Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services) on Tuesday 15th January, 2019, 6.30 pm

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Town Hall Bootle

Contact: Paul Fraser  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

32.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bradshaw, Brodie-Browne and McKinley.

 

33.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Members are requested to give notice of any disclosable pecuniary or personal interest

 

An advice note on declaration of interests is attached

 

Minutes:

No declarations of disclosable pecuniary or personal interests were received.

 

 

34.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2018

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2018 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

 

35.

Social Media Use and Effectiveness - Presentation

Presentation by the Corporate Communications Manager

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from Nicky Speed, Corporate Communications Manager on social media use and effectiveness.

 

Ms. Speed detailed:-

 

·         That in the UK in 2018 77% of the population had a social media account

·         The social media channels used by Sefton - Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter

·         That engagement via the above channels was on the increase

·         That in Sefton social media was being used to promote key messages/priorities, listen to our communities, post engagement re: videos/visuals, encouraging customers to self-service, signpost to events and activities, consult on plans, share key partners’ content and warn and inform of emergency incidents   

·         That plans for the future included a supporting self-service/reduction in calls, more focus on engagement, work with influencers/community groups and the provision of support for elected Members

·         And concluded by requesting Members to follow the Council on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to help the Council reach customers, by sharing our messages and promoting Sefton when out and about; and that if Members were not using social media but needed help doing so then the Corporate Communications Team could facilitate this 

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/made comments on the following issues:

 

  • The mechanism in place to tweet to promote Sefton events
  • Complaints being made via twitter and being logged as part of the formal complaints process
  • The arrangements in place for staff to respond to Facebook and twitter comments
  • The frequency of monitoring and reviews of the website to ensure that content was up to date
  • Concerns about the use of social media becoming compulsive or obsessional
  • The availability of social media training for Members

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Nicky Speed be thanked for her informative presentation.

 

 

36.

The Arvato Contract Transition pdf icon PDF 249 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

 

Further to Minute No. 5 of 12 June 2018 the Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources that outlined the work undertaken and current status regarding the exit of Arvato and the transition of Transactional Finance, HR and ICT services to the Council and the Council’s new ICT provider, Agilisys; and detailing the key achievements, ongoing transition activities and next steps to complete the project and move to a programme of transformation.

 

The report indicated that procurement for an external ICT contractor was undertaken, and successfully completed, within restrictive and aggressive timescales and that following an OJEU compliant procurement process, Agilisys were appointed in July 2018 to deliver ICT services for a 5-year period commencing 1 October 2018 with the provision for 2 annual extensions; that transition activities to support a seamless exit for Arvato and safe transfer to the Council/Agilisys commenced prior to the end of the partnership and were continuing as required; and that as transition activities were completed, these would form a base for transformation projects enabling realisation of proposed Target Operating Models and support the delivery of the wider Council PSR agenda.      

 

Regarding key achievements and deliverables the report indicated that all milestones detailed within the project plans had been met and information was provided on key achievements relating to people, processes, technology and finance; and updated on the transitional actions undertaken to ensure the successful transition of employees and the continuity of operational work locations.

 

The report concluded by detailing the next steps of the process which included the continuation of transition activities to ensure no disruption of services whilst the move to Council operating procedures was fully complete; and that action plans would be maintained and monitored with actions closed once agreed that service delivery was operating as ‘business as usual’  

 

Councillor Lappin, Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services commended the excellent work undertaken by the Head of Corporate Resources and his staff facilitating the smooth Arvato transition of Transactional Finance, HR and ICT services to the Council and the Council’s new ICT provider, Agilisys.

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the report on the Arvato Contract Transition be noted; and

 

(2)

the closure of the formal programme to transition services from Arvato to the Council and the Council’s new ICT provider, Agilisys be noted.

 

 

37.

Universal Credit and Full Service Sefton Council pdf icon PDF 610 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 39 of 16 January 2018 the Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources that set out the progress relating to the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) and Full Service in Sefton that commenced in Sefton Jobcentre Plus (JCP) offices on 11th October 2017.

