Agenda and minutes

Call-in, Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 14th August, 2013 5.00 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions

Contact: Felicity Parker  2919


No. Item



Please note: This meeting may be filmed for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council's internet site - at the start of the meeting the Chair will confirm if all or part of the meeting is being filmed. The images and sound recording may be used for training purposes within the Council.


Generally the public seating areas are not filmed. However, by entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.


If you have any queries regarding this, please contact the Committee Clerk

at the meeting.


Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed all present to the meeting.


As the meeting was held in Committee Room 1, it was not webcast.


Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor McNamara, Yvonne Denny, Mariatta Ezeji and Evan Reid.


Councillor Christophides attended as a substitute for Councillor McNamara.


Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Adamou.


Urgent Business

It being a special meeting, under Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 17, of the Council’s Constitution, no other business shall be considered at the meeting.

Additional documents:


It being a special meeting, under Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 17, of the Council’s Constitution, there was no urgent business to discuss.



Declarations of Interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct

Additional documents:


There were no declarations of interest.



To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.

Additional documents:


There were no such items.



i)          Report of the Monitoring Officer (TO FOLLOW)

ii)         Report of the Assistant Chief Executive (TO FOLLOW)

iii)       Appendix (for information only)


a)        Copy of the ‘call-in)

b)        Draft minute extract of the Leader’s Decision held on 30 July 2013.

c)         30 July 2013 Leader’s Decision report - Procurement of a Strategic Partner to support the Customer Services Transformation Programme [CSTP]


A decision on the above item was taken by the Leader at the Cabinet Member Signing on 30 July 2013.  The decision has been called in, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Council’s Constitution, by Councillors Wilson, Reid, Allison, Jenks and Scott.

Additional documents:


The Chair requested that Members and Officers be mindful of the exempt information included in the report, and to keep as much of the discussion in the public domain if possible.  If exempt information needed to be discussed, a resolution would be passed to exclude the press and public from proceedings.


The Chair added that he had raised concerns over the high volume of Leader/Cabinet Member signings.  There was a fair argument that had this decision been taken at Cabinet, then Members would have had the opportunity to raise issues and ask questions, and the decision may not have been called in.  The Chair stated that he was going to discuss this issue with the Leader.


Councillor Wilson introduced the call-in:

·               There was an urgent need to improve the interaction with residents – one in three calls to customer services were not answered, and one in six were not answered within the timeframe. 

·               The decision to spend £1.6m on consultants was a large sum of money to spend, and was not how residents wanted to see money spent.  The decision to spend this amount of money was equivalent to appointing several highly paid officers – why spend this money when there were many high level officers already in the authority? The spend could pay for 53 social workers, or to reopen facilities which had been closed as a result of budget cuts. 

·               The Council’s Corporate Committee had already expressed its concerns over appointing consultants. 

·               An online petition had been launched, with 550 residents signing it over a couple of days.  The decision to appoint consultants would not resolve many of the issues experienced by residents and Members.  The Council needed to look at improving frontline services, and look at the root cause of problems which would result in fewer people needing to call the Council to complain.


Councillor Wilson added that the report was not understandable, and described it as fitting the definition of ‘gobbledegook’.  Many residents also did not understand the report.  There needed to be a clear scope, with clear expectations and outcomes.  Councillor Wilson referred to the budget paper from earlier in the year and stated that it had made no mention of consultants.


Councillor Wilson requested that the report be referred back for a rethink before a decision was taken.


The Chair informed Councillor Wilson that page 11 of the report made it clear that the decision was taken to allocate a maximum spend of £814k and that any other allocation would require a further decision to be taken.  He added that he shared some concerns over how the Council engaged with residents and that new ways of working needed to be looked at in terms of dealing with residents.  It was also concerning that this budget allocation was not included in the budget scrutiny papers.


In response to questions from the Committee and Councillor Wilson, Councillor Goldberg made the following points:

·               It was important that customer services were improved. 

·               There was a need to accept  ...  view the full minutes text for item 245.