Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Nichola Garner  Committee and Appellate Officer


No. Item

Available Papers

The members had before them:


A.    The Agenda papers (previously circulated); and


B.    The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2019 (previously circulated).



Additional documents:


Apologies and Declaration of Interest

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence were received from Mr A C Roberts.


Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of

Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating both the

nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am

on the working day before the meeting (Thursday 6 June 2019). Further

details are available on the Council's website. Enquiries can also be

made through the telephone number/e-mail address listed below.

Additional documents:




Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The Minutes of the meeting of 6 June 2019 have been previously


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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Adult Services - Care and Support Services - Direction of Travel pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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Cabinet considered the Adult Services strategy for the provision of Worcestershire County Council Care and Support Services. The Cabinet Member for Adult Services introduced the report. The development of the strategy was described as an exciting opportunity to create a reablement service by using the Business Rates pilot scheme money to help those on the edge of needing further intervention. £750,000 would be used to provide community reablement to people with the aim of enabling them to avoid having to be admitted to acute hospital services or care homes.


It was important to ensure that the Council was meeting the core purpose of Adult Social Care as described by the Care Act 2014; to help people to achieve the outcomes which matter to them in life and to shape the local care market based on the needs of the local population. Services needed to be sustainable, provide choice and meet local need. Adult services had been challenged over the last few years and it was right that services went through the commissioning cycle. Other Local Authority areas would be consulted to see how they provided services, as well as building on the ground-breaking work that has been done with Newcastle University on managing the aging process. The market had been found to be weak in this area, so the service would probably be provided in-house.


The vision for an in-house service would be to maximise the health and Well-being of people, that adults were healthier, live longer and have a better quality life and to ensure the right care is available at the right time and that best practice is shared among Councils.


To do this the services needed to meet the key principles of being value for money, provide better quality (meeting CQC quality levels at least), and to develop the market. However, the Council Service would not be a threat to the market but would collaborate with it to improve quality of services. Worcestershire Care and Support would provide services which would be safe, caring and personalised and enable individuals to have control over their own care. Respite and recovery care would be provided in a range of settings. Howbury needed updating and therefore investment would be needed to bring it up to the required standard.


In response to a query from outside the Cabinet regarding why the market was weak in this area the Cabinet Member for Adult Services explained that he suspected that the market for these services was weak across the country and not just within the local area as businesses concentrated on self-funders; a lot of care homes were run by individuals meaning that the service was lost when owners retired or wished to give up the business.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:


(a)    approved in principle the creation of a community re-ablement service and delegated the final decision upon it to the Director of Adult Services in consultation with the said Cabinet Member;


(b)    approved the strategy for the direct provision of services by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1918.


Libraries Re-modelling pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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Cabinet considered proposals put forward for the Libraries Service following the public consultation and Peer Review of the service. The Cabinet Member for Communities explained that the Council had a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service as set out in the report. Since 2011 £3.9 million of savings had already been made, but further savings and transformation had been agreed in 2018. As well as a consultation, which involved public meetings and an on-line survey, a peer review was undertaken.


Following the consultation changes were made to the isolation index and the rankings of libraries were amended due to the length of time it took public transport to reach the library as well as their opening hours. The consultation also found that the public believed that library profiles should be raised and a substantial amount of people used the computers or Wifi.


The Peer Review asked specific questions around best value, contribution to the corporate agenda, serving the local community and finding good practice from other authorities. The Review concluded that a new library strategy should be developed and there should be more engagement with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. There needed to be more innovation such as with Open Libraries Plus. The savings target had been remodelled following savings that had already been achieved from the deletion of vacant posts and improved I.T., and contributions to the running costs of two libraries by Worcester City Council. The development and implementation of the Libraries Strategy would deliver the necessary savings by 2021. Partnership working such as with DWP continued to be important.


Finally, the Cabinet Member thanked the Corporate and Communities Scrutiny Panel for the work they had done on looking at the re-modelling of the library service. She explained that the remodelling was not about closing libraries but rather modernising the service to ensure it was efficient and met the needs of the local community.


The Cabinet Member for Highways paid tribute to the Cabinet Member for communities for her hard work in overseeing the exercise which was about modernising the service without impacting on front line provision. The Cabinet Member also thanked Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council for contributing to the support of St John’s and Warndon libraries.


The Chairman of the Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel presented the views of the Scrutiny Panel who had considered the Cabinet report. The Panel:

·  Welcomed the positive consultation and Peer Review and supported the approach that Libraries should support the Corporate Agenda

·  Agreed with the vision for re-modelling libraries by assessing each setting for the needs of their own communities. Tackling social isolation was important, as was considering commercial opportunities. The Hive was a vital asset, which needed to be a leader for the rest of the service

·  Was pleased that the development of the strategy would involve residents, communities, partners and Local Members

·  Believed an improved marketing and communication approach to promote library use was required  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1919.


Recommissioning the Council's Customer Services pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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The Cabinet considered the proposal to terminate the contract with the current Customer Services provider and the development of an updated Customer Services Strategy. The Cabinet Member for Transformation and Commissioning explained that the Council had entered the contract with Civica in 2015 along with Malvern Hills District Council and Worcester City Council. Civica had delivered a successful service and helped to deliver planned savings. However, the volume of calls had fallen by 50% and the District Councils had either left or were in the process of leaving the agreement; this meant the Council was planning to look at the customer services strategy and take the service through the commissioning cycle. All customer service contact centres would be looked at across the Council.


