Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

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

Contact: Daniel Wilkinson  Email: or tel: 020 8921 5102

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.


There were no apologies for absence.


Urgent Business

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


There was no urgent business.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 49 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:


Resolved –


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


Council-wide Telephone Handling Performance Review pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Members to note an update on the performance of telephone calls being answered by back offices, specifically, calls that are not routed through the Corporate Contact Centre.


The Head of Customer Services (Acting) introduced the report, highlighting key points on performance of telephone calls being answered by back office, specifically call that are not routed through the Corporate Contact Centre.


Members questioned the sheer numbers of call being received by Housing and Safer Communities and felt the number may include repeat calls to chase housing repairs queries and queried if there were future plans for housing repairs calls to become a one stop process for residents.


In response to Member questions about housing repairs, the Head of Customer Services (Acting) explained that these come into the contact centre and any follow-up calls are directed to Birchmere.  The calls referred to in 4.5 were those made directly to staff.  Contact Centre Staff are encouraged not to divulge officer numbers to those chasing repairs queries.  She explained that the service is currently conducting a review that will look into this and that in respect of a one stop process, she will be liaising with colleagues in housing repairs to identify a solution.


In response to a Member question about correlation with repeat calls and the link to case work, the Head of Customer Services (Acting) said that she would conduct a deeper analysis to investigate this and will report on her findings in a future report.


ACTION: Head of Customer Services (Acting)


In response to a Member question about more functions being routed through the Corporate Contact Centre, the Head of Customer Services (Acting) said that she would like to see this happen as this would enable back office staff more time to better deliver the services.


In response to Member questions about performance, HoCS (Acting) said that the contact centre technology enables people to be placed in a queue and reducing the dropped call rates.  The service is looking to make improvements, but some systems do not integrate with the Customer Management System.  Progress on this will be dependent of budget availability, but she would be able to report more on this in her next update report.


In response to Member questions about the percentage of calls not being answered (25%), being linked to the removal of voicemail, the HoCS (Acting) reported that voicemail has not been removed from all officers as some teams made strong business cases to retain this.  She explained that many teams were on automated call distributer systems such as hunt groups that would mitigate calls not being answered.


In response to a question about outgoing calls from the Council not being recognised and perhaps contributing to repeat calls to the contact centre, the HoCS (Acting) reported that officers of a certain grade have numbers that are recognised, and that she is looking to change the outgoing message callers receive so that teams could be identified.


Members sought clarity on the telephone calls to Housing and Community Services. The HoCS (Acting) said that repeat and abandoned calls can be identified and data could be broken into internal and external calls.  She would provide this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Records Management - Update Report pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Members to note an update on the implementation plan for improving archiving and records management, as the overall ICT Strategy.


he ICT Consultant and Knowledge and Information Manager presented the report outlining the work being carried out to reduce the number of items kept in storage.


In response to Member questions, the Knowledge and Information Manager outlined retention times being different for different types of information.  Some documents, such as project management documents, have version control in place and reduces the number of documents kept.  It was felt that a cultural shift needs to take place to ensure all users save documents in the same way, enabling information to be mined appropriately to support work such as that relating to responses being prepared for FOI requests.


In response to Member questions about the phasing out of Dynamics 365, the ICT Consultant reported that this was put in place to record community involvement in Council business.  More information about this would be provided to Members.


ACTION: ICT Consultant


Members made an observation that when residents complain using the RBG Twitter handle, complaints are responded to quicker and felt that this would be a useful tool in identifying the organisations performance.


In responded to Member questions about the improvements made since the internal audit report, the Knowledge and Information Manager reported that the TNT Contract Management had come into his team and he receives regular reports on box movement so that he can gauge how the Council uses TNT.  He reported that as part of the contract, he aims to and encourage officers to regain documents from storage push the use of scanning to reduce the number of items in storage.


In response to a Member question about information available on current and past tenancies, the Knowledge and Information Manager reported that records on current tenancies are live records and would be linked to the property.  He would provide information on retention times of documents pertaining to past tenancies separately.


