Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: James Dearling 

Media

Items
No. Item

OS43

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was advised of apologies for absence from Councillors Liz Hogger, Steven Lee, and Tony Rooth and notified of a substitute as detailed above.

 

OS44

Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.

 

If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.

 

Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

 

OS45

Minutes pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Committee meetings held on 14 January 2020 and 4 February 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings held on 14 January and 4 February 2020 were agreed.

 

OS46

Lead Councillor Question Session

A question session with Councillor Angela Goodwin, the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness.

 

Councillor Goodwin’s areas of responsibility: To cover policies on and support for: Housing & Council tax benefits, Monitoring & enforcing housing standards, the implementation of Universal credit, internal Housing services, Housing strategy development: North Downs Housing, Assessment of housing need, council housing & tenant services, housing advice and homelessness.

 

Includes working with these stakeholders: Private rented sector, private sector delivery, registered social landlords, housing association liaison, homeless support providers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness and the Director of Service Delivery.

 

A number of question areas were provided to the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness in advance of the meeting: improving accessibility for disabled people; homelessness; Council and social housing; social rent housing; and North Downs Housing Limited (NDH).  In addressing these issues and other questions, a number of clarifications and responses were offered:

 

·        The Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness was asked about the Council’s activities to improve accessibility for disabled people across the Borough, particularly in town or village centres.  In reply, the Committee was advised of the need to comply with disability legislation when delivering services or projects and the inclusion of equalities on the Council’s committee reports, supported by an equalities impact assessment where required.  In addition, the Committee was advised of examples of services that support disabled people, such as assisted waste collection, and accessible parks and playgrounds.  The Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness indicated that the Guildford town centre public realm project and the replacement of Walnut Bridge were examples of projects featuring accessibility.

 

·        The Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness referred to the Guildford Access Group and the Mayor’s Awards for Access, and indicated that the Council helped fund the first Changing Places toilet in the Borough and that a second one was planned.  The Committee was advised that the availability of accessible car parking spaces was being added to the GEOMII Guildford Parking app.  In addition, the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness referred to the local home improvement agency. 

 

·        In response to a question about the achievements of NDH since its establishment in 2016, the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness explained the objectives of the company and outlined its cumulative acquisition and development targets for the five-year period up to 2026.  She suggested that the adoption of the Local Plan would deliver a step change in the pace of development over the next five years, although the rate at which the sites were built out was currently difficult to predict.  The Committee was advised that over the next five-year period it was likely NDH would be heavily reliant on the Council to deliver development opportunities.

 

·        The Committee was advised that forty-eight homes had been delivered by NDH since 2016.

 

·        The Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness advised that a driver for the establishment of NDH was to protect property from Right to Buy.  She suggested that the reputation of NDH in the rental market was improved through its connection to the Council.

 

·        In reply to a question, the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness indicated that the Council’s aim was to build 3,000 new houses by 2029 and that, in light of central government changes, how to achieve this target was being considered.  The Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness indicated that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS46

OS47

ICT Refresh Project Review pdf icon PDF 315 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Leader of the Council, the Director of Resources, and the Managing Director.  He explained that the Committee was invited to review the project update report, consider the recommendations and learning points, and comment.

 

The Director of Resources introduced the report submitted to the Committee.  She explained that the report was initially intended to be a post-project implementation review of the ICT Refresh project, but the project was not complete.  The meeting was informed that an independent interim review of the project was within the papers submitted to the Committee.  The Director of Resources advised the Committee that the interim ICT Lead Specialist and author of the Socitm Advisory report was unable to attend the meeting. 

 

The Committee was informed that the business case for the ICT transformation submitted to the Executive for approval in November 2017 focused too narrowly on the implementation of Windows 10 and other sundry end user computing technologies and excluded refreshing other assets.  The Committee was advised that infrastructure, network / communications, and devices such as mobile phones and printers were not included in the original business case.  The Director of Resources advised the Committee that the project had been scheduled to complete within 18 months and cost £1.25million.  She indicated that the rollout of end user devices had taken longer than anticipated and that the project had not been completed prior to the start of the Future Guildford implementation as planned.  The Director of Resources advised the meeting that the Council had commissioned Socitm Advisory to undertake a review of the project to identify lessons to be learn and applied to other projects.  The Socitm Advisory report was attached as Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Committee.

 

The Director of Resources referred to the prioritised improvement recommendations set out in the Socitm Advisory report.  The Committee was informed of the main areas identified for improvement:

 

·        ICT governance and project management

·        Telephony resilience and WIFI coverage at remote sites

·        ICT asset management, security and disposal

·        Completion of the core network upgrade

·        Movement of staff shared drives to cloud storage

·        Decommissioning of Citrix

 

The following points arose from the ensuing discussion and questions:

 

·        There was a legacy of underinvestment in ICT at the Council.

