Agenda and minutes

Corporate, Finance and Property Select Committee
Tuesday, 7th September, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Liz Penny  01895 250185

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Cllr Richard Lewis.


Declarations of Interest in matters coming before this meeting


There were no declarations of interest.


To receive the minutes of the previous meeting dated 20 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 132 KB


Councillor Eginton requested an update regarding disability access to the Hillingdon Trail as discussed at the meeting of the Select Committee dated 20 July 2021. Democratic Services confirmed that the matter had been raised with the Head of Green Spaces, Sport and Culture who had confirmed that the option of kissing gates to replace stiles would be explored further.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 20 July 2021 be agreed as an accurate record.


To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in Public and that the items marked as Part II will be considered in Private


It was confirmed that items 1-10 were in Part I and would be considered in public and item 11 was in Part II and would be considered in private.


Review: Performance Monitoring and Reporting in Hillingdon Council pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:


Naveed Mohammed, Head of Business Performance and Insight, introduced the report which provided an overview of how the tracking of performance and provision of insight data were arranged in the Council and how data was used to shape operational delivery and the strategic development of services.


Members heard that the Council routinely gathered a wide spectrum of data across all directorates for a number of purposes – to ensure services were being delivered efficiently to meet the needs of residents, to plan for the future development of services and to satisfy statutory returns. It was confirmed that the Council provided over 700 services to local residents. To ensure that directorate and service colleagues had the support needed, the Council had brought together the performance resource into a central team comprising 12 FTE. This approach was beneficial as it facilitated a better use of resources with members of the corporate team having expertise across multiple areas of the Council’s business. It also ensured improved transparency and provided an opportunity to challenge services if necessary.


The Select Committee heard that the process for developing the data was straightforward. Services were responsible for inputting data into case management systems while Business Performance were responsible for extracting the data and developing the reports necessary for the services to carry out their business. The level of support individual directorates received was dependent on 3 factors – risk, status and volume of activity. Children’s Care, Housing and Adult Social Care were high risk departments which required weekly reports therefore had a dedicated resource. In respect of other departments, analysts were each given responsibility for 2+ areas. This arrangement ensured sufficient coverage of analytical support whilst giving analysts an opportunity to develop understanding and expertise across multiple functions.


Members were informed that operational outputs varied depending on the needs of the service areas. For statutory, high risk services there was a requirement for regular weekly / monthly data. Examples included weekly analysis of Locata applications for housing and the monthly team’s dashboard for Adults. Data that was more strategic or where there was benchmarking was produced quarterly (ChAT, LIIA). In addition to reporting at service level, Members heard that there was corporate reporting to CMT in the form of a balanced scorecard. Key metrics at service level were selected and reported to CMT on a quarterly basis. This report tracked performance and included targets and a ‘traffic-light system’ with indicators off target flagged as Red.


It was confirmed that, in addition to performance data, the Business Performance Team was responsible for the analysis of data to establish patterns and trends. Such information was crucial when planning for strategic changes or service redesign. Finally, the service supported individual projects with ad hoc analyses; examples included a study of the educational performance of white boys and work on Covid-19 to help the Council better target local interventions to support residents.


In terms of data sources and tools, Select Committee Members were advised that the main tools used by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Information Governance (Data Protection) pdf icon PDF 85 KB


Raj Alagh, Borough Solicitor, presented the report. Members were informed that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had come into force in May 2018 introducing a new set of laws and procedures. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) had also been enacted in May 2018 bringing GDPR into English domestic law and the two statutes needed to be read together. GDPR and the DPA provided a composite set of rules for safeguarding data in the UK. GDPR required all organisations to appoint a statutory Data Protection Officer and Raj Alagh as Borough Solicitor had been appointed to this role in January 2018. The Data Protection Officer and his team had worked to prepare the Council for the new data protection regime. Approximately 12 policies had been devised and training provided across the Council for all officers and Councillors. Verbal training had been provided together with a compulsory online GDPR training module which continued to be rolled out on an annual basis.


Members were informed that, under new GDPR rules, consent to process a person’s data had to be provided in writing and an individual had the right to withdraw consent, request erasure of their personal data or correction to their data at any point. Individuals also now had the right to submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) asking for information held by the Council about them to be disclosed to them. A large number of SARs were received by the Council and there was no longer a £10 fee chargeable for this service. In respect of SARs, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had found that the majority of local authorities (including Hillingdon) were not complying with the one-month timeframe within which they needed to respond. Therefore, in October 2019, the Borough Solicitor had attended a Senior Managers’ Conference at which he had emphasised the importance of complying with SARs to avoid the ICO taking enforcement action against the Council. Since then performance had improved significantly and compliance now stood at approximately 90% which was acceptable.


The Committee heard that one area of concern related to data breaches. It was recognised that there was always scope for human error and a couple of significant breaches had been recorded in recent years. All breaches had to be reported to the Monitoring Officer, no matter how minor they appeared to be. In cases where it was felt that a breach compromised the rights and freedoms of an individual, it had to be reported to the ICO within 72 hours. Failure to do so could result in a significant fine.


