West Berkshire Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Wokingham Borough Council, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 1BN

Contact: Moira Fraser / Jo Reeves 

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Alison Swaddle be elected Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee for this meeting and  the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

 

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Iain McCracken be appointed as the Vice- Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee for this meeting and  the 2017/18 Municipal Year.

 

3.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies received for inability to attend the meeting.

4.

Declarations of Interest

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration, and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members’ Interests, the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

Minutes:

Councillors Iain McCracken and Emma Webster  declared an interest in Agenda Item 11, but reported that, as their interest was a personal or an other registrable interest, but not a disclosable pecuniary interest, they determined to remain to take part in the debate and vote on the matter.

5.

Notice of Public Speaking and Questions

To note those agenda items which have received an application for public speaking.

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.

The Partnership welcomes questions from members of the public about their work.

Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Partnership or an item which is on the agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact Democratic Services.

Minutes:

No notice had been received that members of the public wished to address the Committee on any of the agenda items.

 

No public questions were submitted in relation to general issues concerned with the work of the Partnership or any items which were on the agenda for the meeting.

6.

Public Protection Partnership Business Plan pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To identify the relevant details of the Inter Authority Agreement (IAA) and sets out how the Public Protection Partnership intends to operate through the delivery of the Business Plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 6) which identified the relevant details of the Inter Authority Agreement (IAA)  and set out how the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) intended to operate through the delivery of the Business Plan.

Councillor Marcus Franks noted that one of the Strategic Priorities was ‘protecting and improving health’ and he sought reassurance that this activity was being undertaken in consultation with Public Health. Paul Anstey stated that the operating model highlighted priorities for the service based on a range of issues one of which was health. It was a high level strategic document. When looking at specific issues they could work closely or jointly with Pubic Health if appropriate. He reassured Members that nothing would be done in isolation if it could be done better together. Sean Murphy noted that the service was already responsible for enforcing certain legislation e.g. legislation pertaining to underage sales and smuggled tobacco and they were already committed to undertaking this work for Public Health.

Councillor Nick Allen noted that the original partnership had involved two authoritative and he asked what impact having a third authority in the partnership would have. Paul Anstey explained that Officers had fundamentally reviewed the operating model based on the lessons learnt and would seek to further imbed to best bits of the existing partnership. They had looked at information provided from Bracknell and a single entity was being set up with one set of priorities and one budget. He saw this as a natural progression.

Councillor Iain McCracken noted that the Joint Committee was expected to meet bi-annually and he queried whether this was sufficient. Officers explained that this was  a minimum requirement and it was likely that meetings would take place on a  quarterly basis until the governance arrangements and the partnership had time to settle in. It was also acknowledged that there would be more business to transact during the first year. He therefore requested that the reference on page 19 be amended to say at least bi-annually. (Steve Broughton to Action).

Councillor McCracken noted the Risk Profiles set out in section 8.5 (page 22) of the document and queried what visibility the Joint Committee would have of these. Steve Broughton explained that Officers would produce this information as part f the quarterly performance data.

Councillor McCracken commented that there was no mention of a Communication Strategy in Section 13 Workforce Planning. Officers commented that this was a living document and that this matter could be added to the list and the service would then report annually to the Committee on this issue. (Steve Broughton to Action).

Councillor Emma Webster requested that the Service focus on any issues arising from the exit interviews.

Councillor McCracken requested that the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the South Central Ambulance Service be added to the list of Professional Working Groups set out in Section 14 of the report. (Steve Broughton to Action).

Councillor McCracken welcomed the Communication Strategy and noted that each Partner  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Public Protection Partnership Use of the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS) pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To explain how the PPP will be implementing the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 7) which explained how the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) would be implementing the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS).

Councillor Iain McCracken noted that the scheme could be used to fund additional financial investigators. He queried if any had been employed,  the terms and conditions they were appointed on and in particular if their contracts were time limited or if they were permanent employees. Officers noted that there was currently one full time financial investigator employed. They would only be employed if there was funding available from the scheme to do so.

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen queried if they were employed as contractors. Officers confirmed that, as per the requirements of the National Crime Agency, they had to be employees. Councillor Jorgensen queried if the Partnership would be responsible for any redundancy costs. Seam Murphy explained that the current financial investigator was employed on a shared basis with Reading Borough Council for an initial two year period. There was sufficient funding in place to continue to fund the role.

Paul Anstey stated that this employee formed part of the current structure and that this role should not be treated any differently from other employees that would be transferred into the Partnership.

Members were concerned that if the financial investigator was employed for more than two years on a fixed term contract they would accrue the same rights as a permanent employee. They were therefore of the opinion that any decision to employ a financial investigator for a longer period than the two years should be brought before this Committee. They confirmed that any appointment for less than two years would be deemed to be an operational decision.