 

The report indicated that the aim of UC was to help ensure working age claimants were better off in work than they were on benefits and provide support to help people prepare for work, move into work or earn more; that   UC was a means tested benefit which replaced all the following means-tested benefits (that topped up existing income) with a single monthly payment:

 

·         Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

·         Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

·         Income Support.

·         Child Tax Credits

·         Working Tax Credits

·         Housing Benefit for working age

 

and that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) referred to the above as legacy benefits.

 

The report also indicated that UC Full Service commenced in Sefton JCP offices on 11 October 2017 and that the ‘gateway’ to UC had been expanded to all claim types of customers for both in and out of work benefits; and that   the gateway to claim Housing Benefit for most claimants had now been closed except for the current exceptions as follows:

 

·                    People who are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium

·                    People living in Specified Accommodation

·                    People living in Temporary Accommodation

·                    Three or more children families

·                    Pensioners

 

Regarding the UC caseload in Sefton the report advised that the total number of people claiming UC in Sefton, as at the end of October 2018, was 11,668.  Of these approximately 3,674 (31%) claimed Council Tax Reduction; and that there had been a relatively steady increase in the number of Sefton residents claiming UC since January 2018.

 

The report also provided information on the key tasks to implement UC Full Service relating to Sefton Benefit Service Back Office and Sefton’s One Stop Shops; the Universal Support Actual volumes versus DWP forecasts which showed that Assisted Digital Support (ADS) provided by the Council’s One Stop Shops had consistently exceeded the DWP figures; and what was changing for 2019 which included a Government announcement that from 1 October 2018 UC Support would be delivered through £39m being made available to Citizens Advice nationally and a commitment from Government regarding the “Breathing Space and Statutory Debt Repayment Plan”.

 

The report concluded by detailing Discretionary Housing Payments; work undertaken with partners and key stakeholders regarding UC developments; UC service workload associated with Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTR) Notifications that had resulted in significant changes to working practices in Benefit Service administration; the impact on current service delivery and operational UC issues; and the UC managed migration for existing Housing Benefit customers that was due to start from July 2019 with an end date for completion of March 2023 had now been moved back to end in June 2024.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/made comments on the following issues:

 

·         How the Council responds to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Review of Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2018/19, Increase to Long Term Empty Homes Premium and Council Tax base 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 657 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources to be considered by Cabinet and Council at their meetings to be held on 10 and 24 January 2019 respectively and which provided details of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) 2018/19 review and recommended that no change to the local scheme in 2019/20 for working age claimants be made; that sought Cabinet and Council approval for an increase to the long term empty homes premium from 50% to 100% following the outcome of the consultation and equality impact assessment; and  presented an updated Council Tax Base for Sefton Council and each Parish area for 2019/20.

 

The report indicated that Cabinet and Council were required to take decisions on the above matters because each financial year the Council must consider whether to revise or replace its LCTRS and that the Council must approve and adopt the 2019/20 LCTRS by 11 March 2019 and the report commented on the impact of various changes made to the scheme for the current year 2018/19 together with the impact of the Government Welfare Reform changes; and stated that after consideration of the factors outlined in the report it was proposed that the LCTRS for 2019/20 remain unchanged for working age claimants. With regard to the long-term empty homes premium the increase was intended to encourage owners of homes that had been empty for more than two years to bring them back into use and that any additional income raised from the premium would help support the provision of Council services; and that regarding the Council Tax Base the Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, as amended, required the Council to set a tax base for both Sefton Council and for each Parish Area for 2019/20 before 31 January 2019.

 

Annex A to the report set out the relevant 2019/20 Council Tax Base for Sefton Council and each Parish Area; whilst Annex B set out the outcome of the consultation and equality impact assessment on the proposal to increase the long-term empty homes premium.

