In attendance for this item were:
Nigel Hudson, Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy
Steph Simcox, Head of Finance
Dave Corbett, Management Information Analyst
In the course of the discussion, the following main points were made:
· At the Chairman’s request, the Panel had received additional information on the completion of pothole repairs. However, the figures did not provide the necessary transparency and further detail was needed with reference to how long it had taken to carry out repairs and when they had been fixed.
· Members suggested that residents should be able to report potholes by uploading a photo from their smartphones, potentially removing the need for an engineer’s inspection. It was reported that this was already done by Severn Trent in relation to leaks.
Q2 2019/20 Budget Monitoring
· The Head of Finance advised that the financial situation was slightly improved from the end of Q1 and this was a positive position for the Directorate to be in. The majority of budgets were showing underspends with only street lighting showing an overspend.
· In relation to this overspend, Members were reminded that work was ongoing to reduce the energy kw usage and a further detailed report on the corporate energy contract was to be discussed at the Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel in December. A Panel Member suggested that it may be necessary to undertake a ‘deep dive’ on street lighting so that scrutiny Members could understand why savings were not being achieved. It was suggested that the Chairman of the Economy and Environment O&S Panel should be invited to attend Corporate and Communities O&S Panel on 10 December when the corporate energy contract was being discussed.
· In response a question from the Chairman of the Panel, it was confirmed that the £673k proposed withdrawal from reserves/grants in relation to Strategic Infrastructure and Economy covered a number of small projects.
· It was confirmed that waste contract negotiations were ongoing.
· The Head of Finance confirmed that the figures for end of P7 were showing a slightly improved position.
· In response to a question about the financial impact of the recent floods in the County, Members were informed that an element of reserves was available for winter pressures. It was still too early to know the financial impact and this would be seen in the P8 report.
Areas of Success and Challenge
· The Panel had received a summary highlighting the Directorate’s areas of success and challenge.
· A Member of the Panel asked whether Envirosort were looking at new technologies to improve recycling rates. A further question was asked about the level of contamination in recycling bins. The Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy agreed to look into this and bring further information back to the Panel.
· A Member suggested that the countywide transport assessment model should be considered by the Economy and Environment O&S Panel at a future meeting. This had been raised as an issue in District Councils. The Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy agreed to discuss this further with the Chairman of the Panel following the meeting.