Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 27th January, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Surrey Heath House

Contact: Andrew Crawford  Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman welcomed Councillor Craig Fennell, the Business Portfolio Holder and reminded Members of the areas under the remit of his Portfolio. He also welcomed Councillor Ruth Hutchinson, Sarah Groom and Daniel Harrison, the newly appointed Executive Head of Business, congratulating him on his appointment.






The minutes of the meeting held on the 2 December 2015 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.




Scrutiny of Portfolio Holders - Business pdf icon PDF 56 KB


Councillor Craig Fennell referred Members to the elements of his brief as Business Portfolio Holder and highlighted the following:


(i)            The Camberley Theatre – There had been a change of management at the Camberley Theatre and a conceptual change on food and drink provision. The food service, including lunchtime provision, which had been opened 18 months previously, with an external food provider, had not proved a success and the food service had been scaled back.


Consideration had been given to seat replacement, with options including refurbishment or replacement. The cheapest option proved to be replacement at a cost or approximately £100,000.


The Pantomime had achieved a net profit of approximately £35,000. Efforts continued to reduce the subsidy needed for the Theatre and the venue would celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016.


The Committee sought clarification on the following:


§    Subsidy Reduction – Members requested a breakdown of Corporate Overheads, in terms of cost and allocation;


§    On-line Booking – Following experience of difficulties in booking and seat selection/allocation, Members sought a breakdown of how this service operated and any plans for improvement;


§    The Future – Members queried the requirement to have a Theatre and sought an indication of the Council’s commitment to this venue, going forward.


(ii)           Green Space – The Green Space Team operated and maintained a number of parks in the Borough. Recent developments include the opening of 3G pitch facilities. The business plan had set an occupancy target of 60%. To date, £79,000 had been accrued, but expenditure had been reduced, giving a net profit of £44,000 against an expected return of £37,000.


Pistachio’s Café – The contract for this venue, in Frimley Lodge Park, had been put out to tender and it was anticipated that a new partner would be opening the Café again within 6 weeks’ time.


Lightwater Country Park – The Visitors Centre was currently the subject of a major revamp, including an extension and refurbishment of toilet and café facilities.


Events – It was planned to drive revenue gain through more events in the Council’s parks.


Arena Leisure Centre – The Centre contract had been extended by 3 years, to allow time to consider future options.


Leisure Leases – The Green Space Team advised property officers on ability to pay when leisure leases were re-issued.


Sports Development – The Council’s Sports Development Officer was heavily involved in pushing forward and developing sports in the Borough. Sports demand across the Borough was evolving, with some seeing participation in decline, such as football, but others growing, such as adult netball which had seen growth of 20%.


The Committee sought clarification on the following:


§    Model Railway – Frimley Lodge Park – It was understood that the miniature railway had previously had operating difficulties, particularly in terms of opening times. Members requested an update on this facility;


§    Walking Football – Given the growth of Walking Football for the over 50s, Members sought assurances that suitable venues would be considered in the Borough;


§  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/PF


Update on Car Park Strategy pdf icon PDF 56 KB


The Executive Head of Business noted that many areas of the Car Park Strategy had been considered during the previous item. He highlighted the following developments:


(i)            Ticketing – A new ticketing system had been introduced making a lot more data available on line;


(ii)           Payments by Phone – Payment for Camberley Town Centre parking by mobile phone was under development and it was hoped that this could be introduced in the future;


(iii)          Town Centre Car Parks – Town Centre car parks had been the subject of major refurbishment, including new lifts, improved lighting and floors, producing an improved environment for customers;


(iv)         Parking Enforcement – This had previously made a loss, but was now breaking even;


Members highlighted difficulties with enforcement, when, in some areas, parking on pavements caused considerable difficulties for pedestrians, whilst in others, drivers were required to do so.


The Committee requested further information on strategies for on street parking.


(v)          Out of Town Parking – Officers had been reviewing current arrangements on out of town parking, recognising the impact that parking changes imposed by the Council could have on local residents. A report on out of town parking arrangements would be considered at a future meeting of the Executive, when the costs and benefits of policies such as charging would be considered.


Members noted the practice in some Boroughs of charging for or preventing parking at lunchtime, to discourage commuter parking and the Portfolio Holder was asked to look at this as another option in out of town parking consideration.


(vi)         Marketing – The Council was working closely with partners to promote Camberley Town Centre and parking was key to their strategies, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.


Members noted that some residents did not have smart phones and could be penalised if all information in areas such as availability of parking places was provided on-line, without alternative methods. Details were requested on what other methods were being considered.


(vii)        Revenue Streams – Members noted that a parking Strategy Report had been considered in 2013. At previous meetings, the Committee had been informed that this Strategy would generate good revenue streams. This had not been covered in this report and the Committee asked for revenue data, including a comparison to data dating from 2013 and comparator data for the Council’s immediate closest neighbouring boroughs.


Resolved, that


(i)            The report be noted; and


(ii)          The information requested by Members be circulated electronically prior to the next meeting.




Mid Year Performance Report pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Additional documents:


The Transformation Team Manager presented a report on performance data for the period 1 April to 30 September 2015 and provided a verbal update on indicative outcomes for Quarter 3.


