To receive a report from the Operations Manager for Performance, Governance and Health and Safety providing Members with an update on performance against the Corporate Plan and local service targets for 2021-22 as well as providing an update on the key business risks.
The Committee had before it, and NOTED, a report * from the Operations Manager for Performance, Governance and Health & Safety providing Members with an update on performance against the Corporate Plan and local service targets for 2021-22 as well as providing an update on the key business risks.
Cllr A Wilce had been unable to attend the meeting but had submitted questions in advance in relation to several areas covered by this report which he wished to be asked:
Cllr Wilce had stated that with regard to the 3 Rivers Development Ltd (3RDL) Business Plan ‘Anomalous figures had been presented to the last Audit Committee, will corrected figures be presented to this Committee and did this affect the Accounts?’
The Corporate Manager for Financial Services explained that the Audit Committee had received the corrected figures at the last meeting and, no, this had not affected the Accounts.
Cllr Wilce stated that there were currently two risks listed in relation to 3RDL referring to ‘Failure of the Company’ and ‘Reputational Damage’. Budget updates had been delivered to each of the PDG’s, Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee citing the main reasons for the budget deficit being in relation to ‘Reduced income from investments, particularly due to slippage in 3RDL’ and ‘the revised Capital Programme’. He further stated that in real terms there was a risk to MDDC if 3RDL did not borrow the amounts of money and repay the expected interest. Also, if 3RDL did not complete the developments and achieve the expected income. Cllr Wilce further stated that there was an additional risk if 3RDL over ran or overspent on developments within the plan. He therefore suggested that a third risk should be added, that being ‘Failure of the Company to adhere to agreed Business Plans’.
The Operations Manager for Performance, Governance and Health & Safety and the Corporate Manager for Financial Services both stated that a third risk already existed around ‘Governance arrangements’ generally and the threat of this in relation to the ‘Failure of the Company’, therefore this was covered. This was supported by the Committee who did not feel anything needed to be added to the risks already listed.
The Corporate Risk Management table stated that there were monthly updates to the Cabinet with regard to a possible 3RDL failure. Cllr Wilce stated this was incorrect and now only happened every two months, should this be corrected?
Initially updates to the Cabinet had been given to each monthly meeting, however, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services and Deputy Leader explained that at the current moment in time there were a limited number of projects in development. The Cabinet had agreed that updates should be received bi-monthly but this would be reviewed as and when the number of projects increased.
The Performance and Risk report would be updated to reflect this decision.
Cllr Wilce referred to Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) within the report and the fact that it was stated that 140 had been received and 116 had been replied to. This meant that there were 24 still outstanding at end of the period. Is that correct and if so, why? When will these 24 be reported? Will these 24 be carried over to the next Quarter (Q4)? Were there any carried over from the previous Quarter (Q2)? If there were carry overs from Q2 – how many and how were they completed?
Of the 116 Replies, 65 were granted in full, 29 were refused in part, or in full. Therefore, 94 were either refused or granted. What happened with the other 22 replies?
The Operations Manager for Performance, Governance and Health & Safety stated that it was a rolling report, there were outstanding FOI’s at the start and end of each month but outstanding FOI’s would be answered in the following reporting period on a rolling basis. Statistics were reported on a monthly basis on the SPAR performance system but quarterly on the website, as per the Cabinet Office rules. Therefore at any one point in time there would always be outstanding FOI’s.
Of the 140 FOI’s received up to 31 December 2021, all of them had been replied to by 18 January 2022.
The 22 remaining FOI’s were all ones which weren’t the responsibility of the District Council but were mainly the responsibility of Devon County Council instead. Technically they were ‘exempt’ for this reason.
Note: * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.