Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King's Lynn PE30 5DQ. View directions
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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor J Moriarty and T Parish.
Appointment of Vice-Chairman
RESOLVED: That Councillor P Beal be appointed Vice-Chairman for the meeting.
To approve the minutes from the Corporate Performance Panel held on 13 November 2017.
RESOLVED: The minutes from the Corporate Performance Panel held on 13 November 2017 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
Please indicate if there are any interests which should be declared. A declaration of an interest should indicate the nature of the interest (if not already declared on the Register of Interests) and the agenda item to which it relates. If a disclosable pecuniary interest is declared, the Member should withdraw from the room whilst the matter is discussed.
These declarations apply to all Members present, whether the Member is part of the meeting, attending to speak as a local Member on any item or simply observing the meeting from the public seating area.
There were no declarations of interest.
Urgent Business Under Standing Order 7
To consider any business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chairman proposed to accept as urgent under Section 100(b)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There was no urgent business.
Members Present Pursuant to Standing Order 34
Members wishing to speak pursuant to Standing Order 34 should inform the Chairman of their intention to do so and on what items they wish to be heard before the meeting commences. Any Member attending the meeting under Standing Order 34 will only be permitted to speak on those items which have been previously notified to the Chairman.
Councillor Mrs V Spikings for Item 7.
Chairman's Correspondence (if any)
There was no Chairman’s correspondence.
Cabinet 28 November 2017
The following item has been identified for scrutiny:
· Planning Scheme of Delegation (Cabinet report attached)
Councillor Parish presented the call-in submitted by Councillor Moriarty.
The Chairman, Councillor Humphrey reminded Members of the call-in process to be followed set out on page 51 of the Agenda.
The Portfolio Holder for Development addressed the Panel and explained that the Scheme of Delegation had been introduced to improve the planning process and enable better quality decisions to be made. The Portfolio Holder explained that nothing was being taken away from Parish Councils. It was explained that the purpose of the sifting panel was to review those applications that would normally go o Planning Committee, to determine whether or not they should go.
The Assistant Director, Environment and Planning advised Members that the introduction of the Sifting Panel had been an operational decision. The Council was continually looking to deliver services more efficiently and effectively as there were ever pressing targets to meet. The Assistant Director explained that with regard to the Community Strategy Involvement, it was a legal requirement to consult with Parish Councils on planning applications and that nothing would change as a result of these proposals.
The Chairman of the Planning Committee, Councillor Mrs Spikings informed the Panel that was an operational decision to introduce the sifting panel which comprised Chairman, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee, the Portfolio Holder for Development, a Member of the Planning Committee, the Executive Director and Assistant Director (Environment and Planning). Councillor Mrs Spikings explained that the Parish Council could still comment on planning applications as they currently did. The Panel was advised of the resource required to produce reports for the Planning Committee. It was highlighted that often Planning Committees could take up to 5 hours.
Councillor Joyce advised that he supported the call in and added that he appreciated the need for streamlining the planning process but expressed concern that no notes or minutes were taken at the sifting meeting which could be used as evidence to defend any decision taken. In response, the Executive Director – Environment and Planning explained that the Sifting Panel was not a formal meeting of the Council. He explained that all decisions on planning applications were delegated to him as Executive Director within the Council’s Scheme of Delegation. All decisions that were made (to either approve or refuse consent) were then accompanied by a report setting out the full reasons. Nothing would change as a result of this process. He explained that in the run up to every Planning Committee, decisions were currently taken on those applications that will go before the Committee and those that will be determined under delegated powers. He explained that the proposed changes were an extension to that process. The proposal to remove the automatic right of Parish Councils to insist that application go before committee would be balanced by a panel of Members that would oversee that process. The Executive Director emphasised that the Sifting Panel was not a Committee and would not discuss the merits or otherwise of an application. It would simply consider whether an ... view the full minutes text for item CP66
Exc;lusion of Press and Public
To consider passing the following resolution:
That under Section 100(a)(40 of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
RESOLVED: That under Section 100(a)(40) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
Exempt Item: Hunstanton Sailing Club Progress Report
Councillor Collop provided a verbal update on the Hunstanton Sailing Club, a summary of which is set out below
· Councillor Collop had attended the Development Committee.
· Overview of planned activities.
· Youth activities/fees.
· Work with local schools, including those based outside of Hunstanton.
· Bar prices.
· Plans to build a balcony on the upper floor.
Councillor Collop advised that he would raise the concerns he had outlined at the next full committee meeting.
Councillor Collop responded to questions from the Panel relating to:
· Bar prices.
· Proposed balcony extension.
· Club being accessible to people in the Borough/activities.
· National and International Events.
· International Champion providing instruction – paddle boarding.
· Activities for school children/youth during term time and school holidays.
· Range of available memberships.
RESOLVED: The Panel to receive an update from the Borough Council’s representative in six months’ time (June 2018).
