Minutes of a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24 July 2012 in
the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Holt Road, Cromer at 9.30 am.
Members Present:
Mr E Seward (Chairman)
Mrs A Claussen-Reynolds
Ms V R Gay
Mrs A Green
Mr P W Moore
Officers in
Members in
Also in
Mr B Smith
Mr N Smith
Mr R Smith
Mr P Terrington
The Chief Executive, the Corporate Director, the Revenues and Benefits
Services Manager, the Environmental Protection Team Leader and the
Scrutiny Officer.
Mrs P Grove-Jones, Mr P W High, Mrs A Moore, Mr W Northam, Ms B
Palmer, Mr R Shepherd and Mr D Young.
Mr James Bacon, Norfolk Credit Union
Democratic Services Officer (AA)
Mr B Jarvis, Mr J Lee (Portfolio Holder), Mr J Perry-Warnes and Mr R Reynolds.
Mr R Shepherd for Mr R Reynolds.
None received.
The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 26 June
2012 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
None received.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
Review of Environmental
Services Contract
Personal and nonpecuniary: had put out
a bag of textile
recycling which was
not collected.
Mr E Seward
None received.
None received.
Recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be received at Full
Council on 25 July 2012.
To date there had been no response from Cabinet regarding the provision of a
temporary extra resource in Planning Enforcement. The Scrutiny Officer would follow up
on this, as well as a report on the Splash.
No comments were made.
a) The Corporate Director explained that Barry Brandford was employed by King’s Lynn
and West Norfolk Borough Council but was also contracted to NNDC in an
Environmental Services Management role. This arrangement was working quite well
but Mr Brandford was also lead technical officer for the MRF (Materials Recycling
Facility) and was not able to make as much direct input into the team than if it was a
5-day per week arrangement.
b) The Contract with Kier had been in place for 15/16 months. Performance was as
expected from a new contract and a new contractor. Kier had made some significant
changes to the waste collection round, for example, changing the day of collection.
Customer satisfaction had been maintained at a reasonable level. Overall, where
there had been problems, Kier had resourced a solution.
c) There had been some problems with Kier’s IT systems and interface with NNDC.
This had not affected service provision which had been largely without problems.
d) Over 60,000 collections were made per week. The industry norm for missed
collections was 35 missed collections per 100,000. Officers had set the target of 15.
At its peak, during October/November, there were 214/279 missed collections per
100,000 due to round changes. NNDC had made every effort to communicate the
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
changes but it was clear that some customers did not read the information given to
them. Missed collections were now down to 40-50 per 100,000. A robust
improvement plan had been put together and there was a commitment on the part of
the contractor to get things right.
e) Mr P Moore noted that there now seemed to be more people sweeping paths in North
Walsham and he had noticed a big improvement. He asked whether this was part of
the new contract. The Corporate Director said that this was so – the contract had
moved to an output specification which meant that sweeping took place as often as
was needed. Mr Moore congratulated Kier on their performance in this area.
f) Mr P Terrington said that in respect of the output specification, whilst cleansing was
carried out brilliantly in Wells, he had some concerns over whether this was effective
in villages. The Corporate Director replied that some additional input may be
required in villages, but all villages would be swept at times. Villages had a lot of
detritus (wash-off from fields) which blocked drains. This did not tend to be a priority
because it was in a rural area, but more priority was given to litter. Where there was
a considerable amount of detritus, Parish Councils could contact Environmental
Services or Kier and this would be addressed.
g) In response to a question from Mr P Terrington over whether kerbside textile
collections would be going ahead, the Corporate Director said that the textile
collection had been a trial. It had been impacted by higher textile prices which had
led to the theft of textile bags, and by other organisations making similar collections.