(i)            The Camberley Theatre – Additional income generation targets had been missed for 3 Quarters;


(ii)           Complaints – targets had been missed in terms of the percentage of stage 2 and 3 complaints responded to within 10 days. 80% had been achieved in Quarter 1, 50% in Quarter 2 and 60% in Quarter 3.This could, however, reflect the complexity of the cases involved.


Members queried whether complaints responded to meant that or resolved, whether the response sent would be computer generated and if there were delays, would the complainants get correspondence indicating progress?


The Transformation Team Manager confirmed that, at Stages 2 and 3, complainants would receive a letter from a Head of Service, responding to the specific complaint. Where there was a delay against the target resolution date, the complainants were appraised of the delay and reasoning. When the numbers of complaints were low, 3 to 4 complaints could significantly affect percentage outcomes.


Members requested further details, particularly in respect of what areas complaints were made against, what happens when complaints are escalated, what happens if complaints are found to be justified or not and what measures are in place to learn from complaints.


(iii)          Customer Contacts - the target increase of customer contact undertaken via a self-service channel had been missed;


Members challenged the ‘Red/Amber/Green (RAG)’ colour coding of indicators. Whilst ‘Green’ was supposed to indicate that the indicator was on target, with a tick if completed, in Key Priority 1 (Improved Camberley Town Centre) in which all 3 targets listed had end dates of March 2016 and were marked as green, none of these appeared to be on target and in the case of the Arena Leisure Centre, unlikely to be completed in the next 3 years.


The Committee asked for further information, prior to the next meeting including the requested update on complaints and a review of the RAG reporting against actual achievement.


Resolved, that


(i)            The Executive be advised of the Committee’s concerns in relation to the RAG Report colour coding; and


(ii)          The Transformation Team Manager be asked to arrange for further data to be circulated to the Committee, prior to its March 2016 meeting, on complaints, including what areas of Council work complaints were made on, what happened when complaints were escalated, what actions were taken if resolution was delayed and what measures were in place to learn from complaints.




Mid-Year Finance Report pdf icon PDF 129 KB


The Committee considered a report on the Revenue, Treasury and Capital position for the first half of 2015/16.


Revenue - In terms of the Revenue Budget, the Acting Senior Accountant reported that:


(i)            Services – Overall, services were expected to be £250,000 under budget at the end of the year, with the savings target of £250,000 and a small overspend in one area offset by savings and income elsewhere;


(ii)           Interest Received – Despite the turbulence faced in the financial year, it was likely that interest received would exceed targets;


(iii)          Wages and Salaries - An underspend of £77,000 was expected on wages and salaries by the year end; and


(iv)         Income – The Council had a strategy of generating additional income and had been particularly successful in its investments in property.


Capital Budget – Of the allocated £19.773 million allocated in 2015/16, £17.289 million had been spent to date, mainly on property acquisition. These had been funded through borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board and/or the Local Enterprise Partnership.


Sundry Debt – As at 30 September 2015, there were invoices unpaid totalling £606,000, of which £218,000 related to one invoice from Surrey County Council.


Housing Benefit Debt – As at 30 September 2015, this stood at £643,000.


In response to Members questions, the Acting Senior Accountant reported that:


Iceland - £676,000 remained in Icelandic Banks in local currency.


Reporting Processes – The report, when drafted, was reviewed by the Corporate Management Team and then considered by the Executive, before coming to this Committee.


Members expressed concerns about the delay in and therefore the value of the data being reported to the Committee and asked the Acting Senior Accountant to:


(ii)        Discuss with the Executive Head of Finance ways to get more up to date data to this Committee;


(ii)        Provide more financial detail in the annexes to the report;


(iii)       Provide an Executive Summary, with a headline figure and a feel for the overall expenditure and income; and


(v)          Circulate more detail on the Camberley Theatre Budget.


Resolved, that


(i)            The report be noted; and


(ii)          The information requested by Members be circulated electronically prior to the next meeting.




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 53 KB

To review the work programme for the final meeting of 2015/16.




The work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2015/16 was considered and agreed by the Committee.


It was noted that the Committee would be required, at its next meeting, to set a work programme for the 2016/17 municipal year.  The proposed meeting dates for 2016/17 were noted.


Resolved, that the work programme, attached at Annex A to the Committee report, be agreed.




Exclusion of the Press and Public


In accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public were excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as set out below:






34/PF (Part)








Councillor Wynne Price in the Chair.



Working Groups


The Committee considered the establishment of a Task and Finish Group to address Members’ concerns over the future health of shopping streets in the Borough and agreed to the establishment of a Task and Finish Group.


Membership would be nominated by the Group Leaders, with Councillor Edward Hawkins asked to chair the Group. The Group would be asked to develop draft terms of reference for consideration at the Committee’s meeting on 23 March 2016.




Review of Exempt Items


The Committee reviewed the report which had been considered at the meeting following the exclusion of the Press and Public, as it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information.


            Resolved, that Minute 34/PF and the associated Committee considerations remain exempt for the present time.