Agenda and minutes

Corporate Committee - Thursday 20 May 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room (B6) - Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, London, SW2 1RW. View directions

Contact: Chloe Morris, Democratic Services,  020 7926 1065, Email: cmorris2@lambeth.gov.uk

Note: - Information on how to access the meeting is set out on the agenda. However, if you just want to watch the live broadcast you can copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://bit.ly/3eEl8cS The video will remain available to view for 180 days. 

Items
No. Item

Clerk's Note

Councillor Adrian Garden joined the meeting online via Microsoft Teams.

1.

Declaration of Pecuniary Interests

Under Standing Order 4.4, where any councillor has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

 

 

Minutes:

There were none.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 25 March 2021 and the Extraordinary meeting held on 08 April 2021.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the minutes of the meeting held on 25 March 2021, the wording of bullet point 3 of item 6 was changed to read,

 

·         Lastly, the internal audit of leaseholders had been performed the year prior. Therefore, would need to allow time to imbed findings and that currently there were no concerns on this.

 

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meetings held on 25 March and 8 April 2021 be approved unanimously as a correct record of proceedings, with the above mentioned change.

3.

Work Programme and Action Monitoring pdf icon PDF 159 KB

    • View the background to item 3.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Chloe Morris, Democratic Services, 020 7926 1065, cmorris2@lambeth.gov.uk

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chair informed the Committee that Homes for Lambeth had reached out with some suggestions for providing information to them. The Chair said he would follow-up with individual Committee members for their feedback.

     

    Councillor Ainslie asked that the Action Log include due dates.

     

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1. To note the Corporate Committee’s work programme for 2021-22.

    2. To note the Corporate Committee’s actions monitoring log.

4.

Complaints, Member's Enquiries and Freedom of Information Act requests 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 635 KB

    • View the background to item 4.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Karen Sullivan, Head of Customer Resolution & Improvement, 07925 347899, ksullivan1@lambeth.gov.uk

    Minutes:

    The Assistant Director of Resident Experience, Karen Sullivan, presented the report, summarising the key findings, and in response to questions from members clarified that:

     

    ·         There was a large range of areas that fell under the category of Resident Services, including housing, ICT, customer complaints, highways, parking, streets, environmental, and all the core contact services of the Council;

    ·         650 members of staff operated under Resident Services and this sector received 75% of all case management and complaints requests;

    ·         Members’ enquiries had to be logged within two days of receipt, and then were allowed ten working days to be resolved in full, and that any cases that could not be resolved or which required a follow-up within those ten days were given a holding response, which Resident Services sought to resolve within two weeks;

    ·         Currently less than 6%, down from 8%, of all cases required a follow-up;

    ·         The two version of iCasework were currently not integrated, and the team would be doing some requirements-gathering from members to try to improve the service;

    ·         The benchmarking process across London and the wider authorities had fallen behind due to covid-19, but 32 requests had been sent and some responded to, and there would be a follow-up on this;

    ·         A deep-dive into the reason for the seemingly large increases of complaints had been carried out, and there would be a few changes as a result;

    ·         The timeline for improvement was set out in two phases, each three months long;

    ·         The failure order had been responded to on-time.

     

    Ms Sullivan asked that a question from Cllr Kazantzis around follow-ups and residents not being satisfied with their response be taken as a substantive point on which the team would report back to the Committee.

     

    Ms Sullivan also informed Cllr Bray that policy review changes were taking place within the housing service, as noted in the report, and the team would follow-up with details at a later date.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1. To note the contents of the report.

     

5.

Corporate Committee Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 269 KB

    • View the background to item 5.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Justin Martin, Chief Audit Executive, 07881 802336

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chief Audit Executive, Justin Martin, presented the report, and noted that the previous Chair of the Committee, Cllr Garden, had extracted the actions for this point from the previous minutes. However, this had been submitted too late to include in the report. It was therefore agreed that the actions written by Cllr Garden would be circulated to all Committee members after the meeting for agreement.