The cost of collecting 20,000 tonnes of textiles outweighed the recycling credits
which the Council could get and it was better to let another charity benefit. A number
of options were being considered.
h) The Corporate Director clarified to Mr R Shepherd that the number of collections
included garden waste and the number of missed collections equated to the number
of customer complaints received. This included customer error.
i) The Chairman asked how this tied in with Customer Services complaints. The
Corporate Director said that some complaints were directed at Kier. Others came via
Customer Services who would try to resolve them or refer the customer to Kier. Kier
fed complaints into their database which the Council could access.
j) Ms V Gay expressed concern regarding future change to Bring Sites as many
people were used to visiting certain sites. The Corporate Director explained that
changes to the sites were dependent on the dry recyclables contract for the MRF
unit. Technology had progressed since the MRF began. Plastics technology had
moved on and most places could now take a wider range of plastics. Cardboard and
glass could also be taken. The tonnage of glass was down already and there was
the question of what to do with glass banks – there could be a potential saving here.
k) In response to a question from Ms V R Gay regarding fuel usage, the Corporate
Director said that Kier had initially had to hire extra vehicles because some of the
vehicles they had procured were not suitable for North Norfolk. This had now been
resolved and the number of vehicles was back down to 13 instead of 15 and less fuel
was being used with a further drop expected.
l) Third Party Monitoring for Cleanliness did not add value to the contract and would be
discontinued at a saving of £15,000.
m) Mrs P Grove-Jones asked why it was necessary to pay for a garden waste collection
when it was turned into compost and sold. She considered that garden waste
collection customers should be given a bag of compost. The Corporate Director
advised that free bags of compost were available at the Green Build event which
would be advertised. The reason for charging for garden waste collection was that
some people did not have gardens and they should not subsidise it. Alternatively,
garden waste could be composted at home or taken to a County Council collection
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
n) Mrs P Grove-Jones referred to fuel shortages earlier in the year and considered that
there should be a reserve tank nearby. The Corporate Director said that this matter
had previously been raised at a meeting of Full Council. Kier did not hold reserves of
fuel, but in the procurement process had stated that they would rely on an
emergency fuel plan but this did not come into effect until the Government
announced it. It had therefore been decided to suspend the waste collection service.
Kier had been asked to ensure that resilience was provided in future and were trying
to address this problem.
o) Mrs A Moore said that when verges on the A149 in North Walsham were cut, this
resulted in litter being pulled out. She asked whether Norfolk County Council advised
NNDC when they carried out cutting. The Corporate Director advised that cutting
was carried out by local farmer contractors and that this could be unpredictable. As
soon as the Council was made aware, they could arrange for litter pickers to tidy up.
p) Mrs A Claussen-Reynolds asked how quickly missed waste collections were picked
up. The Corporate Director said that there were different reasons for missed
collections, including changes of round or vehicle breakdown. It was important that
customers reported a missed collection within a day. Sometimes it was possible to
resolve the matter on the same day. Otherwise it would be the next working day.
q) Mr R Smith noted that street cleansing was very good in Sheringham but was
concerned at litter accumulating on the promenade. An organised litter pick of the
promenade took place every month and last month the litter on the foreshore had
been significant. He asked whether Kier cleaned the beach. The Corporate Director
responded that he was not sure whether Kier cleaned the beach apart from the Blue
Flag area. The accumulation of debris could be washed up by the tide. The
Chairman asked that the Corporate Director look into this and report back to Mr
r) The Corporate Director explained to Mr R Smith that the IT systems interface had
three main problems; interface between the Council and Kier; in-cab technology and
the communications technology behind that – which was being installed and; getting
the routing right – the most efficient routes did not take account of, for example,
roads which were too narrow for vehicles. In response to a question about the
volume of calls to Kier, and how they were fed into the Customer Services system,
the Corporate Director said he would look into this and provide information to the
Overview and Scrutiny Committee via email.
s) A response from the Head of Environmental Services to a question from the
Committee on response to fly-tipping had been included in Overview and Scrutiny
Update. The Corporate Director responded to Mr B Smith that worsening
performance was partly due to it not being reported quickly, the interface issue and
the way in which the street cleansing crews were run.
