IRVINE, 6 May 2008 - At a Meeting of the Scrutiny Committee of North Ayrshire Council at 10.00 am.
Matthew Brown, Andrew Chamberlain, Alex Gallagher, Pat McPhee, David Munn, Alan Munro and Robert Rae.
J. Montgomery, Policy and Performance Manager, J. Murray, Community Planning Co-ordinator and M. Anderson, Corporate Support Officer (Chief Executive's).
Councillor Brown in the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
Jean Highgate and John Hunter.
1. The Work of the Community Planning Partnership
The Committee received a presentation by Justina Murray, Community Planning Co-ordinator on the work of the Community Planning Partnership (CPP), including information on the background to the CPP and its structure, its key partners, the aims, vision and priorities of the partnership, the Community Plan, the People's Panel and current agenda in terms of Fairer North Ayrshire, the Single Outcome Agreement and the Compact Agreement. A DVD, "North Ayrshire: A Better Life" was also shown. Copies of the DVD, together with the Community Plan 2006-2016 Summary document, were made available at the meeting.
Members raised a number of points, including the following:-
The criteria for inclusion in the CPP;
The importance of encouraging direct community involvement in the work of the CPP;
The key issues identified by the CPP, together with its successes and failures, over recent years;
Sources of funding and the issues arising from reductions in "ring-fenced" money;
Key areas of expenditure by the CPP;
The delivery to date of tangible improvements in areas such as the Three Towns and the Vineburgh area of in Irvine;
The importance of identifying key priorities for the CPP and the effective measurement of outcomes;
'Spend to save' as a key issue for the Fairer North Ayrshire fund;
Resources available to support the community planning process;
The implications of the Single Outcome Agreement for improved joint working ; and
The role of the Scrutiny Committee in examining the work of the CPP.
The Committee agreed to receive (a) a Regeneration Outcome Agreement annual report in September 2008; and (b) further reports arising from the work of the Community Planning Partnership.
2. Future of the Scrutiny Function
Submitted report by the Chief Executive on options for the future of the scrutiny function.
At an informal meeting on 21 April 2008, Members of the Scrutiny Committee considered the work carried out by the Committee to date, areas of its remit not yet exercised, and options for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the scrutiny function. The meeting concluded that the undernoted arrangements would be effective in addressing the issues identified:-
Maintaining the existing membership of the Scrutiny Committee, but ensuring wider involvement of elected Members by co-opting them as required onto ad hoc working groups;
Increasing the frequency of Scrutiny Committee meetings from 3-weekly to fortnightly, alternating where possible between a meeting focussing on the performance/audit function and a meeting concentrating on investigative/review work;
Ensuring that, when presenting performance reports, Corporate Directors and other officers are invited to address only performance lows and immediate priorities;
Requesting that officers improve performance reporting by prioritising their reported priorities and ensuring greater clarity/consistency in the presentation of information in the form of graphs;
Continuing to receive 6-monthly performance reports for each Service grouping, but with the proviso that the Committee may request more frequent reporting on areas of concern and less frequent reporting of service areas showing satisfactory/good performance;
Ensuring that the Committee has a more proactive involvement in agreeing its own work programme through the regular involvement of the Chair and Vice Chair in setting Agendas; and
Requesting the Policy and Performance Manager to write annually to all elected Members and senior officers, as well as stakeholders to identify potential topics for investigation by the Scrutiny Committee.
The Committee agreed (a) to adopt the revised arrangements set out in the report, for review at the end of 2008; (b) to recommend to the Council that the agreed Committee timetable be revised to accommodate 2-weekly meetings of the Scrutiny Committee; and (c) that, pending consideration of the Committee timetable at the next meeting of the Council, additional, Special Meetings of the Scrutiny Committee be arranged as necessary.
3. Future Agenda Items
The Committee agreed that the operation and management of Community Service be the subject of a report to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.