Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 4 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: daniel.wilkinson@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5102

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Norman Adams.

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2018

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Finance and Performance Scrutiny Panel held on 25 July 2018 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record, subject to the addition of the word “agency” before the word “spend” in the last sentence to the second paragraph on page 6.

5.

Scrutiny Review of Procurement - Scoping Report pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To note and comment on the project plan for a limited review of procurement processes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Corporate Governance Officer.

 

Members requested whether consideration could be given to obtaining data from other local authorities and from ‘anchor institutions’. The Chair said that he would seek to get the Leader of Preston Council to meet with Members if possible.

 

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources noted that Officers were engaged in a review of procurement and that the Panel’s review should synchronise with it. The Cabinet Members informed the Panel that the Leader of the Council had held a Breakfast Meeting with representatives of local businesses on 18 September which had proved positive

 

Resolved -

 

That the project plan for a time limited review of procurement be agreed.

 

 

 

 

6.

Contract Standing Orders - Summary of Exemptions and Variations pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To note the summary of Exemptions and Variations from Contract Standing Orders as reported to Cabinet on 24July 2018

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Senior Assistant Director of Finance introduced the report.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about accumulated value of exemptions and variations the Senior Assistant Director of Finance explained that it was not possible to do a meaningful comparison across London Boroughs because different authorities had differing contract levels under their Contract Standing Orders.  It was not thought that any other local authority presented a report to Members on Exemptions and Variations.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about Variation CON1001 and Exemption CON1002 the Senior Assistant Director Finance explained that they were both as a result of unforeseen changes in relation to the development of the Eltham Cinema project. The Assistant Director Capital Programmes and Maintenance (Regeneration Enterprise and Skills) clarified the role of Currie & Brown LLP, in particular to the management of risk in relation to the project. He said it was common for an initial fee to be based on the construction value.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about Variation CON999 the Assistant Director Capital Programmes and Maintenance (Regeneration Enterprise and Skills) explained the Stage 3+ designs were not part of the original contract. There would be no further costs to it. He clarified that normally allowances were made in the capital money for such a variation.

 

In response to questions from the Panel about Exemption CE3 the Senior Assistant Director of Finance confirmed that they had only received two quotations and as that was less than three it required an Exemption.

 

The process undertaken for contract resulting in Exemption CE3 to be detailed for Members.

Action: DoF

 

In response to questions from the Panel about Exemption CON994 the Assistant Director Capital Programmes and Maintenance (Regeneration Enterprise and Skills) clarified that while it proceeded without a competitive tendering process there had been a benchmarking exercise undertaken to ensure that the proposed fee was within the market range.

 

Resolved -

 

That the summary of Exemptions from Contract Standing Orders as reported to Cabinet on 24th July 2018 be noted.

 

That the summary of Variations under Contract Standing Orders reported to Cabinet on 24th July 2018 be noted.

7.

Hervey Road Playing Fields pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To receive the second 6 month review of the scheme progress, current expenditure against the budget and forecasted final account.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director Capital Programmes and Maintenance (Regeneration Enterprise and Skills) confirmed that the project was on track for completion within the agreed scheme and estimate budget by the end of the month.

 

Resolved –

 

That the final report on the Hervey Road Playing Fields scheme and estimate review be noted.

8.

Commissioning Future Reports – Specification of Requirements pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the next meeting of the Panel and to consider the scope of forthcoming reports

 

 

Minutes:

The Corporate Governance Officer advised that the “Legal Services Performance” report was a new report for Scrutiny.

 

With regard to “Advice and Benefits Performance” Members noted the roll out of Universal Credit and suggested that a future report consider the effect of that.

 

Resolved –

 

That the work items are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Panel on 16 November 2018 be noted.

*

The Chair informed the Panel there was a continuing debate with Officers about the position of the Corporate Finance and Performance Scrutiny Panel in relation to the Audit and Risk Management Panel with regard to the “Council assets and reserves” report which was on the agreed Scrutiny work programme.  The Chair requested that the Chief Executive attend the next meeting. 

 

The Chair drew the Panel’s attention to the House of Commons Select Committee’s study “Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees” and its recommendation “That councillors working on scrutiny committees should have access to financial and performance data held by an authority, and that this access should not be restricted for reasons of commercial sensitivity”. The Chair felt it was important that Scrutiny Panels should have independence and receive the information that they were obliged to received.

 

The Chair proposed, and it was agreed by the Panel, that they continue the debate.

 

The Assistant Director Corporate Finance & Deputy s151 Officer (Finance) advised the Panel that the topic of assets and reserves was one that should be considered in the appropriate arena, which it was suggested was the Audit and Risk Management Panel. Elements of the topic had been discussed by the Audit and Risk Management Panel, for example at the meeting on 26 June. The Assistant Director noted that a communication from the Chief Executive had set out the position with regard to financial governance and the legislative framework.

 

The Chair circulated the communication from the Chief Executive to Panel Members.

 

The Assistant Director Corporate Finance & Deputy s151 Officer (Finance) added that the matter of the asset and reserves topic had been brought to the attention of the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny and Audit and Risk Management Panel in June. He said that this issue highlighted that clarity was needed on the role of Scrutiny.

 

The Chair of the Panel said the Chair of Overview and Scrutiny needed to be involved in the debate. He suggested that ultimately the arbitrator of the rights and responsibilities of Scrutiny rested with the Secretary of State. He felt guidance was required from the Head of Legal Services but queried whether the Audit and Risk Management Panel was independent. He added that he understood Scrutiny at some other local authorities did look at financial issues. The Chair emphasised that it was important to have the debate before the next meeting.

 

The Assistant Director Corporate Finance & Deputy s151 Officer (Finance) advised that the Audit and Risk Management Panel was independent.

 

Councillor Nigel Fletcher queried how they monitored the financial performance of Outside Bodies. The Chair said that was a matter for Overview and Scrutiny.