Venue: Conference Room 1a, County Hall, Ruthin
Apologies were received from Committee members Councillors Anne Davies, Huw Jones (Chair), Arwel Roberts and David Williams.
Councillor Richard Mainon, Lead Member for Developing Community Infrastructure for business item 6.
In the absence of the Chair the Vice-chair, Councillor Hugh Irving chaired the meeting.
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
URGENT MATTERS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR
Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
There were no urgent items.
To receive the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 19 July 2018 (copy attached).
Councillor Martyn Holland registered his disappointment that his comments under Business item 5, ‘Developing a Highway Maintenance Strategy’ on the lack of funding to maintain the rural roads network had not been included.
Councillor Holland requested that it be noted that Flintshire County Council had recently announced that it required an investment of circa £40m in its highways network to maintain them to a satisfactory standard. Similarly Denbighshire required an investment of approximately £11m on its bridges and highways structures alone in order to maintain them to a satisfactory standard, this was in addition to the investment required in the county’s roads in order to maintain them.
Whilst Welsh Government (WG) funding was always welcomed the Road Refurbishment Grant received recently amounting to £1.2m, due to the costly nature of highways maintenance projects, had all been used to improve a limited number of roads in the county.
Denbighshire had a network of circa 14,000 miles, of which only approximately 3,000 were classified as A & B roads and consequently attracted WG maintenance funding.
The majority of the county’s roads were either C or Unclassified roads, therefore did not form part of the data used to attract WG funding to invest in them, this in turn would disadvantage the county’s rural areas, businesses and residents.
Other European countries had used some of their Objective 1 money to improve the roads infrastructure, but for some reason Wales had not adopted this approach.
Resolved that, subject to the above, the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 19th July 2018 be received and approved as a correct record.
To consider the latest version of the Council’s Corporate Risk Register.
10.05am – 10.45am
The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Assets introduced the Planning and Performance Officer’s report (previously circulated) which presented the Committee with a copy of the Council’s Corporate Risk Register and a narrative on the proposed deletions, additions and amendments to the Register.
During his introduction the Lead Member outlined the review process for the Register and gave a definition of the terms ‘Inherent Risk’ and ‘Residual Risk’. The Corporate Risk Register contained the high-level risks identified by the Council, lower level risks were included in Service Risk Registers. The Corporate Risk Register could be updated at any time but is formally reviewed every six months and Service Risk Registers are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
Risks could be escalated from Service Risk Registers to the Corporate Risk Register if necessary, conversely Corporate Risks could be downgraded to Service Risks and entered into the relevant Service’s Risk Register.
The Lead Member also advised that Appendix 1 to the report had been reformatted at the Committee’s request, to enable members to easily identify which ‘risks’ were new, had changed, been removed or had not been subject to any changes.
Members’ attention was drawn to two new ‘risks’ which had been added to the Register as part of the recent review:
· Risk number 00036: the risk that any negative impacts of leaving the European Union cannot be mitigated by the Council – this risk had been added as the impact of the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the European Union (EU) was still unclear. Due to the current uncertainties surrounding this specific matter, both the ‘inherent’ and ‘residual’ risks had been classified as B1 (red).
· Risk number 00037: the risk that partners do not have the resources, matching priorities or commitment to support the delivery of shared plans and priorities. This risk had an ‘inherent risk’ classification of B1(red) and a ‘residual risk’ classification of C2(amber) due to the fact that collaborative boards were attended by senior management and collaborative plans and priorities (e.g. the Public Service Board’s Well-being Plan) had been developed to reflect broader public sector priorities (Denbighshire County Council’s Corporate Plan, for instance).
Responding to members’ questions the Lead member and Planning and Performance Officer:
· advised that both the ‘inherent’ and ‘residual’ risk classification for 00035 relating to the Regional Growth Deal were classified at C1 (red) at present. This was because the details of the Deal were still being compiled. When more specific details on the Deal were available the risk scores would be reviewed based on the new information;
· confirmed that the preparatory work the Council had undertaken in relation to the potential impact the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) in Denbighshire could have on residents and the Council (risk number 00016) had been very successful. Consequently the ‘Inherent Risk’ classification of B2 (red) had been reduced to a ‘Residual Risk’ classification of D3 (Yellow).
Communities Scrutiny Committee had examined this work in detail earlier in the summer. This ‘corporate risk’ could potentially reduce even further and be transferred to the Service Risk Register to be managed by the Service in future;
· advised that whilst ‘risks’ could potentially change at any time and that the Register would be amended to reflect this at the time, a formal review of the Corporate Risk Register in its entirety was undertaken by the Corporate Executive Team (CET) every six months.
