Governance and Transformation Cabinet Member – Minutes – 21 July 2016

On 23 February 2016 Council approved the revenue and capital budgets for the 2016/17 financial year.  The report gave details of virements that required Cabinet Member approval.

Resolved – That the virements at paragraph 3.1 of the report be approved.

5 (5) ICT STRATEGY 2016 – 2019 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval of the council’s ICT strategy for 2016 – 2019.

The council’s current IT strategy 2013 – 2016 was approved in May 2013 and was due to be refreshed in 2016.

North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council had established a shared IT service as part of the Northern Lincolnshire Business Connect shared service initiative. The IT shared service commenced on 1 April 2016.

An early and important output from the shared services was a new joint ICT Strategy as set out in Appendix A. It had been informed by extensive internal and external consultation to reflect the council’s shared priorities and help guide the council’s development work over the next three years.

The next few years would witness continued significant change across the public sector. Between now and 2019 the backdrop would present new challenges and opportunities. ICT was recognised as a key transformation enabler at the heart of business change as services were remodelled and sized to meet local needs within an increasingly restrained financial environment. The updated strategy had been produced to help support and enable the delivery of the business transformation priorities of both councils.

Resolved – That the 2016 – 2019 ICT Strategy be approved.

6 (6) MARKET POSITION STATEMENT 2016-17 – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which provided an updated Market Position Statement for 2016/17.

The Localism Act came into force on 15 November 2011. Among its many provisions the Act provided new powers for local communities. One specific and key provision was the “Community Right to Challenge” (CRTC which came into force on 27 June 2012).

The Act provides ‘relevant bodies’ with the right to challenge the running of local authority services where they believe they could do this differently or better. Relevant bodies’ include voluntary and community organisations, charitable organisations, parish councils or a group of two or more council employees.

The council has put in place appropriate procedures, policies and processes to assist bodies in completing their expressions of interest.

The Market Position Statement (appendix A to the report) was a key document developed to support the CRTC process and had been produced in consultation with services across the council.

The purpose of the document was to set out the council’s indicative commissioning and procurement programme for the period July 2016 to September 2017.

Resolved – That the 2016/17 Market Position Statement be approved.

7  (7) PROFESSIONAL SERVICES USAGE: QUARTER 4 2015/16  – The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report to advise on the consultancy usage for   Quarter 4 of 2015/2016, to highlight the consultancy usage to support major projects within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the overall effectiveness.

The protocol for managing consultancy was introduced as part of a package of cost management measures in 2011. The protocol required services to report their use of consultants on a quarterly basis. This reporting requirement was formally adopted as part of the council’s updated contract procedure rules in May 2012.

It was widely recognised that the provision of specialist expert advice was essential for the successful delivery of major projects and effective management of potentially high cost risk exposure. Examples of major council projects requiring specialist advice included:

– Building Schools for the Future
– University Technical College (UTC)
– Waste Treatment
– Capital Programme
– Lincolnshire Lakes

For the purpose of this report the term “consultancy” was used to describe the procurement of highly specialised subject matter expertise which the council did not possess in-house or where an independent opinion was required. Examples included specialist environmental surveys, technical analysis and advice on essential legal requirements such as Construction Design and Management (CDM) regulation compliance.

Resolved – That the findings set out in the report for Quarter 4 2015/16 be noted.

8 (8) STRATEGY, POLICY AND PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORK 2016-2020 –  The Director of Policy and Resources submitted a report which sought approval of the updated Strategy, Policy and Performance Framework.

At the cabinet meeting in February 2016, a new council strategy was adopted which set out the councils aims and priorities over the next four years. In line with the introduction of the new strategy the council reviewed and updated the strategy, policy and performance framework to reflect latest practice and advice.

The purpose of the strategy, policy and performance framework was to provide a consistent approach to the development, delivery and measurement of the council’s key strategies and policies.

The framework set out how the council would produce the council’s strategies and policies; determine the actions that would deliver them and measure. Monitor, analyse and the report the council’s progress against delivering outcomes for the people of North Lincolnshire. The document would also help to determine how we would set out and improve performance against these outcomes.

Resolved-That the updated Strategy, Policy and Performance Framework be approved.

9  (9) THE ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS (ENGLAND AND WALES) (AMENDMENT) (NO.20 REGULATIONS 2015 – The Director of Places submitted a report which sought to approve delegation of the enforcement provisions of the Energy  Performance  of Buildings  (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2015, to another authority, in relation to North Lincolnshire Council owned buildings.

In 2012 the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations placed a requirement on public buildings to have and display a valid Energy performance Certificate (EPC).

An amendment to these regulations had been made by the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2015. This required each local Weights and Measures Authority (i.e. North Lincolnshire Council) to agree in writing with another local Weights and Measures Authority, for them to be responsible for the regulations in respect of North Lincolnshire Council buildings.

This meant that the council could no longer regulate the provisions of the regulations against the council and must sign an agreement for one or more authorities to carry out this duty for the council. It also meant that another authority could wish for North Lincolnshire Council to sign a similar agreement to apply the provisions of the regulations in their area. In this case the council would be required to produce an enforcement plan in relation to the enforcement of the regulations in their area.

The requirement for council buildings to hold a valid EPC had been in place since 2012 and no complaints had been received in relation to North Lincolnshire Council not complying with these requirements. The council was able to carry out its own EPC assessments and even sold this service as a commercial activity. It was therefore, a very low priority area in relation to enforcement given the current resources and the high level of compliance. As such any enforcement plan agreed to enforce requirements in other areas should reflect this low priority and the limited resources currently available.