t) The Corporate Director replied to Mr B Smith that tetrapaks could not be included in
the recycling bin because the materials they were made of contaminated the
cardboard stream. Hopefully, tetrapaks could be included in the dry recyclables
contract. Should the Council decide to include glass in its contract, it would be
collected in the recycling bin. The manual handling implication for handling glass,
however, was the weight. There were other ways of collecting glass. Empty paint
cans and those containing a small amount of paint could be disposed of in the
domestic rubbish bin. Paint cans with lids on must not be placed in the bin. The
Corporate Director would take Members’ questions regarding paint back to the
Environmental Services team for more clarification.
u) Mr P W Moore requested that an update on fly-tipping be included in the additional
information which the Corporate Director was providing for Members.
v) The Corporate Director replied to the Chairman that the continuation of textile
collections would be a decision for the Portfolio Holder and managers.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
To note the report and to receive further information by email on the various items
a) Copies of a Member brief on Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act were distributed.
This is attached at Minutes Appendix A.
b) The Corporate Director said the legislation was designed to protect people’s privacy
and had only been used 5 times last year. Dog fouling was now excluded from this
as the legislation now only included covert surveillance. Some legislative changes
were expected later this year and their implementation would be incremental but
would be reported to Members. The Chairman asked to be kept informed.
c) It was proposed by Ms V Gay and seconded by Mr P Moore that this be reported
back to the Committee.
d) It was noted that one of the authorisations listed was a technical breach of the
legislation, but management of it was being reviewed.
e) The Corporate Director explained to Mr P Moore that some of the cameras used for
surveillance were movement activated.
a) That Members note the report of authorisations made in the past year and note and
accept the delay to changes made to the policy in light of the on-going management
b) That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is kept informed of progress and once the
policy is in draft form, it be brought to the Committee for pre-scrutiny.
Mr James Bacon made a PowerPoint presentation to Members on Norfolk Credit Union.
The slides could be made available to Members on request.
a) The Chairman suggested that the Council’s Outlook magazine could advertise the
service provided by Norfolk Credit Union.
b) Mrs A Claussen-Reynolds asked what training was given to volunteers. James
Bacon said that volunteers received a 3-hour training session and were supervised
for the first few weeks. He himself had a background in banking and a management
c) Mrs P Grove-Jones pointed out that the Credit Union was in direct competition with
loan sharks. She recalled national savings stamps which used to be sold to children
to encourage them to save. Stalham Town Council were interested in corporate
membership of the Credit Union and asked that it be drawn to people’s attention.
James Bacon responded that he was willing to come and talk to groups.
d) James Bacon explained to Mr D Young that whilst people could save with Norfolk
Credit Union, it was not an instant access account and notice would be required for
any withdrawals. A current account could also be opened. Broadland and Breckland
District Councils were working with the Union and South Norfolk Council was
intending to work with them.
e) Mr P Moore asked what type of security vetting was in place for volunteers. James
Bacon said that depended upon the environment you were working in. In schools, a
CRB check was required.
f) James Bacon replied to Mr B Smith that there was a charge of 98p per week on a
current account.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
g) Ms V Gay was very interested in the Money Magic course but had concerns that any
person with literacy problems might be deterred from attending a course if it was held
in a school. James Bacon noted this and said that the course was put together for
adults but was now being tailored for children.
h) The Democratic Services Team Leader said that an item could be prepared to be
published in Outlook magazine.
i) Mr D Young requested that Members be emailed application forms for use in their
j) The Chairman thanked James Bacon for his presentation.
The meeting was adjourned at 11.30am and reconvened at 11.45am.
a) The Environmental Protection Team Leader reported that Environmental Health
Officers were now picking up duties previously undertaken by the Pest Control
Officers. There was, however, a training requirement for Officers. A Pest Control
Officer post had been made redundant and the main impact was on rat control.