 

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/made comments on the following issues:

 

·         the increase in the long-term empty homes premium and whether any views had been submitted to the Council by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

·         incentives to encourage the owners of empty homes to bring them back into use

·         work undertaken to identify the causes of long-term vacant homes 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report on the review of the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2018/19, the increase to long term empty homes premium and the Council Tax base 2019/20 be noted.

 

39.

Local Air Quality Management pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report of the Head of Highways and Public Protection

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Highways and Public Protection that updated on Air Quality in Sefton.

 

The report indicated that the concept of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) was introduced under the Environment Act 1995 (the Act); that evidence had shown that certain atmospheric pollutants were linked to poor health; that the Act placed a statutory duty on all Local Authorities to review and assess air quality in their areas at regular intervals; that the Air Quality Regulations, made under the Act, specified the pollutants that must be considered and set standards  and objectives for each of the pollutants, which were referred to as National Air Quality Standard (NAQS) Objectives.

 

The report also indicated that as part of the ongoing air quality assessment process the boundaries of 4 Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) had been identified across the Borough where NAQS objectives had not been met and these were located at:

 

·         A5036 Princess Way and Crosby Road South junction, Seaforth

·         A5058 Millers Bridge and Derby Road junction, Bootle

·         A565 Crosby Road North and South Road junction, Waterloo

·         B5422 Hawthorne Road and Church Road junction, Litherland

 

The report also identified that in addition to the real-time monitors, Sefton measured monthly NO2 levels at approximately 100 sites across the Borough using diffusion tubes; that a small number of diffusion tubes had shown exceedances of the NAQS objective in 2017; and that these tubes were all located in existing AQMAs and as such would be kept under review as part of the ongoing monitoring.

 

The report also detailed actions to improve air quality which included Port expansion mitigation measures involving a Defra funded study looking at an alternative fuels strategy (AFS) for HGVs and buses in Sefton and the Liverpool City Region, rather than using diesel as a fuel together with an HGV parking demand study; the commissioning of Environmental consultants AECOM to undertake a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) feasibility study to assess the feasibility of implementing CAZs in Sefton to reduce traffic related emissions; a schools air quality project; a communications strategy; an intensive road cleaning project; air quality messages on variable matrix signs; a Defra air quality grant bid; and a taxi electric vehicle project.

 

The report concluded that  air quality in Sefton was of a good standard with NAQS Objectives  complied with across the majority of the Borough; that on-going review and assessment had identified localised areas where NAQS Objectives would not be met and Action Plans were in place to work towards compliance in these areas; that Action Plan measures had shown significant success and levels of pollution had reduced with levels of PM10 at all monitoring locations below the NAQS objectives and resulted in the de-declaration of AQMA 1 near Waterloo Primary School; and that a detailed report would be submitted to a future meeting outlining the findings of the Clean Air Zone study and potential intervention options available.

 

 

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/commented on the following issues:

 

·         Now that Brooms Cross  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Work Programme 2018/19, Scrutiny Review Topics and Key Decision Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer that updated the Committee on the Work Programme for 2018/19, topics for scrutiny reviews to be undertaken by a Working Group(s) appointed by the Committee and seeking the identification of any items for pre-scrutiny by the Committee from the Key Decision Forward Plan.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

(1)

 

the Work Programme for 2018/19, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted;

 

(2)

the report on the “Tool-Kit” for the Armed Forces Covenant be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee to be held on 5 March 2019; and

 

(3)

the up to date position in respect of Working Groups established by this Committee be noted.

 

 

 

 

41.

Cabinet Member Report – October 2018 to January 2019 pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer that included the most recent report from the Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services.  

 

Councillor Lappin, Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services was in attendance to answer any questions regarding her report.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/made comments on the following issues:

 

·         The annual canvass of the electoral register for 2019

·         The total forecast budget gap of £8.828m and the mechanisms in place to ensure a balanced budget can be set for 2019/20

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)    

the update report from the Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services be noted; and

 

(2)

 

Councillor Lappin be thanked for her attendance at the meeting.