Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 14th September, 2020 6.00 pm

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    Contact: Rebecca Brough, Democratic Services Manager  Email: democraticservices@dover.gov.uk

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    Items
    No. Item

    1.

    Apologies pdf icon PDF 4 KB

    To receive any apologies for absence.

    Minutes:

    There were no apologies for absence received.

     

    The Democratic Services Manager advised that Councillor D P Murphy, although not a member of the committee, had sent his apologies as he had been unable to attend the meeting at the invitation of the Chairman due to a prior commitment with residents.

     

    Councillor S C Manion had advised that he would arrive late to the meeting.

     

     

    2.

    Appointment of Substitute Members pdf icon PDF 4 KB

    To note appointments of Substitute Members.

    Minutes:

    The Democratic Services Manager advised that no notice had been received for the appointment of substitute members.

    3.

    Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 143 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.

    4.

    Minutes pdf icon PDF 142 KB

    To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 June 2020 and 13 July 2020 (to follow).

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2020 and 13 July 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

    5.

    Issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet, or another Committee pdf icon PDF 4 KB

    There are no items for consideration.

    Minutes:

    The Democratic Services Manager advised that there were no issues referred to the Committee by Council, Cabinet or another Committee.

    6.

    Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 139 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.

     

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

     

    7.

    Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 120 KB

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

    Minutes:

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

     

    Members identified the following items for inclusion in the work programme:

     

    ·         Tennant Evictions – once the current government moratorium on evictions due to the Covid-19 crisis had ended to discuss what the council’s plans were and what could be done to mitigate evictions

    ·         Community Engagement Arrangements

     

    RESOLVED:       That the Work Programme be noted, subject to the inclusion of the items on tenant evictions and community engagement arrangements.

     

    8.

    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 10 – 12.

     

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

     

    In a change to the normal public speaking rules, members of the public will be registering to speak through means of a written letter of no more than 500 words that will be read out by a member of the Democratic Services team at 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.

    9.

    PERFORMANCE REPORT – FIRST QUARTER 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

    To consider the attached report of the Head of Leadership Support.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Head of Leadership Support presented the Performance Report Quarter 1, 2020-21. Members were advised that due to the Covid-19 pandemic the Council had not produced Quarter 4, 2019-20 figures and the last comparable figures were for Quarter 3, 2019-20.

     

    There were 22 Green Status Performance Indicators (67%), 5 Amber (15%) and 6 Red (18%) for Quarter 1, 2020-21.

     

    Members raised concerns over what they viewed as the low targets of 60% and 80% respectively for performance indicators EKS02d.1 (percentage of incidents resolved within 1 working day) and EKS02d.2 (percentage of incidents resolved within 3 working days). It was pointed out that Q3 performance outturn had exceed both targets and the point of whether a stretch target for 2020-21 would have been a better target to encourage improvements in performance was raised. It was suggested that performance improvements did not necessarily require increased funding but could potentially be achieved through training or smarter working. The importance of remote working to the Council in the current Covid-19 pandemic was emphasized by Members.

     

     

    CIVICA

    Members were advised that Civica had provided resources to support the Council during the Covid-19 pandemic and this would have impacted on their performance in some areas.

     

    In response to a question about the absence of a RAG status and direction of travel indicator for KPI03-d (the percentage of council taxes due for the financial year which were received in year by the authority), Members were advised that this would be investigated further.

     

     

    East Kent Housing

    In response to a question about the absence of RAG statuses and direction of travel indicators for EKHD1 (Total current tenant arrears (including court costs)) and EKHD2 (Average current tenant arrears per rented unit), it was stated that this was be investigated further.

     

    The Chairman stated that once the housing service was back in-house after 1 October 2020 the committee would be better able to monitor compliance matters.

     

     

    Corporate Resources

    Members were advised that performance in relation to indicators ENH012 (Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for litter) and ENH015 (Number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued for dog fouling) had been affected by the diverting of resources to support other areas of activity related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

     

    Performance Summary – General Fund, HRA and Capital

    It was stated that the while the government had made a significant payment towards costs relating to homelessness it was not 100% of the costs incurred.

     

    RESOLVED:       That it be recommended to Cabinet that the Performance Report Quarter 1, 2020-21 be noted subject to:

     

    (a)  That the Cabinet be asked to note the concerns of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of the low levels set as targets for performance indicators EKS02d.1 (percentage of incidents resolved within 1 working day) and EKS02d.2 (percentage of incidents resolved within 3 working days) and that these be reviewed. As part of this, a comparison with the targets for other local authorities was proposed.

