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Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2XY. View directions

Contact: Frankie Belloli, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 020 8424 1263 E-mail:  frankie.belloli@harrow.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

199.

Attendance by Reserve Members

To note the attendance at this meeting of any duly appointed Reserve Members.

 

Reserve Members may attend meetings:-

 

(i)                 to take the place of an ordinary Member for whom they are a reserve;

(ii)               where the ordinary Member will be absent for the whole of the meeting; and

(iii)             the meeting notes at the start of the meeting at the item ‘Reserves’ that the Reserve Member is or will be attending as a reserve;

(iv)              if a Reserve Member whose intention to attend has been noted arrives after the commencement of the meeting, then that Reserve Member can only act as a Member from the start of the next item of business on the agenda after his/her arrival.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were no Reserve Members in attendance.

200.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non pecuniary interests, arising from business to be transacted at this meeting, from:

 

(a)               all Members of the Committee;

(b)               all other Members present.

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Osborn declared the possibility of a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 8a (Digitilisation and Access to Services Online) in that he had been a Cabinet Member and might not be able to participate in the review of any decisions he had taken if these arose in the discussion of the item.  He would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

 

All councillors present declared a non-pecuniary interest in Agenda Item 8a (Digitilisation and Access to Services Online) with respect to their own “My Harrow” online accounts.  They would remain in the room whilst the matter was considered and voted upon.

201.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 90 KB

That the minutes of the meetings held on 8 November 2016 (enclosed) and on 1 February 2017 (to follow) be taken as read and signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)          the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 November 2016 be taken as read and signed as a correct record, subject to amendment of  the final sentence of the resolution at Minute 183 such that it concludes “… the criticisms by the Corporate Director, People.”

 

(2)          the minutes of the special meetings of the Committee held on 1 February 2017 be taken as read and signed as correct records.

202.

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any public questions received in accordance with Committee Procedure Rule 17 (Part 4B of the Constitution).

 

Questions will be asked in the order notice of them was received and there be a time limit of 15 minutes.

 

[The deadline for receipt of public questions is 3pm, Thursday,

9 February 2017.  Questions should be sent to publicquestions@harrow.gov.uk  

No person may submit more than one question].

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that no public questions or petitions were received at this meeting.

203.

References from Council/Cabinet

(if any).

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To note that there were no references from the Cabinet or Council for consideration at this meeting.

RECOMMENDED ITEMS

204.

Corporate Plan 2017 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, Resources and Commercial

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report dealing with the Corporate Plan refresh for 2017.  The Plan was scheduled to be discussed by Cabinet at its meeting on 16 February 2017.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Performance, Corporate Resources and Customer Services, briefly introduced the report, outlining the Leader’s additional priorities related to equalities and enforcement, and stating that performance was holding up well in spite of a number of challenges, particularly with respect to budget pressures.

 

Members raised a number of questions and received responses as follows:

 

Was Cabinet satisfied with the level of performance and the quality of performance data?  For example, recycling rates appeared to have fallen to 38% against a 2020 target of 50% and a previous 2015-16 performance at 43%, and there was no data for Quarter 2 of 2016-17, nor any commentary on these matters.

 

Cabinet was satisfied with both the overall performance set out in the plan and with the data.  The latter was underpinned with a more detailed corporate performance report which was monitored on a quarterly basis by Cabinet.  In the case of recycling, performance had been impacted by a national change in the classification of wooden materials which had affected all local authorities.  Environment staff would be consulted on the framing of future targets in view of such developments.

 

 

How could it reasonably be claimed that there had been “improvements” in the garden waste service when the implementation had been flawed?

 

The Corporate Plan did refer to the problems associated with the implementation (Page 11 of the Plan), but these had been resolved.

 

 

Did Cabinet agree that a staff training rate of 14% for equalities training was unacceptable?

 

The Portfolio Holder for Performance, Corporate Resources and Customer Services considered the performance unacceptable, but she was aware of certain mitigating factors such as the requirement for face-to-face training for some staff without ready access to computers, and the fact that some staff had only recently passed the two-year threshold for their accreditation and needed to complete the course again.  Nevertheless, it was accepted that there had to be considerable improvement and there was a current drive to increase course completions.

 

 

What was the basis for the Leader’s statement in the plan that there was a 10-year life expectancy gap between the poorest and most affluent parts of the Borough?  Figures in the plan suggested that this figure should be 6 years for men and 5.6 years for women (Page 13 of the Plan). 

 

It was understood that the statement was based on information from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and national indicators of multiple deprivation.  It reflected some significant differences within the Borough, such as between Pinner and Wealdstone, and was intended to demonstrate the extent of the gap in respect of the areas with highest and lowest rates rather than the averages cited in the body of the plan itself.

 

 

What was the basis for the £15m figure given for the anticipated income from commercial activities and did this figure refer to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 204.

RESOLVED ITEMS

205.

Street Trading Charges

Report of the Corporate Director, Resources and Commercial to follow.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that this item had been withdrawn since officers were still working on the implementation of the revised policy; a report would be brought to the Committee at its next meeting on 6 April 2017. 

 

A Member asked how the delay in this report related to the proposals for street trading charges in the reports on the 2017-18 budget being made to the Cabinet and the full Council over the following week or so.  The Portfolio Holder for Performance, Corporate Resources and Customer Services agreed to confirm the position and advise Members of the Committee. 

206.

Digitalisation and access to services online pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Report of the Corporate Director, Resources & Commercial.

Minutes:

In accordance with the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, the Committee agreed to consider a report on Digitalisation and Access to Online Services notwithstanding the fact that the report had not been circulated with the main agenda since the latest Quarter 3 data had not been available at the time and the report title had also been inadvertently omitted from the scrutiny forward work programme.  The Committee agreed to accept the item on grounds of urgency in order to respond to feedback from residents and the VCS in relation to the difficulties experienced in contacting the Council.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Performance, Corporate Resources and Customer Services introduced the report, setting it in the context of the Administration’s objective of making online the “channel of choice” for residents.  The Head of Customer Services and Business Support outlined the key challenges and the extent of progress in the shift to online transactions, communications and information.

 

A Member referred to residents only being able to report a missed refuse bin collection for their own premises via the webform, meaning that other residents nearby would not benefit from a more comprehensive reporting for the street generally.  The Director of Customer Services and Business Transformation would consider whether this could be addressed in the webform design.

 

The Member also asked about whether someone with Power of Attorney for a Borough resident would be permitted to use online transactions and communications on behalf of the resident.  The Director of Customer Services and Business Transformation advised that there was provision for “mediated access” in the current MyHarrow account arrangements. 

 

In response to a Member’s query, the Head of Customer Services and Business Support agreed to supply information on website use to Members of the Committee.

 

A Member explained the frustrations which some residents in Pinner South ward had encountered in that there had been no prompt confirmation emails to those who had applied early for the new “brown bin” garden waste service.  This had led to concerns as to whether applications had been received and had generated unnecessary phone calls and emails.  The Member asked whether these circumstances were connected to mistakes made in the implementation of the scheme.  The officers confirmed that there had been inadequate integration of information and systems at the outset so that early applicants had to be contacted by phone and email to complete data required, including bank details for payment of the charge involved.  Understandably, this had been the cause of concern and frustration for some residents, but nevertheless, there was never any risk to their application and arrangements had been made with each applicant for the secure transfer of bank details.  It was the case that relevant staff were learning lessons from each new scheme and were improving the integration of data and systems at each stage. 

 

A Member asked about the Council’s approach to those who did not have access to the internet or were not confident or patient enough in using the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 206.