Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair for the Council year 2023/24

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee must be an opposition councillor (Constitution Part 13.6a).

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to elect Cllr Lucy Pegg as Chair for the 2023/24 Council year.

2.

Election of Vice Chair for the Council year 2023/24

The Vice Chair can be from any political group.

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to elect Cllr Mike Rowley as Vice Chair for the 2023/24 Council year.

3.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

4.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

5.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 397 KB

Minutes from the meeting held on 06 March 2023.

 

Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 06 March 2023 be approved as a true and accurate record.

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2023 as a true and accurate record.

6.

Scrutiny Operating Principles 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 211 KB

The Head of Law and Governance has submitted a report which seeks the Committee’s agreement to the adoption of a set of scrutiny operating principles for the 2023/24 Council year, the establishment of standing panels and review groups, the appointment of standing panel and review group chairs and a proposed work plan to September 2023. The recommendations are set out in the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report which asked the Committee to approve the Scrutiny Operating Principles for the 2023/24 Council year, which were broadly similar to previous years.

 

It was proposed that the Standing Panel and Review Group arrangements from the previous year be re-established, including continuation of the revised arrangements for Companies Scrutiny Panel.

 

The Scrutiny Officer suggested that the Committee considered the proposed change to the meetings of standing panels and review groups to be held virtually, taking into account additional resources required for in-person and hybrid meetings.

 

The Chair reminded the Committee to send ideas for Scrutiny-commissioned reports or potential review groups to the Scrutiny Officer in the coming weeks to help formulate the work plan.

 

The Committee resolved to:

1.    Agree the proposed Committee Operating Principles for the 2023/24 municipal year, as set out at Appendix A.

2.    Agree to establish the following standing panels for the 2023/24 municipal year with the following remits and timeframes:

                      i.        Finance and Performance Panel – finance and budgetary issues and decisions, annual review of the Council’s budget, quarterly monitoring of finance and performance (including performance of the Council’s companies);

                    ii.        Housing and Homelessness Panel – strategic housing and landlord issues and decisions, homelessness, housing services performance and interaction with the Tenant’s Forum;

                   iii.        Climate and Environment Panel – climate and environmental issues and decisions, progress and performance monitoring, monitoring delivery of existing strategies, policies and projects;

                   iv.        Companies Scrutiny Panel - executive decisions made in relation to any companies wholly or partly owned by the Council.

3.    Agree to establish a Budget Review Group, comprising the membership of the Finance & Performance Panel, noting that the proposed scope will be agreed at a future Scrutiny Committee meeting.

4.    Agree the schedule of meetings as presented within the report.

5.    Agree the allocation of seats on standing panels to political groups for 2023/24 (Finance and Performance Panel: 4, Housing and Homelessness Panel: 6, Climate and Environment Panel: 4, Companies Scrutiny Panel: 4 are recommended).

6.    Agree to appoint members and chairs of the Finance and Performance, Housing and Homelessness, Climate and Environment and Companies Scrutiny Panels or any other panels as agreed by the Committee in accordance with nominations made by political groups.

o   Housing and Homelessness Panel:  Cllr Lizzy Diggins (Chair), Cllr Dunne, Cllr Fouweather, Cllr Nala-Hartley, Cllr Rawle, Cllr Sandelson

o   Finance and Performance Panel:   Cllr Fry (Chair), Cllr Djafari-Marbini, Cllr Jarvis, Cllr Smowton

o   Climate and Environment Panel:   Cllr Hollingsworth (Chair), Cllr Dunne, Cllr Kerr, Cllr Miles

o   Companies Scrutiny Panel:   Cllr Rowley (Chair), Cllr Miles, Cllr Morris, Cllr Walcott

7.    Agree that the Chair of the Finance and Performance Panel will Chair the Budget Review Group.

8.    Agree

                      i.        The preliminary Work Plan covering the period to September 2023 as detailed at Appendix B; and

                    ii.        That Committee members will send ideas for topics for Scrutiny-commissioned reports to the Scrutiny Officer by e-mail for consideration at the Committee’s 04 July meeting.

