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Meeting Details

Business & Transformation Scrutiny Panel
7 Oct 2021 - 16:00 to 18:16
Scheduled
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Visitors
  • Declarations of Interests

Documents

Agenda

Standard Items

**A pre meeting for Members to prepare for the Panel will take place 45 minutes before the meeting**




The Press and Public are welcome to attend for the
consideration of any items which are public.


Members of the Business & Transformation Scrutiny Panel

Councillor Bainbridge (Chair) , Councillors Alcroft (Vice Chair), Allison,  Mrs Bowman, Mrs Mitchell, Mitchelson, Sunter, Dr Tickner

Substitutes:
Councillors Mrs Atkinson, Mrs Birks, Brown, Collier, Ms Ellis-Williams, Mrs Finlayson, Mrs Glendinning, Glover, Lishman, Mrs McKerrell, Meller, Morton, Patrick, Robson, Shepherd, Miss Sherriff, Southward, Mrs Tarbitt, Miss Whalen.

Public Items
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutions.

 

BTSP.70/21
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Trevor Allison, Councillor Michael Michelson, Councillor Dr Les Tickner and the Town Clerk and Chief Executive.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and any interests, relating to any items on the agenda at this stage.

 

BTSP.71/21
No declarations of interest were submitted
PUBLIC AND PRESS

To agree that the items of business within Part A of the agenda should be dealt with in public and that the items of business within Part B of the agenda should be dealt with in private.

 

BTSP.72/21

RESOLVED – It was agreed that the items of business in Part A be dealt with in public and Part B be dealt with in private.

To note that Council, on the 14th September 2021, received and adopted the minutes of the meetings held on 15 July 2021.  The minutes will be signed by the Chair. 
(Minute Book Volume 48(2)

The Chair will move the minutes of the meeting held on 26 August 2021 as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that may be discussed is their accuracy.  
(Copy minutes herewith)

 

BTSP.73/21

Referring to minute BTSP.65/21 a Member asked for clarification with regard to the swimming pool removal.  The Finance, Governance and resources Portfolio Holder confirmed that the 1970s pool would be demolished and the second pool would be decommissioned.

RESOLVED – 1) It was noted that Council, at its meeting on 14 September 2021, received and adopted the minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2021.  The Chair signed the minutes.

2) That the minutes of the meeting held on 26 August 2021 be agreed as a correct record

A.1 CALL-IN OF DECISIONS

To consider any matter which has been the subject of call-in.

 

BTSP.74/21
There were no items which had been the subject of call-in.
Portfolio: Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate: Finance and Resources
Officer: Alison Taylor, Corporate Director of Finance and Resources
Report: RD.32/21 and Minute Excerpt herewith

Background:
The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources to submit a report providing an overview of the Council's overall budgetary position for April to June 2021 for revenue schemes only and provides details of the impact of Covid-19 on the revenue budget which was considered by the Executive on 31 August 2021. 

Why is this item on the agenda?
Budget monitoring report.

What is the Panel being asked to do?
To scrutinise the variances contained within the report.

BTSP.75/21

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources submitted report RD.32/21 the purpose of which was to provide an overview of the Council's overall budgetary position for the period April to June 2021 for revenue schemes only, together with details of the impact of COVID-19 on the revenue budget.

 

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources highlighted, in particular, some of the significant service expenditure and income variances identified at paragraph 2.4.  Section 3 recorded that the Council's financial position was affected by a number of external factors which would have a financial impact during the course of the year and ultimately at the year-end.  The Council’s financial position would continue to be closely monitored and the likely year end position would be reported more fully in a future monitoring report.  It would be important to maintain a prudent approach so as to ensure a sustainable position for future years and to avoid any significant variance at the year end.