RETURNED TO OPEN SESSION
The Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager presented the Corporate Performance Monitoring Report which was in place to monitor progress against agreed performance indicators for the year. The report contained information on the corporate performance monitoring undertaken during Q2 2017/18.
The Panel was advised that 42 performance indicators for 2017/18 had been agreed by Portfolio Holders and Executive Directors as the key performance measures for the year, they covered all Directorates.
It was explained that the Q2 2017/18 monitoring report showed that 62% of targets had been met, and performance had improved against target for 20 indicators.
Members were reminded that at its meeting on 9 October 2017, the Panel resolved to obtain additional information in relation to planning applications. The information was included in the body of the report for further consideration by Panel Members.
The Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager responded to questions, a summary of which is set out below.
The Chairman, Councillor Humphrey referred to CC6 - % of Careline alarms installed within 10 days from date of enquiry and the notes explaining the reason for the target not being met. Councillor Humphrey commented that consideration be given to not undertaking training whilst staff were on annual leave.
In response to questions relating to CC11 - % of customer contact made by digital channels resulting in a reduction of face to face and telephone enquiries, the Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager explained that the introduction of the digital service and OneVu had been later in the year than anticipated. The Council was in the process of encouraging custimers to use on-line services. The Chief Executive added that there was an increase in the number of customers using OneVu, but in some cases had been using OneVu and also contacting the Council thus creating dual traffic.
RESOLVED: The Panel:
1) Reviewed the performance monitoring report.
2) Considered the introduction of additional indicators in relation to planning applications and agreed:
i) That these new indicators be included within the monitoring information for the 2017/18 year – for monitoring purposes only.
ii) That the relevant Executive Director and Portfolio Holder be asked to include these indicators, as part of the 2018/19 performance monitoring report.
3) Agreed the actions outlined in the Action Report.
The Panel received a presentation from the Assistant Director, Environment and Planning (copy attached) in response to questions raised on the planning performance indicators relating to planning applications at its meeting on 9 October 2017.
The Assistant Director, Environment and Planning responded to questions relating to:
· Consultation on the Government White Paper.
· Pressure for local authorities to deliver more housing.
· Percentage of appeals allowed.
· Percentage of appeals overturned.
· Financial cost to the Council regarding appeals.
· National figures for major planning applications.
The Chairman, Councillor Humphrey commented that it would be useful for the Panel to receive information on the number of appeals allowed as a percentage in each quarter.
RESOLVED: The Assistant Director, Environment and Planning to provide the Panel with the number of appeals allowed as a percentage on a quarterly basis.
In presenting the report, the Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager reminded the Panel that the Corporate Business Plan monitoring report had been developed to demonstrate progress against the Council’s Corporate Business Plan. The report contained information on the progress made on the key actions up to the end of Quarter 2 2017/18.
Members were informed that there were currently 41 agreed actions being undertaken to progress the Council’s Corporate Business Plan. The 2017/18 Q2 monitoring report indicates that 93% of the actions are progressing well and 7% were slightly behind schedule (23 actions had been completed from Q4 2015/16 to Q2 2017/2018.
The Panel was reminded that the Corporate Business Plan set out the broad framework for the Council’s work for the period 2015/16 to 1019/20. Members should therefore use the information with the monitoring report to review progress on agreed actions and satisfy themselves that performance is at an acceptable level. Where progress is behind schedule Members can seek additional information as to the reason(s) that work is behind schedule.
Members were advised that key actions which had been completed prior to Q2 had been removed from the report and were contained in a separate archive report Completed Key Actions report 2016-2020
The Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager and the Chief Executive responded to questions relating to:
· Charts details at 2.4 and 2.5 providing an overall picture of completed actions and key actions that were progressing.
· Work to increase recycling levels.
· Target Dates being December 2017. The Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager advised that the target dates were set by officers.
· Town Centre Action Plan – The Policy, Performance and Personnel Manager to request further information from the relevant officer to report in the next quarter.
The Chairman, Councillor Humphrey referred to the Shared Technology Centre and asked that consideration be given to the position of the roof in order to allow the installation of solar panels.
The Portfolio Holder, Environment provided the Panel with information on the recent successful prosecutions which had been published in the Lynn News on 15 December 2017.
RESOLVED: The Panel reviewed the Q2 2017/18 Corporate Business Plan monitoring report.
The Revenues and Benefits Manager reminded the Panel that the Council was able to award Discretionary Relief to its ratepayers to reduce or remit their Non Domestic Rates (Business Rates) bill.
Members were advised that the Council must approve any awards of Discretionary Relief. This was achieved by having a Discretionary Relief Policy agreed by Members, allowing Officers to award reliefs where the policy criteria were met. It was noted that for many years the Council had operated a Discretionary Relief policy that gave help to charitable, not for profit and sporting organisations, based in the borough and whose work benefitted the local community.
The Panel was informed that the Discretionary Relief Policy had been updated on an ad hoc basis over the years and now lacked a logical flow. It was highlighted that some reliefs had also ended. The Revenues and Benefits Manager explained that the policy had now been reviewed and refreshed and the report contained the updated policy and noted the changes which had been made.
