red PIs were as followed:

 

East Kent Housing

 

·        EKHL1 (Average time taken to re-let council dwellings)

·        EKHC2 (Rent arrears as a percentage of annual debit)

·        EKHC3 (Former tenant arrears as a percentage of annual debit)

 

The rollout of Universal Credit continued to have an impact on the arrears and it took approximately 18 months to clear these arrears on average. The modelling undertaken by East Kent Housing suggested that arrears would rise to 5 – 6% at the worst point during the transition to Universal Credit for the Dover District. Tenants were signposted to a number of support services, including budgeting advice to help with them through the transition to Universal Credit.   

 

Councillor B Gardner expressed concern at difficulties in contacting East Kent Housing when trying to help constituents. The Chief Executive (East Kent Housing) advised that there was a specific email address for councillors to use and telephone response times were monitored.

 

Dover District Council

 

·        HOU101a (Number of households living in Temporary Accommodation including bed and breakfast)

·        HOU101b (Number of households in bed and breakfast)

 

Members were advised that the Council had managed to reduce the number of people in bed and breakfast as well as reducing the overall length of stay in bed and breakfast. It was recognised that bed and breakfast accommodation was undesirable and the Council was trying to move more people to interim housing.

 

Councillor M D Conolly advised that there was a lot of work going on in respect of homelessness reduction and the use of modular housing for interim housing accommodation was being investigated. The Council owned two potential sites for modular housing and the necessary due diligence work was being undertaken with a view to the two sites being part of a single procurement exercise.

 

In respect of a question concerning staff sickness indicators, the Chief Executive advised that the Council took the welfare of its staff seriously and that for long term sickness it was a question of providing support to the employee. The indicator for short terms sickness had improved against Quarter 2 and this was being monitored.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.