Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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Speaking at a Council or Committee meeting

Venue: Remote (Zoom)

Contact: Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer  email  DemocraticServices@oxford.gov.uk

Note: This meeting was held by Zoom and streamed to the Council's youtube channel 

Media

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies

Substitutes are not permitted.

Minutes:

Councillor Duncan Hall tendered apologies for the meeting

9.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None

10.

Finance and Performance Work Plan pdf icon PDF 5 KB

Attached is the recommended work plan for the Panel. The Panel is asked to AGREE the work plan.

NB The work plan has a shorter horizon than in previous years as the main Scrutiny Committee is taking a more flexible approach which means it is unable to commit longer in advance to the topics it will consider.

Minutes:

The Panel NOTED the forthcoming work plan.

11.

Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 372 KB

Attached are the notes of the meeting held on 08 July 2021. The Panel is asked to agree the notes as an accurate record having made any necessary amendments.

 

Minutes:

The notes of the meeting held on 08 July 2021 were AGREED as a correct record subject to a number of minor amendments.

12.

Scrutiny-selected Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 300 KB

The Finance and Performance Panel has agreed to consider its suite of KPIs for performance monitoring purposes at each meeting.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the performance monitoring update having identified any questions it wishes to receive written responses to, or whether it wishes to invite a relevant officer to a future meeting.

At its previous meeting the Panel requested a briefing on how KPIs were set; neither of the officers best able to deliver this briefing is expected to be available for this meeting, and it will be deferred until the Panel’s next meeting.

NB The performance monitoring report is to follow.

Minutes:

The Panel considered the suite of performance monitoring KPIs. The Scrutiny Officer informed the Panel that contrary to the written recommendation, that suitable officers be invited to the September meeting to explain how individual KPIs were set, that even the officers best placed to answer this would not be in a position to answer with the granularity required by the Panel. Instead, written questions should be submitted and responses requested for all the KPIs. This recommendation was not agreed, but it was instead AGREED that Panel members should submit questions to the Scrutiny Officer outside the meeting, that the responses be shared, and subject to those responses the Panel should agree outside the meeting any officers they wishes to invite to the next meeting.

13.

Social Value in Procurement pdf icon PDF 526 KB

Annette Osborne, Procurement Manager, will be present to provide an update report on the Council’s implementation of Social Value in Procurement and to brief on the potential impacts of the ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ Green Book.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having agreed any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.

NB This report is to follow.

 

Minutes:

Annette Osborne, Procurement Manager, presented an update report on the Council’s activities relating to social value in procurement, including possible changes from central government.

Scrutiny had previously recommended that an event with neighbouring councils, the private sector and providers of support infrastructure to take place. This meeting had not taken place. Primarily the cause was Covid, but in addition there are a lot of national events which are hosted, making a local event less necessary.

Scrutiny’s second previous recommendation was that the Council benchmark itself against other similar councils. This had been undertaken, although owing to differences in record keeping by councils from whom data had been sought, only four or the eleven chosen as suitable comparators were usable as such: Croydon, Stoke, Southampton and Birmingham. Oxford outperformed or equalled those comparators, with 62.5% being spent locally, well above central government’s target of 33%.

Although the Procurement Manager had only been technically in post since December 2020, a lot had been achieved to develop social value through the Council’s procurement. The constitution had been amended, making it easier for the voluntary sector and cooperatives to deliver goods and services. A ‘one quote’ mechanism for work up to £10,000 had been implemented, and organisations which had tended not to engage with the procurement portal – SMEs and the voluntary sector – had been given greater opportunity to bid for work outside it. Within the Council’s procurement templates the weighting of social value issues had been increased from 5% to 10%. The treatment of the Living Wage had been extended to include the national Living Wage, thereby helping companies who did not employ people within Oxford. Council staff had been appraising the usefulness of the national social value calculator of Themes, Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) and multiple meetings had been held locally with other councils to explore finessing it to create a locally-focused OxTOMs calculator instead. It was suggested to the Panel that rather than putting effort into Scrutiny’s previous recommendation of an event, a better suggestion would be to work with other local institutions – the universities and hospital trusts, for example – to standardise social value approaches. This would have the benefit of giving greater clarity to local businesses.

The Panel was updated on the government’s proposals about Transforming Public Procurement. The proposals included much which was worthwhile, but making the necessary changes to implement them would be resource-intensive. Simplification of regulations would be of benefit for all, but there were fears that moving focus from identifying the most economically advantageous tender to the most advantageous tender could lead to gold plating. Being able to check whether suppliers of the Council were paying their subcontractors in a timely manner would be very welcome.

The Panel was also presented with a digest of the likely impacts of the government’s Procurement Policy Statement. It was unclear for the Council when it would need to implement the new rules in the Statement, the lack of certainty arising from whether spending through OCHL  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Confidential Session

Should the Panel consider it necessary to go into confidential session, it will be necessary to pass a resolution in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 to exclude the press and members of the public during discussion of this item on the grounds that it might involve disclosure of exempt information as described in the relevant paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Minutes:

The Panel AGREED in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 to exclude the press and members of the public during discussion of this item on the grounds that it might involve disclosure of exempt information as described in the relevant paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

15.

Aareon QL Implementation Update

As requested by the Panel at its previous meeting, an update report on the implementation of the Aareon QL system will be provided to the Panel. It is recommended that this update be taken in confidential session. Paul Leo, Executive Director of Housing, and Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, will be available to present the report.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having agreed any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.

NB This report is to follow.

 

 

Minutes:

Paul Leo, Interim Executive Director of Housing, provided an update on the implementation of the Aareon QL system to the Panel.

The Panel AGREED to make the following recommendations to Cabinet:

1)    That the Council, in a future lessons learnt exercise, should seek to include within its audit of the cost the indirect costs arising from the implementation of the QL system

2)    That the Council recognises the exemplary commitment of staff across multiple functions in managing and mitigating the challenges posed by the implementation and finds suitable means of recompense.

 

NB There are confidential minutes relating to this item.

16.

Dates of next meeting

Further Finance and Performance Panel meetings are scheduled for:

 

-       06 Sept 21

-       08 Dec 21

-       24 Jan 22

-       09 Mar 22

 

Minutes:

The dates of the next meetings were NOTED.