Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Michaela Gay  01225 394411

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.



The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.





Councillor Joe Rayment sent his apologies and was substituted by Councillor Robin Moss.


Councillor Jasper Becker sent his apologies.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


There were none.




There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



Nicolette Boater made a statement to the Panel regarding Human Resources and Equalities Policy. A copy of the statement is kept on the minute book for the Panel.


MINUTES - 21 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.


The Corporate Approach to Equality pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider the attached report regarding the corporate approach to equality.


Samantha Jones – Inclusive Communities Manager introduced the report.


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Bevan congratulated the officers on the 2010 and 2017 awards.


Councillor Furse explained that he felt the social deprivation gap seemed to be widening and was extreme in his ward which includes the Royal Crescent alongside pockets of deprivation. He stressed the need for the authority to work hard to promote social cohesion and further explained that communities needed support through resources to schools and youth teams. He expressed concern about the Council’s resources and financial pressures. Councillor Bevan added that areas of social deprivation are also a concern in North East Somerset.


Councillor O Brien referred officers to communication advice that has been developed by Mencap regarding typeface, type of language and pictograms. She also asked if there was any indication of measures regarding Domestic Violence. The officer explained that the Council commissions Southside to provide DVA services, including Independent Domestic Violence Advisors based in BANES and at the RUH.  ‘IRIS’ has now been developed which was a new way of GPs identifying violence. She explained that there had been an increase in reporting of elder abuse (inter-generational abuse) and carer fatigue. It was explained that resources were limited and services relied on the Police and Crime Commissioners grant.


Councillor Moss congratulated and thanked the officers. He stated that the report only gave part of the picture as many services were now outsourced and privatised. He asked if customer feedback was on directly provided services and referred to recent report that 20% of elder people are unhappy with services provided to them at home – he asked if this type of feedback would go to Virgin/Sirona or BANES and also asked how we would deal with the CCG/BANES closer working. The officer explained that she did not have statistics regarding home services. She explained that equalities issues were central in commissioning and organisations bidding for work must demonstrate compliance with the authority’s policies and procedures. She assured the Panel that information on complaints and court cases are sought and there are timeframes in place in the event of a conviction.


Councillor Moss asked about the spike in Domestic Violence in the Somer Valley 2 years ago, the officer explained that there was a change in the method of gathering data about an incident – an increase from 10 to 14 questions which affected reporting statistics.


Councillor Anketell Jones asked if the cost of the interpreting service is a barrier to use. The officer explained that it is not expensive compared with litigation and explained that the provider had changed recently and there is now a wider range of languages available. She explained that interpreters can be used by a wide range of services such as for marriage ceremonies to ensure that people understand that they are signing a legal document. Louise Murphy – Corporate Equalities and Diversity Officer explained that the biggest spend around interpreters are Syrian families  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Trading Update - Services to Schools pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To consider the attached report regarding services to schools. 

Additional documents:


Richard Moran, Education Business Manager introduced the report and gave a presentation on ‘Trading Update – Services to Schools’ which covered the following points:


·  The Financial Landscape

·  The Political Landscape

·  Estimated Pupil numbers in Schools at 1st September 2018

·  What is currently happening with Support Services?

·  What has the LA done to date?

·  What has been changed?


Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Furse stated that, while he understood the economic situation and that schools are converting to academies, it was sad that the authority had to relinquish oversight on quality and local sourcing of school meals which had been established. The officer explained that when schools change to new suppliers, they do set specifications which are very close to those that the authority had set up. Richard Howroyd – Head of Strategic Procurement and Commissioning explained that the authority will attempt to guide schools towards appropriate sellers. Richard Morgan explained that schools can provide the meals for a cheaper rate per plate because they do not have the overheads that were included in the authority’s rate. Councillor Bevan commented that this was reassuring.


Councillor Davis commented that the overheads do make a difference and also parents and children are more careful over their diets now. She added that there must be some caution over the introductory offers made by some organisations that could slowly rise. Richard Howroyd (Procurement) stated that schools have been advised to use caution around 1 year deals. Councillor Davis stated that there are benefits to the new system and that schools feel they have more ownership now.


Councillor Anketell Jones asked what happens to the 5% of schools that do not convert to academies. Richard Morgan explained that the Government had indicated that all schools will eventually become academies. In the case of this authority, the business support function has changed significantly but the authority still provides advice, guidance and challenge as well as statutory duties such as assessment for Education Healthcare Plans.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish explained that the move to academy status started a while ago and once the bigger schools converted, the authority lost its economies of scale which would have meant costs rocketing for schools and parents. He added that the quality of food was the responsibility of school governors and the authority should challenge governors if this was an issue.


Strategic Procurement Team Update pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider the attached report giving an update from the Strategic Procurement Team. 

Additional documents:


Richard Howroyd – Head of Strategic Procurement and Commissioning introduced the report and gave a presentation on ‘Strategic Procurement Update’ which covered the following:


·  Working Together to Bring Down Costs

·  Corporate Contracts

·  Goods and Services Panel

·  Contracts Register

·  Supplying the South West

·  Keeping the Contract Register up to date

·  GDPR and Contracts

·  Draft National Procurement Strategy

·  Procurement Templates

·  Current Issues/Risks

·  Financial Risk Assessment


 Panel members made the following points and asked the following questions:


Councillor Furse asked about the Contracts Register (page 51) and how we deal with contractors that were not on it. The officer explained that there had been challenges in some areas such as individual social care contracts. It can be challenging where there was no signed contract. There have been robust discussions with commissioners.


Councillor Moss stated that value should be important as well as cost. He was concerned that the Social Value Act is not referred to enough and that sometimes small local businesses are being knocked out by national organisations. The officer explained that the Act is taken seriously and 5% are awarded on social value. He added that it would be helpful if members helped to spread the message that businesses must take time and effort on their submissions as any omissions cannot be dealt with at the bid stage. He noted that in a recent procurement, a Government Department has deduced 5% of grant funding for favouring local providers contrary to the Public Contract Regulations which the Council disputes.


Lisa O Brien asked if contracts are monitored and if problems were found, break clauses were included. The officer explained that the big issue had been around social care contracts where providers had not had to go to the market for a long time. Other authorities have had similar issues. A lot of good work is being done and we make sure standards are kept.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.



The Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, Councillor Charles Gerrish updated the Panel on the following:


·  The end of financial year figures are almost ready;

·  Community Asset Transfers are growing and new and creative opportunities are being explored;

·  Property management structures are strengthening and acquisition opportunities are being explored.




Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 109 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.


The Panel noted the workplan.