 

The Executive had considered the matter at their meeting on 31 August 2021 (EX.95/21 referred) and resolved:

"That the Executive:
1. 
noted the budgetary performance position of the Council to June 2021;
2. 
noted the action by the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources to write-off bad debts as     detailed in paragraph 6 of Report RD.32/21;
3. noted the release of reserves as set out in the table at paragraph 2.2, and noted the virements     approved as detailed in Appendix A of Report RD.32/21. "

In considering the report the Panel raised the following comments and questions:

- The budget did not allow for the significant increase in energy costs, how would this be managed?

 

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources responded that any increase would be dealt with from existing budgets, if this was not possible it would become an additional use of the revenue reserve.

- A Member highlighted the risks set out in the report and asked that inflation and energy price increases be included in the future.

- The Panel asked for an update on the number of rent reviews that were outstanding at Kingstown Industrial Estate.

- Was there a risk that rising inflation rates could impact the Council's planned borrowing?

 

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources confirmed there was a risk that borrowing rates could increase, however, the Council had to consider its cash holdings before any borrowing could take place.  The matter was being closely monitored.

- Were there any identifiable trends in the overspend and underspend in the budget?

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources explained that there were no identifiable trends.  There were big variances in the budget as a result of high street recovery and car parking.  They would be monitored and included in the 2022/23 budget, if necessary.

 

RESOLVED - 1) That the Revenue Budget Overview and Monitoring Report - April to June 2021 (RD.32/21) be noted.

 

2) That the Property Services Manager provide the Panel with an update on the number of outstanding rent reviews at Kingstown Industrial Estate.

Portfolio:  Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate: Finance and Resources
Officer: Alison Taylor, Corporate Director of Finance and Resources
Report: RD.33/21 and Minute Excerpt herewith

Background:
The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources to submit a report providing an overview of the budgetary position of the  City Council's capital programme for the period April to June 2021 which was considered by the Executive on 31 August.

Why is this item on the agenda?
Budget monitoring report.

What is the Panel being asked to do?
To scrutinise the variances contained within the report.

BTSP.76/21

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources submitted report RD.33/21 providing an overview of the budgetary position of the City Council's capital programme for the period April to June 2021.

 

The position statement recorded that, as at the end of June 2021, expenditure of £3,691,459 had been incurred on the Council’s core capital programme.  When considered against the profiled budget of £3,906,461 that equated to an underspend of £215,002.  The unspent balance remaining of the revised annual budget of £27,669,200 was £23,977,741.

 

A review of the 2021/22 capital programme would be undertaken to identify accurate project profiles for the remainder of the financial year and any potential slippage into future years.

 

A number of schemes were included in the capital programme for 2021/22 that required reports to be presented to the Executive for the release of funding before the project could go ahead.

The Executive had considered the matter at their meeting on 31 August 2021 (EX.96/21) referred) and resolved:
"
That the Executive:
1. 
noted and had commented upon the budgetary position and performance aspects of the capital     programme for the period April to June 2021.
2. 
noted adjustments to the 2021/22 capital programme as detailed in paragraph 2.1 of Report   RD.33/21"

In considering the report Members raised the following comments and questions:

- Why had there been a delay in the works to Skew Bridge and would the delay impact the budget?

The Deputy Chief Executive explained that there had been some difficulty in sourcing the relevant materials, he did not envisage an impact on the budget.  He agreed to circulate further information to the relevant Ward Councillors.

- The Panel asked that the delay in sourcing materials be added to the risks for project management in future reports.

- Referring to the Gateway 44 Project, a Member asked if the project was still within the £6.5m budget and did the Council still project a 13.7% return on capital?

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources agreed to provide the Panel with a written response.

RESOLVED - 1) That the Capital Budget Overview and Monitoring Report - April to June 2021 (RD.33/21) be noted.

2) That the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources provides the Panel with information on the budget for the Gateway 44 Project and the projected return on capital.

Portfolio: Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate:  Finance and Resources
Officer: Alison Taylor, Corporate Director of Finance and Resources
Report:  RD 43/21 herewith

Background:
The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources to submit a report report summarising the work undertaken by the Commercialisation Task and Finish Group and the rationale for not progressing any further work on a detailed Commercialisation Strategy for Carlisle City Council.

