Agenda and minutes

Finance and Corporate Services Committee - Tuesday 12th June 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber. Maldon District Council Offices, Princes Road, Maldon

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

163.

Chairman's notices

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the list of notices published on the back of the agenda.

164.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M F L Durham and M S Heard.

 

In accordance with notice given it was noted that Councillor B S Beale MBE was attending as a substitute for Councillor Heard.

165.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee held on 19 April 2018 (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 April 2018 be approved and confirmed.

166.

Disclosure of Interest

To disclose the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, other Pecuniary Interests or Non-Pecuniary Interests relating to items of business on the agenda having regard to paragraphs 6-8 inclusive of the Code of Conduct for Members.

 

(Members are reminded that they are also required to disclose any such interests as soon as they become aware should the need arise throughout the meeting).

 

Minutes:

Councillor D M Sismey disclosed that he was Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and would therefore leave the meeting for Agenda Item 12 – Annual Treasury Outturn 2017 / 18.

167.

Public Participation

To receive the views of members of the public on items of business to be considered by the Committee (please see below):

1.               A period of ten minutes will be set aside.

2.               An individual may speak for no more than two minutes and will not be allowed to distribute or display papers, plans, photographs or other materials.

3.               Anyone wishing to speak must notify the Committee Clerk between 7.00pm and 7.20pm prior to the start of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

No requests had been received.

168.

Chairmans' Good News

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that the accounts for 2017 / 18 had been published and were now subject to an audit which had been started by Ernst Young UK (the Council’s External Auditors).

 

He asked that the thanks of the Committee be passed to the finance team and Carrie Cox, Finance Manager for their hard work on the accounts.

169.

Resources Directorate

To receive a presentation from the Director of Resources.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that there would not be a presentation.

170.

Chief Executive's Performance Appraisal pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To consider the report of the Leader of the Council (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was agreed that this item of business would be brought up the agenda and considered next.

 

The Committee considered the report of the Leader of the Council updating Members on progress of the Chief Executive’s performance appraisal.

 

The report set out the process undertaken by the Leader of the Council in respect of the Chief Executive’s appraisal.  It was noted that dates for performance reviews had been set and Appendix 1 to the report provided a summary of progress against objectives.

 

In the absence of the Leader of the Council, Councillor A S Fluker as Deputy Leader of the Council presented the report and provided detailed background history regarding the Chief Executive’s performance appraisal.  During his introduction he asked that the Committee pass on their wishes to the Leader of the Council for a speedy recovery following an accident he had over the weekend.  Councillor Fluker then proposed that the contents of the report be noted.

 

Councillor D M Sismey clarified that he had been consulted on the proposed objectives but was not consulted either before or afterwards regarding Councillor Fluker attending the appraisal meeting in his place.  He also referred to the Chief Executive’s objectives set for 2016 and felt that by virtue of Councillor Miss M R Lewis (Leader of the Council at that time) and Councillor I E Dobson (representing the Chairman of the Finance and Corporate Services Committee) being authorised by this Committee and the Council to undertake the appraisal these objectives were adopted and were not draft.  Notwithstanding a change in leadership these objectives should therefore stand until another appraisal was carried out or replaced by updated ones. 

 

Councillor B S Beale, Leader of the Opposition, referred to the previous processes undertaken for carrying out the Chief Executive’s appraisal to which he had always been part of.  However, in relation to the 2017 appraisal he clarified that had not been consulted at any stage and refuted the statement in the report at paragraph 3.4 that he had.

 

A lengthy debate ensued during which a number of Members expressed concern regarding the process undertaken.  The Chairman highlighted paragraph 3.8 of the report which contained a number of recommendations proposed to address the breakdown in procedure.

 

In response to comments made the Chief Executive outlined the background regarding her 2016 and 2017 appraisals and the reasons which had led to the identified breakdown in procedure.  She advised that she had put forward the recommendations in section 3.8 of the report to make provide clarity to the process.

 

Councillor Sismey commented on the proposed recommendations at paragraph 3.8 and proposed that in addition to these that the Committee add;

·                 That the deadline for the Chief Executive’s appraisal to be undertaken be aligned to the deadline for all staff of 30 June.

·                 that the Director of Resources or an appointment made by them from within the HR department be required to:

a)                   objectively ensure that the process for the Chief Executive’s appraisal is followed;

b)                  report to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 170.

171.

Review of Performance 2017 / 18 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed);

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Executive giving details of performance against targets set for 2017 / 18 and to ensure that progress was being achieved towards the corporate goals and objectives detailed in the Corporate Plan 2015 - 19 adopted by the Council.

 

The Key Corporate Activities assessed as being “behind schedule” or “at risk of not being achieved” along with indicators which had not achieved their end of year target were set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

RESOLVED that performance against the targets set for 2017 / 18 be noted.

172.

Human Resources Statistics - Quarter Four 2017 / 18 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received and noted the report of the Director of Resources presenting Human Resources statistics for the period 1 January to 31 March 2018. 

 

Statistics and updates relating to the following areas were detailed in the report:

·                 Labour Turnover;

·                 Exit Questionnaires;

·                 Recruitment;

·                 Job Vacancies;

·                 Staff Sickness Levels

·                 Workforce Statistics – attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Members noted that the overall staff sickness levels had decreased by 20% in comparison to the previous financial year.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted.

173.

Human Resources Policies and Procedures pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members consideration of Human Resources policies and procedures which had been amended and developed. 