9.    Note the Scrutiny Guide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Report back on recommendations and from Scrutiny Panel meetings pdf icon PDF 127 KB

At its meeting on 15 March 2023, Cabinet considered the following reports from Scrutiny and made responses to the recommendations:

·       Oxford City Council Corporate Business Plan 2023

·       Integrated Care System Draft Strategy Update

·       Integrated Performance Report for Q3 2022/23

·       Development of a Biodiversity Strategy for Oxford

·       Fleet Decarbonisation

·       Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023-28

Since the Scrutiny Committee’s previous meeting on 06 March 2023, the following Panels have met:

·       Climate and Environment Panel (09 March 2023)

·       Housing and Homelessness Panel (13 March and 24 April 2023)

·       Companies Scrutiny Panel (Shareholder and Joint Venture Group, 27 April 2023)

The Committee is asked to:

1.       Note Cabinet’s responses to its recommendations

2.       Note any updates from Panel meetings

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted the following Cabinet responses to its recommendations:

·         Oxford City Council Corporate Business Plan 2023

·         Integrated Care System Draft Strategy Update

·         Integrated Performance Report for Q3 2022/23

·         Development of a Biodiversity Strategy for Oxford

·         Fleet Decarbonisation

·         Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2023-28

 

The Committee noted that since the Scrutiny Committee's meeting on 06 March 2023, the Climate and Environment Panel had met on 09 March 2023, the Housing and Homelessness Panel had met twice on 13 March and 24 April 2023, and the Companies Scrutiny Panel had joined the meeting of the Shareholder and Joint Venture Group on 27 April 2023.

8.

Reports for approval pdf icon PDF 122 KB

The Committee is asked to approve the report and recommendation on the following for submission to Cabinet:

·       Tenancy Agreement

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to approve the Tenancy Agreement report and recommend its submission to Cabinet for its meeting in June 2023.

9.

Housing Management System Implementation pdf icon PDF 494 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 14 June 2023, will consider a report from the Executive Director (Communities and People) and the Head of Financial Services on the Housing Management System Implementation. Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies, Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services and Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager, have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and may wish to make recommendations to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focused Services and Council Companies presented the report which updated members on the lessons learned from the implementation of the Housing Management System and the outcome of discussions with the supplier in regard to potential settlement. The report requested Cabinet approval of additional budget for further development of the product after the move to 'business as usual' had been secured. He highlighted improvements surrounding the governance and leadership of the project and stated that the implementation of the system had now reached the stage where its capabilities could be fully exploited.

 

Members of the Audit and Governance Committee joined the meeting to participate in the discussion as non-voting members.

 

Cllr Corais arrived at the meeting.

 

Cllr Nigel Chapman, Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Bill Graves, Landlord Services Manager responded to the Committee's queries as follows:

  • In addition to a disaster contingency plan, strong cyber security measures were currently in place which would be further enforced by the recruitment of a new Cyber Security Specialist.
  • A project manager with expertise in the housing management system had now been appointed alongside three dedicated staff. Further to ensuring experienced resources were sought, it was assured that further scrutiny had been applied to the range of IT projects undertaken and the prioritisation of gateway processes across all businesses of the Council as part of lessons learnt in mitigating potential risks in the future.
  • In relation to the retrospective budget allocation, a review of the approvals revealed that there were aspects of expenditure which had not been brought to the Cabinet formally due to time constraints, however it was confirmed that all additional spend went through appropriate approval processes.
  • On the question of Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and whether potential revenue could be benefited through this, it was confirmed that the supplier held the rights for the IP and therefore the Council would not have the ability to generate income.
  • The supplier was considered the third biggest housing system provider with the core system being widely used by other local authorities nationally. In terms of the bespoke element relating to choice-based lettings functionality and enhanced housing options, the original intention was that the Council would lead the use of these elements and serve as a roadmap for other local authorities. The supplier had since concluded to partner with an alternative provider which already specialised in the ready-made solutions used by councils.
  • The system reached its ‘steady state’ in November 2022. The intention now was to exploit the product by working closely with the supplier to develop and integrate certain robust features in order for both staff and tenants to further benefit by finding its use easier and more immediate such as mobility, online customer portal, stock and asset management, etc.

 

The Committee resolved to make the following recommendations to Cabinet:

  1. That the Council ensures there is a contingency plan when reaching a critical point in future projects, so that project implementation can be reverted back to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Dates of future meetings

Scrutiny Committee

 

·       04 July 2023

·       01 August 2023

·       05 September 2023

·       10 October 2023

·       06 November 2023

·       04 December 2023

·       16 January 2024

·       06 February 2024

·       04 March 2024

·       11 April 2024

 

Standing Panels

Housing & Homelessness: 05 July 2023; 02 August 2023; 05 October 2023; 02 November 2023; 07 March 2024

Finance & Performance: 06 September 2023; 06 December 2023; 22 January 2024; 26 March 2024

Climate and Environment Panel: 27 June 2023; 07 September 2023; 22 November 2023; 27 February 2024; 20 March 2024

Companies Scrutiny Panel will meet on the same dates as the SJVJ: 21 June 2023; 27 July 2023; 01 November 2023; 07 December 2023; 27 March 2024; 24 April 2024

All meetings start at 6.00 pm.

Minutes:

The dates of future meetings were noted.