There were no implications for dog fouling because this was enforced by
Environmental Protection Officers.
b) Mr R Shepherd considered that some convictions would be helpful in preventing dog
fouling. The Environmental Protection Team Leader responded that patrolling was
now carried out on a more intelligence-based approach. Convictions depended on a
member of the public’s willingness to give evidence in court.
c) Mr P Moore asked whether patrols were high visibility or low key. The Environmental
Protection Team Leader said that they were both: high visibility to advise people and
get the message across, but where there was a problem a low key approach would
be taken.
d) Officers carried a small supply of bags to hand out where appropriate but this had a
cost implication and it was the dog owner’s responsibility to provide them.
To note the contents of the report.
a) The Revenues and Benefits Services Manager made a PowerPoint presentation, the
slides for which are attached at Minutes Appendix B.
b) Mr P W Moore suggested that Members be kept up to date on progress through
regular reports. He had a number of questions which he would let the Revenues and
Benefits Services Manager have so that she could email the answers to Members of
the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
c) Ms V R Gay asked whether there was a backlog of work. The Revenues and
Benefits Services Manager replied that there was six weeks of work outstanding in
Benefits but this was improving as the staff became more familiar with the system.
Dedicated staff, including agency staff, were addressing the backlog. The Revenues
work was approximately five weeks behind.
d) Ms Gay expressed concern at the limited timescale for the implementation of Council
Tax Localisation and any risk to the Council. The Chief Executive said that the main
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
risk was to the County Council. A working party had been set up by Cabinet to
oversee the implementation and there was confidence that it would be delivered on
e) Mr W Northam said the Council’s Revenues and Benefits staff were working well
under pressure and he congratulated them on what they had achieved so far. The
Partnership was working as a team.
f) The Chairman expressed the hope that, when necessary cabling work had been
completed, the process would be speeded up and asked that a further report on
performance issues be made to the November meeting of the Committee. The Vice
Chairman supported this.
a) That an update report be made to the November meeting of the Committee.
b) That the list of questions from Mr P W Moore together with answers be circulated to
the Committee.
a) This item was deferred to the September meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny
b) More information was requested by Mr R Smith on Norfolk Tourism.
c) The Democratic Services Team Leader replied to Mr B Smith that she did not believe
that the removal of the North Norfolk Community Transport Partnership from the list
of Outside Bodies would affect NWACTA as it came under the Community Strategic
Partnership but she would look into this.
d) Ms V R Gay said that the North Norfolk Skills Partnership carried out very important
work to raise the standards of skills in North Norfolk.
e) Mr P Terrington asked for clarification regarding nominations to Outside Bodies. The
Democratic Services Team Leader explained that nominations to Outside Bodies
were made by Full Council unless they were specific to a particular role or portfolio.
to defer until September.
a) The Democratic Services Team Leader informed the meeting that the first meeting of
the Council Tax Working Party was to take place on 8 August 2012.
b) Broadland District Council was discussing public transport recommendations on
Tuesday 31 August at 10am. Mr B Smith and Mr P Moore would attend the meeting.
c) The first meeting of the Police and Crime Panel had taken place on 20 July. It had
been attended by Mr R Shepherd. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman had been
elected and it had been agreed that future meetings would take place at Norfolk
County Council as it was more central.
d) Mr P Moore informed Members that Sadlers Wood had received a Flag Award.
Consultations were taking place on setting out the play area which, because of the
work involved, would mean it was unavailable during the summer holidays.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012
e) A briefing on the proposed changes to the NHS would be welcomed by the
Committee. The Scrutiny Officer would discuss this initially with the Health
Improvement Officer.
f) Mr P W Moore said Mr G Williams hoped to make a report to the Committee on the
Task and Finish Group and would be available to do so in October.
The meeting concluded at 12.50pm.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
24 July 2012