 

The report set out a proposed change to the Council’s Code of Conduct and it was noted that this change had been brought forward in consultation with the Corporate Leadership Team and Unison.

 

In response to a question, the Director of Resources informed the Committee of the Employee Assistance Programme, a confidential service available to all employees and advised that as part of the policy staff were asked to raise any difficulties they may be having with Human Resources.

 

RECOMMENDED that the following two sections be added to the Code of Conduct:

 

24        Financial

 

24.1     All employees will ensure:

·             they do not default on payments owed to the Council i.e. Council Tax.

·             never make fraudulent claims for public money to gain a financial advantage i.e. housing benefit.

·             to adhere to any agreements reached for the repayment of such debts.

 

24.2     Employees who are in debt or at risk to the Council or are concerned that missed payments may occur should discuss the matter as soon as is possible with a member of the Human Resources team. Failure to do so could lead to formal action being taken.

 

24.3     Employees in receipt of any allowances or rebates administered by the Council (e.g. council tax rebates) must notify the Council of any change in circumstance that affect the entitlement.

 

25        Accessing IT systems

 

25.1     Employees will at all times ensure that they comply with the Officer Conditions of Acceptable Use and Personal Commitment Statement policy relating to use of IT equipment.

 

25.2     It is recognised that staff can face a conflict of interest when undertaking their roles. To protect the interests of both the staff concerned and the Council against criticism or allegation of malpractice, as a 1matter of procedure no employee shall;

·             amend or seek to influence the processing of any computer or other record concerning any matter in which they, a family member or friend have an interest;

·             use the Councils IT systems or any other records held to view either their own data or that of records of family or friends.

·             use data obtained from any of the Councils IT systems or any other records to give themselves, family or friends any advantage.

·             update any records that relate to themselves, family or friends.

174.

Annual Report on the Whistleblowing Policy pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To receive and note the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources reporting on any complaints made under the Whistleblowing Policy for 2017 / 18.

 

The Director of Resources advised that no reports had been made under the Whistleblowing for the year 2017 / 18. 

 

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

175.

Financial Outturn 2017 / 18 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Director of Resources providing information on the outturn position for the 2017 / 18 financial year and also movements in relation to the Council’s General Fund / Earmarked Reserves and Capital Commitments as at 31 March 2018.  It was noted that the table detailed in paragraph 3.1.2 of the report incorrectly referred to the figures as being in thousands (£000’s).  Appendix 1 to the report gave details of the salary budgets and actual expenditure at the end of the financial year and Appendix 2 detailed the Earmarked Reserves and the movements in 2017 / 18.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)              That the estimated outturn position for the 2017 / 18 financial year be reviewed;

 

(ii)            That the movement in earmarked reserves be reviewed;

 

(iii)          That the capital commitment roll forwards be reviewed.

 

 

Following his earlier declaration Councillor D M Sismey left the meeting at this point.

 

IN THE CHAIR : COUNCILLOR I E DOBSON

176.

Annual Treasury Outturn 2017 / 18 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources seeking Members’ approval of the annual report (attached as Appendix A to the report), in accordance with the code of practice on Treasury Management.

 

In response to a question, the Finance Manager advised that Arlingclose were the Council’s Treasury Management Advisors and had been so for a number of years.

 

In response to questions about the recent agreement of the Council regarding Full Council Transformation, the Director of Resources advised of the up-front investment required which would come from reserves.  However, savings were due to be delivered in respect of this in year two.

 

RECOMMENDED that annual Treasury Management Report for 2017 / 18 attached at APPENDIX 1 to these Minutes be approved.

 

Councillor Sismey returned to the chamber.

 

IN THE CHAIR : COUNCILLOR D M SISMEY

177.

Supplementary Capital Estimate pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Resources, seeking Members’ approval of a supplementary capital estimate of £26,500 to purchase a replacement vehicle for use within the Parks and Countryside Team.  An overview to the project was attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

 

It was noted that if approved, the supplementary estimate would enable replacement of an elderly vehicle and ensure operations were not adversely effected.

 

Members were reminded that in accordance with revised guidance for capital projects, any budget not provisioned in the year it was requested would be put back into reserves until a project was reconsidered by Members.  This project did not progress as originally planned and therefore was being brought back to Members for reconsideration.

 

RESOLVED that a supplementary capital estimate of £26,500 to purchase a replacement vehicle for use within the Parks and Countryside Team be agreed.

178.

Strategic and Financial Planning Process pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Resources, (copy enclosed).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report of the Director of Resources seeking agreement to the annual Strategic and Financial Planning Process (S&FPP) for 2018 / 20 as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

It was noted that the Strategic and Financial Planning Process aimed to ensure available resources were effectively directed towards achievement of the Council’s agreed corporate goals.

 

RESOLVED that the Strategic and Financial Planning Process for 2019 / 20, be approved.

179.

Proposals to Change to Office Opening Time to Public pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider the report of the Director of Customers and Community, (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Customers and Community, updating Members on the outcome of a three month trial of a revised opening time to the public of 10am on the last Wednesday of each month.  The report sought Members’ approval to make this revised opening time permanent.

 

The report provided background information regarding the trial and it was noted that it had been very successful with good use of the time to undertake staff briefings, meetings and training.

 

It was requested that the Committee receive quarterly or six monthly reports on the outcomes of these changes.

 

RECOMMENDED that on the last Wednesday of each month the Council Offices open at 10am to enable staff meetings and training to be undertaken during that time.

Appendix 1 pdf icon PDF 112 KB