Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Items
No. Item

76.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

None.

77.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chair noted the possible need to go into private session to discuss an appendix to the Scrutiny Budget Review report and proposed that the agenda be re-ordered for the benefit of a contributor to the Committee.

78.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 342 KB

 

Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January be APPROVED as a true and accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The Committee  resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2020 as a true and accurate record, subject to the re-wording of recommendation 4 of the item on planning for the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) to reflect that fact that advice would be sought about the  most appropriate nomenclature for the ZEZ (see minute 82 below).

79.

Customer Experience Strategy pdf icon PDF 239 KB

At its meeting on 12 February, Cabinet will consider a report on the Customer Experience Strategy. This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to comment on the report and make such recommendations to the Cabinet as it wishes. The report will be presented by Cllr Nigel Chapman and Helen Bishop,  Head of Business Improvement.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Bely-Summers and Arshad joined the meeting during this item.

 

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Customer Focussed Services, introduced the report. People increasingly expected higher standards of customer engagement. The proposals in this report would contribute to that. Customer feedback showed that face to face engagement with Council staff was rated very highly. Digital engagement, however, was rated very poorly by comparison. The proposals sought to address that weakness in particular. The enhanced digital offer would not replace but run in parallel with existing services. Digital services were, generally, more economical to provide than face to face. The Council continued to invest in significant improvements to the  technological infrastructure, necessary to support the strategy. The Strategy was complemented by a robust action plan.

 

Helen Bishop, Head of Business Improvement, drew attention to the considerable consultation which had contributed to the development of the strategy, as outlined in the report.

 

In discussion the following matters were raised or discussed among others, some of which ranged beyond the scope of the strategy.

 

·         The use of the term ‘Customers’ in the strategy was considered, on balance, to be appropriate in the absence of a better alternative. The term embraced the very wide range of those for whom the Council provides a service.

·         KPIs for the strategy would include: making the £465k of efficiencies described in the report; seeing an improvement in customer satisfaction with their digital engagement with the Council; and an increase in the number of people using digital from the current 40% current rate

·         It was noted that there was currently no comparable strategy for the Council’s companies

·         There would be value in seeing a breakdown of customers’ satisfaction by type (eg business/ individual) which would assist in knowing where best to devote resources for improvement.

·         Data about digital access to services would identify ‘hot spots’ and also inform future decisions about deployment of resources

·         The need to continue to provide non-digital services for members of the community who did not, for whatever reason, have access to  digital services should, perhaps, be challenged. The vast majority did have access and it was counter intuitive (and expensive) to continue to provide non-digital services for an increasingly small proportion of the population whose needs might, perhaps,  be dealt with more economically, in a different and bespoke way.

·         While some interactions with the Council could be more swiftly and effectively dealt with digitally, experience showed that face to face engagement was often necessary or desirable where customers faced more complex or intractable problems.

·         Staff who deal with customers face to face in relation to straightforward matters could, as a matter of course,  advocate the use of digital enquiries in future (where the facility exists). Staff could also use the opportunity to alert customers to any Council consultations which might be underway at that time.

·         The Council’s website was being updated to take account of new guidance about accessibility

·          Thought might be given to monitoring the effectiveness of digital  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

Corporate Strategy 20-24 - final draft for approval pdf icon PDF 266 KB

At its meeting on 12 February, Cabinet will consider a report on the post consultation draft of the Corporate Strategy. This item provides an opportunity for the Committee to comment on the latest draft and make such recommendations to the Cabinet as it wishes. Cllr Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, and Mish Tullar, Corporate Policy, Partnership and Communications Manager, will attend for this item. The consultation period for the draft Strategy ends on Friday 31 January. A report back on the consultation outcomes will be published as a supplement to this agenda on Monday 03 February and a revised draft of the Strategy will be made available at the meeting.

 

Minutes:

The Chair reminded the Committee that the pre-consultation draft strategy had been considered at a previous meeting. The consultation had now taken place and concluded two working days previously. The Committee had before it a covering report which had been made available just before the meeting but not a revised version of the strategy itself. Notwithstanding the late arrival of the report and the absence of the strategy the Committee agreed that it would be helpful to hear what had emerged from the consultation.

