Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1RS

Contact: Poppy Brewer  01622 602242

No. Item




It was noted that apologies had been received from Councillors Ash, Edwards-Daem, Mrs Grigg, Long and Pickett.



Notification of Substitute Members


The following substitute members were noted:


Councillor English for Councillor Long

Councillor Mrs Wilson for Councillor Mrs Grigg



Notification of Visiting Members


There were no visiting members.



Disclosures by Members and Officers


There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.



Exempt items


RESOLVED: That all items on the agenda be taken in public as proposed.



Minutes of the Meeting Held on 7 July 2014

The last special meeting of the three Committees took place on 7 July 2014. The following provides a link to the minutes of that meeting:


These minutes were approved by the next following meeting of the Strategic Leadership and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which took place on 5 August 2014. The above link is intended, therefore, to provide a quick reference to the earlier previous special meeting decisions.



It was noted that the last meeting of the three Committees took place on 7 July 2014, and that these minutes were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman at the following meeting of the Strategic Leadership and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee which took place on 5 August 2014.



Report of the Joint Mid-Kent Improvement Partnership (MKIP) Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 42 KB

A report presented by the Chairman of the Task and Finish Group, Councillor Andy Booth of Swale Borough Council.

Additional documents:


The Chairman of the Joint Task and Finish Group, Councillor Booth from Swale Borough Council, introduced the Group’s report and recommendations. He began by reiterating the Group’s remit, namely: to consider how the Mid-Kent Improvement Partnership’s (MKIP) governance arrangements should be taken forward and how an MKIP communications plan should be developed.


Councillor Booth thanked his fellow members of the Task and Finish Group, as well as the Overview and Scrutiny support officers, service liaison officers and all those who had given up their time to meet with the Group and assist with the review.


Councillor Booth explained the methodology followed by the Group, with a number of question and answer sessions having taken place with: members of the MKIP Board; shared service managers; client heads of service from each of the authorities; heads of communication; S151 officers; monitoring officers; and external partners. He added that the Group had undertaken a detailed analysis of the governance arrangements for MKIP and questioned witnesses on the methods of communication currently used, internally and externally.


Councillor Booth advised that the key findings of the Group were set out in their report; these highlighted where it was felt that enhancements could be made to improve current procedures and to strengthen the practices of the Mid-Kent Improvement Partnership, within the two areas of the study, governance and communication.


The Chairman of the meeting, Councillor Rankin, invited other members of the Task and Finish Group to comment, before the discussion was opened up to wider debate:


·  Councillor Gooch (Maidstone BC) stressed how strong the collaboration had been amongst the three authorities in examining this issue. She added that this also reflected the view of the three council leaders in terms of the level of trust that existed.


·  Councillor Hills (Tunbridge Wells BC) endorsed that view. He advised that, initially, the MKIP joint delivery of services had been viewed with suspicion amongst some councillors in the three authorities; he added that, while that same attitude might continue, he was very hopeful that the findings and recommendations would help to build confidence in MKIP, if approved by the MKIP Board and respective Cabinets.


·  Councillor Woodward (Tunbridge Wells BC) fully supported the findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group, adding that it had been an interesting project and a good learning experience. However, he also voiced some outstanding concerns, caused by the complexity of the issue and the time pressures the Task and Finish Group had been required to operate under.


The Chairman then opened up the issue for general debate:


·  Councillor English (Maidstone BC) welcomed the report, which he felt was timely and well-written. He proposed the following additional recommendation, which was seconded by Councillor Wilson (Maidstone BC), which was of particular relevance to his authority at this stage, due to its plan to revert to a committee structure from May this year:


(n) That, given the change in governance arrangements at Maidstone BC from May 2015, consequential amendments be made to reflect that the Overview  ...  view the full minutes text for item 109.


Role of the Mid-Kent Services Director pdf icon PDF 41 KB

A verbal update report by Paul Taylor, Mid-Kent Services Director, and Zena Cooke, Director of Regeneration and Communities.

Additional documents:


The Chairman, Councillor Rankin, explained how it had been agreed to invite the Mid-Kent Services Director, Paul Taylor, to this meeting, in order for him to provide an update on the extent to which he was meeting his agreed objectives in the role.


Mrs Zena Cooke, the Director of Regeneration and Communities at Maidstone Borough Council, had also been invited to address the Committees, in her capacity as Chairman of the cross-authority project team, established to undertake an independent review of the Mid-Kent Services Director role. The project team’s assessment criteria, against which it was possible to judge progress, had been appended to the agenda.


Mr Taylor presented his update report. He explained how, since his appointment in May 2014, he had focused on three elements: (a) consolidation; (b) delivery; and (c) planning for the future.


Mr Taylor explained that, with four out of five operational services, there were signed ‘collaboration agreements’ in place; he added that ‘service level agreements’ existed in three of the services out of five. With ‘key performance indicators’, it was noted that a shared set was in place and a reporting template had been produced which reflected each authority’s service targets.


Mr Taylor also advised that a shared template had been put in place for service plans and that a shared risk log had been produced.


With service delivery, Mr Taylor advised members that all budgets were currently on target and agreed savings had been delivered. He drew attention to the recent completion of the Legal ‘one team’ under which staff were all now employed by Swale BC.


Mr Taylor also reported that the ICT partnership infrastructure was in place, which allowed staff to work across all three sites as well as from home.


For the future, Mr Taylor advised that a three-year business plan was being produced, to set out their strategic direction. He added that there would also be even greater engagement with staff, through team meetings, by providing a visible presence at each site and through partnership surveys.


Mrs Cooke provided her report. She explained how, following the decision to trial a single lead director model of operation for Mid-Kent Services for a period of twelve months, a project team had been asked to measure its effectiveness. Members were reminded that the project team consisted of: Phil Wilson, Chief Accountant (Swale BC); Jonathan MacDonald, Deputy Chief Executive (Tunbridge Wells BC) and herself. Mrs Cooke added that the assessment of the effectiveness of the role was based on the original assessment criteria; she added that the project team would provide recommendations for the MKIP Board to consider and discuss at its meeting in March 2015.


Mrs Cooke also advised that support for the project team continued to be provided by Val Green, Head of Organisational Development (Tunbridge Wells BC), Holly Goring, Policy and Performance Manager (Tunbridge Wells BC) and Jane Clarke, MKIP Programme Manager.


Mrs Cooke advised members that the project team’s assessment would be based on evidence gathered during the period May  ...  view the full minutes text for item 110.


Duration of Meeting


7.05 p.m. to 8.10 p.m.