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The minutes of the meeting held on 17th June 2020 were approved as a correct record.
(Moved by Councillor P Standen and seconded by Councillor Dr S Peaple)
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of Members’ interests (personal and/or personal and prejudicial) in any matters which are to be considered at this meeting.
When Members are declaring a personal interest or personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they have dispensation, they should specify the nature of such interest. Members should leave the room if they have a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of which they do not have a dispensation.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive an update from the Chair.
The Chair reported that following further discussions he would be proposing that the Assembly Rooms report be brought to an additional meeting of this committee later this month.
2020/21 Forward Plan
Discussion item – link to Forward Plan
The committee discussed the appropriate time for it to receive details of write offs given the current COVID-19 pandemic and it was considered that a meeting in Quarter 2 or 3 of this year could be identified and the item added to the work plan accordingly.
To consider the Report of the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance
The Chair welcomed the Executive Director, Finance and the Assistant Director, Finance who were attending this meeting for this item and invited them to provide a brief overview of the Capital Outturn Report which had been considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 9th July 2020.
The Capital Outturn Report advised members of the final outturn of the Authority’s Capital Programme for 2019/20 (subject to audit confirmation) and requested formal approval from Cabinet to re-profile specific budgets into 2020/21. The Committee noted that Councillor Dr S Peaple had submitted questions and received answers from Cabinet on the content of that report, as set out in minute 7 of the 9th July 2020 Cabinet meeting. Cabinet approved the recommendations are set out in the report.
The Committee sought and received clarifications in the following areas:
· GDPR Compliance (contingency) – it was confirmed that whilst European law had introduced this legislation, it would continue in UK law.
· Refurbishment of Marmion House Reception – whilst this work had been currently paused, an assessment would be required around the access for vulnerable people to services.
· Re-profiling of s106 spend was monitored carefully to minimise the risk that funds would be required to be returned.
· Utilisation of the property funds and the proposed re-profiling. The Executive Director, Finance reported that careful monitoring of these funds was undertaken. The Committee considered that prior to further investments under existing delegations being made a review be carried out.
RESOLVED that it be recommended to Cabinet that a review of property funds be undertaken and it was suggested that such review be scrutinised by the Audit & Governance Committee, before any further investments under existing delegations were made.
(Moved by Councillor Dr S Peaple and seconded by Councillor S Goodall).
The Chair thanked the Officers for their attendance.
(Report of the Executive Director, Organisation)
The Chair welcomed the Executive Director, Organisation who attended the meeting for this item.
The Executive Director highlighted that this report provided an update to the Committee on member training activities since March 2020, particularly focussed on the impact and response to COVID-19 from a member training perspective.
This update supplemented the Member Induction, Training and MemberZone Report attached as Appendix 1 to the report, which was published with the agenda for the Corporate Scrutiny Committee meeting dated 25 March 2020, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Committee considered and largely supported the recommendations in the report with some amendments, particularly in relation to the publication of details related to member training.
RESOLVED that the following be recommended to Cabinet:
1. The impact of COVID-19 on member training, and in particular on the need to deliver training (online only) for the use of new IT systems and new processes to successfully deliver remote meetings, be recognised. This included the delivery for all Councillors as well as focussed training for Chairs and Vice-Chairs by an external trainer as well as extensive internal training.
2. The member induction programme for 2021/22 be reviewed, updated and implemented, noting that:
2.1 the schedule of induction events should be made available to all election agents as early as possible before election day;
2.2 any initial ICT training of newly elected members should be undertaken on a 1-2-1 basis;
2.3 the importance of the induction training should be emphasised to all new members; in particular Safeguarding and Data Protection / FoI.
3. The member training programme be reviewed, updated and implemented, noting that:
3.1 the schedule of training sessions should be made available to all councillors prior to the start of the municipal year, or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter;
3.2 options to consider training sessions at alternative times of the day (day time / twilight / full day conferences) were not generally supported by the members who responded to the survey;
3.3 shorter and interactive training sessions were recommended where practical;
3.4 refresher IT training is available to all interested members and members should be encouraged to contact ICT support to arrange 1-2-1 support;
3.5 training relevant to specific committee members such as planning, licensing and audit & governance should be scheduled to support members’ attendance prior to members making decisions at such committees;
3.6 whilst prior to COVID-19, the use of online training as an alternative to face-to-face training was generally not supported, the need to find alternative delivery methods during COVID-19 had demonstrated that some forms of online training are fully effective and should be incorporated going forwards;
3.7 members who responded to the questionnaire considered that the training programme covered the correct topics, although some members requested more formal training, perhaps utilising external training bodies;
3.8 all members who responded to the questionnaire, felt that the training programme had helped them understand their role and responsibilities as a Councillor and the work of the Council.
4. All members be reminded ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
To consider the Committee’s Work Plan
The Committee considered its work plan, and agreed that an additional meeting should be held on 28th July 2020 to consider the Assembly Rooms item and that the work plan should be updated as follows: