Agenda and draft minutes

Resources Scrutiny Commission - Thursday, 20th October, 2016 9.30 am

Venue: Room 1P05, 1st Floor - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions

Contact: Louise deCordova 

No. Item


Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 92 KB


The Chair led welcome and introductions.


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the Councillors.  They are asked to indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.


Any declarations of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.



There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting as a correct record.


The Commission resolved:

         (i)         To agree the minutes of the last meeting as a correct record.


Action Sheet pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To note the progress of actions from the previous meeting.


The Commission noted the progress of actions from the previous meeting.


The following points were noted in discussion:


            Business Change Structure

  1. It was noted that the current organisational structure for Business Change had been circulated to Members.  It was confirmed that these were transitional arrangements and Officers would update Members as and when changes occurred. Action: Anna Klonowski


Office 365 licences

  1. Advised that officers were talking to Microsoft to find the most appropriate and cost effective way to provide Office 365 licences for Members.  Action: Richard Billingham to provide an update at the next meeting


Performance Monitoring

  1. Advised that officers were in the process of refining the performance indicators and would bring a revised version to the Commission for comment. Action: Anna Klonowski


Finance upgrade project

  1. The Commission received a verbal update on the progress of the finance upgrade project and the status of the current mitigation.  Officers confirmed that the vendor’s current development programme carried additional risks during the annual software upgrade implementation phase. Officers to go back to supplier to find out whether a biennial upgrade cycle was possible which may carry less risk.  Action: Annabel Scholes/Denise Murray to update in January 2017.



Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair


There was no Chair’s business.


Public Forum

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.


Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Public Forum items should be emailed to and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-


Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by5 pm on Friday 14 October 2016.


Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on Wednesday 19 October 2016.



There was none received.


The Chair proposed and it was agreed that the Work Programme item be considered at the end of the meeting.



The draft Corporate Strategy 2017-2022, Business Plan 2017/18 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/18 - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider and comment on the draft Business Plan 2017/18 section for Finance, Governance and Performance, including the draft financial and saving proposals contained within it.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report from the Interim Strategic Director - Business Change. The report set out Bristol City Council’s draft five-year Corporate Strategy and Medium Term Financial Plan. The Commission was asked to comment on the draft Business Plan 2017/18 section for Finance,

Governance and Performance, including the draft financial and saving proposals contained within it.


The Strategic Director circulated the Business Change ‘Increasing Business Efficiency’ savings report.


The following points were raised in discussion:


ICT – stop or substantially reduce colour printing

  1. It had been noted at Corporate Health and Safety meetings that the papers provided did not translate well in black and white.  Officers to provide advice to enable the meeting to transition to paperless principles. Action: Richard Billingham


Finance - Restructure

  1. The invoice e-scanning project timescales had slipped due to the finance system (Milestone) upgrade due in December.


ICT - legacy system rationalisation

  1. The Strategic Director and Service Director (HR) were committed to develop an effective internal ICT strategy which focused on core systems and addressed how systems would work with each other to improve the necessary compatibility or integration between them. There was evidence of duplication of effort or use of manual systems to compensate where this was not working well. It was recognised that there was a need to consult with existing staff to understand how systems worked in practice to inform next steps. The Strategic Director and Service Director were considering whether external support might be necessary to address these issues as, there was a necessity to look at some of the basics in ICT at present.


  1. In response to Member questions, ICT officers advised that integration with NHS care systems was difficult, in part due to the interpretation of Data Protection legislation. There was an opportunity to look at instances where information security and data protection had caused barriers.  It was noted that this could require a risk based approach supported by training of all staff to understand their data protection responsibilities.


HR - Restructure

  1. The HR cost profile was 90% people employed. In 2013 196 employees provided an end to end HR service. At the end of the voluntary severance period the service would employ 89 people. It was noted that this was at the lower quartile than comparable national organisations and the cost per FTE (full time equivalent) was also lower.  26 applications voluntary severance had been accepted. HR management continued to ensure the service’s resilience to run payroll and fulfil statutory duties, however it was noted that HRthe future HR service would rely on BCC’s managers self-serving much more.


  1. It was understood that there was a need to make sure that managers were equipped to lead and manage people and finance etc effectively. However, the level of available resources for staff learning and development was £780k, lower than other comparable organisations. The majority of the spend related to statutory training for Health and Safety and for social workers and care workers – attain and retain professional level qualifications.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Up-date Paper - Members ICT Issues pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To note and comment on the paper.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report from the Acting Service Director Legal and Democratic Services. The report set out the status of current ICT issues and the plans to meet Members future ICT requirements. The Commission was asked to note the report for information.


The following points were raised in the discussion that followed:


  1. Members asked if the implementation of a transition away from landline calls, to calls through a mobile device application, could result in an increased cost to constituents. Officers advised that the pilot and prototype test with a group of councillors planned for December and subsequent business case and due diligence, would address the impact of implementation for all stakeholders.


  1. Members were concerned by the proposal that laptops and Office 365 should be deployed by exception as the functionality of iPads was limited. Officers emphasised that there was a reliance on party infrastructure to collate the views of Councillors through Party Group Leaders in order to reach a consensus view. 


  1. Members questioned whether officers had sought an understanding of the challenges faced by other local authorities, prior to implementation of the paperless agenda. Conversation with councillors at a recent South West Councils meeting had suggested  Bristol was not alone in the challenges faced and may benefit from shared learning and solution finding with others such as Cotswold District Council and Gloucester City Council. Action: Richard Billingham


  1. Members emphasised the benefit of using a customer relationship management to support Councillors casework.  Officers confirmed that the use of Salesforce had been previously discussed as a possible application for this. Officers to update on the current position at the next meeting. Action: Shahzia Daya


  1. Members asked whether the use of the Safari browser could be revisited due to the ongoing functionality issues faced with Airwatch.  Officers advised that this may not be possible due to security concerns but would take a further look at whether these could be overcome. Action: Ian Gale



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To note the work programme.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered the work programme.


The following points were raised in discussion.


  1. It was confirmed that scrutiny of Procurement would move back to the Business Change work programme from February 2017.  Members requested a position paper to confirm how the Social Value Act was being implemented in Procurement.  Member’s suggested that Procurement should support the corporate strategy to achieve savings and desired outcomes. It was agreed that there was a conflict between social value and cost reduction. The Strategic Director suggested that Officers attend the next meeting to provide an update report. Action: Alison Slade and Netta Meadows


  1. It was agreed that Reserves and Assets move to later meeting.


  1. Officers to determine whether other scrutiny commissions had focussed on income generation , in order that Business Change Members could be assured this was being covered elsewhere in the wider scrutiny work programme. Action: Johanna Holmes


  1. It was proposed and agreed that a watching brief on plans to improve debt collection and income generation targets be added to the work programme. Action: Johanna Holmes


  1. Members requested that the ICT spending pressure be added to the work programme as an standing item. It was important to monitor how in-year spending pressures were being dealt with as these were fundamental to next year’s proposed savings plan. It was noted that this was being reported in the monthly financial monitoring report.


  1. Business Change meeting dates to be rescheduled to closely track Cabinet meeting dates to ensure Scrutiny Members had access to the most publicly available budget information. Action: Johanna Holmes