Corporate Scrutiny Panel – 28 November 2013

PRESENT:  Councillor Robinson in the chair.

Councillors Wilson (Vice-Chair), Collinson, Clark and Wardle.

Councillor Whiteley attended the meeting in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 1.37 (b).

The panel met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

214  DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY INTERESTS AND PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests and personal or personal and prejudicial interests –

No whip was declared.

215  PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK There were no requests received.

216  IT REVIEW – IT BUSINESS SUPPORT – The Chairman welcomed Darren Jacklin, IT Accounts Manager Business Support, and Richard Bulmer, IT Business Enhancement Manager, to the meeting.  The Chairman reminded the panel that Darren and Richard had been invited to give members a presentation on their work, with a range of partners, in supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Northern Lincolnshire to effectively use modern technology to improve their businesses.  Darren and Richard explained how free support could be offered to local companies on IT and business diagnostics, one to one support, workshops and brokerage.  Officers and partner agencies were actively engaging with 86 businesses across the Northern Lincolnshire area.  The aim of the scheme was to encourage inward investment, growth, employment and entrepreneurship across Northern Lincolnshire.

Members asked questions on a number of issues, including eligibility criteria, take-up and workloads, procurement, feedback received, and how benefits are quantified.  It was confirmed that the support that was delivered was at no cost to North Lincolnshire Council.

Resolved – (a) That Darren Jacklin and Richard Bulmer be thanked for their attendance, presentation and for answering members’ questions, (b) that the situation be noted, and (c) that Darren and Richard be invited back to a panel meeting in around six months to update members on further progress.

217  SCRUTINY REVIEW – SICKNESS ABSENCE – The Chairman initiated a discussion amongst the panel about the evidence heard to date as part of their review on sickness absence rates across the council.  Members discussed a number of issues, such as referral patterns, data management, physiotherapy, and the impact of the increasing autonomy of schools.

Resolved – (a) That the council’s Assistant Director Human Resources, and Strategy Performance Officer be invited to the panel’s next meeting to discuss members’ views, with the aim of finalising the review.

218  ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for consideration at the meeting.