Agenda and minutes

Policy Development Committee - Thursday, 5th January, 2023 6.30 pm

Venue: Barum Room - Brynsworthy. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

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No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished the Committee and officers a Happy New Year.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Roome.


To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 8th December 2022 (to follow).


The Chair advised that the minutes of the previous meeting, which was held on 8th December 2022 were not yet ready for publication owing to the sickness absence of the Clerk who supported the meeting.


He added that the minutes would be published at the earliest convenience following her return to work.


Declarations of Interest.

(Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team 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.


Corporate Plan Delivery Highlight Report - report by Head of Programme Management & Performance pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive addressed the Committee and advised that the members of the Senior Management Team were also in attendance at the meeting should they wish to ask any questions.

The Committee considered a report by the Head of Programme Management and Performance (circulated previously) regarding the Corporate Plan delivery highlight report.

The Head of Programme Management and Performance advised that this was the first time that a report of this type had been produced and that it followed on from the restructure of the Senior Management Team in September 2021. The newly appointed Heads of Service with the support of from the new Programme Management Office (PMO) were tasked with establishing five programmes within each of their portfolio areas to support the delivery of the Council’s Corporate Plan objectives, which were as follows:

·       We achieve Financial Security (FS).

·       We become focussed on delivering the best for our citizens (CF).

·       Our Environment is cherished and protected (E).

·       We plan for North Devon’s Future (NDF).


She outlined the overarching theme of Financial Security together with the associated Medium Term Financial Strategy and the Commercialisation Strategy, which sat above the five programmes and was assigned to the Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive. There were four Key Performance Indicators under Financial Security, where were:

·       A balanced budget.

·       Council Tax collected as a percentage of budgeted collectable debt.

·       Financial return on Commercialisation Activity.

·       Decreasing financial debt (old aged debt).


The five emerging programmes were each assigned to a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) and were as follows:

1.    Customer Focus/Digital by Design – Head of Customer Focus.

2.    Environmental Enhancement – Head of Environmental Enhancement.

3.    Housing and Community Safety – Head of Planning, Housing and Health.

4.    Regeneration and Economic Growth – Head of Place, Property and Regeneration.

5.    Organisational Development – Head of Organisational Development.


She went on to explain the progress of the programmes and those 44 projects sitting under those programme umbrellas highlighting the detailed information, which was set out in section four of the report. The operational service plans sat below those programmes and each Head of Service was in attendance at the meeting to present any new actions within their services plans to the Committee.

The Committee thanked the Head of Programme Management for her clear and informative report.

In response to questions, the Head of Programme Management advised the following:

·       In terms of the frequency of reporting on the progress of the plan, officers were in the process of developing a Performance ManagementStrategy, which would be considered by the Strategy and Resources Committee and it would be for the Policy Development Committee to decide on the frequency of the report.

·       Officers were currently in the process of inputting the information onto the Pentana system and once this had been completed reports could be generated from the system.

·       Officers were also exploring how the information could be uploaded onto insite to make it more interactive and ensure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.


Service Plans (attached)


The Committee discussed the Service Plans (as previously circulated).


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised that the service plans sat beneath the five programmes with operational areas under each service plan. He added that the plans had recently been reviewed and reformatted to make them more accessible and user friendly. 


He explained that each Head of Service would report their new actions to the Committee, there were historical actions which would either have updates, extension date requests or notes to explain their transferral to the overarching programmes.


He added that all service plans had been subject to consultation with Senior Management Team prior to their consideration by the Committee and they would then go to Full Council to be considered as part of the budgetary discussions at its February meeting.


a)    Governance


The Committee discussed the Service Plan for Governance (as previously circulated).


The Head of Governance addressed the Committee and provided an update on the following:


·       Recommendation G 2023/24 01: New Member induction and training – There was an additional training cost of £5K for 2023/24 in addition to the £3K within the base budget. A report was due to be considered at Full Council on 11th January 2023 to agree the training and induction programme following the elections.

·       Recommendation G 2023/24 02: Document retention on Civica Financial core systems – The core final systems of Creditors, Debtors and General Ledger should only hold the data required in line with the Councils data retention policy. As per the previous service plan item for Civica Consultation at a cost of £4K to allow archive set up. There was a potential additional £14K to implement the GDRP module, which would be funded from the Digital Transformation Finance System reserve.

·       Recommendation G 2023/24 03: District and Parish Elections – A reserve contribution of £25K was made each financial year towards the four yearly cost of the District Council elections. The total reserve contribution towards costs was 100,000.00, with projected costs for 2023/24 estimated at £140,000.

·       Recommendation G 2023/24 04: Review and update the Procurement Strategy – The current strategy was up to and including 2022. There was therefore a requirement for the strategy to be revised and updated to reflect sustainability and social value changes.




In response to a question from the Committee, the Head of Governance advised that the requirement for photographic identification when voting in elections was a separate item on the service plan, which would be addressed outside of the election costs above.


b)    Customer Focus


The Committee discussed the Service Plan for Customer Focus (as previously circulated).


The Head of Customer Focus addressed the Committee and advised of the following:


·       Recommendation CF 2023/24 01: Replace Customer Service emails with a Webform - Customer Services currently received hundreds of emails per month covering a variety of services and subjects. This was time consuming for staff and frustrating for customers as it often resulted in an ongoing two-way conversation to reach a resolution. By designing a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


Work programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 34 KB

To consider the work programme for 2022/23 (attached).


The Committee considered the work programme for 2022/23 (circulated previously).


The Committee discuss the various actions within the work programme and the list of future items to be considered.


The Clerk to the Committee advised that the work programme would be reviewed at the first meeting of the Committee following the elections in May 2023.


There was an item in relation to South West Water for the meeting scheduled in March 2023. The Committee discussed the reason for the item on the work programme, as there had previously been a joint meeting with Torridge District Council to which South West Water were invited and was attended by members of the Licensing and Community Safety Committee.




(a)   That the work programme be noted.


(b)   That the minutes of the joint meeting held with Torridge District Council be circulated to the Committee via email; and


(c)   That the Clerk to the Committee should make contact with South West Water to discuss their potential attendance at the meeting in March.



noted the Work Programme for 2022-23.