This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on Thursday 9th June 2022. Any recommendations that are made by the Committee on this subject will be reported for the Executive Committee’s consideration in a supplementary pack.
The Head of Business Transformation, Organisational Development and Digital Strategy presented the Council Plan, including the Restoration and Recovery Plan, for Members’ consideration.
The Executive Committee was informed that the existing Council Plan had been reviewed at a series of workshops attended by Portfolio Holders and senior officers. The intention of these workshops was to provide an opportunity to review whether the content of the Council Plan remained relevant and viable, following the Covid-19 pandemic. At the workshops no changes had been suggested to the Council’s strategic purposes or priorities. However, it had been proposed that the green thread, which ran throughout the plan, should also become a specific priority within the Council Plan.
The Restoration and Recovery Plan had been developed by Officers in 2020/21 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the actions detailed in the plan had already been delivered or were in the process of being delivered and a further refresh of the plan was not considered necessary.
During consideration of this item, Members noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had pre-scrutinised the Council Plan at a meeting held on 9th June 2022. The Committee had highlighted the need for action in respect of brown bins, as part of action on the green thread. Members commented that the comments made in respect of this matter by the Committee were valid and reflected the importance of the green thread. However, it was also noted that the Government was due to issue legislation which would provide further clarification as to whether brown bin services would be free or subject to a charge moving forward. In this context, Members commented that it would be appropriate to refrain from amending the content of the Council Plan in respect of this matter at this stage until that legislative position had been clarified.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had also commented on the need for the Council Plan to reflect the importance not just of recruiting suitably qualified employees but also of staff retention. Members commented that this was a high priority for the Council and a crucial consideration in respect of the authority’s recruitment process.
Members noted that within the report reference had been made to the agile working policy in place for Council staff. Whilst Members recognised that this was an effective and efficient way of working, a request was made for the report to also clarify that face-to-face work would continue in order to meet the needs of customers who were unable or unwilling to use digital technology. It was agreed that further information about the division of time for staff between remote and home working would be helpful.
Reference was made to the requirement for Councils to introduce a food waste collection service and to extend garden waste collection services in the future. Members raised concerns about the need to think carefully about any charges levied for these services, particularly for residents living in flats who did not have access to gardens. There was general consensus that the Government’s requirements would need to be reviewed carefully and the approach adopted by other Councils would be taken into account to ensure that lessons were learned.
Consideration was given to the progress that was being made by the Council in terms of achieving the authority’s strategic purposes and priorities and questions were raised about the potential for data to be shared with Members in respect of this matter. Officers clarified that the Council was in the process of developing a new corporate dashboard that would contain a lot of useful data that could be accessed by Members. There would be reports on the subject for Members’ consideration and it was anticipated that Members would also be able to access the data online in the future.
1) the Council Plan Addendum 2022/23 be approved and included alongside the current RBC Council Plan 2020/24; and
2) the Recovery and Restoration Plan 2020/21 be agreed and closed.