Why is this item on the agenda?
Report on the findings and conclusions of the Commercialisation Strategy Task and Finish Group.

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Members are asked to note the contents of this report and to ratify the conclusions of the Task and Finish Group, or conversely ask that the Task and Finish Group continue with their work in developing a Commercial Strategy for Carlisle City Council. 

BTSP.77/21

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources presented a summary of the work undertaken by the Commercialisation Task and Finish Group and detailed the rationale for not progressing any further work on a detailed Commercialisation Strategy for Carlisle City Council (RD.43/21).

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources reported that whilst the Group acknowledged the significant work already undertaken, they recognised that much more work was required to develop a strategy which, given Local Government Reorganisation (LGR), could potentially only have a very short lifespan. They recognised that LGR would be a period of great change for the Council with significant and various demands being placed on both Officer and Member resources. Therefore, they reached the conclusion that the Task and Finish Group should be concluded and in the light of the existing commercial activity already undertaken and LGR, the development of a Commercial Strategy for Carlisle City Council was not currently advisable.

The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources explained that the Council would use the work that had been undertaken to generate income in line with the Medium Term Financial Plan and its Financial Principles.

RESOLVED - 1) That report RD.43/21, Commercialisation task and Finish Group, be noted;

2) That the work of the Commercialisation Task and Finish Group end and a City Council Commercialisation Strategy not be developed.

Portfolio: Leader
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Darren Crossley, Deputy Chief Executive
 Report CS.42/21 herewith

Background:
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report providing an update on the current progress of the redevelopment of the Sands Centre site.

Why is this item on the agenda?
Item agreed by Chair.

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Review the report, note the progress and provide feedback.

BTSP.78/21

The Deputy Chief Executive presented an update on the current progress of the redevelopment of the Sands Centre site (CS.42/21).

The Deputy Chief Executive provided an update on the measures undertaken to manage or adapt the existing proposals to deal with:

 

a) Progress with the main contract works

b) A requirement to update existing infrastructure in the events space to manage public safety systems to meet with current legislation.

c) Working practices evolving from the management of the risks associated with the COVID -19 pandemic

     d) Working practices evolving from the management of the Brexit Agreement arrangements

The Deputy Chief Executive summed up by informing the Council that the Sands Centre site had been inspected by Considerate Constructors and the Health and Safety Executive.

In considering the update Members raised the following comments and questions:

- A Member asked if the risk register score was ambitious given the issues with the supply chain.

The Deputy Chief Executive explained that the risks had been reduced where possible but it would be continuously monitored and reported to Scrutiny.

- Would it be possible to publicly advertise the progress on the development and the projected opening date?

 

The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the Communications team were working on the promotional side of the development.

 

- How much time had been included in the contract for time flow? 

 

The Deputy Chief Executive clarified that nine weeks had been included over the period of the contract.  Although Covid 19 had not impacted the workforce as expected, the delay to the sourcing of materials had been problematic and the additional time built into the contract would prove beneficial to deal with delays.


- How did the NEC form of contract compare with other contracts and had it been successful?

 

The Deputy Chief Executive explained that it was too early in the process to give an assessment on the comparison of the contract, he outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages to the contract.  He added that the notices process provided a good transparent record for everyone involved in the contract.  In response to a further question the Deputy Chief Executive gave examples of Early Warning Notices, Compensation Event Notices and Project Manager instructions and what they meant within the project.

 

-  A Member asked for an update on the roof.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive reported that the Events Centre roof had been subject to regular (approximately 6 monthly) assessments of conditions in line with the sector guidance.  Those assessments had not resulted in any recommendations regarding the replacement of roof panels, however, each report has reiterated that the roof structure is close to the end of its design life.  The Council will continue to closely monitor this aspect of the building.

 

- How did the Council make sure that local contractors were used wherever possible in the project?

 

The Deputy Chief Executive agreed to include the tracker that was used to monitor the use of local suppliers and contractors in the next report.

