MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON FRIDAY, 19 MARCH 2004 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mr G P Price (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J Effemey, Mr V J Morey, Mr A J Mundy, Mr R C Richards, Mr R A Sutton
Mrs B D Clough, Mrs M J Miller
Portfolio Holders :
Mrs T M Butchers, Mr E Fox
Also Present (non voting) :
Mr J A Bowker, Mr A A Taylor
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 24 February 2004 be confirmed.
61. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations at this stage.
62. QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT REPORT 3
(During the course of debate on the following item Mr G P Price declared a personal interest in bridge works as a relative was employed on these and Mr A J Mundy declared a personal interest in environmental matters as a relative was employed in this field.)
The Head of Corporate Policy and Communications outlined details contained within the Quarterly Performance Management report relating to areas coming within the Select Committee’s remit. It was noted that until the appropriate software had been obtained it would be extremely difficult to supply information on a more updated basis.
The Select Committee debated the issues raised for the period 1 October to 31 December 2003. Members believed that there was a need for an indication to be given as to whether performance indicators were national, regional or local. It was noted that the performance indicators included in the report related to those closely linked to the agreed Council priorities. It was however possible to include others where these were required by the Select Committee.
The Head of Corporate Policy and Communications indicated that this was the first opportunity that Select Committees have had in looking at performance management in this format. Members accepted that there was a need to ensure that key achievements were celebrated but a system of exception reporting would be more appropriate. This would help members ensure that resources were being directed according to the needs of the service.
The following issues were raised :-
· Disposal of asbestos waste – proposed changes may require such material having to be transported to Milton Keynes where the nearest licensed site would be located. The Portfolio Holder would confirm details and advise members accordingly.
· Highway inspection under achievement – approved Increase in budget would enable an additional member of staff to be appointed.
· Reinstatements by utilities – insufficient funding for post but agency arrangements being trialed based on income generation to ascertain if post could be self funding.
· Bridge Inspections – works were being capitalised where possible.
· Bus patronage and cycling trips – cost of conducting survey of usage queried. Head of Engineering Services to ascertain and advise the Select Committee.
The Select Committee welcomed the information being made available in respect of performance management. The collection of up to date information was a vital element in this process. It was thought that this was an area that could be addressed as part of the GAGS project.
(a) THAT officers investigate improvements to the QPMR that highlights whether the indicators are set nationally, regionally or locally.
(b) THAT consideration be given to exception reporting.
(c) THAT measures be pursued to provide more up to date information.
63. HIGHWAYS CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2003-04
The Select Committee had before it details of the highway schemes for 2003-04 which were included in the priority assessment at the commencement of the financial year, together with the savings required in November 2003 to enable urgent remedial works to be undertaken. Additionally members were advised of expenditure and commitments for schemes as at the end of February 2004.
In noting the completion of a number of major schemes to strategic corridors and Military Road, members queried the lack of progress on some other schemes ranked high in the priority assessment list. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that tenders for several schemes were well above that budgeted for. This reflected difficulties by contractors in having the capacity to undertake the volume of works for which funding was now being received under the LTP settlement. There was a degree of flexibility within the capital programme which would enable schemes to be carried over to 2004/05.
The Select Committee was advised of the regular monitoring meetings held by officers to oversee the capital programme. The Portfolio Holder had delegated powers to amend the capital programme within certain limits. In addition there was a post scheme monitoring and evaluation exercise undertaken, particularly for safety schemes, aimed at ascertaining whether the cost benefits originally anticipated had been achieved.
The Select Committee discussed how it would wish to monitor the capital programme in the future. Rather than receiving the current monthly financial monitoring paper members suggested that this should be a quarterly basis and indicate virements, amendments and exceptions. Any member could still receive a paper copy of the details as set out in the current format although such information would be available on the Council’s Intranet.
Members discussed expenditure on bus infrastructure and noted the small provision made for bus shelters. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that discussions were ongoing with a private provider willing to supply bus shelters at no cost to the Council provided these could display adverts. The conflict with planning policies required resolving.
With regard to safe routes to schools the target of five for 2003-04 would be achieved and it was intended to include fifteen for 2004-05. One particular problem concerning such schemes was if the school fronted a private street. The Head of Engineering Services explained that the Council had a policy of not undertaking any private street works schemes. The Select Committee considered that the policy might require reviewing in the light of such circumstances.
The Portfolio Holder for Transport reported that he would be reporting to the Executive within the next month on the Highways Capital Programme for 2004-05.
(a) THAT officers agree on the format and content of future quarterly reports on the highways capital programme;
(b) THAT members be directed to use the Council’s Intranet to follow capital expenditure on specific highway schemes but where requested a paper copy of details in the current format be supplied;
(c) THAT the policy on private street works be reviewed and included on the list of items to be debated at the Awayday.
(d) THAT the Head of Engineering Services submit a progress report to the next meeting on the provision of bus shelters.