Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Corporate and Social Inclusion Select Committee (ceased to operate 03/06/2015) Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 9th July, 2014
Time:
09.30am
Place:
Ground Floor Committee Room, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Mick Stoker(Chairman), Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Norma Wilburn
Officers:
Lesley King, Beccy Brown, Debbie Hurwood, Julie Danks(R), Mike Chicken, John Angus(DNS), Margaret Waggott, David Bond, Graham Birtle, Jenna McDonald(LDS)
In Attendance:
Cllr D Harrington(Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Tracey Stott, Cllr Jean Kirby
Item Description Decision
Public
CSI
13/14
EVACUATION PLAN
 
CSI
14/14
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
CSI
15/14
MINUTES FOR SIGNATURE - 7TH MAY 2014
AGREED that the minutes were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
CSI
16/14
DRAFT MINUTES - 10TH JUNE 2014
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
CSI
17/14
REVIEW OF STREET CAFE FURNITURE AND A-BOARDS
AGREED that the information be noted.

AGREED that the final report be approved by the Committee.
CSI
18/14
CORPORATE AND SOCIAL INCLUSION - SERVICE
OVERVIEW

AGREED that:

1. The information be noted

2. Officers would report back to the Committee with numbers of payslips which remain paper copies.

3. Officers would present information on an average number of FOI's dealt with on an annual basis
CSI
19/14
WORK PROGRAMME
AGREED that:

1. The final report be considered by Executive Scrutiny in August 2014.

2. The presentation of the final report with recommendations was to be considered at Cabinet in September 2014.
CSI
20/14
CHAIR'S UPDATE
 

Preamble

ItemPreamble
CSI
13/14
The evacuation plan was noted.
CSI
14/14
Councillors David Harrington, Mick Stoker and Michael Clark declared an interest as they were Members of the Teesside Pension Fund.
CSI
15/14
The minutes of the meeting held on 7th May 2014 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
CSI
16/14
Consideration was given to the draft minutes of the meeting held on 10th June 2014.
CSI
17/14
The Committee was asked to consider the final report for the Review of Street Cafe Furniture and A-Boards.

The Built and Natural Environment Manager informed Members that there had been slight changes to the recommendations in the report since the last Committee meeting which were agreed at a tripartite meeting.
CSI
18/14
Members were presented with an overview of Corporate and Social Inclusion which included information on the following services:

- Communications
- Human Resoucres (HR)
- Customer Services and Taxation
- Policy, Improvement and Engagement(PIE)
- Xentrall Shared Services
- Finance, Governance and Assets

The key achievements for the services were highlighted by Officers.

The emerging issues and factors proving difficult were highlighted to the Committee as follows:

- The delivery of the sickness absence action plan was a significant challenge and although progress had been made, the levels of sickness remained high.

- The Media team continued to face significant workloads due to service changes. Members heard that a review of the service was underway which would address the issues.

- There had been an increase in required enforcement action due a higher level of non payment of council tax. The non-payment situation may get worse in 2014/2015, the second year of Local Council Tax Support, as some council tax payers will still be paying off outstanding balances from 2013/2014.

- The Agresso upgrade set for March 2014 will now take place in 2016

- Housing purchases for the Spark of Genius project had proven difficult

Members were provided with an overview of Democratic Services which included:

- Electoral Services
- Civic Services
- Governance Team
- Scrutiny Team

Key achievements and emerging issues were highlighted together as follows:

- 2013/14 had been a challenging and interesting year in Electoral Services.

- The Mayor's Sunday Event and Armed Forces/Pirate Day Events had been successful within the Civics Team and received a lot of positive feedback.

- Members had been trained as health mentors due to taking part in the Public Health Leadership Programme

- 2015 was expected to be a challenging year within Democratic Services with the General and Local Elections.

- Polling district discussions were underway to locate new locations for future election polling stations

The Director of Law and Democracy provided the Committee with an overview of Legal Services and monitoring officer responsibilities. The key achievements for the service were highlighted together with emerging issues as follows:

- There had previously been an increase in the number of child protection cases to a record of 90 which had been managed successfully. Now the emphasis had situated to pre-court work, although the number of court cases was still significant. More demand was also now being placed on legal advice and support for Adults Social Care.

- Legal services continued to support the Academy conversions process

- The cost of care home fees and the actual cost of care would continue to be a challenge

- Issues surrounding Local Land charges remained unresolved

It was highlighted that generally officer workloads had increased as well as becoming more complex.

The following points were raised by the Committee:

- Members asked whether stress was a common reason for sickness absence with regards to the Sickness Action Plan. It was highlighted that stress was the highest single cause of sickness absence and Stockton Council were looking at Occupational Health and Counselling contracts, to combat days lost to sickness.

- Members asked whether the Council had a common sickness reporting policy and heard that a policy was in place as well as HR Online which had been circulated across the organisation to enable managers to report absences online with ease and more efficiently. HR Online also provided employees with electronic payslips; Members were keen to find out how many employees received paper copies of their payslips.

- It was agreed by Members that the Keeping You in Touch(KYIT) had improved significantly

- It was questioned how often social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were used. It was highlighted that the sites were used often to issue press releases and follow up on public responses. Members were informed that a media post was being introduced to the Communications team which would focus on digital and social media aspects.

- Members requested information on how many employees continued to receive hard copy pay slips

- The Committee requested figures on how many Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) were dealt with the Council. It was highlighted that all FOI's were assessed when received.
CSI
19/14
Members were presented with a Committee Work Programme for 2014/15. The Committee was informed that the next review topic for Corporate and Social Inclusion was the Review of Licensing and Public Health.
CSI
20/14
The Chair provided no update.

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