Agenda and minutes

Venue: Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BQ. View directions

Contact: Andrew Charlwood 020 8359 2014 Email: andrew.charlwood@barnet.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Absence of Members

    Minutes:

    Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Ross Houston (who was substituted for by Alan Schneiderman).

     

    Apologies for lateness had been received from Councillor Geof Cooke.

     

    Apologies were also received from the Deputy Leader / Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, Councillor Thomas, and the Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Davey, who had been invited for items on the agenda.

     

2.

Declarations of Members' Interests

    a)     Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Non Pecuniary Interests

    b)     Whipping Arrangements (in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 17)

    Minutes:

    Member

    Subject

    Interest declared

    Councillor John Marshall

     

    Agenda Item 6

    (Barnet Group End of Year Performance Report 2012/13)

     

    Non-pecuniary interest

    as a Council appointed

    representative on the

    Board of The Barnet

    Group Ltd

     

    Councillor Ross

    Houston

    Agenda Item 6

    (Barnet Group End of Year Performance Report 2012/13)

    Non-pecuniary interest

    as a Council appointed

    representative on the

    Board of The Barnet

    Group Ltd

     

                 

3.

Public Question Time

    Minutes:

    None.

4.

Members' Items

    Minutes:

    None.

     

During consideration of the item below, Councillor Geof Cooke entered the meeting at 7.19pm.

5.

Contract Monitoring - Organisational Arrangements pdf icon PDF 163 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Commercial Director, Craig Cooper, introduced the item by outlining the four key relationships that would be managed through the Commercial Team: New Support and Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO); Development and Regulatory Services (DRS); The Barnet Group Ltd; and the Joint Legal Service (HB Public Law).

     

    The Head of Commercial, Kari Manovitch, presented a report which detailed the new model for managing the Council’s major commercial partnerships and the information that would be reported to the Committee. Members were advised that detailed contract management arrangements for the NCSCO and DRS contracts would be put into place following the outcome of the Judicial Review appeal.  It was noted that prototype arrangements were in place for NCSCO and DRS and contract management arrangements in place for the Barnet Group and HB Public Law.

     

    Responding to a question regarding management agreements, the Head of Commercial outlined how these set out key deliverables, key performance indicators (KPIs), budgets and risks associated with partnerships over the next 12 months.

     

    In discussing KPI measures for the proposed NCSCO contract, Members requested that detailed information on the KPIs that the Council would be measuring Capita’s performance against be provided to the Committee so that the methodology could be understood.  The Commercial Director reported that a price-performance mechanism was in place for KPIs.  KPIs were weighted and failure to meet targets in some areas would result in financial penalties.      

     

    Responding to a question, the Commercial Director reported that KPIs with a red or amber status would be reported to the Committee.  Members requested that consideration be given to how the Committee would access the full set of KPIs to monitor the overall performance of major commercial relationships. 

     

    The Committee noted a correction to Section 4.2 of the report.  The word ‘appropriate’ should be replaced with ‘respective’ as each contract had its own partnership governance board.

     

    Members were advised that the full risk register associated with each contract would be reported to them as part of the quarterly performance monitoring reporting to this Committee.  Officers were requested to consider how the Chairman and Vice-Chairman could be involved in more regular performance monitoring arrangements to ensure that they had an appropriate level of oversight.

     

    Following a question on the availability of personnel to attend Committee, officers confirmed that the relevant officer from the Commercial Team would be available to attend future meetings and the expectation was that the Cabinet Member, Operations Director for the partner (Capita/Capita Symonds Partnership Directors) and the Council’s Partnership Manager would also be reporting regularly to Committee to give account on contract performance. 

     

    At the request of the Committee, the Commercial Director confirmed that the HB Public Law was being contract managed by the Commercial Team and not the Assurance Group.

     

    The Committee expressed concern that the terms of reference of the Committee were limited to NSCSO, DRS, The Barnet Group Ltd, HB Public Law and NSL (Parking) and requested that the terms of reference be widened to include other major contracts such as the street  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

The Barnet Group End of Year Performance Report 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the Barnet Group Annual Report 2012/13 which detailed the overall performance outcomes for the Barnet Group which included Barnet Homes and Your Choice Barnet.

     

    Barnet Homes

     

    The Director of Operations for Barnet Homes, Derek Rust, introduced the item by highlighting the main areas of performance for Barnet Homes.  The Committee were advised that there had been particularly strong performance on lettings management with an average of 19 days turn around for re-letting properties.  It was noted that there had been a number of national and local challenges associated with housing including increased rents, a lack of affordable housing and high demand for homelessness related placements.  The implementation of fixed tenancies had been a successful new initiative.

