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Contact: Ivan Walters Email: Ivan.Walters@derbyshire.gov.uk
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of interest (if any)
There were no declarations of Interest
To confirm the non-exempt minutes of the meeting of the Improvement and Scrutiny Committee – Resources held on 1 December 2022.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Scrutiny Committee – Resources held on 1 December 2022 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
(Questions may be submitted to be answered by the Scrutiny Committee, or Council officers who are attending the meeting as witnesses, on any item that is within the scope of the Committee. Please see the procedure for the submission of questions at the end of this agenda)
Question from D Ingham:
As a former officer and member of the public I continue to affirm the importance of transparency within the Council. I note the following Reports and contents within to Full Council on 02-11-22 (Devolution Deal), 15-02-23 (Reserves Position and Revenue Budget 23/24), 22-03-23 (Devolution Deal and Refreshed Service Plans). I also note the report to Audit Committee on 21-03-23 (Performance and Budget Monitoring)
I note the lack of specific reference to any monies/provisions being required to support the EMCCA proposals in these reports (e.g. Financial and HR), along with those arrangements apparently in place to actually identify and report on costs/budget demands such as these – e.g. Service Plans ref CP16.
Given the situation and having a regard for officers asking the Cabinet Member to approve under half a million pounds of funding on 18-04-23 why was this need not identified and highlighted before by officers, when did the scoping of these costs actually begin to take place and who was involved and aware?
This is especially important to clearly understand given within the consultation feedback respondents were concerned about EMCCA proposal costs and this was reported as such to Full Council.
The Devolution Deal will deliver a huge range of financial and non-financial benefits to the region – not least the £38m p.a. investment pot, long-term funding for transport and an Adult Education Budget as well as in-year funds for housing and net zero. The report to Full Council of 22 March 2023 sets out the fact that there is an ‘ongoing need for enabling activities from the Constituent Councils to continue pending Government approval’. The report of 18 April 2023 makes an allocation from our Feasibility Reserve based on cost-estimates made by officers, with the funds being drawn down as required following further decisions by the Managing Director in consultation with the Section 151 officer. As the report states, we are anticipating significant capacity funding from Government to pay for activity to pave the way for the EMCCA, but this funding is not yet in place.
As early as 7 April 2022, the Managing Director reported to Cabinet on work taking place to pursue the Devolution Deal, with the report stating ‘In order to progress the securing of a County Deal for Derbyshire and Derby by Autumn/November 2022 a programme team will be required. Funding to meet the costs of the programme team will be met from the Council’s Feasibility Reserve’
All costs incurred to date have been properly approved and accounted for within the financial regulations of the County Council and will continue to be so.
Supplementary Question :
On 07-12-22 there was an online Devolution Engagement event.
The second public question concerned costs as it was stated that council tax wouldn’t increase to cover admin/governance costs. There was no mention however of an initial 2 million still being needed.
On 15 -02-23 there was the Revenue Budget Report.
Appendix 5 identified service pressures following extensive senior cross-departmental review/challenge. This ... view the full minutes text for item 3/23
The Committee was asked to consider a call-in in respect of the decision taken by Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budget to approve the allocation of £0.480m from the Feasibility Reserve to support development on the next stages of the East Midlands County Combined Authority (EMCCA).
On 18 April 2023 the Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budget considered a report of the Executive Director Place and agreed:
a) To approve an allocation of £0.480m from the Feasibility Reserve in
order to support the development of the next stage of the EMCCA.
b) To delegate to the Managing Director, in consultation with the S151
officer, approvals and management of expenditure within this
A copy of the report considered by the Cabinet Member was attached at
Appendix 3 to the report.
In accordance with the provisions of the County Council’s Constitution,
Councillors Joan Dixon, Ruth George, Philip Rose, and Alex Stevenson
have asked that the decision be called-in and considered by this
The call in had been requested on the basis that the decision breaches
• 7.2 (c) proportionality (i.e. the action must be proportionate to the
• 7.2 (f) a presumption in favour of openness;
• 7.2 (g) clarity of aims and desired outcomes.
