Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Room 1-16, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RW

Contact: David Rose, Tel: 020 7926 1037, Email: drose@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

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:

Councillor Peter Ely opened the meeting and noted that it was inquorate and would proceed on an informal basis.

 

There were no declarations of interest.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on the [insert date].

Minutes:

The minutes were deferred to the next meeting of the Corporate Committee.

 

3.

Work Programme and Action Monitoring pdf icon PDF 96 KB

4.

Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 122 KB

    (All wards)

     

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

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Fridah Nkaka, HR Workforce Planning Analyst, 0207 926 5733, fnkaka@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Dean Shoesmith, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, introduced the report and in response to questions from Committee members noted:

    ·           The Pay Policy Statement was required by the Localism Act 2011 and noted appointments over £100,000.

    ·           Since the last report, there had been no exit payments over £100,000.

    ·           The highest-lowest paid staff ratio was below average and was currently at 8.78-1, which signified a narrowing from previous years.

    ·           The Council paid all its staff the London Living Wage, or over.

    ·           Staff could return to work after normal retirement age although there were few, if any, examples. However, Lambeth did employ a number of people over the age of 65 as there was no default retirement age in law.

    ·           Working past the retirement age could have positive effects on wellbeing or income, but could also block opportunities for young people, however the no default retirement age in employment law meant the Council could not force retirement.

    ·           Officers would provide further information on the payment of employers’ pensions contributions of other public sector employers outside the meeting.

    ·           The reason why trainees, apprentices and school crossing patrol officers were excluded from payment information (agenda pack, page 33) would be provided outside the meeting.

     

     

     

5.

Calculations of Council Tax Base and National Non-Domestic Rates Return 1 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

    (All wards)

     

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

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Amaris Wong, Group Manager, Strategic Finance, awong1@lambeth.gov.uk

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Hamant Bharadia, Assistant Director of Finance and Property; and Amaris Wong, Group Finance Manager, introduced the report as follows:

    ·           This annual report set out the council tax base, which was based on the number of properties on the Register, which had seen a steady increase since the last report.  This, in turn, determined tax per property as per the formula detailed in the agenda pack (page 57) to create the tax bands.

    ·           The number of dwellings in Lambeth had increased by 2.1% increase from the previous year, which was a positive trend given the need for local authorities to generate more of their own income.

    ·           The additional income generated by the Inclusive Growth policies were detailed through the Performance report and were reported on a regular cycle.

    ·           The discount policies were listed on the Council’s website and valuation office, and would be shared with Committee Members outside the meeting.

    ·           Council tax support was applied across the entire cohort of properties in each band as detailed in the agenda pack (page 59).

     

     

     

6.

Procurement Update pdf icon PDF 344 KB

    (All wards)

     

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

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Rachel Willsher, Head of Procurement, Finance & Investment, 020 7926 7360 rwillsher@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Rachel Willsher, Head of Procurement, introduced the report and noted that:

    ·           Work had begun to implement new contract management delivery model, which would roll out across the Council on a directorate by directorate basis, and would include updated policy, guidance and templates.  Whilst the templates would be available by the end of March, the full programme would take several years to implement.

    ·           The Procurement team was relatively small and did not manage contracts, which were the responsibility of the contracting teams, who also monitored contract delivery.  The updated contract management model would also develop a delivery monitoring function.

    ·           The Responsible Procurement policy was agreed by Cabinet and summarised in Appendix A (agenda pack, page 71).

    ·           Writing to partners and suppliers to explain Lambeth’s carbon neutral commitment had not yet occurred and was with the Climate Change team to progress.

    ·           The Social Value Corporate Group would also ensure a common approach across the Council and its partners, and further information would be provided back to Members.

    ·           The Council would be compliant with the Local Government Transparency Code, however there was currently no obligation in Lambeth to record low value contracts on the contract register.  It was planned to introduce a low value contract register which contained less information than the normal register and was easier to oversee, which was planned for completion by May 2020.

    ·           Any incidents arising from risks as recorded in the report (agenda pack, page 66-7) would be reported back to the Committee.  A major supplier/contractor, a nursing home, had failed and meant that other providers were sourced to meet demands, and was of a minimal impact, however pressures on suppliers were expected to increase following Brexit. 

    ·           Whilst climate emergency was not listed as a risk, officers were aware of the need for the Responsible Procurement policy to strengthen language to address climate.

    ·           Negotiation was paramount when working with another provider to procure services and it was easier to set the tone when leading but depended on the Council’s level of participation.

     

     

     

7.