 

- How would the public be able to see the progress on the project, especially on completion?

 

The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Panel that a camera had been set up to provide a time lapse sequence of the project.

 

RESOLVED – That the Sands Centre Redevelopment Project update (CS.42/21) be noted.

 

Portfolio: Finance, Governance and Resources
 Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Darren Crossley, Deputy Chief Executive
Report: CS.39/21 herewith

Background:

The Deputy Chief Executive to submit an update on the progress of the reinstatement of the ground floor of the Civic Centre, including Phase 2 of the project: demolition of the former chamber and extension to the Civic Centre public car park.

 

Why is this item on the agenda?

The Chair requested a report on progress of the Civic Centre re-instatement.

 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Review the report and the progress made on the project.

BTSP.79/21

The Deputy Chief Executive provided an update on the current progress of the reinstatement of the ground floor of the Civic Centre (CS.39/21).

The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Panel of the measures undertaken to manage or adapt the existing project proposals to deal with:

a) working practices as a result of the COVID -19 pandemic
b
a requirement to update existing infrastructure on the ground floor and basement to manage asbestos, legionella, safety systems, obsolete services, and fire safety in these areas, to support increased occupation of the ground floor and meet with current legislation.

The report also contained the arrangements for Phase 2 of the project including demolition of the former Council chamber and an extension to the Civic Centre public car park.

The Deputy Chief Executive placed on record his thanks to all the stakeholders who had been involved in the reinstatement work, with special thanks to the Client Side Project Manager, Construction Administrator and the Project Support Officer.

In considering the report Members raised the following comments and questions:

 - Had there been any work undertaken to preserve the memory of the rotunda.

The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that photographs had been taken and the mural that had been in the old Chamber had been dismantled to be repurposed, if possible, in the new Chamber.

- The Panel noted that the new Customer Services reception had retained a physical sign in process and asked if an electronic one had been considered.

The Deputy Chief Executive agreed to investigate the matter further.

- What was the 'new civic space'?

The Deputy Chief Executive explained that, as part of the public realm works, there would be a simple seated area that would have space for an opportunity to develop it in the future.

RESOLVED - 
That the Civic Centre Reinstatement and Development Project be received (CS.39/21).

A.7 Pdf SQUAD WORKING (1208Kb)
Portfolio:  Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate:   Community Services
Officer: Darren Crossley, Deputy Chief Executive
Report: CS.40/21 herewith
Background: 
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report acquainting Members with the Council's approach to Squad Working and potential of this new part of our Project Managers Toolbox.

Why is this item on the agenda?
To provide the Panel with an update on new methods of working being adopted by the Council.

What is the Panel being asked to do? 
Review this report and appendices, note the progress made to date and form a view on the future involvement of the Panel in monitoring the progress of Squad Working.
BTSP.80/21

The Deputy Chief Executive presented a report setting out the Council's approach to Squad Working (CS.40/21).

The Deputy Chief Executive gave a detailed explanation of Squad Working as an opportunity for improved agile working across the Council. The report set out the roadmap for the implementation of Squad Working as well as potential risks and how they would be addressed.

The Panel had difficulty in understanding the process using the terminology in the report.  The Deputy Chief Executive explained how Squad Working could be used along with some examples.  He informed the Panel that there had been a good response from staff and all of the training sessions had been filled.

The Deputy Chief Executive informed the Panel that formal project management, audit and democratic process would continue to be used to be transparent, Squad Working would tie in with those processes.

The Deputy Chief Executive agreed to provide the Panel with a plain English briefing note and a further report updating the Panel on the progress made through Squad Working.

RESOLVED - 1) That the Panel note the progress made to date with regard to Squad Working (CS.40/21).

2) That the Deputy Chief Executive circulate a briefing note in plain English to the Panel.

3) That an update on Squad Working within the City Council be submitted to the Panel at a future meeting.

Portfolio: Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Darren Crossley, Deputy Chief Executive
Report: CS.38/21 herewirth

Background:

The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report. 