Councillor Emma Webster in commenting on the Public Protection Community Fund noted that there would be an annual allocation of the post disbursement POCA reserve totalling no more than 20% of the balance in any one year. She queried what the rational was behind the 20% allocation. Officers confirmed that there was no specific science behind the sum. It was agreed that these decisions should be brought to the Committee. It was also  agreed that the proposals relating to grants would be included on the next agenda and that Members would be given the opportunity to comment on the criteria etc. (Steve Broughton to Action).

Councillor Jorgensen stated that organisations bidding for grants would have to provide financial information and details such as how many people in the area they provided a service for. Councillor Marcus Franks stated that it would be useful to see what grant funding other authorities authorised and what criteria they used to assess applications.  

Councillor McCracken noted that in respect of accounting for ARIS monies the report stated that all money should be treated as a grant held in reserve and an annual return would have to be submitted to the Home Office. He queried if there was a value or time limit set on the reserve. Officers confirmed that there was no  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Public Protection Partnership Fees and Charges pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To agree the cost recovery process for the Public Protection Partnership and explain how it will affect fees and charges in the future.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report (Agenda Item 8) which sought agreement on the cost recovery process for the PPP and explained how it would affect fees and charges in the future.

Councillor Alison Swaddle queried what level of free advice should be offered. Steve Broughton commented that this was a tricky are and was to some extent dependent on the size and nature of the business. In general terms he felt that they should be charged as the costs would be tax deductible.

The Chairman noted that the options were set out on page 66 of the agenda pack. Councillor Pauline Jorgensen stated that it might be difficult to establish the number of employees and that there was the potential that the callers could misrepresent the size of their business. Paul Anstey accepted this point but stated that Officers would have some ability to work out the size of the organisation. Councillor Marcus Franks stated that it would be necessary to trust people enough not to misrepresent the facts.

Councillor Nick Allen stated that it was difficult to evaluate the options  without any detailed costings and information on the level of resources required. Paul Anstey responded that any analysis would have to be in general terms. The Joint Management Team believed that it was realistic to estimate that 5% of all contact with the PPP was asking for advice relevant to businesses. This equated to approximately 1000 enquiries per year or 20 per week. If the PPP was able to convert 10% of this business into a one hour chargeable service income of circa £5.3k would be possible. It was agreed that the situation should be reviewed in twelve months time to see if it was making ay difference wither by decreasing demand or increased income.

Members felt that it would be to provide general advice for free but that any advice that was site specific would have to be charged for. Councillor Emma Webster commented that when setting up a business the employer was likely to seek advice from accountants or lawyers which they would pay for. Therefore 30 minutes of free advice for a small company (less than five employees) was reasonable.

Sean Murphy noted that bigger companies already sought advice from the PPP and that there was a statutory framework in place to deal with these enquiries.

Members agreed that Option 1 should be adopted i.e. each local business with less than five employees would be limited to 30 minutes of free advice per year. They also agreed that this process should be monitored and that a report should be brought back to the Committee in twelve months time to evaluate income, demand and trend data. The parameters could then be adjusted if required.

Members requested that recommendation 2.2 be amended to state: the ability to vary recommend (Insert) the hourly rate be delegated to the Joint Management Board

RESOLVED that:

1.    the principles outlined in the Cost Recovery report be agreed.

2.    the ability  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Future Meeting Dates

Minutes:

It was agreed that the next Committee meeting would take place in June 201 at Wokingham Borough Council. Meetings would start at 7.00pm and take place on a quarterly basis.

 

Post meeting note: It was proposed that the following future meeting dates be approved:

 

12 June 2017

19 September 2017

12 December 2017

19 March 2018

12 June 2018

 

10.

Exclusion of the Press and Public

RECOMMENDATION: That members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items as it is likely that there would be disclosure of exempt information of the description contained in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 specified in brackets in the heading of each item. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution refers.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that members of the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the under-mentioned item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as contained in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information)(Variation) Order 2006. Rule 8.10.4 of the Constitution also refers.

11.

Public Protection Partnership Accommodation Options

To outline the possible accommodation options available to the Public Protection Partnership.

Minutes:

(Paragraph 3 – information relating to financial/business affairs of particular person)

 

(Councillor Iain McCracken declared a personal interest in agenda Item 11.  As his interest was personal and not a disclosable pecuniary interest he determined to take part in the debate and vote on the matter.)

 

(Councillor Emma Webster declared a personal interest in agenda Item 11. As her interest was personal and not a disclosable pecuniary interest she determined to take part in the debate and vote on the matter.)

 

The Committee considered an exempt report (Agenda Item 11) which outlined the possible accommodation options available to the Public Protection Partnership..

RESOLVED that the recommendations in the exempt report be agreed.