Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Remote Virtual Meeting

Contact: Mustansir Butt 

Items
No. Item

98.

ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 

 

Minutes:

Cllr T Hussain for Cllr Azam.

Cllr Pollard for Cllr Bibby.

99.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest in matters under consideration were received.

100.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Yusuf Patel - 01274 434579)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted to review decisions to restrict documents.

101.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

The Committee is asked to note any referrals and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no referrals to the Committee.

102.

THE RELOCATION OF HER MAJESTY'S CORONER'S OFFICE (HMCO) pdf icon PDF 205 KB

The report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Resources Document “J” – that contains Not For Publication Appendix 2 advises the Committee on the proposed relocation of HMCO to alternative and independent premises in Little Germany and to update on the financial implications of technical design development. The existing premises, co-located with the Bradford Magistrates’ Court, are not fit for purpose and do not comply with current Health & Safety and DDA requirements.

 

 

Recommended-

 

That the Committee note the authorisation by Executive on 6th October 2020 to award additional capital funds to meet the current budget deficit and authorisation for the Strategic Director Corporate Resources, in consultation with the Leader, to take all necessary decisions to implement the decision.

 

                                                                        (Imran Khan – 01274 4326018)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report updated members on the proposed relocation of the relocation of Her Majesty’s Coroner’s Office (HMCO) and associated cost implications, prompted by concerns relating to the present accommodation in the Magistrates’ Court.

 

Members heard about the proposed relocation of HMCO to alternative and independent premises in Little Germany and to update on the financial implications of technical design development.  The existing premises, co-located with the Bradford Magistrates’ Court are not fit for purpose and do not comply with current Health & Safety and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), requirements. 

 

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee members seeked clarification on the costs and particularly if the total budget part of the renovation.

 

In response Bradford Council officers highlighted that there were no proposals for this, but that there was a cost to the separate buildings and that Coroners would have the main part of the building and that minor modifications had to be made to make the lift accessible from the tenants side.  Members also learned that additional work would also be undertaken to the heating and hot water supply.

 

Members commented that the building had been transferred from Bradford University in 2016 and it looked like less rigorous surveying had been undertaken, to identify the work that needs to be done.  Members were concerned about this.

 

Officers replied by saying that the form Digital Health Enterprise Zone Building, (DHEZ),  had transferred to the Council at a nil cost, contributing to the DHEZ project.  Furthermore as a result of working practices and COVID19, there was an increase in costs.  The design team are reflecting the current climate and are also looking at the costs at each evaluation and will reporting to the Councils Project Board; which will demonstrate why costs are high.

 

Furthermore, members were concerned about the professional fees which were 10% and questioned if there was internal expertise to undertake this work.

 

Officers indicated that using benchmarking data, the figure of 10% for professional fees, as an average one.  Members also hear that all schemes were commissioned internally first, to establish if there is professionally capacity internally, to carry out the work.

 

Councillors were still uncomfortable and said that a decision was made in July 2018 to purchase the freehold property for development of a new HMCO at a total cost of £2.35m and then a year later, to have three courts instead of one.

Officers indicated that the re-acquisition was seen as a good investment and income generating opportunity.

Councillors questioned the original pot of money of £2m allocated for this in the Council Budget and why there was now extra cost.  Why had no provision been made for this extra cost, in the original budget?

 

Officers were not able to answer the questions and Councillors requested that an officer should provide them with an answer on this matter.

 

Councillors unanimously agreed in that the original Business Case in 2018 omitted finance and IT costs and that there was also no revised Business Case submitted to the Executive in 2019.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

BRADFORD COUNCIL'S WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2015 - 2021 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Director of Human Resources will submit Document “K” which provides a progress update to the Committee on the Council’s Corporate Workforce Development Strategy 2015 – 2021.

 

Recommended-

 

That the contents of the report be noted.