If a risk was downgraded to a Service Risk or removed completely it did not mean that it could not be re-entered on to the Corporate Risk Register at a later date if circumstances necessitated ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To monitor the progress achieved in relation to developing the Customer Effort Dashboard and the feedback trend from the new telephony system.
11.00am – 11.45am
In the absence of the Lead Member for Community Infrastructure the Head of Customers, Communications and Marketing introduced the Service Improvement Manager’s report (previously circulated) which provided the Committee with an overview of the Customer Effort and Customer Satisfaction results.
The report contained examples of verbatim and suggestions for service improvements based on the feedback received. Members were reminded by the Head of Service that the Customer Effort and Satisfaction Dashboard, had initially been a pilot project, but following its success the system had been introduced as an integral part of the Council’s Customer Services Centre.
Following a discussion with the Council’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) work was undertaken to extend the service to other Council customer facing services, these were services that had a high volume of calls from the public and other stakeholders. - during the twelve months up to September 2018 the survey has been extended to four council services and up to 13 different sections.
According to the Service Improvement Manager the system had the ability to produce reports on how much effort had been required on the customer’s behalf to resolve their enquiry together with the customer’s satisfaction rate at the end of the process.
Over 12 months, analysis of this information identified 3 emerging themes as to why customers were not satisfied following their contact with the council:
· the caller having been transferred, or given a direct-dial number to call, their call was not answered;
· the caller having left a message on an answerphone was not called back; and
· having had their enquiry logged onto the system and asking for a specific Service to contact them, no call-back was received
That led to the Better Telephony Project – increasing customers’ ability to ‘get to the right place 1st time’ when dialling the Councils main telephone number 01824 706000.
Responding to members’ questions the Head of Service and Service Improvement Manager:
· agreed to include in future reports actual figures in addition to percentage figures;
· confirmed that the number of mobile telephone surveys completed and returned was pleasing and was above the average return figure for surveys in general;
· advised that the Council was not intending on introducing a mobile phone/tablet App for the purpose of undertaking these types of surveys as local authorities who had introduced them were now phasing them out - due to the complex ICT requirements and ‘back office processes needed to support them.
Denbighshire County Council’s website was well used by residents and customers for interacting with the authority and developing the website further for this purpose was deemed more effective than introducing an App:
· advised that the new Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) System which was due to be introduced in late October or early November 2018 would work effectively with mobile phones and would improve end to end processes and consequently support resident/customer interaction with the Council;
· confirmed that the data received from the surveys was used to improve services with a view to ensuring that all Services complied with the Corporate Standard for service delivery – the Denbighshire Way. Nevertheless there would always be room for improvement both internally within the Council and externally with stakeholders;
· advised that the data received from the surveys was analysed by a working group made up from officers from the main customer facing services.
Service representatives were able to drill down the data and identify which individual advisor within their Service had dealt with the query and address any issues or shortcomings raised with a view to improving service delivery in future.
Similarly, the feedback could be used to identify best practice and ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To consider a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (copy attached) seeking a review of the committee’s forward work programme and updating members on relevant issues.
11.45am – 12.00pm
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator (SC) introduced the report (previously circulated) seeking Members’ views of the Committee’s work programme and providing an update on relevant issues.
A copy of the “Member’s proposal form” had been included in Appendix 2. The Scrutiny Co-ordinator requested that any proposals be submitted to herself. The Cabinet Forward Work Programme had been included as Appendix 3, the table summarising recent Committee resolutions, advising on progress with their implementation, had been attached as Appendix 4.
The SC advised the Committee that the Chair was attending the Education Reform Conference in Cardiff along with the Head of Education, therefore the item on Provisional External Examinations and Teacher Assessments (originally scheduled for that day’s meeting) had been deferred to November’s Performance Scrutiny Committee.
The SC also informed the Committee that the anticipated Waste Management report had not been published by the Welsh Audit Office yet and therefore that item would be deferred to the meeting scheduled for 31st January 2019.
Following the earlier discussion on the CRM it was agreed to provisionally schedule a review of the system in 12 months (November 2019).
The SC reminded members that if there were any items they felt needed scrutinising they should complete and return the proposal form attached (app 2) which could go to the next Scrutiny Chair and Vice-chair Group in October.
RESOLVED that subject to the above, the Forward Work Programme be approved.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.
12.00 p.m. – 12.05 p.m.
There was no feedback to be reported.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator reminded Committee members that it was important that the same person attended both the Lines of Enquiry meetings and the Service Challenge meetings.
Councillor Martyn Holland highlighted that Scrutiny pre-meetings were not highlighted on the agenda link (unlike the paper copies).