Corporate Complaints - six-monthly update pdf icon PDF 391 KB

    (All wards)

     

    Report authorised by: Bayo Dosunmu: Strategic Director for Resident Services

     

    Contact for enquiries: Majella Sharma, Interim AD Resident Experience 07747 036152, msharma@lambeth.gov.uk

    Minutes:

    Majella Sharma, Interim AD Resident Experience, introduced the report and answered questions as follows:

    ·           Complaints performance had been good over the last two months, achieving 92% of the corporate target and increased FoI performance, but fell just short of the FoI key performance indicator; which was likely due to holidays and illness over the Christmas period. 

    ·           Training had been implemented to drive complaints, FoI and SAR performance.

    ·           Webforms were being implemented and services being reviewed to move towards an online process, including the Housing and Contact Centre team; which was hoped to save two to three full-time staff for other duties.  Officers were also reviewing utilising an application to be able to assist councillors to report issues remotely, to increase service team innovation and the Services’ abilities.

    ·           A webform was to be designed to assist councillors raise casework, and would be easy to use and mobile friendly.

    ·           It was noted that few councillors fully utilised the existing case management system, and the Complaints team were happy to work with councillors to increase usage or to develop the planned webform and application.

    ·           Corporate Committee Members would be asked to provide further feedback on the complaints report format so that it was tailored to provide suitable information and focus (whether on trends and volumes, or performance and responses), due to the different steers previously provided.

    ·           The Complaints team would offer training to councillors on using the complaints processes.

    ·           The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) had visited Lambeth and met with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, the Chief Executive, and Executive Director and had provided positive feedback.

    ·           Officers were unable to receive benchmarking data from other councils in time for this report, other than for Hounslow, which showed that Lambeth was performing better, but further detail would be included in future reports.  Additionally, the LGO had published a report on Lambeth’s service improvements, which showed 17 issues to clear and allowed residents to review progress and compare performance against the Council’s peers.

    ·           The LGO annual letter and its trend data would be included in future reports.

    ·           The LGO confirmed that Lambeth had poor performance resolving complaints through early intervention, which was currently at 0% against 11% for similar councils.

    ·           Lambeth did not currently undertake surveys of people who complained; however, it was a good suggestion and quality monitoring would be undertaken in future.

    ·           Subject Access Requests (SARs) performance data would be shared with Members outside the Committee.

    ·           Lambeth had been falling short in achieving corporate SAR key performance indicators, however it was noted that significant progress had been made.  This was due to the employment of a gatekeeper and providing templates to direct people to information governance so that they did not proceed directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to complain that Lambeth were not responding.   Additionally, the Contact Centre would be trained by Capita and provided with a tutorial to properly handle SARs and to ensure that these were not missed in correspondence.

    ·           Data on the number of cases received  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Audit and Investigations Update pdf icon PDF 187 KB

    (All wards)

     

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

    Investment

     

    Contact for enquiries: Justin Martin, Chief Audit Executive, 07881 802 336

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Justin Martin, Head of Internal Audit, Finance & Investment, and Charlotte Bilsland, PwC; Michael O’Reilly, Head of Counter Fraud, introduced this report, which was an update from last year, and answered questions as follows:

    ·           Annex A (agenda pack, page99-100) provided a list of outstanding management actions.

    ·           91% of programme was in progress; and of 68 pieces of work to deliver this year, 62 were underway.

    ·           The no assurance on Children’s Direct Payments and three limited assurances on financial Assessment, Resident Services Cash and Leaseholder Service Charges were not indicative of overall control, but outcomes of those particular reports.

    ·           The implementation of audit recommendations sought to bring lasting change to the quality control environment and was a key feature of the audit approach, and had increased from 56% completion in December 2019 to 70%.

    ·           Investigations were progressing at the expected rate, and income generated was exceeding costs.

    ·           It was noted that many local authorities did not investigate fraud as they did not believe it was apparent, but it was possible to find fraud in most organisations.  It was also noted that if Lambeth had greater resource then it might be possible to increase fraud detection.

    ·           The Audit Commission had suggested that 5% of all social housing was open to fraud.

    ·           Problem areas or those with poor implementation rates were subsequently audited more frequently.

    ·           The Loughborough EMB Report would be re-dispatched to Members.

    ·           The audit report on accurate billing systems for Leaseholder Service repair or charges was due to complete by the end of February and would be reported to the next meeting. This audit had been specifically commissioned by Corporate Committee, and following the limited assurance rating, would be followed-up and progressed to senior Resident Services management.  Leaseholder officers would be invited to the next Committee if recommendations were not in place by March 2020.

    ·           The number of schools with substantial audit reports was a positive result and was due to regular auditing and ensuring schools knew processes. 

    ·           Audits had been carried out to high standard and officers were content to stand behind those opinions.

    ·           Cottington Close should be noted as under the Resident Services directorate (agenda pack, page 95), but had received a no assurance opinion.