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Apologies for absence
There were no apologies for absence announced.
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th July 2022 (circulated previously be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Councillor Yabsley abstained as he was not present at the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
(Please complete the enclosed form or telephone the Corporate and Community Services Unit to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary).
There were no declarations of interest announced.
Report by North Devon Council Accountancy Services Manager (attached).
The Joint Committee considered a report by North Devon Council Accountancy Services Manager (circulated previously) regarding the 2022/23 Q2 Forecast Building Control Partnership Trading Account.
The Head of Planning, Housing and Health presented the figures up to the end of August 2022.
He advised that it was a challenging trading environment for the service at the current time with the added pressure of additional significant costs through the employment of temporary agency staff. This combined with the decreasing fee income to the service, had significantly impacted the outturn. To address the shortfall, the partnership had utilised the operating surplus from the previous year, which had been put into the reserves to provide protection if required. However, that security would not be available going forward and the service would be facing increased net costs for both Councils at the end of the financial year.
The Joint Committee acknowledged the situation that the partnership currently faced.
RESOLVED, that the report be noted.
Report by Principle Building Surveyor - North Devon Council (attached).
The Principle Building Surveyor for North Devon Council provided an update (circulated previously) regarding the Building Control Business update.
He advised that the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) activity reports showed a strong quarter one and that was demonstrated by the volume of applications together with income. However, quarter two had seen application numbers reduce considerably, although the overall market share had dropped in quarter one to 75% but stabilised and improved slightly to 76% by the end of quarter two.
He explained that the market share in the housing sector had recovered in quarter one to 39% and appeared to have stabilised to 40% at the end of quarter two. Difficulties with resourcing were clearly having an impact on the partnership’s ability to respond and function. The figures in the table marked with an astrix did not include the figures for September.
Following the departure of the Technical Support Team Leader the partnership had been unable to access information from the system to populate the report. Based on the figures available and the increase in response times owing to pressures on resources. Quarter one showed an increase to 12 days the first response and Quarter two showed the figures slipping further to 13 days for the first two months of the second quarter. All decisions had been made within two months, the statutory obligations had been met, but applications examined within three weeks had suffered and for the first two months of the Quarter two had dropped to 41%.
Whilst the current market share remained strong, the current trend in lengthening response times would eventually have a negative impact on the volume of work the Partnership attracted and the income it received.
In summary, the first six months of this financial year had been a tale of two halves. As previously reported, the change to the Building Regulations and the deadline for submission in June 2022 explained the front loading of the income and application volume. It was likely the reduced numbers submitted in Q2 had been as a direct result of applications being submitted earlier than they would have been without the change/deadline. But given the uncertainty surrounding the economy it would be unwise to assume the drop in numbers was solely due to the front loading of applications as a result of the regulation changes and the deadline. Reflecting on the historic data and in particular application figures since the Partnership formed, they indicated that the partnership was about where it had been anticipated that it should be for the midway point of the financial year in terms of application volume.
Since the last Committee meeting a further four employees had either resigned or were no longer employed by the Partnership. The additional departures were two Senior Building Control Surveyors, a Building Control Surveyor and the Technical Support Team Leader.
In summary since September 2022, the Partnership had seen the following departures:
· Building Control Surveyor – Retired.
· Building Control Manager – Retired.
· Principal Building Control Surveyor ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Dates and locations of future meetings. To agree dates and locations of future meetings of the Committee for 2022/23.
· Thursday 16th February 2023 at 9.30am.
(NOTE: Unless otherwise agreed the Joint Committee must meet at least on a quarterly basis with the meeting held at 10.00am and the offices of the Chairman’s partner authority).
The Joint Committee noted the scheduled dates of the meetings for 2022/23, which were scheduled to be held on the following date:
· Thursday 16th February 2023 at 9.30am.
(a) That the date for the next meeting be noted; and
(b) That from 16th February 2023 onwards, the time of the meetings would change to a 10.00am start.