 

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, apologised for the very late arrival of the covering report which was consequent upon the very recent completion of the consultation process and the need, then, to collate and analyse responses to it. It was pleasing to see that the majority of responses had been very supportive of the strategy’s objectives. The final version would not, therefore, be significantly different to the pre-consultation draft which the Committee had been able to give proper consideration to.  It was  important to remember that the strategy would be underpinned in due course by the Council’s Annual Business Plan.

 

Mish Tullar, Head of Corporate Policy, Partnerships and Communications, went through the covering report, section by section,  noting that there had been several other opportunities to contribute to the development  of the strategy as outlined in paragraph 6 of the report.  None of the 42 propositions in the draft had been rejected by the consultation and there was clear support for most. One of the most striking outcomes, via the opportunity for free text, was the desirability for greater priority to be given to reducing carbon emissions.

 

The Chair reminded the Committee that its task was to consider the outcome of the consultation and its consequences for the strategy rather than to  engage in a detailed discussion about individual representations made during the process.

 

In discussion the following matters were raised or discussed among others.

 

·         The Committee expressed disappointment at the difficulty of a thorough discussion given the late arrival of the covering report and the absence of a revised draft strategy.

·         It was confirmed that all of the observations made by Councillor Wolff (who had been acting as a substitute for Councillor Simmons at a previous meeting of the Committee) had been considered and most but not all adopted.

·         It was agreed that that the strategy should be referred to, consistently, as the Council Strategy (rather than Corporate Strategy)

·         There were limitations to the amount of context which could reasonably be provided in a questionnaire format (eg to explain the meaning of “sustainable economy.”)

·         References to “Sustainable Growth” would be better referred to as “Clean Growth”

·         Input from Oxford Brookes was welcome. The absence of input from the Colleges was regrettable but the Leader was seeking to improve their engagement via the Conference of Colleges.

 

In conclusion the Committee noted the report before it and requested that a report of their main points of discussion be provided to Cabinet.

 

81.

Reports for approval pdf icon PDF 223 KB

The Committee is asked to approve the following reports for submission to Cabinet on 12 February.

 

1)    The Committee’s response to the Q2 Performance Monitoring report

2)    The Committee’s response to proposals for a Zero Emissions Zone

3)    Budget Review Report

 

These reports will be issued as supplement to this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Performance Monitoring Q2

The Committee approved the report for submission to Cabinet.

 

Planning for the Zero Emissions Zone 2020

The Committee was concerned that recommendation 1 did not accurately reflect its views and should be re-drafted to the effect that advice be sought about other authorities’ approaches to the designation of similar zones.

 

The wording of recommendation 3 needed to be revised for purposes of clarity.

 

Capital Strategy

 

Considered in confidential session

 

Scrutiny Budget Review

 

Considered in confidential session

 

 

82.

Report back on recommendations pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Since the last meeting Cabinet has responded to the Committee’s  recommendations on: Mid-point review of the Housing & Homelessness Strategy and Oxford’s Waterways.  Copies of Cabinet’s responses are attached.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Housing Panel Recommendations  concerning Housing & Homelessness Strategy

 

The Chair was pleased to report that all of the recommendations had been approved.

 

Scrutiny Committee Recommendations concerning Oxford’s Waterways

 

The Chair was pleased to report that while all of the recommendations had been agreed, some of the detail was lacking in response to recommendation 4 (number of people living on boats) and recommendation 5 c) and d)  (are there sufficient mooring sites etc ; and is the infrastructure at Council owned sites sufficient). The Cabinet Member had assured him that this detail would be provided.

 

 

83.

Dates of future meetings

Meetings are scheduled as followed:

 

Scrutiny Committee                      

·         03 March                    

·         06 April                       

 

Standing Panels

·         Finance Panel 25 February

·         Housing Standing Panel: 05 March, 08 April

·         Companies Panel: 12 March

 

Scrutiny Review Groups

·         Budget: 29 January

·         Climate Emergency: 30 January, and 19 February

 

All meetings start at 6.00 pm

 

Minutes:

Meetings are scheduled as followed:

 

Scrutiny Committee                      

·         03 March                    

·         06 April                       

 

Standing Panels

·         Finance Panel 25 February

·         Housing Standing Panel: 05 March, 08 April

·         Companies Panel: 12 March

 

Scrutiny Review Groups

·         Climate Emergency: 19 February

 

All meetings start at 6.00 pm

 

 

84.

Exempt Matters

Minutes:

The press and public  were excluded  from the meeting for the following items  in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 on the grounds that their presence could involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in specific paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

85.

Reports for Approval