 

Why is this item on the agenda?

To provide the Panel with findings of the staff survey and provide information on developing approaches to agile working following the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

What is the Panel being asked to do?

Consider and comment of the information provided.
BTSP.81/21
The Deputy Chief Executive provided the findings of the staff survey along with information on developing approaches to agile working following the Covid-19 pandemic (CS.38/21).

The Deputy Chief Executive reported that the 2021 Staff Survey (Flexible Working Arrangements) had been conducted between 27 April and 10 May and had received 223 responses.  Based on the survey SMT were keen to continue to support staff to work from home if they so wished taking into account service demand and delivery requirements, team dynamics and colleague preferences.  It was recognised that some staff would feel anxious regarding a return to the workplace and various support mechanisms were in place.

The Panel welcomed the report and supported giving staff flexibility where possible.  The Panel  highlighted some issues which residents had reported to Ward Councillors and questioned how the Council would ensure that staff who were working from home were doing so in a safe and appropriate place which did not stop them from delivering the service.

The Deputy Chief Executive detailed the agile working policy which the Council already had in place and the health and safety practices that the Council had to ensure staff had the necessary equipment and space at home.  Staff would have to discuss home working with their managers to ensure it was appropriate and safe to do so.  He highlighted the priority on the delivery of service, if complaints were received then the matter would be reviewed.

RESOLVED - That the Emerging Agile Working Policy - Findings of Staff Survey report (CS.38/21) be noted.
A.9 Pdf OVERVIEW REPORT (185Kb)
Portfolio:  Cross cutting 
Directorate: Cross cutting
Officer: Rowan Jones, Overview and Scrutiny Officer
Report  OS.24/21 herewith
Background:
The report provides an overview of matters related to the Scrutiny Panel's work.  It also includes the latest version of the work programme.

Why is this item on the agenda?
The Business and Transformation Scrutiny Panel operates within a work plan which has been set for the 2021/22 municipal year.  The Plan will be reviewed at every meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Panel and take into account items relevant to this Panel in the latest Notice of Executive Key Decisions. 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Note the items within the Panel remit on the most recent Notice of Executive Key Decisions and note the current work programme.
BTSP.82/21

The Overview and Scrutiny Officer presented report OS.24/21 providing an overview of matters relating to the work of the Business and Transformation Scrutiny Panel and the Panel’s Work Programme.

RESOLVED – That the Overview Report incorporating the Key Decision items relevant to the Business and Transformation Scrutiny Panel be noted (OS.24/21).

Exempt Items
B.1 ICT SERVICES PROJECT STATUS REPORT

***This report is not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 as it contains information relating to an individual.***

Portfolio:

Finance, Governance and Resources

Directorate:

Corporate Support

Officer:

Jason Gooding, Town Clerk and Chief Executive

Laura Griffiths
David Strong, Lead ICT Officer

Martine Kelly, Lead ICT Officer

Report:

CE.11/21 herewith

Background:

The Town Clerk and Chief Executive to submit an up-to-date snapshot of the current status of the ICT Services projects.  Recent project activity; RAG rating; issues and emerging risks; key activities for the next period and requests for change have all been updated.

 

Why is this item on the agenda?

The Panel requested a three monthly update at their meeting on 1 April 2021 (BTSP.29/21 refers)

 

What is the Panel being asked to do?

Scrutinise and comment on the most recent summary of these projects, and the actions being taken to support projects with issues.  Appendix One is a summary of the standalone IT projects and their current status.

 

Enquiries, requests for reports, background papers etc to: 
committeeservices@carlisle.gov.uk

Attendance

Name
No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
Councillor Trevor Allison  
Councillor Michael Robert Mitchelson Councillor Mrs Ann Vipond McKerrell
Councillor Dr Les Tickner Councillor Pamela Birks
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Also Present: Councillor Ellis, Finance, Governance and Resources Portfolio Holder

Officers: Deputy Chief Executive
Corporate Director of Finance and Resources
Lead ICT Officer x2