Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 4th January 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Democratic and Electoral Services 

Link: Click to view live meeting from 6.30pm on 4 January 2021

Items
No. Item

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive from Members, declarations of the existence of any disclosable pecuniary, or non-pecuniary, interests and the nature of those interests in relation to any agenda item. Please see Agenda Notes.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Declaration of Party Whipping

To declare if any issues to be covered in the Agenda are under party whip.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of party whipping.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 394 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7th of December 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: - that the minutes of the meeting held on the 7th of December 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record by the Chair.

5.

Public Question Time (15 minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public provided that a question does not relate to:

 

·         Matters which are the subject of current or pending legal proceedings, or

·         Matters relating to employees or former employees of the Council or comments in respect of individual Council Officers

 

If you would like to ask a question at this meeting, please contact democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Tuesday 29th of December 2020 at the latest.

 

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

6.

Petitions and Deputations (15 minutes)

To receive any petitions and deputations provided that no such petition or deputation is in relation to:

 

·         Matters relating to individual Council Officers, or

·         Matters relating to current or pending legal proceedings

 

If you would like to present a deputation or petition at this meeting, please contact democratic.services@gloucester.gov.uk as soon as possible and by Tuesday 29th of December 2020 at the latest.

 

 

Minutes:

There were no petitions and deputations.

7.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme and Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 405 KB

To receive the latest version of the Committee’s work programme and the Council’s Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1       Councillor Lewis requested that the Cultural Strategy Update report and the final Festivals & Events Programme report are brought before the Committee at a future Committee meeting.

 

7.2      RESOLVED: - That the Overview & Scrutiny Committee NOTE the forward plan and work programme.

8.

Revenues and Benefits Contract pdf icon PDF 180 KB

To receive the report of the Head of Policy & Resources.

Minutes:

 

8.1      Councillor Norman introduced the report and highlighted key elements. Firstly, she pointed to paragraph 3.5 of the report which outlined that the service quality delivered by Civica remained at high levels. In particular, Civica had continued to deliver a good service to the Council during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the increase in workload as a result of a higher number of claimants and business grants which they had brought online and paid out efficiently. Councillor Norman added that for this, Gloucester City Council had been recognised as one of the most highly performing district councils nationally for its ability to process claims and the percentage of payments made. Furthermore, she outlined that the City Council had worked with Civica since 2011 and in that time had developed a partnership with them beyond a supplier/Council one. This had a positive financial impact enabling the Council to make efficiencies and cost savings in the contract, as well as benefitting from Civica bringing the latest efficiencies and policy with regard to how to process changes in national policy, for example, the introduction of Universal Credit. Referring to the draft budget proposals brought before the Committee in December 2020, Councillor Norman advised that there was a proposed cost saving of £100,000 with Civica per annum throughout the life of the 2021-2026 money plan. She then thanked the Civica team for their hard work particularly during the pandemic during which the team had regularly worked outside their normal working hours.  Councillor Norman also extended her thanks to the Intelligent Client Officer for her hard work also. Lastly, Councillor Norman reiterated that she believed the contract provided a good service, good value for money with a provider who was well respected and willing to innovate.

 

8.2       Councillor Norman and the Head of Policy & Resources responded to Committee members’ questions as follows. Firstly, in answer to the Chair ‘s question about Hull Framework, the Head of Policy & Resources explained that this was an established single supplier framework which meant that the Council could make a direct award to Civica for procurement purposes. Secondly, on the question of whether a People Impact Assessment (PIA) had been carried out for the new contract, he advised that this was not required as Revenues & Benefits was not a front facing service and the service was not being changed or reduced. However, he would be happy for a PIA to be carried out if Members’ wished. Responding to Councillor Wilson’s query regarding Option 2 which was not being recommended in the report, the Head of Policy & Resources explained that the reason for not going to the open market was not because of the length of time this would take. He added that if the report was rejected by Members, the OJEU process could be done in a shorter timeframe. Nonetheless, awarding the contract to Civica was being recommended rather than this option for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

8.3      In answer to the Chair ‘s query about KPIs and any  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Festivals and Events Programme pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To receive the Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure‘s update on the 2021-22 Festivals & Events Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1       The Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure, Councillor Morgan introduced the report and highlighted key elements. He reminded Committee Members’ that this report was in draft form, and thus could be subject to revision as required, particularly in light of any changes to the COVID-19 guidelines. He added that a meeting had been set up between Council Officers and various stakeholders and partners on Wednesday 6th of January 2020 to decide whether the Bright Nights Festival would proceed either in part or in full. Following this, further details would then be circulated.

 

9.2      Councillor Morgan then responded to Members’ questions as follows. In answer to Councillor Hilton he outlined that, on balance, the City Centre was considered the best location for the Gloucester Goes Retro event. Moreover, having a City Centre location for the event helped to raise the City ‘s profile and image. Regarding the Tall Ship Festival, he stated that the proposal was for this to go ahead during the May bank holiday weekend unless there were changes to the COVID-19 guidelines and if there was any evidence that it could not be held successfully in line with COVID-19 restrictions. He added that the Head of Cultural Services had in depth discussions with contractors to implement measures to ensure the event was held in line with COVID-19 restrictions. Both Councillor Morgan and the Head of Cultural Services reiterated that that the date of the event could be changed should there be any change to COVID-19 guidelines to this effect.

 

 

9.3      Councillor Hilton stated that whilst he supported Gloucester Goes Retro and wanted to see it continued, he remained concerned that it had a potential negative impact on trade in the City, and suggested that data could be collected for this year ‘s event to measure this. Councillor Organ responded to say that he was pleased to hear there was support for the event. However, in contrary to Councillor Hilton ‘s suggestion the event was designed to increase tourism and footfall in the City, and it had the benefit of bringing people to the doorsteps of the City ‘s businesses and organisations. He added that evidence suggested that the event actually increased revenues for businesses rather than the opposite. Further, he outlined that key businesses and organisations such as Gloucester BID supported the event. In terms of the location of the event, he stated that the use of the gate streets was important as they were closely linked to the City ‘s history and were part of the overall attraction of the event. Lastly, he explained that the event would only be success if businesses supported it and those who have supported the event in the past have themselves benefitted.

 

 

9.4.1    In response to Councillor Ryall ‘s query Councillor Morgan stated that firstly, 2020 had been a learning curve in terms of having to adapt to the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. As such, some of the cultural events had been moved online and this was something which could be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 1st of February 2021.

Minutes:

Monday 1st of February 2021.