A large volume of contacts were moving to a digital platform but there were still a reasonably high proportion of the public who preferred to speak to someone on the phone as opposed to conducting all their business via email. All contacts were important to the Council so it was necessary to have a customer service provider which was fit for the future and the commissioning cycle allowed the Council to identify what was needed and ensure the best provider was in place.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:


(a)    approved serving of the required 12 months’ notice for termination 'by convenience' of the Council's contract with Civica Ltd for the provision of the Customer Service Contact Centre;

(b)    delegated to the Director of Commercial and Commissioning, in consultation with the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning, the authority to approve the terms of exit from this contract; and

(c)    delegated to the Director of Commercial and Commissioning, in consultation with the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning, the development of an updated Customer Services Strategy and the recommissioning of Customer Services, to support the objectives of the Council’s Organisational Redesign Programme.


Balanced Scorecard and Corporate Risk Update - Q4 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

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The Cabinet considered the Council's Balanced Scorecard report for Quarter Four 2018/19 and the latest refresh of the Corporate Risk Register. The Cabinet Member for Transformation and Commissioning explained that there were 61 indicators; 24 were Green, 11 Amber, 7 Red and 19 unrated. One notable improvement was in sickness rates from high rates in 2013/14 to much lower rates in 2018/19.


Of 127 risks listed, 14 were rated as high risk, 69 as medium and 44 as low. The high risks were grouped into 5 themes: vulnerable children, education, adult social care, the Council estate and business continuity. Staffing had been a red risk but had moved to Amber following appointments to leadership positions and social care posts.


The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills noted that there had been a decrease in the number of schools which were rated outstanding or good, which would need to be watched, although it was unclear why that had occurred it was perhaps due to changes in the Ofsted inspection framework. However, schools which had been judged inadequate at their inspection had shown improvement after working with the Council.


The Cabinet Member for Adult Services pointed out that the numbers being admitted to care homes were still high despite that situation being contrary to the basic philosophy of the Directorate.  Also, the number of people with a Learning Disability in paid employment, was at 6.86%, which although above the national average had not reached the ambitious target of 8%.


RESOLVED that Cabinet:


(a)     received the latest update of the Corporate Balanced Scorecard for Quarter Four 2018/19, noting the 24 indicators rated as 'green', including an indicator that has been highlighted as demonstrating positive progress in performance and considered actions being taken to improve performance for the six indicators rated 'red' where there has been an update in Quarter Four 2018/19; and


(b)    noted the latest update of the Corporate Risk Register including actions to mitigate the risk areas that are rated 'red'.



Quality of Utility Works on the Public Highway - Notice of Motion pdf icon PDF 122 KB

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Cabinet considered the information provided regarding the quality of utility works on the public highway following a Notice of Motion agreed by Council on 14 February 2019 as set out in the report to Cabinet. The Cabinet Member for Highways explained that one of his main tasks was dealing with congestion and this was often caused by road works for which many motorists erroneously blame the Council. In fact utility companies were responsible for carrying out roadworks and minimising their impact while the Council co-ordinated the works through its permit scheme.


Around 300 applications for roadworks were received each day and the resources were available to inspect around 10% of them. Contractors were checked to ensure that the work was up to standard and they were completed within the given timescales. Utility companies were held to account and they were responsible for rectifying any problems. Fines could be imposed but these were often meaningless.  Around 30% of roadworks were classed as emergency and did not require the usual period of notice


In the past year, 15% of roadworks had been inspected rather than 10% and meetings had been held with utility companies which had led to improvements, unfortunately they had only lasted for the short term. If urgent or dangerous issues were not resolved by utility companies within two hours then the Council would sort problems and re-charge the utility company.


In future a system of lane rentals would be introduced which would introduce a daily fee for road space occupation; that would be more expensive for utilities in rush hours and therefore provide greater income, a quicker conclusion and reduce congestion.


Various comments were made during the discussion:

·  It was believed that the Council suffered reputational damage from roadworks as members of the public believed the Council was responsible for all roadworks. Individual Councillors were also blamed but in reality there was very little they could do about problem roadworks

·  Contractors should display signage stating who was carrying out each set of roadworks in a format which was readable to motorists. It was also necessary that utility companies answered calls to telephone numbers put on the signs

·  It was pointed out that it was very annoying to motorists to come across speed restrictions, traffic lights or road closures when no work was on-going

·  Cabinet felt that developers should ensure that the contractors they used were doing things correctly. Developers should ensure that all roadworks were sorted before they began building, even if this meant a change to the legislation was required

·  The 27% increase in income from fines to utility companies was welcomed by a member from outside the Cabinet

·  It was pointed out that some contractors asked for permits for unreasonable lengths of time to ensure that they did not get fined if the works took longer than anticipated. It was suggested that the Council should have the power to estimate the length of time for works and penalise contractors or developers if they asked for unreasonable length  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1922.