The Revenues and Benefits Manager explained that there were no changes to the existing criteria for receiving relief, or to any of the Discretionary Reliefs already awarded to local organisations. However, delegated authority to the Council Leader was requested to decide any applications not meeting the criteria in the relief policy.
The Revenues and Benefits Manager responded to questions relating to:
· Changes to the Discretionary Relief Policy.
· Relief awarded to Bowls Clubs.
· Local charitable organisations.
· Cost of some reliefs met by Central Government.
· 20% discretionary charitable relief awarded to organisations receiving the 80% mandatory charitable relief.
· Invitation to apply for discretionary relief relating to conservation and cultural organisations and village and community halls. It was noted that an application form was sent out with the rates bill.
RESOLVED: The Panel:
1) Agreed the changes and recommends to Cabinet that the new policy is adopted from 1 April 2018.
2) Recommends to Cabinet delegated authority was given to the Council Leader to decide any applications not meeting the criteria in the relief policy.
The Chief Executive presented the conclusions of the Scrutiny Task Group over a year on from the re-structure which had taken place in 2016.
The report set out the Task Group’s response to the questionnaire on Scrutiny structures generally which had been issued to all Councillors, and elicited 31 responses. The proposals to change any of the current arrangements were included as recommendations to Cabinet and Council which sought to implement those changes for the 2017/18 Municipal year.
Councillor Daubney referred to Recommendation 7 – That the Leader nominate the Panel/Committee Chairs for agreement at Council with the Vice-Chairs to be appointed by the Panels/Committee and commented that he welcomed this recommendation and added that effective skills were required for the role of a Chairman. However, Councillor Daubney commented that he strongly opposed Recommendation 9 – That the appraisal of Chairs be investigated.
Councillor Morrison concurred with the comments made by Councillor Daubney.
Councillor Howman commented that he did not agree with the abolition of the Cabinet Scrutiny Committee which held Cabinet to account and worked effectively. Councillor Howman commented that he felt with the revised arrangements, Cabinet was not being held to account.
The Leader, Councillor Long advised that previously, the Leader proposed Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Committees and Panels which were agreed at Annual Council. Councillors could, if they so wished, debate the proposed Chairmen/Vice-Chairmen, but had not previously done so.
Comments were made regarding Recommendation 2 – That the attendance of Audit Members for Audit training should be obligatory as it is for Planning and Licensing initial training.
Councillor Collop commented that he was disappointed that only 31 responses were received when this was an important decision to make.
The Chairman, Councillor Humphrey concurred with the comments made by Councillor Daubney and invited the Chairman of the Scrutiny Structures Task Group to provide the Panel with information on how the Task Group had reached the recommendations set out in the report.
The Portfolio Holder, Environment and Chair of the Scrutiny Structures Task Group provided the Panel with an overview on how the Task Group reached the recommendations set out in the report.
RESOLVED: That the Corporate Performance Panel support the recommendation to Cabinet as set out below:
1) That all the current arrangements continue with the exception of those items listed below.
2) That the attendance of Audit Members for Audit training should be obligatory as it is for Planning and Licensing initial training.
3) That Panels be encouraged to use the powers available to them and therefore make clear recommendations on items coming before them so they can be incorporated into reports in the progress of being prepared, or taken into account at the Cabinet meeting.
4) That Panels should consider their own performance indicators and they be encouraged to monitor the progress in line with the corporate objectives through that route.
5) That the number of post implementation reviews undertaken be monitored ... view the full minutes text for item CP73
The Executive Director – Finance Services gave an update on the Budget 2018 – 2022 (copy attached).
In response to questions on the Business Rates Pilot, the Leader explained that the announcement was expected on 19 December 2017.
In response to questions on the budget in future years, the Chief Executive reminded Members that there was a £2.6m gap in the 4th year of the current financial plan which was reported in 2016. The Council would continue to identify ways to fund its expenditure but the there was no certainty on funding for Councils in future years. He also referred to the Fair Funding Review, the outcome of which was not yet known. Reference was also made to the reduction in New Homes Bonus and the threat of planning applications being refused for authorities without an adopted Local Plan. In summary, the Chief Executive advised that the concern of the Borough Council was that there was uncertainty in future years.
The Leader, Councillor Long agreed with the comments made by the Chief Executive and reiterated that they were so many unknowns relating to funding for Councils in future years. The Borough Council was continually looking for opportunities to deliver services in a more efficiency way and also to identify income generating opportunities. The Council had taken a prudent approach over a number of years and had allocated reserves to fund the financial plan when required. The Council had also taken the opportunity to invest in housing and commercial premises which gave a better rate of return than traditional methods of investment.
To note the Committee’s Work Programme for 2017/2018.
The Panel noted the Work Programme for 2017/2018.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that the date of the next meeting of the Corporate Performance Panel will take place on 19 February 2018.
The next meeting of the Corporate Performance Panel will be held on Monday 19 February 2018.