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Contract Services Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the CONTRACT SERVICES COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 14 August 2001 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BILL CROWE, IAN ANGUS, FRANK ELLIS, JOY MOWATT, GEORGE NORRIE MBE and BILL ROBERTON.

Councillor CROWE, Convener, in the Chair.

Prior to the commencement of business, the Convener, on behalf of the Committee, welcomed Councillor Angus to his first meeting of the Committee in his capacity as Vice-Convener.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 29 May 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. PUBLIC BUILDING CLEANING ­ CLIENT MONITORING 2000/2001

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 May 2000, there was submitted Report No 861/01 by the Director of Property Services which outlined the monitoring of notified complaints in respect of the Public Building Cleaning contract carried out by Contract Services.

The Report concluded that, on the basis of the complaints recorded, it was clear that Contract Services continued to provide a very satisfactory standard of service in accordance with the terms of the contract.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to note the contents of the Report.

3. ANNUAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORT ­ APRIL 2000 TO MARCH 2001

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 862/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee of significant health and safety issues relating to the Contract Services Department which had occurred during the year 2000/2001 and setting out a Health and Safety Action Plan for the coming year. The Report advised that safe working practices had greatly improved throughout the year through consultation with staff.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

4. SICKNESS ABSENCE ­ APRIL TO JUNE 2001

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 863/01 by the Contract Services Manager which detailed sickness absence within Contract Services for the period April to June 2001, compared with the same period in 2000.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

5. OVERTIME INCURRED FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2000/2001

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 864/01 by the Contract Services Manager which detailed the levels of overtime incurred by Contract Services for the financial year 2000/2001, compared with 1999/2000.

The Report concluded that although, at first glance, the overtime level appeared high, it should be considered in comparison with the overall turnover of £10.676m and a workforce of approximately 550. As Contract Services was a labour intensive activity, it was considered that the overtime spent was at an acceptable level.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

6. ACADEMIC TRAINING

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 15 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 865/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee of the overall level of support given by Contract Services to staff seeking academic qualifications in the financial year 2000/2001. The Report indicated that 19 employees were currently being supported by the service in respect of various qualifications.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

7. PERFORMANCE NETWORKS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 16 November 1999, there was submitted Report No 866/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee of the decision he had taken to participate in Performance Networks for a further year. The Report indicated that the project had proved to be of significant value with all Scottish local authorities participating and several benchmarking groups being established on both a Scottish and UK wide basis.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to homologate the decision made by the Contract Services Manager, following consultation with the Convener, the Director of Recreation Services and the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, to participate in Performance Networks for a further year.

8. INVESTORS IN PEOPLE

There was submitted Report No 867/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee on the progress made by Contract Services to obtain Investors in People status.

The Report indicated that due to the diverse nature of Contract Services, a departmental decision had been taken, after consultation with the Personnel Department, to progress this on a "building block" basis splitting qualification into three sections, namely Ground Maintenance, Cleansing Services and Leisure Management. In order to realistically assess the current status, the Department, in conjunction with the Personnel Department, had arranged for an independent appraisal to be carried out by Scottish Enterprise Tayside on the Ground Maintenance Section. SET's Report had concluded that there was much good practice in the Ground Maintenance Section, particularly the information about the availability of training and development opportunities. It had also identified some areas where action was required, for example, on evaluating training and in some aspects of induction and these would be addressed. A copy of the full Report had been placed in the Members' Lounge for information.

The Report advised that, with regard to future action, it was intended that a meeting be held in the near future with the Personnel Department and the external appraiser to determine what additional action was required to achieve Investor in People status and to reconsider whether to continue on a "building block" basis or to submit the Department for assessment as a single unit.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

9. FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE 2000/2001

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 6 March 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 868/01 by the Contract Services Manager and the Director of Finance informing the Committee of the unaudited financial performance by Contract Services in the financial year 2000/2001.

The Report indicated that the declared surplus of £229,000 did not truly reflect the overall performance of the Department throughout the financial year. This figure took into account the loss of £152,000 on non-defined CCT activities. The vast majority of the non-defined activities was work for which the Department had not been given the opportunity to tender. The actual surplus generated from CCT activities was therefore £381,000.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report and commended the staff on achieving the results referred to within it.

10. SERVICE PLAN 2001-2004

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 May 2000, there was submitted Report No 871/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee of the production of the Service Plan for the Contract Services Department for the period 2001-2004. The Plan detailed the current status of Contract Services and outlined the priority actions required to be undertaken in the financial years 2001-2004. The Plan would be continuously reviewed and amended to register the development of the service, the progress made in achieving its objectives and, as necessary, the establishment of new objectives.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the content of the Contract Services Department Service Plan for the period 2001-2004; and
  2. to note that specific issues would be brought before the Committee, as required.

11. POLICY ON BABIES USING SWIMMING POOLS

There was submitted Joint Report No 869/01 by the Director of Recreation Services and the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee of the current situation with regard to parents bringing along young babies to use swimming pool facilities operated by Angus Council and introducing new guidelines that would improve the service on offer to patrons.

The Report indicated that, following several enquiries from parents wishing to take their baby swimming at a young age, it had been decided to update information on the subject and then formulate a policy that gave a degree of consistency and standardisation in the way the issue was dealt with at all swimming pools operated and managed by Angus Council. The Report stressed that there was a need to give greater awareness to the potential for babies and the infirm to succumb to infections that could be transmitted in the water. Information contained in Operating Procedure OP.5.5ALL, together with information leaflets which were appended to the Report, would assist staff to prevent such events from occurring.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the procedures detailed in Operating Procedure OP.5.5ALL (Appendix 1 to the Report) with regard to parents and any other responsible person bringing babies into swimming pools operated and managed by Angus Council.

12. SINGLE STATUS ­ 37 HOUR WORKING WEEK ­ UPDATE

There was submitted Report No 870/01 by the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee on the progress being made towards the introduction of a 37 hour working week from 1 April 2002 in accordance with the National Single Status Agreement. The Report indicated that under the National Agreement there was a requirement for all Scottish local authorities to introduce a 37 hour working week for all employees by 1 April 2002. Contract Services would be affected more than most Departments by the reduction of working hours due to the predominant method of financing being based on contract works, whereby income was directly related to the quantity of work undertaken. Meetings had been held in all sections of the Department to assess the overall effect and to seek to optimise the method of meeting the National Agreement. From these meetings, it had been obvious that different solutions would need to be found for the varying sections and investigations were therefore continuing to minimise the additional expenditure. Proposals on how the Department could meet the national deadline were outlined in the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to note that finalised recommendations would be brought forward in time to meet the national deadline.

13. ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE EXCELLENCE (APSE)

The Committee agreed to note that the Contract Services Manager had been re-appointed to the APSE UK National Council as one of two Scottish representatives.