     

    Cllr Ainslie sought clarification about the difference between poor contract management and fraud and stated that the auditors did not focus on the areas of a service which are at the greatest risk of fraud. He also asked who approved the annual audit plan.

     

    In response, Mr Martin explained that there was indeed a clear distinction between the two and that the auditors treated this very carefully. Mr Martin also asked to see hard evidence for contracts and services which Cllr Ainslie had alluded to as being involved with potential fraudulent activity and stated that there was no indication of widespread fraud, but that if there had been it would have been acted on appropriately.

     

    The Chair asked how the Corporate Committee influenced the decisions the Council made on deciding the audit plan, to which officers responded that the Committee approved the internal fraud plan and counter-fraud policy. It was also pointed out that the annual audit plan had been approved by this Committee earlier in the year; however, officers said if there were items the Committee felt were important to address, they should raise them with the team.

     

    The Chair suggested Cllr Ainslie should write to him with a nomination about his concerns, which he could then consider as a recommendation.

     

    RESOLVED by 4 votes for, and one abstention:

    1. To receive and approve the Corporate Committee’s Annual Report for 2020/21 and to recommend it to Council for full approval, following the above-mentioned actions being circulated after the meeting.

6.

Independent Corporate Committee Co-opted Member Recruitment pdf icon PDF 331 KB

    • View the background to item 6.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Justin Martin, Chief Audit Executive, 07881 802336

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chief Audit Executive presented the report and in response to issues raised by members stated that:

     

    ·         The Job Description for the co-opted member did not specifically require that applicants had to be Chartered Accountants, but that it was desired to bring some insight and quality conversation into the debate;

    ·         They would ensure the Job Description reflected this point.

     

    The Chair said he would like feedback from members about any training opportunities there might be for members.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1. To confirm the decision to recruit one Independent Member for the London Borough of Lambeth’s Corporate Committee.

     

    2. To agree the role profile and person specification, set out in Appendix B, that will go forward for advertisement.

    3. To agree the process for appointment and to confirm the 2-stage process for selection of applicants, as set out in Section 3 of the report.

7.

Statement of Accounts 2020/21 and Annual External Audit pdf icon PDF 213 KB

    • View the background to item 7.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Nisar Visram, Assistant Director for Corporate Finance, 020 7926 9386, nvisram@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Nisar Visram and Karen Murray presented the report, and in response to questions from members stated that:

     

    ·         There had been a backlog of work due to covid, but that if it were possible to bring the audit forwards to September that would be done; but even though it was a long time in the future to approve a plan, the team wanted to be realistic about timeframes;

    ·         The date from which members of the public were able to inspect the accounts had changed this year but this remained a period of 28 days in-line with statutory requirements.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1. To note the Audit Plan from Mazars, set out in Appendix 1, which related to the Council’s 2020/21 financial accounts.

8.

Treasury Management Performance Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 415 KB

    • View the background to item 8.

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Fiona McDermott: Strategic Director for Finance and

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Robert Browning, Head of Treasury and Pensions, 07934 402801, rbrowning@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Minutes:

    Before the discussion of this item, the guillotine fell at 8.00 pm.

     

    It was MOVED by the Chair, and, RESOLVED unanimously:

     

    That in accordance with Standing Order 9.5-9.7, the meeting continue for a further period of up to 30 minutes.

                          

    Robert Browning, Head of Treasury and Pensions presented the report, and Christina Thompson explained to members that:

     

    ·         The decisions to invest in the Real Lettings Property Fund was very much a part of the overall homelessness service provision;

    ·         Some of the properties they had access to were in Lambeth, and that the team wanted to see their temporary accommodation bills reducing by investing in all the available property options;

    ·         This was a part of a range of actions the Council was taking to manage homelessness;

    ·         Money had been put aside in the capital programme for looking at other options, but that the decision to invest in St. Mungo’s was mainly looking at the numbers of properties available to take Lambeth people out of temporary accommodation and discharge our homelessness duty.

     

    RESOLVED unanimously:

    1. To note the Treasury Management Performance Report for the financial year ending 31 March 2021.