Venue: Committee Room 3 - Civic Centre, St Peter's Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1SH
Contact: Julia Cleary 01902 555046 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Mak Singh.
Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest.
[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.]
That the minutes of the previous meeting be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
There were no matters arising.
Civic Halls Update
[To receive an update from the Director of Regeneration].
The Chair welcomed Richard Lawrence, Director of Regeneration to the meeting.
There were three elements to the current scheme regarding the refurbishment of the Civic Halls:
1. The design element (including planning),
2. The future operating model
3. The physical build
It was confirmed that on 17 June 2019, the contractors had ceased trading and the Council now needed to procure a new contractor for the refurbishment.
At the moment the Council was progressing against the required framework. The Council was confident that there would be a new contractor in place by the Autumn and that this would keep the project within budget and timeframes.
The collapse of the contractors had been unforeseen, and it was confirmed that all due diligence processes had been completed as part of the original contract and prior to the variation of contract in February/March this year. At no point during this time had there been any indication that the contractors were going to stop trading. The Council had taken all necessary health and safety checks to close the Civic Halls and to terminate the contract.
It was confirmed that the first part of contract had ended on 31 May with the second phase due to start on 1 June. This meant that even though there had been mobilisation for phase 2 no payments had been made and a performance bond was in place so there were no additional costs to the Council and there would be no procurement delays and no budgetary increases in the finding of a new contractor.
The Board considered that there had to be a delay as work was not going on at the moment. It was confirmed that work was not going on but that it was hoped to restart in the Autumn.
It was confirmed that part or the work had been completed and that the asbestos had been removed but there was still a long way to go.
The Board considered the issue of due diligence and questioned what this actually meant and what analysis had specifically been carried out by the Council in relation to the contractors. The Board queried who had carried out the due diligence and some members considered that it should have been a contractor firm with a detailed understanding of what was required rather than a solicitor firm.
The Board questioned how much money had been paid to the Contractor and whether there was still money owing.
The Director for Regeneration confirmed that the Council had paid the contractors for the first phase of the project which had included asbestos removal and had concluded on 31 May. Nothing had been paid following this.
The question was also raised as to why this project had only been given an amber risk rating when it had been considered by the Audit Committee recently. The Board considered that it needed further assurance that the projects were going well and questioned what, if anything was now going to be left out of the original design.
Updates from the Chairs of the Scrutiny Panels
[To receive updates from the chairs of the Scrutiny Panels:
· Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel
· Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel
· Health Scrutiny Panel
· Our Council Scrutiny Panel
· Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel
· Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel
The Board received updates from the Chairs of the Scrutiny Panels.
Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel:
Cllr Sweetman stated that her panel had not met yet and that the next meeting would be on Tuesday 16 July.
The agenda included a joint item with the Vibrant Panel on transport and linking the city and public realm. An item on the Digital Infrastructure Strategy and a review of work over the last year was also on the agenda.
The work plan for the Panel was pretty much established but organic and it was important that the Panel be able to respond to external environmental issues.
The Panel would also be looking at the Council’s branding and marketing strategy over the years and the overall marketing strategy with strategic overview. The Panel would also be considering the business plan for the Civic Halls and the plans for the future. There would be an update on apprenticeships to see what progress had been made and some scrutiny of the skills and employment offers in the City.
Health Scrutiny Panel
Cllr Page informed the Board that there had been one meeting of the Health Scrutiny Panel and he thanked the scrutiny officer for all of his support.
Cllr Page stated that he had so far been very impressed with all those who had attended the panel and the contributions made. Of particular interest had been an item on suicide which had really helped to raised awareness around the shocking statistics regarding young men and suicide. The Panel had also considered the issue of health care transition between children and adults and some very good points had been raised with the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust having prepared a policy procedure for this.
There were some issues in receiving information for the child death overview item and the chair had sent a letter to request this information; the Panel would like to see more cooperation regarding this.
Our Council Scrutiny Panel
Cllr Brookfield informed the Board that her Panel had considered the issue of council tax recovery and that the Panel had been impressed with the support systems in place at the council. The Panel had received an update in relation to the changes taking place in Customer Services and this issue would be revisited later in the year. The Panel had also received a very informative report regarding the Council’s asset management programme.
Adults and Safer City Scrutiny Panel
Cllr Evans stated that her Panel had considered two pre-decision items and that every member of the Panel had made a good contribution to the debate.
Cllr Evans considered that the Panel might start doing some site visits as the portfolio was so big and she would like the members to go out and see what was actually going on. Cllr Evans stated that she was also interested in carrying out some cross panel working as there were many overlapping issues and concerns. The Panel were due to consider the adult education service, the blue badge ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
[To review complaints management and performance for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018.]
The Board received a report reviewing complaints management and performance for the period 1 October 2018 to 31 December 2018.
The Board noted that one complaint had been upheld in relation to elections and the Head of Governance stated that he would confirm what this was in relation to.
That the Scrutiny Board note:
1. The Statutory Complaints Activity for Children’s Services, Adult Services and Public Health, as listed in section 1 of the report.
2. All the other complaints activity governed by the Corporate Complaints Procedures as listed in section 2 of the report.
[To consider the scrutiny work programme for future meetings.]
Resolved: That the updated work programme be noted.
[To consider any items for pre decision scrutiny]
Resolved: That the Forward Plan of Key Decisions be noted.