51.1 Councillor M Cook presented the Portfolio Holder update for Resources and the Chief Executive explained that a document had been tabled which gave more information about LI 266 - % of contracts on the corporate contract register that had exceeded their contract term, which had been requested at the last meeting.
51.2 Councillor M Cook explained that the Resources Portfolio comprised of the following areas; Finance, Human Resources, Legal, Audit, IT and Corporate Services.
51.3 A review of Senior Officers pay had now been completed and there was now a full complement of Officers at Heads of Service and Operations Managers levels. The introduction of a new HR system was ongoing, the People Strategy had been approved by Council and a ‘Time to Change’ employee pledge, committed to break down the stigma around mental health in the workplace, had been initiated. Over 400 employees had taken up the offer to be vaccinated against flu in an effort to reduce the number of days lost to sickness absence.
51.4 Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May, 98% of the Council’s staff had now undertaken the mandatory training and the Constitution was in the process of being updated in March 2019. A number of Council properties had been recovered and Audit had uncovered a number of tenancy fraud cases. Due to the requirement of tighter timescales, Officers and the External Auditors had produced the Statement of Accounts earlier than usual, also budget monitoring reporting had been improved and there continued to be a small underspend on all budgets.
51.5 The Agresso system was in the process of being updated with the use of additional modules to ensure that final reporting was based on the system. Contactless payments were becoming more widely available and the use of agile technology had taken the place of desktops or larger laptops with the resulting reduction of the floor space used.
51.6 A more unified communications phone system was being considered which would be more efficient and resilient. IT server upgrades had taken place and changes to the provision of the Regent website would result in more resilience during busy booking times. E-mails which had previously be forwarded on to personal e-mail addresses would all now be hosted on the Council servers.
51.7 In relation to the document tabled, Councillor M Cook said that following a restructure to the procurement section, work had been undertaken to develop a more comprehensive corporate contract register and a large number of small contracts had been added to the register. Following this, a new framework had been developed which was now being managed better. Mr Chance said that the register had been neglected, many new contracts had now been registered and it was hoped that a specific officer would be designated to the contracts register. It would be updated monthly and a plan was being put in place to build more robust on-going management. In response to a question from Councillor Pope, Councillor M Cook confirmed that the target of 7.5 would not differ next year and the small contracts which had not been on the contract register had been being managed, they had just not been entered on the corporate contract register.
51.8 In relation to the ‘Time to Change’ pledge, Councillor Pope asked whether a room had been made available should staff need to talk privately to someone and the Chief Executive said that a room had been made available on the 2nd floor and there had been a huge response to attend the ‘Employees Working Well’ training.
51.9 Councillor Chisholm asked if there had been an increase in muscular skeletal problems since agile working had been introduced and Councillor M Cook said that this had been raised at the Joint Consultative Group and it had been agreed to bear this in mind. In respect of the adoption of new technology, the Council were always working towards more powerful communications and process automation. The Chair thanked Councillor M Cook for his Portfolio Holder update and Mr Chance for his input.