 

                                                                           (Anne Lloyd – 01274 437335)

 

Minutes:

 

The report provided Corporate Overview and  Scrutiny Councillors with an update relating to the Bradford Council’s Corporate Workforce Development Strategy 2015-2021.  This was the recommendation from the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 10 October 2019.

 

Members also heard that the 2015 Hay report made eight recommendations which were used to inform the Workforce Development Strategy and programme of work.  An initial report to Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 15 August 2015, presented a set of recommendations made in the Bradford Council commissioned Hay report, which were aimed at assisting the Council in its strategic workforce development and talent management, in particular to improve workforce performance and productivity and to remove any unjustifiable barriers to progression.

 

Members were concerned that Performance Appraisal was at 48.2% and that this was not satisfactory.  Furthermore, members indicated that this was a key issue in the Hays report leading to professional development and were keen to understand why performance appraisal was low across the Council.  

 

Members agreed that it looked like that we did not actually know how many staff were getting appraisals and the appraisals that were being done, they were in different formats. 

 

Furthermore, members also seeked clarifications in relation to the deadlines, for when performance appraisals needed to be undertaken.

 

In response Bradford Council said that the delays were as a result of COVID19. 

 

However, Councillors said that this has been an issue for some time and that COVID19 could not be blamed for this.

 

Members were keen to understand:

§  How many apprentices secured full time employment with Bradford Council or external?

§  For traineeships, was there internal or external funding available?

§  What was the funding decision on the levy format?

§  In relation to learning and development, what percentage of staff receive training from the training budget, who are not senior officers?

 

Officers replied by saying that they did not have the information, but that they would provide the this information to Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee members.

 

Members agreed that there needed to be a review of the Central Training Budget and that more needed to increase the number of performance appraisals being undertaken along with encouraging participation in level 1 apprenticeships.

 

 

 

(1)  This Committee requests a review of the Central Training Budget be undertaken as part of the budget process for next year, to ensure that mandatory training is separate to other training needs.

 

(2)  That consideration be given to encourage participation in level 1 apprenticeships, to open up opportunities.

 

(3)  This Committee request that officers seek to increase the number of performance appraisals being undertaken in the Council.

 

(4)  That a further progress report be presented to this Committee in 12 months.

 

 

(Anne Lloyd – 01274 437335)

104.

MANAGING ATTENDANCE SCRUTINY REVIEW pdf icon PDF 114 KB

The report of the Committee (Document “L”) contains the findingsfrom the Managing Attendance Scrutiny Review.

 

Recommended-

 

That the Committee adopts the findings contained within the draft Managing Attendance Scrutiny Review Report.

 

                                                                        (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The draft report contained the findings from the Managing Attendance Scrutiny Review.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Lead explained that during the informal information gathering sessions for this scrutiny review, it became clear that there were a key number of key recurring issues that had arisen  during the scrutiny review and were centred around, long term sickness absence; advice from HR Plus and Sickness absence cases relating to Mental Health and Training.

 

Members were keen to explore the Departmental sickness absence figures, together with a breakdown of agency spend on staff to cover for sickness absence.  This information was to be circulated to Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee members.

 

Members felt that this was a good report and incorporated the key issues that were highlighted by participants, during the informal information gathering sessions.  Subsequently, Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee members agreed the key findings and recommendations contained in the report.

 

 

That the Committee adopts the findings contained within the Managing Scrutiny Review Report.

 

                                                                            (Mustansir -  Butt 01274 432574)

105.

CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - WORK PROGRAMME 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

The Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee will submit a report (Document “M”) which sets out the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2020/21. 

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       That members consider and comment on the areas of work        included in the work programme.

 

(2)       That members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that          they may wish to conduct.

(Mustansir Butt - 01274 432574)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report included the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2020-21, as well as the list of unscheduled topics.

 

The work programme also contained details of the scrutiny reviews, that the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee, is currently undertaking.

 

Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee members discussed and made amendments to the work programme. 

 

 

Members considered the work programme.

(Mustansir Butt - 01274 432574)