ACTION:  Knowledge and Information Manager


In response to questions about challenges, the ICT Consultant reported that the GDPR regulations had brought challenges for all LAs.  Some work has already been started, but having a process and embedding cultural change is a continuous process given the level of staff turn-around.  He was confident that RBG would see significant cultural shift in the coming year.


When asked about the quality of the data that is being kept, the assistant director of children’s services gave an example of how they conduct quality checking.


Members felt that a lot of work had been done, but there was still a lot to do and that monitoring of this is crucial.  There had been a council wide education process in places in respect of GDPR and records management, but training on what constitutes good data may be required. Members requested information about who monitors the standard of data be included in future reports.


In response to a question about information relating to civic history, the Knowledge and Information Manager said that he would check and provide this information separately.


ACTION: Knowledge and Information Manager


A member of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Freedom of Information Requests - Annual Performance Report: January 2018 to December 2018 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Members to note the Freedom of Information requests performance report for the period January 2018 to December 2018.

Additional documents:


The Information and Systems Manager introduced the report.


In response to a Member question about sign-off arrangements for FOI responses, the Information and Systems Manager reported that Heads of Service and Assistant Directors carry out this function in line with agreed directorate procedures.  In relation to internal reviews, this would be a Director or Assistant Director, if originally signed by a Head of Service.


In response to a Member questions about the increase in the number of requests, the Information and Systems Manager reported that March 2018 saw a high number of requests.  Overall, there has been an 8.29% increase from 2017.  He agreed to circulate a table outlining 2017 statistics.

ACTION: Information and Systems Manager


In respect of exemptions, the Information and Systems Manager explained that a Section 12 exemptions is applied where a response would cost more that the threshold that exists.  The threshold is £450.  This exemption is explained to the requester and the amount outlined is based on a calculation that is made.  Requesters are offered options to reduce the parameters of their request, thus reducing the nature of the search for information and the cost associated to this. A number of requesters made follow up requests, reducing the scope of their request in line with the advice provided in their response.


The Chair invited a Members of the Central Charlton Residents Association (CCRA) that had registered to speak to pose a number of questions.  These together with responses made by the Information and Systems Manager are set out below:


5.2 – Why have the number of request completed on time remained the same when the CCRA were led to believe that there would be an improvement in performance during the time this item has been on the O/S agenda?


The performance has remained stable with 90% achieved in 2017 and 18, whilst the number of requests received has increased.  A focus will be given to ensure performance is high across the Council.


5.4 What are the explanations for the dip in performance in September when the number of request were lower and what contributed to the exceptional performance in June?


There may be a number of factors that contributed to the dip in performance during this period.  These included the receipt of complex requests which required input from a number of different parts of the Council which take longer to prepare and staff turnover.


5.5 What explains the variation between Departments? Notably Children’s Services which you would expect has exemplary records so FOI should be the most efficient and effective.


As above, the differences between the departments may be because of the types and numbers of requests being received.


The Assistant Director Strategy, Performance & Commissioning advised the panel that, during the September period of lower performance, Children’s Services had experienced staffing issues that had adversely affected their handling of requests.


6.3 Whilst time to respond is an important metric it isn’t the only metric in which performance should be measured and we would argue that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Procurement Review Report pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Members to endorse the recommendations at Section 7 of the report, and agree that the report be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny on 30 April 2019.

Additional documents:


The Chair informed Members that he was waiting for information from Plymouth on corporate value and will circulate this when received.


The Chair suggested that Panel agree to refer the report to O&S.


In response to Member comments about the need support to be provided to SME’s be recognised, the Assistant Director, Finance said that Officers were developing training sessions for SME’s that is Greenwich focused.


For local businesses to benefit from smaller value contracts, they are being encouraged to register on the London Contracts Portal.  This will enable the creation of a local area list to which officers would be encouraged to look at when conducting procurement activity.


Framework agreements that are in place for larger procurements emphasise that SME’s could be involved in the supply chain.


Resolved –


To endorse the recommendations at Section 7 and agreed that the report be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 20 April 2019.