Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 4th November, 2019 4.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre

Contact: Meryl Lawrence  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item


Declaration of Interests




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 116 KB


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 September were approved as a true and accurate record.



Service Plan Mid-Year Reviews 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

a)     Finance

b)     People and Business Change

c)     Regeneration Investment and Housing

Additional documents:





-      Meirion Rushworth (Head of Finance)

-      Owen James (Assistant Head of Finance)

-      Richard Leake (Procurement Manager)

-      Emma Johnson (Income Collection Manager)

-      Andrew Wathan (Chief Internal Auditor)


The Head of Finance presented a brief overview to the Committee and highlighted the key areas for consideration, including a focus upon more self-service work internally and externally where possible and training and development where required.


Members asked the following:


·      With regard to Action 1 on page 24 – Complete Sufficient Audit Opinion Related Work which showed: 16% Completed, and the comment “.a bit lower than expected, but this generally picks up in Q3 & Q4”, a Member asked why was this lower than expected, and how could it be guaranteed that it would pick up.  The Chief Internal Auditor advised the Committee that resources had been used up in special investigations, however past performance showed that Quarters 3 and 4 had picked up. When asked if the team were confident it would pick up, it was advised that historically figures had picked up. A Member


·      A Member asked about resource issues in the Service Area. Members were advised that these scores had been achieved with one member of staff. There had also been a vacancy, which HR colleagues had tried to fill, but so far had been unsuccessful, and it had been flagged as a potential concern. The Head of Service added that the department had bought in some help from a South West based internal Audit set up, which is a consortium of audit departments to form an internal audit organisation.  This had filled in bits of resource capacity over the Autumn, which would help. There had been a short-term issue with a few members of the team having long-term sickness.  When asked about back up, it was advised that the Team had tried agency staff in the past but its success had been hit and miss, while using resources from the partnership enabled some extra resource to be provided.


·      A Member inquired about the outsourcing of some of the service. The Head of Service outlined the Council’s standard recruitment procedure and explained that the department needed an auditor that could start straight away. Agency staff needed to be trained and required lots of assistance, so outsourcing provided a quick solution to a short-term resourcing issue for the department.


·      With regard to Objective 5, Action 1 on page 30 – Develop New Procurement Strategy, which showed 5% complete and comment “not commenced due to other priorities”, a Member asked what those priorities were, how far behind they were and who made the decision.  The Procurement Manager advised that the strategy ran from 2016 – 2019, so the department needed to look at a new strategy for 2020 onwards. This had been started, and they were currently looking at things that needed to go into the new strategy. The department was confident that the new strategy would be in place by early 2020, which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 123 KB

a)       Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)       Action Sheet (Appendix 2)



Additional documents:



-      Meryl Lawrence (Scrutiny Adviser)


a)   Forward Work Programme Update


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the next two Committee meetings:


Monday 18 November 2019:

2019-20 Service Plan Mid-Year Reviews:

- Law and Regulation

- City Services


Monday 13 January 2020:

2020-21 Draft Budget Proposals


b)   Action Sheet


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Action Sheet and advised the Committee of the Actions from the Minutes held on 2 September 2019, as listed on Page 85.