Venue: THE GUILDHALL, WESTGATE, CANTERBURY
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APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
TO RECEIVE apologies for absence
Apologies received from Councillors Law (Canterbury), Latchford (Thanet), Carter (Kent) and King (Kent).
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
TO RECEIVE declaration of interests
No declarations were received.
The Chairman to report any notifications received prior to this meeting
regarding the attendance of substitutes for the named Members of this
It was confirmed that Councillor Austin was substituting for Councillor Law.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2009, were agreed as a correct record.
TO CONSIDER a report from the Director of Community Services (Canterbury).
The report was introduced by Richard Samuel, Chief Executive of Thanet District Council. He drew attention to paragraph 1.2, which set out what the four councils were aiming to achieve and how the proposal would lead to improvements in customer service whilst delivering savings to reinvest into the new organisation. He drew attention to financial data that set out what each council expected to achieve in the way of savings. He said based on a minimum target of 10%, the outcome was approximately £1 million of cashable savings from the joint housing arrangement, with more to follow in due course from efficiencies in the use of accommodation and ICT.
He said since the last report, Ashford BC had withdrawn from the project because the savings were not as significant for them. He said a lot of work had been undertaken to compare the proposed arrangement with other arms length management organisations (ALMOs) across the country, which was referred to in the report. The report also contained details of consultation with tenants and leaseholders; this area of work was ongoing and not finalised. He said the tenant’s representatives had recently written to the project team and a response back would follow in due course.
Attention was drawn to the draft resolution from the Joint Scrutiny Committee. The following response was recommended to the committee –
(i) A further amendment was made to recommendation one, which was accepted by the Members. This is set out in full in the recommendation (1) below;
(ii) To accept the amendment to recommendation five – that four elected members be nominated by the local authority on the board of the company;
(iii) To accept the amendment to recommendation seven – that provisions be added for internal audit to the draft memorandum of articles was accepted.
(iv) A further amendment was made to recommendation eight, that authority be made by the Chief Executives in consultation with the Leaders. This was accepted.
Amendments to the proposed recommendations were discussed. The committee said they were happy with the recommendations as proposed to be amended. In respect of consultation with tenants, attention was drawn to paragraphs 6.2 and 6.3 of the report, which were felt to adequately deal with the matters raised by the Joint Scrutiny Committee.
Members of the committee acknowledged receipt of the letter from Unison dated 17 December 2009. They welcomed Unison's participation in the process and in noting the comments, stated that there was nothing in the letter that persuaded them to change to recommendations set out in the report, as amended.
The committee thanked Members of the East Kent Joint Scrutiny Committee for their contribution in progressing the project to this point.
It was RECOMMEDED -
[For ease of reference the amendments are shown in italics below]
That the East Kent District Councils of Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, the District Council of Shepway and Thanet District Council ("the East Kent Authorities") are recommended to merge the delivery of ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
TO CONSIDER a joint report of the Head of Legal and Democratic
Services (Canterbury), Head of Policy and Improvement (Canterbury),
Head of Finance and ICT (Dover), Corporate Director (Shepway) and
Director of Customer Services and Business Transformation (Thanet).
Members had before them the report setting out the strategic case and the draft minutes of the East Kent Joint Scrutiny Committee which met on 14 December 2009. The Chairman invited comments from the committee on the East Kent Joint Services strategic case.
Councillor Gilbey said that he recognised the financial position facing local government and the need to accelerate the process so that all councils were in a position to make the savings at the earliest opportunity. He wished to see the five councils remain in control of their services and all work together for the benefit of residents and service users.
Councillor Bliss said that Shepway had always been at the forefront of the shared service agenda. This was demonstrated by their commitment to housing landlord services and joint waste project among others. He said Shepway's position on this paper was that it did not address issues previously raised. They would require a commitment to take on board these issues before accepting the proposals.
Councillor Watkins said that there may be matters of clarification required but he saw no reason why the committee should not move the process forward and then clarify matters during the next stage of the project. He would prefer that today the four authorities unify behind the proposals and that clarification be sought by the time each Executive and Council was required to make their recommendations. He said all four authorities knew what they wanted to achieve and that they also wanted a quick timetable that put in place the economies of scale necessary to achieve the savings required. His view was that matters could be resolved without changing the fundamentals of the process.
Councillor Gilbey said that he wished to see Shepway stay in and was prepared to be flexible but it needed to be acknowledged that the process required less bureaucracy in order for the timetable to be met. He supported Councillor Watkins in acknowledging Shepway's comments and felt all were prepared to address any concerns and move forward with the recommendations.
Mr Samuel suggested that an additional recommendation be added to the report, which stated that prior to consideration by each participating council further examination of any matters raised by Shepway District Council is undertaken within the timescales set out in the report.
Councillor Watkins said he was happy with the additional recommendation but felt that the timetable should not be affected. He said the report provided opportunities for each council to withdraw if it was not satisfied with the proposals. It was stated that the report should be seen as a work in progress and that information sought at the joint cabinet meeting held the previous week was information that all the Members had needed to know before deciding whether to proceed.
It was moved by Councillor Gilbey and seconded by Councillor Bliss that the following recommendations be AGREED –
The East Kent District Councils of Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, The District Council of Shepway and Thanet District ... view the full minutes text for item 27.