The principal objections, as given in the call-in notice, were stated as
"On 22nd March 2023, a report went to Full Council (Agenda item
8) with regards to the proposed Devolution Deal for the EMCCA.
In Appendix 1, the financial implications of the decision are
addressed (page 48.) It states that “there will be an ongoing
need for enabling activities from the Constituent Councils to
continue pending Government approval and receipt of capacity
and other funding.” There is mention of government capacity
funding for enabling activities and also that the investment
funding of £38m can be used to meet the costs of enabling
activities, if the capacity funding is insufficient to meet such costs.
At no point in the report is there any reference to any monies
required from the County Council - so elected members would not
think the decision would place a financial burden on the County
The decision taken on 18th April 2023 comes less than a month
after that meeting and the majority of elected members were not
sighted that the decision they had made previously would now
mean there were £0.480m worth of financial implications for the
county council as a result of the decision made on 22nd March.
The amount of approval at £0.480m comes just below the level of
funding needed for this decision to be made at Cabinet and in
public. It was not done in an open and transparent way.
The report is not clear how much of the burden of the costs for
enabling activities falls on DCC in comparison with the other three
Unitary authorities, so the proportionality of the level of financial
input between the four authorities is not clear."
Councillors Dixon, George and Rose attended ... view the full minutes text for item 4/23
Neil Bennett, Place, attended the meeting and provided members with a presentation to compliment the summary of the lessons learned report presented to the Portfolio Direction Group (PDG) on 4 April 2023 concerning the integration between the Place highways asset management solution (Alloy) and the corporate customer relationship management solution (Granicus), which had been circulated in advance of the meeting.
The Confirm system had been the Highways ICT solution in its latest form since its last procurement in 2014. Its functionality had included the end to end management of all the Highways enquiries (or services) and some wider Place enquiries, the management of the highway assets and the works ordering/jobs processing system.
Following the approval of the Channel Shift (now Customer Experience) programme by Cabinet in March 2020 a Customer Relationship Management system was procured with the intention of giving the council a single view of the customer and enabling the delivery of complex and varied service to residents across Derbyshire. This provided Highways with an opportunity to procure a new asset management and works ordering system (Alloy) due to the corporate CRM system Granicus Firmstep being intended to undertake the management function of all the Highways enquiries. As a key customer, Highways was consulted in helping to develop requirements and the benefits case whilst the Channel Shift team developed the specification for procurement and ultimately the Contract ready for implementation.
During the implementation of Phase 1 of the CRM with Highways a number of issues with the functionality of the Granicus Firmstep system were identified, including its ability to effectively replace the existing Confirm enquiry system and its capability to integrate with the current Confirm system and the new asset management system Alloy. These issues were presented to PDG on 12 September 2022 and a solution approved on 1 November 2022.
At the request of PDG a lesson learned review of the integration between Alloy and Granicus Firmstep was commissioned and undertaken by the Place Department IT Senior Relationship Manager. This was completed and presented to PDG on 4 April 2023.
The lessons learned review findings were that the challenges with integration between the systems were due to:
a) Granicus Firmstep system capability. The product had a lack of complex fault and case management functionality, required to deliver the volume and complexity of the Highways requirements for enquiry management. Therefore the efficiencies and improvements (benefits) in customer experience, improved reporting and business intelligence could not be realised as intended. The product offers fewer and less well-developed options for integration with other systems due to the products relative age in comparison to more recently developed solutions. Concerns were only raised by the Highway Service at implementation stage when training had been provided on the system. This was unlikely to be unique to Highways and may be experienced by other areas of service delivery, albeit the complexity of activity within Highways service delivery meant that the issues were exacerbated.
b) Complexity of the configuration of the Granicus solution. Officers ... view the full minutes text for item 5/23