It was noted that resourcing was somewhat limited – the Borough Solicitor was responsible for assessing data breaches and, where necessary, reporting them to the ICO; an Information Governance Lawyer dealt with day to day matters and Glen Egan did a lot of work on FOIs and provided training on FOIs and SARs. During the pandemic a large number of officers had been obliged to work from home therefore had needed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Hillingdon Digital Connectivity Strategy pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:


Sajad Rashid, ICT Project Manager, presented the report noting that the Digital Connectivity Strategy had been considered at Cabinet on 2 September. There were 3 strands to the Strategy:


1)    Digital place - to uplift the structure of the Borough. Current data showed that the level of Full Fibre was 5% in Hillingdon compared to an average of 20% in West London;

2)    Digital Council – Hillingdon wanted to be investor ready to encourage investment in the Borough; and

3)    Digital Inclusion – the pandemic had highlighted the fact that many people were unable to access the internet due to the Digital Poverty.


In February 2021, a consultancy team had been set up led by Perry Scott. A steering group was held every six weeks with all the services within the Borough to ensure transparency. The aim was to achieve a single channel of digital inclusion for the Borough. In terms of progress to date, a Wayleave Agreement had been signed with Openreach who had agreed to invest approximately £7m in telecoms exchanges including 7 in the Borough – 2 of these had already been uplifted to Fibre Optic. Openreach were currently doing surveys for the Council to uplift social housing in multiple dwelling units. Moreover, Wayleave agreements had been signed with Community Fibre who had agreed to assist to Full-Fibre the Borough’s social housing and to provide 10 free Full-Fibre connections for community centres or community spaces. With regards to 4G, Telefonica had expressed a desire to upgrade their network availability across the Borough by installing 4G small cells technology which would alleviate the network congestion they were experiencing. In terms of 5G, few operators were trying to come into the Borough at present. However, some planning applications had been received. Fortunately planning colleagues had agreed to consult with the Digital Connectivity project team to establish whether the applications were viable or otherwise.


In response to Members’ requests for further clarification, it was explained that Fibre Optic was underground therefore there was no requirement for large boxes on the surface; however, small boxes on telegraph poles were a possibility and there would be more boxes on buildings. For 4G and 5G small cells there would be additional cabinets on streets and boxes placed on columns. 5G technology necessitated the erection of 20m masts hence was likely to have the most significant impact on the street scene. It was confirmed that BT work was predominantly under the ground and, once in place, the fibres could be used by residents or businesses with any provider as they all rented the same line.


In response to their enquiries, Members heard that Fibre Optic was essential for future proofing as this technology was required for 5G small cells. It was not thought that any other boroughs in the West London Alliance had signed agreements with Openreach. The benefit of Openreach was that it offered open access so any provider could rent the line whereas Community Fibre did not offer this flexibility. In terms  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Complaint & Service Monitoring 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 301 KB


Ian Anderson, Business Manager – Complaints and Enquiries, presented the report which set out an overview of complaints and Members’ Enquiries received between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. It was noted that data was provided over a 5 year period and the outcome of all Ombudsman investigations were included in the report at the request of Councillors. Members were informed that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on the numbers of complaints and Members’ Enquiries received – with more informal complaints,  less formal complaints recorded, fewer Ombudsman investigations completed and 502 compliments recorded with wildflowers being an area for which residents had sent most compliments. Overall fewer Members’ Enquiries were recorded and this was as a result of the impact of Covid 19 and the restrictions in place.


In relation to Members’ Enquiries by Ward, it was confirmed that figures for Uxbridge South were misleading as all enquiries submitted with no specific location were automatically logged against the Civic Centre, which was then recorded against Uxbridge South Ward. Alternative options would be explored to rectify this discrepancy. Moreover, Members were advised that some clarity as to what constituted a Members’ Enquiry as opposed to a service request would be beneficial as this was a grey area.


In response to Members’ requests for clarification, it was confirmed that all Members’ Enquiries were recorded on the Council’s Onyx database. . Members were informed that a move to a Goss system was being investigated; it was envisaged that this would be a more efficient and receptive system which would provide better self-service options. It was hoped that it would be possible to perform text analytics on complaints in the future.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the contents of the report and provided any comments to officers as appropriate.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:


Members enquired whether it would be possible to receive further details of the Financial Assistance to Hillingdon’s local voluntary organisations item due to be considered by Cabinet in December 2021.


It was agreed that Democratic Services would ask officers to attend the November meeting of the Select Committee to provide further information on this if possible.


RESOLVED: That the Corporate, Finance and Property Select Committee noted and commented on items going to Cabinet.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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It was noted that a number of witnesses would be requested to attend the October meeting of the Select Committee in relation to the Performance Monitoring and Reporting review.


RESOLVED: That the Corporate, Finance and Property Select Committee considered the report and agreed any amendments.


Cyber Security


The minutes to this item were declared as exempt from publication as they involve the disclosure of information in accordance with paragraph 7 of Part 1 of the Schedule 12(A) to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) in that the report containsinformation relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime and that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.