Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Management Board
Tuesday, 6th March, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Cumbria House, Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RD

Contact: Nicola Harrison  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence


Apologies for absence had been received from Mrs C Driver and Mrs EL Williamson.



To report any changes to the membership of the Board


There were no changes in membership reported to the meeting.



Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises


1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for            profit or gain.


2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority


(a)       Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and


            (b)       Which has not been fully discharged.


4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 


5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 


6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)


            (a)       The landlord is the authority; and


            (b)       The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.


7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where


(a)       That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the    area of the authority; and


(b)       Either –


(i)      The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one            hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or


(ii)         If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.


In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.




A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).


There were no declarations of Interest made at the meeting.



To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.


RESOLVED that, the press and public not be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the Minutes of the meetings of the Board held on 11 December 2017 and 20 December 2017 (copies to follow)

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meetings held on 11 and 20 December 2018 be agreed as a correct record.



For members to be informed of any call-in items received by the County Council and to consider whether any further action needs to be taken by the Board.


The Chair advised that there were no Call in items for the Board to consider.


Notification of Local Members

To receive a verbal update from the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation.


The Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation provided a verbal update to the Board regarding notification to local Members which the Chair has asked for as he was concerned that issues in his electoral division had not been communicated to him.


Members were advised by the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation that officers were reviewing the current practices of information dissemination and referred to the current process as outlined in the Council’s Constitution. She commented on the importance of member briefings and that other Corporate Directors had been advised of the protocol which would be disseminated to staff in the Council’s teams. She asked that members refer any issues to herself or the relevant Assistant Director.


Members commented on the importance of timely information and to include notification of information to adjoining members where appropriate (for example if there was a housing development). A member suggested that it was a two way process where local members could act as a broker, providing council officers with information. One member with a division straddling the Scottish border drew attention to the importance of sharing information. The importance of cascading the protocol to junior members was highlighted whilst another member queried the use of an App with push notifications to inform them of information.


The Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation appraised members of a communications tool being used to inform the council teams of the Local Member Protocol. The Board were keen to view the document once it had been circulated


RESOLVED that the Board receive the Communications tool prepared for Council teams regarding the Local Member Protocol.




Sustainable Procurement Strategy pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To receive a report and presentation from the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation (copy to follow)


The Senior Manager for Corporate Procurement presented a report on the Draft Sustainable Procurement Strategy which set out the ambition for the Council’s use of procurement to positively impact on the Cumbrian economy and communities. It set out a vision which was consistent with the current national procurement policy and Council Plan (2018-22). He guided members through a presentation which provided an overview of the Commissioning and Procurement Cycle, described the Current Strategy for 2014-2018 and outlined the new Strategy 2018-2022. This was interspersed with questions from members throughout the presentation.


Following a member question, the Senior Manager for Corporate Procurement advised on the process for mini competitions, explaining they were a more flexible way for the council to purchase goods. The readability of the document was mentioned, but more importantly it was queried whether there was capacity within the council to undertake the work and concerns were raised about its links with wider Council Policies.  The Senior Manager for Corporate Procurement advised that the current strategy was shared with the third sector and key providers and he reassured members that there was capacity within the teams across the whole of the Council, and that joint working was embedded across the council’s teams. He outlined the Commissioning, Procurement and Contract Management Cycle for members.


In welcoming member comments, the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation advised that officers would revisit the Sustainable Procurement Strategy for repetition of content, sense checking of the wording and emphasising the importance of how SMEs could bid for work. She explained the Commissioning and Procurement Cycle’s importance for the Council in identifying need and emphasised the importance of joint working. The membership of the Council’s CPWG officer group was outlined and how the member group met to provide the advice and direction for commissioning/procurement in the council. The aim was to embed commissioning across the council, (identifying need) as well as the best methods to procure and contract manage and monitor.


A member asked if it could be made easier for a small family business/SME to tender for business with the Council as some could be put off by the tendering process. The Senior Manager for Corporate Procurement stated that the process was more straightforward than it had been in the past and proceeded to outline the tendering process adding that a lot of information was on the Council’s website and that officers were available to talk to businesses prior to, or post any formal tender process.


In response to a member question regarding how the Council decided whether a contract was procured through a pan government organisation, or locally, as a stand alone contract, the Senior Manager for Corporate Procurement advised that experienced managers made a judgement call as to whether or not a particular Goods, Works Service and Utilities were put out to market. This question was further discussed in relation to opportunities for local suppliers. He reassured members that Council officers did liaise with SMEs (and other suppliers – local and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.


Management of Attendance Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive a presentation from the Manager - Operational Delivery


The Senior Manager for People Management guided members through a presentation which gave an update on Attendance Management. This included delivery against the agreed action plan, sickness absence data to the end of December 2017, including working days lost, staff with full attendance, directorate overview data, seasonal increases in absence rates, 2017/18 year end forecast and trends and the next steps to be taken to improve further. She highlighted the assurance of the work being undertaken to improve absence.