The Humber Authorities had been consulted and most were still undecided about entering into a joint reciprocal agreement. However North East Lincolnshire Council had shown a willingness to enter into such an agreement subject to obtaining formal approval.

Resolved – (a), That option 1 as set out in the report be approved, (b) that the Director of Places be authorised to sign and initial agreement with North East Lincolnshire Council on a complaint/intelligence led enforcement basis, with a view to including the other Humber Authorities should the need arise and (c) that the agreement with North East Lincolnshire Council be reviewed after one year.

10 (10) ENFORCEMENT POLICY 2016/17 – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval to adopt a revised Enforcement Policy for the Places Directorate.

The functions covered by the report were delegated to the Director of Places who in turn appointed officers and made decisions on the most appropriate course of action in any given legal proceedings, having previously received advice from the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic.

As part of the service planning and review process, officers had reviewed the existing policy and made updates to make sure that the   policy continued to meet statutory guidance and reflected best practice.

The report highlighted the amendments or enhancements as set out in the appendices.

Resolved– That the updated Places Enforcement Policy 2016/17 (as appendix 1 of the report) be approved.

11  (11) FOOD SERVICE PLAN 2016/2017 – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval of the council’s Food Service Plan for 2016/2017.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) required the council to write a plan, which set out how food work would be carried out.  The council enforced both Food Safety and Food Standards (Consumer Protection) legislation.  It also carried out work on the composition and safety of Animal Feeding Stuffs.

Appendices 1 and 2 to the report contained two documents, which made up the council Food Service Plan.

The planned activity was in two documents, one for Food Safety and one for Food Standards, as the latter document now had to include Feed Law Enforcement work.

The FSA required the council to approve the plan.  Performance against the plan would be reported to the FSA at the end of March 2017.

Resolved – That the Food Service Plan 2016/2017 be approved.

12 (12) HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICE PLAN 2016/2017 – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval of the council’s Health and Safety (H&S) Service Plan for 2016/2017.

The council must make suitable arrangements to carry out H&S work within its area.  The council uses HSE guidance which set out an enforcement framework to guide them.

The H&S Service Plan 2016/2017 (Appendix 1) required the approval of the council.
The plan showed the resources needed to do the different aspects of the H&S service.

Only high risk premises would be visited and the council would engage workplaces with targeted safety projects. Advice and support would still be given to business and complaints and enquiries would be responded to quickly.  Work would be carried out in line with the council’s H&S Enforcement Policy.

Resolved – That the Health and Safety Service Plan 2016/2017 be approved.

13  (13) MICROCHIPPING OF DOGS (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2015 – The Director of Places submitted a report which informed the Cabinet Member of the new legislation in relation to the compulsory microchipping of  dogs and how this would be enforced.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 placed a duty on the council to seize and detain stray dogs. This function was undertaken by the Dog/Street Wardens within Environmental Health who undertook both proactive and reactive duties in this regard.

Over the past five years the Dog Warden Service had picked up, or accepted from the public, or partner agencies, an average of 438 dogs, which had been taken to the council’s contracted kennel each year. The average reclaim rate was 49%. The percentage of dogs with an ID tag during this period was just 1.8%. Only 28% of dogs are microchipped and of the 28%, only 42% held the correct keepers information.

From 6 April 2016 it became compulsory to microchip digs as per the requirements of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015.

In anticipation of the requirement the microchip dogs, the council had worked in partnerships with the Dogs Trust over the past ten years. The Dogs Trust provided the council with microchips free of charge and the Dog Warden Service had implanted over 2,500 microchips in reclaimed and sold dogs from the contracted kennels.  The council and Dogs Trust had also held road shows across North Lincolnshire   implanting over 2,000 dog microchips free of charge. The council planned more microchipping road shows this year. The free road shows did not detract from the dog keepers legal obligation to have their dog microchipped.

Resolved– That the carrying out of Enforcement of the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 as set out in Option one of the report be approved.

14 (14) THE UNAUTHORISED DEPOSIT OF WASTE (FIXED PENALTIES) REGULATIONS 2016 – The Director of Places submitted a report which brought to the attention of the Cabinet Member a change in legislation regarding the enforcement options available to the council in relation to the unlawful deposit of waste – fly-tipping and also sought approval for the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) amount payable for the offence of fly-tipping.

In its report ‘Litter and Fly-Tipping in England’ the Communities and Local Government Select Committee recommended that the Government introduced a national fixed penalty notice for small amounts of fly-tipping.

The most common form of fly-tipping in North Lincolnshire involved the dumping of domestic waste (not excess or side waste) in the public domain or private land without the council or land owners knowledge or consent. The average cost of removing an incident of fly-tipping in North Lincolnshire was £150 which included labour and disposal costs.

From 9 May 2016, ‘The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalty) Regulations 2016’ allowed local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices (FPN) for ‘minor’ offences of fly-tipping e.g. greater than a single black bag of waste (not side or excess waste). The report outlined that the level of FPN could be set between £150 and £400. The FPN were designed to reduce the burden of taking smaller fly-tips to court.

Resolved–  (a), That the adoption and implementation of Fixed Penalty Notices for small scale fly-tipping as per option 2 as set out in the report be approved, (b) that the council publicise the adoption of Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping and include the Fixed Penalty in relevant signs at fly-tip ‘hot spots’, and (c) that the amount payable for Fixed Penalty Notices issued under section 33ZA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for small scale fly-tips be set at £150 with a discount to £120 for early payment (within 10 days of issue), be approved.