     

    (b)  That the appropriate Portfolio Holder and officers be requested to work with East Kent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

    10.

    AFFORDABLE HOUSING DELIVERY pdf icon PDF 156 KB

    To consider the attached report of the Head of Finance and Housing.

    Minutes:

    The Affordable Housing Delivery report was presented by the Housing Development Manager.

     

    Members requested that a definition of affordable housing be circulated as it was felt this would be useful in understanding what type of housing was to be delivered.

     

    A view was expressed that the council could make substantial savings using local contractors rather than larger companies who would often sub-contract to local companies to do the work for less than the value of the original contract. Members were advised that the council tried to reduce bureaucracy wherever possible to help local businesses apply for contracts with the council. It was suggested that the committee receive a report to a future meeting on local business usage by the Council.

     

    The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) advised that different definitions of a ‘local business’ would include/exclude different businesses. The example was cited of a national business with a local billing address and whether this should be defined as a ‘local business’.

     

    RESOLVED:       That it be recommended to the Cabinet that the recommendations as set out in the report, and in Cabinet Decision CAB4, be agreed as follows:

     

    That the Strategic Director (Corporate Resources), in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health, be authorised to take all necessary actions to develop and deliver an increased programme of affordable housing by Dover District Council, both by direct delivery and via registered providers and community organisations.

     

     

    (Cllr S C Manion joined the meeting at the start of this item of business)

    11.

    COUNCIL TAX PREMIUM FOR LONG-TERM EMPTY PROPERTIES DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 283 KB

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

    Minutes:

    The Strategic Director (Corporate Resources) presented the report on Council Tax Premium for Long-Term Empty Properties Directly Impacted by COVID-19.

     

    The Portfolio Holder for Finance, Governance and Digital, Councillor C A Vinson, explained the policy intent behind the report and acknowledged that Councillor T A Bond’s raising of this issue on behalf of one of his constituents had caused the Council to look further into this matter. Councillor C A Vinson thanked officers and Civica for their assistance in finding a way in which this support could be delivered.

     

    Members welcomed the proposal as a way of bringing long term empty properties back into occupancy.

     

    RESOLVED:       That it be recommended to the Cabinet that the recommendations as set out in the report, and in Cabinet Decision CAB5, be agreed as follows:

     

    That, using powers of discretion afforded by Section 13A 1(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended by the Local Government Finance Act 2012), a reduction in the additional Council Tax premium charged on properties empty for over 5 years, from 200% to 100%, for the period from 1 April to 30 June 2020, be approved. This is provided the property is occupied by 30 September 2020, and subject to individual Council Tax-payers meeting the eligibility and qualification criteria set out in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the report and complying with the application process, evidential requirements and award conditions set out in paragraphs 8, 11 and 12 of the report.

    12.

    Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 104 KB

    The recommendation is attached.

     

    MATTERS WHICH THE MANAGEMENT TEAM SUGGESTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN PRIVATE AS THE REPORT CONTAINS EXEMPT INFORMATION AS DEFINED WITHIN PART 1 OF SCHEDULE 12A OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS INDICATED AND IN RESPECT OF WHICH THE PROPER OFFICER CONSIDERS THAT THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN MAINTAINING THE EXEMPTION OUTWEIGHS THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSING THE INFORMATION

    Minutes:

    It was moved by Councillor C D Zosseder, duly seconded by Councillor T A Bond and

     

    RESOLVED:   That, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the remainder of the business on the grounds that the items to be considered involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.

     

    (Councillor S C Manion declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) in Minute No. 13 (Cleaning of Communal Areas in Housing Blocks) on the grounds that he lived in a communal block and stated that he would withdraw from the meeting for the consideration of that item of business.)

     

    13.

    Cleaning of Communal Areas in Housing Blocks

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial) and the Assets Manager presented the report on the Cleaning of Communal Areas in Housing Blocks.

     

    Members discussed the tender evaluation document and the performance of the current contract. The Chairman enquired as to the consequences of using her call-in powers in respect of the report.

     

    It was moved by Councillor C D Zosseder, duly seconded by Councillor H M Williams, and

     

    RESOLVED:       (a)     That the Cabinet be asked to note the concerns of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of the contract.

     

                                (b)     That a monitoring report on the contract be brought back to a future meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

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