Agenda and minutes

    Venue: Committee Room

    Contact: Christine Lewis 

    No. Item


    Apologies for Absence


    Apologies were received from Councillors Constable, Greatorex, Powell and Woodward


    Declarations of Interest




    Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 56 KB


    The minutes of the meeting held on the 21 March 2018 were recorded and signed as a correct record by the Chairman.


    Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 84 KB

    Taken from Article 6 of Part 2 of the Lichfield District Council Constitution



    The Terms of reference taken Article 6 of Part of the Lichfield District Council Constitution were noted.


    Work Programme pdf icon PDF 94 KB


    The work programme was discussed and it was requested and agreed that the Property Strategy return as an item to the Committee in January to review and consider next steps.


    It was also requested that the current Strategic Plan be evaluated at the last meeting of the municipal year before the new Plan is devised in the next Council.


    The LEPs Government paper was discussed and it was noted that although Local Authorities may not have a choice on what the governance options were, Members may have opinions which O&S could consider.


    It was noted that consideration of the corporate communications strategy had been requested and agreed to be added to the work programme.



    Digital Strategy

    This item will include a Presentation


    The Committee received a presentation by the Head of Corporate Services on the emerging Digital Strategy which would be considered by Cabinet in November.


    It was reported that the work leading up to the strategy undertaken as part of the innovation programme had investigated the systems map for the Council, and developed a set of key principles to improve customer experience and efficiency and support cost reduction. The Digital Strategy carried through these principles and set out our ambitions to support the services to transform and realise the power of digitalisation. A cloud readiness assessment has been undertaken and this has demonstrated that significant revenue savings could be made in migrating to cloud based systems over traditional models of upfront investment in ICT.  It was also noted that bringing IT support in house has already created efficiencies within the ICT revenue budget, and further use of cloud could extend these savings further. 


    The Committee agreed to keep the Innovation Task Group and allow them to continue their work in testing new systems as their feedback had been invaluable especially with the implementation of the Green Waste Subscription service.  It was reported that the year two subscription notifications were currently being planned.


    It was discussed that it would be intended to move to Cloud based systems and this raised concerns with Committee Members around security and data protection.  It was reported that the system providers had their own teams of security specialists and were providing high levels of security to other customers which include banks and government departments. This dedicated and highly trained round the clock monitoring and support would far outweigh any local protections that could be put in place The Committee noted that security requirements were written into the contracts.  When asked, it was reported that a cyber security audit had taken place for all the Council’s systems and any issues raised had been addressed.  Along with this, penetration testing had also taken place for key systems and any known holes had been closed.  Members requested further details of the complete Strategy and security testing results.


    Productivity and savings were then discussed and it was reported that the cash savings would potentially only be achieved through switching off or reducing other channels as we move to more digital means. The committee were advised that the Digital strategy provided the environment and systems to enable change and the effective management of data but the realisation of efficiencies as a result of those improvements would be made from reviewing processes as part of the fast reviews in the Fit for the Future programme as these costs sat within service budgets and not ICT spend.


    It was asked if other local authorities could be invited to share the use of LDCs systems and it was reported that some current systems and contracts would have to be revised to enable this. As part of the Fit for the Future programme fundamental reviews will consider where services can be delivered and these assessments would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


    The Delivery of the Property Investment Strategy pdf icon PDF 163 KB

    Appendices A – C to the report are confidential since they contain commercially sensitive information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.


    Additional documents:


    The Committee received a report setting out proposals to meet the ambitions of the agreed Property Investment Strategy through an in-house property service to manage the council’s property estate and the creation of a local government company to develop, sell or lease residential property.


    As the item had been already considered by Cabinet, before the item was formally opened for consideration, the Chairman requested views on whether Members would wish for an Overview & Scrutiny Call-In.  It was agreed that as the final decision would be made at Council, an amendment based on the Committees views could be made to the report before any decision was taken.


    The Leader of the Council introduced the item to the Committee and noted that many other local authorities had already begun doing what was proposed in the report. He reminded the Committee that there was a continuing need to deliver services but as government funding would soon cease we need to look to create alternative income streams.  


    The recommendations were then introduced to the Committee and it was reported that alternative options had been considered but not deemed viable.  It was noted that risks had been thought through and Brexit implications was the greatest concern.


    Members asked for clarification on whether the already approved £45m borrowing for the Investment Strategy would be used for the proposed company and it was reported that the company was not part of that Strategy and so it would be funded through other routes including the use of reserves.  When asked, it was confirmed that the borrowing as approved in the Investment Strategy was broken down and within the MTFS. Members were pleased to note that it was intended to start with the small target of 5 properties per annum to allow the company to grow. 


    It was noted that any Fit for the Future projects to modernise systems or processes to carry out the implementation of Property Management had already been budgeted for with resources already in place.


    Governance arrangements were then discussed at length and the Committee had some concerns regarding the proposed delegations to the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive and in particular to allow property acquisitions of up to £2m with the oversight of the Section 151 and Monitoring Officers.  The Committee were concerned that there was no scrutiny which could lead to exposing individuals to risk.  It was reported that the proposal was based on other local authorities with a two stage process with due diligence being carried out before any transactions made. Members requested that the governance arrangements be made clearer and it was proposed that an amendment be made to the draft delegations to say that ‘an offer’ of up to £2m could be made.


    Conflicts of interests of Officers also being Directors and Company Secretary was then discussed and it was confirmed that they would be subject to Section 225 of the Companies Act however deputy Statutory Officers could step in if necessary.  It was also clarified that as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


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