     

    A Member emphasised that there had been a number of positive developments in the Housing Options Service since the service was incorporated into the Barnet Group in April 2012 such as the private rented sector procurement strategy, the Let2Barnet Management service and homeless prevention work.  It was questioned why these had not been referred to in the report.  The Director of Operations for Barnet Homes confirmed that all of these developments had been initiated by the Housing Options service when it was an in-house Council service.  He added that now the service came under Barnet Homes there was greater freedom and flexibility to respond to issues.  It was highlighted that the Let2Barnet Management Service had been revamped, rebranded and heavily publicised.  Whilst there had been an increased demand on the on the Homeless Service, there had been a greater focus on homelessness prevention through a proactive approach to preventative measures such as Discretionary Housing Payments.  The Committee were advised that targets had now been set to reduce homelessness further and to speed up the decision making process when dealing with service users. Homelessness prevention would be a measured performance indicator over the next twelve months.

     

    Responding to a question on the nature of support given to applicants that were not statutorily supported by the Housing Options Service, the Committee were informed by the Head of Housing Options, Kate Laffan, that the Broadway service was continuing to provide advice for single or non-priority housing applicants.

     

    An explanation was sought as to the reason why arrears in tenancy payments from black tenants were reported, yet no other ethnic groups were represented.  It was explained that there was a significantly higher rate of rent arrears in this group.  Barnet Homes had recently received a lottery grant to fund outreach work designed to raise awareness of benefits rights to this group and to understand whether there were any particular reasons for the disproportionately high rent arrears.

     

    A Member asked how the lack of availability of small units, which were in high demand, was being addressed by Barnet Homes and the Council. The Director of Operations for Barnet Homes reported that mutual exchange programmes were being encouraged and a new build programme was hoped to be in place.  The lack of small units was an issue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Parking Services Performance pdf icon PDF 139 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee welcomed the Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Dean Cohen, the Street Scene Director, Lynn Bishop, and the Highways Manager – Traffic and Development, Paul Bragg, who were in attendance to present a report on the performance of parking services.  The Committee requested that a representative from NSL be in attendance at the next meeting when parking services performance was considered. 

     

    Officers reported that there had been a number of performance issues over the previous six months and that steps were being taken to address these.  Members were advised that the purpose of parking enforcement was to improve the flow of traffic.  It was noted that there was a national trend for increases in paid for parking and a decrease in penalty charge notices (PCNs). 

     

    The Committee expressed concern that the Council had not properly assessed the risk of no back office staff transferring to NSL, an issue which had created unexpected pressure in the initial period after service transfer.  Officers identified that NSL had not anticipated many staff transferring, but had expected that some would.  It was emphasised that that should have been a contingency arrangement in place to manage this risk because the recruitment and training of new staff had affected service performance. 

     

    Responding to a question regarding KPI 2 (Volume and Effectiveness of Input Resources), officers informed the Committee that there were no targets or incentives for the contractor to issue PCNs.  As part of the contractors bid, they were required to identify the resources required to enforce controlled areas.  PCN projections were used to identify the resources required to enforce, rather than monitor performance. 

     

    Referring to KPI 12 (Lines and Signs Maintenance), the Committee questioned whose responsibility it was to maintain signs and lines.  Officers advised the Committee that NSL reported non-compliance (e.g. where signs and lines were deficient and prevented PCNs from being issued) and the Council would be responsible for bringing these up to standard.  It was noted that NSL could be commissioned to deliver signs and lines improvements, but their rates for this work were not currently cost effective.  The Committee noted that performance reporting against KPI 12 would not commence until month 26 of the contract. 

     

    The Committee noted that there had been an increase in the number of appeals going to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service and the increased number of successful appeals had resulted in a higher cost to the authority.  Members noted there were KPIs in the contract relating to issuing good quality PCNs to minimise instances of successful appeals. 

     

    Officers reported that to date there had been no financial penalties issued to NSL due to failure to adhere to contractual terms.

     

    RESOLVED that:-

     

    1.            The Committee note the Parking Service Performance report.

     

    2.            Officers be requested to provide details of enforcement areas requiring signs and lines improvements and a schedule for completing these works.

     

    3.            The Committee request that the Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing & Environment Lead Commissioner and Street Scene Director undertake a root and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Future Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    RESOLVED that the Committee note the Forward Work Programme and request that it be reviewed, subject to the Constitution, Ethics and Probity Committee and full Council agreeing to amend the terms of reference of the Committee to include other major contracts. 

     

9.

Any Other Items the Chairman Decides are Urgent

    Minutes:

    None.