 

·        The original budget had been revised upwards three times during 2019 to £1.485million.  The forecast spend to the completion of phase one of the project was approximately £200,000 over the revised budget, with the costs of decommissioning legacy systems as yet unknown.

 

·        The Director of Resources indicated that she had believed that an infrastructure refresh had been included in the original project proposal.  The Director of Resources stated that the Council directors responsible for the project were not IT experts and were reliant on subject knowledge experts to advise on the needs of the project.  Committee members suggested that outside technical expertise was perhaps necessary to specify the products desired and to identify dependencies and risks at the outset of a proposed project.

 

·        The project should have  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS47

OS48

An update on the Implementation of Future Guildford pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Chairman welcomed the Chief Internal Auditor, the Customer Services and Business Improvement Manager, Dave Mullin from Ignite, and a local Unison representative. 

 

The Leader of the Council introduced the item and advised the Committee of the progression of Future Guildford.  She indicated that the Future Guildford transformation was the best way to streamline the Council and make the savings necessary.  The Leader of the Council indicated that she had no issues with the progression of Future Guildford.

 

In response to a question about changes to Executive portfolios to reflect the Future Guildford transformation, the Leader of the Council indicated she would be making an announcement at the next meeting of the Executive.

 

In reply to questions, the Unison representative advised the meeting that staff reactions to the Future Guildford transformation varied according to the individual concerned.  He indicated that Unison was unable to change the decision to use the Ignite model and had advised its members to engage with the Future Guildford process.  He indicated that the support and training provided for staff undergoing change appeared adequate.  He informed the Committee that most difficulties had occurred around the post-consultation feedback.

 

The Committee was advised that the results of a staff survey carried out in June 2019 were attached as an appendix to the report submitted to the Committee.  The Committee was informed that the survey results were used to help tailor aspects of the Future Guildford approach.  The meeting was informed that the survey would be repeated in future.

 

In response to questions about the capacity of the public facing Council services after implementation of Phase B, the Committee was informed that detailed process redesign for Phase B of Future Guildford was ongoing and that the assumptions of the business case were being tested with staff that were subject-matter experts. 

 

The Chief Internal Auditor confirmed that exit interviews were not compulsory.  The Chairman suggested that the results of any exit interviews might provide useful information for the Committee’s assessment of Future Guildford. 

 

With reference to the current status of the ICT systems, a member of the Committee questioned whether the implementation of Phase B of Future Guildford was dependent on the CRM software being in place and whether such dependencies had been sufficiently planned for.  In reply, the Chief Internal Auditor indicated that the Phase B and CRM were being progressed in parallel. 

 

The Chairman and members of the Committee questioned the omission of the issues log from the information within the report submitted to the Committee.  In response to a question about the issues log requested previously by the Committee, the Managing Director referred to the issues presented to the Future Guildford Project Board in January 2020. 

 

The Chairman and members of the Committee requested a detailed breakdown of the monies spent on contractors to date, and a preference for written examples of business processes that had changed as a result of Phase A of Future Guildford.

 

The Customer Services and Business Improvement Manager listed examples of business  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS48

OS49

Matters Outstanding from Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered information on matters outstanding from previous meetings, including the traveller strategy and policy and a possible review of the decision-making on the Walnut Bridge project. 

 

The Managing Director indicated that a discussion of traveller strategy and policy was scheduled for a March meeting of Surrey Council Leaders and Chief Executives.  In addition, he undertook to liaise with the Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Personal Health, Safety and Wellbeing, and provide information to Committee members.  The Committee was advised that the Director of Service Delivery had briefed the Committee’s Chairman and Vice-Chairman and the Chairmen of the Executive Advisory Boards on traveller encampments. 

 

With reference to the timescale around any possible consideration of the Walnut Bridge project, the Leader of the Council indicated that Committee members could be advised when construction was due to begin. 

 

OS50

Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To agree the draft Overview and Scrutiny work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report setting out the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2020-21.

 

The Senior Democratic Services Officer – Scrutiny provided an update and asked the Committee to review and agree its work plan.  He referred to the proposal to establish a task and finish group to examine governance of major projects at the Council.  Committee members indicated their approval for such a task group.  The Chairman indicated that the Managing Director and the Leader of the Council would be consulted over how the task group could be of most value to the Council.

 

With reference to previous work by Overview and Scrutiny, a member of the Committee proposed adding an item to the work programme to look at the potential mechanisms for managing the impact of HMOs in the Borough. 

 

With reference to the issue of access to GP surgeries within the Borough, a member of the Committee informed the meeting that representatives of Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group had accepted an invitation to attend the Committee to provide information and answer questions.

 

RESOLVED:  (I) That an in-depth task and finish group examining the governance of major projects at the Council be established.

 

(II)  That a report on the Borough’s HMOs be added to the Overview and Scrutiny work programme.

 

(III)  That the Committee’s meeting with Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group be scheduled.