A member questioned if there was a specific area that Scrutiny could focus on, which would add value to the work already being undertaken. The Senior Manager – People Management asked for support for health and wellbeing to reduce  absence. In response to a question about staff engagement in terms of staff fulfilling their potential (how challenged they felt for example), members were informed that employee engagement sessions were held; 300 office based staff recently engaged in a session. It was reported that staff had a passion to work for Cumbria County Council, however, there were issues with staff feelings about austerity, relating to reduction in team member numbers and the same amount of work to be undertaken. It was queried whether an annual survey could be undertaken where staff could give an honest opinion without prejudice. The Senior Manager – People Management talked about staff polls and Wellbeing Champions, all of which were high on he council’s agenda. Members were advised that they would have an opportunity  to input into the Workforce Strategy.


Highways and Cumbria Care attendance figures gave cause for concern. It was asked what the Council was doing to get young people into care work and how it was distinguished in the figures whether staff who were off during recent bad weather events had taken advantage of the inclement weather. The Senior Manager – People Manager stated that it was a national challenge to get young people into care work and this was a focus of the Workforce Plan and that currently investigations were taking place into apprenticeships for young people. She advised that the Council had an adverse weather policy which staff could use. Officers had dialogue with Trade Unions during the bad weather regarding the extra pressure on highways staff so a watching brief would be kept on staff to ensure they were not burned out.


Discussion took place on the usefulness of comparator metrics of other authorities when measuring absence in Cumbria. 1200 staff had taken up the offer of the flu vaccine which members considered to be low. Members felt that education about the flu vaccine was paramount in encouraging staff to take up the offer. The recording of trips and falls in the workplace was briefly discussed.


The significant mental pressure on staff within the Children and Family Services directorate and how they were supported was raised. The Senior Manager – People Management appraised members of the resilience support available to staff, for example counselling and for the whole of council staff.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.


Draft Scrutiny Annual Report pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To receive a report from the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation

Additional documents:


The Senior Manager, Policy and Scrutiny presented the report for agreement by the Board. The report summarised key areas of work that the Scrutiny Boards had focussed on over the previous year and highlighted other activity that had been undertaken. Additionally, a brief look at the work programme for the Scrutiny Boards over the forthcoming year was undertaken.


Members of the Board were reminded by the Chair that the production of the Annual Report was a legal requirement as set out in the Council’s Constitution following a query as to the value of the report and whether during the review of Scrutiny, there should be a review of whether the Annual Report was required. The Chair asked if members had anything to add to the report.


It was suggested by a member that upon completion of the report, the success of recommendations made by the individual Boards be revisited to determine their success. The Chairman advised members of the work that was being undertaken on this matter.


RESOLVED that the Annual Scrutiny Report be agreed.


Scrutiny Chairs' Update pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To receive a report from the Chairs of the Advisory Scrutiny Boards (copy enclosed)


Board                                                      Chair

Adults                                                       Mr Mark Wilson

Children and Young People               Ms Val Tarbitt

Communities and Place                      Mrs Patricia Bell

Cumbria Health Scrutiny                     Ms Claire Driver

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel       Mr S Bowditch.



Additional documents:


The Chairman presented the Update report from the Chairs of the various Scrutiny Boards.


RESOLVED that the updates from the Boards be noted.



To receive a report from the Corporate Director – Resources and Transformation (copy enclosed)


Additional documents:


The Scrutiny Management Board Briefing report was presented which provided members with an update on any issues and development that had occurred since the meetings of the Scrutiny Management Board on 11 and 20 December 2017.


A member reported that she had attended a Chairman’s training session which had been considered beneficial. She advised that the County Council’s intent to pursue commercialisation could be a future topic for Scrutiny to pursue in terms of whether the Council had the skills and capacity to pursue it. The Chair advised that commercialism and enterprise would be an item on a future Agenda of the Board. It was raised that the Leadership and Local Committee Chairs Committee meetings could be conducted in a different manner in future. The suitability of the training provided on Local Committees for new members was brought into question with better guidance requested for new members in the future.


The Scrutiny Self Assessment project outline was discussed with the Chairman and Vice Chairman advising that they would have the final sign off of the project outline.


In presenting the Forward Plan of Key Decisions, the Chairman advised that the Scrutiny Performance Working Group would be reviewing the Performance and Risk Framework. In terms of the Alternative Education Provision Proposals and Review of Resourced Provision, members were encouraged to attend a session on 24 March 2018 which would highlight the significant changes due to be made.


When discussing the future agenda item of Commercialisation and Enterprise, members were advised that the principles would be discussed and that members needed the opportunity to undertake some pre scrutiny. The Assistant Director – Transformation would be attending the next meeting of the Board to present the item to members and engage in discussion, allowing scrutiny members to engage early and have an influence. It was suggested that members look at the principles of Commercialisation and Enterprise and what member involvement would be.





1             the range of activity as set out in the report be noted.

2             The work programme in Appendix 1 of the report be noted.

3             The scope for the self assessment activity presented in Appendix 2 of the report be agreed

4             The scope for a Waste Task and Finish Group be agreed by the Chair and Vice Chair of SMB (on behalf of the SMB)

5             The Forward Plan of Key Decisions be noted.



Date: 1 June 2018

Time: 10.00am

Venue: Committee Room 1, County Offices, Kendal



The next meeting of the Board would be held on 1 June 2018 at County Offices, Kendal.