The Service Manager Corporate Services presented the Corporate Strategy Report and explained that a very draft form of the Strategy had been brought to the previous Corporate Overview Group meeting in September, including information from the public consultation, after which it had been opened up for consultation with Councillors. She said that the Corporate Strategy presented today was believed to be near final and following review this evening, was due to be presented to Cabinet next week before moving to Full Council in December.
The Vice Chair of Communities Scrutiny Groupraised concern about the first recommendation of the report which asked the Group to consider the results of the Councillor’s consultation as she did not think that that sufficient information had been included in the report for this to be approved. The Group asked that the Service Manager for Corporate Services feedback that it would have been helpful for the Group to have seen the responses from Councillors.
The Vice Chair of Communities Scrutiny Groupreferred to the fact that the papers for Cabinet, including this version of the Corporate Strategy, had already been published before the Group had had chance to comment on it, which did not create a positive perception. Members of the Group echoed these comments but suggested that it would still be possible for this Group to feedback and make recommendations for Cabinet to consider.
The Service Manager Corporate Services said that the publishing of the Cabinet papers had been a technicality and that the report to Cabinet was clear that the Strategy was being considered by Corporate Overview Group this evening and that any recommendations from the Group would be verbally presented to the Cabinet meeting. She confirmed that there was then a month between Cabinet and Council for any recommended changes to be made.
The Service Manager Corporate Services said that it would be possible to remove the first recommendation, ‘A’, from the report if the Group agreed for this to done.
The Vice Chair of Growth and Development Scrutiny Group expressed surprise that only four responses to the consultation had been received from Councillors, one of which was from a political party. The Service Manager Corporate Services confirmed that Councillors had been notified about the consultation through emails, Councillors Connections and through discussion at this Group. She said that the matter of one response being from a political party had not skewed the results.
The Vice Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group asked about home and hybrid working practices at the Council and the Service Manager Corporate Services said that this came under the remit of the Head of Paid Service and was an internal, operational, matter rather than an outward, corporate, practice and as such it wasn’t included in the Strategy. She confirmed that the Council had facilitated for its staff to be able to work from any location and that working remotely did not impact on staff being able to complete all aspects of their job. She said that the Council had support systems in place for staff to communicate wherever they were working and that staff could communicate via live chat groups, even when taking a phone call, so that they could seek support at all times.
The Vice Chair of Growth and Development Scrutiny Group asked about the five Council Leisure Centres and the Service Manager Corporate Services confirmed that the Council had Rushcliffe Arena, Bingham Arena, Cotgrave Leisure Centre, Keyworth Leisure Centre and East Leake Leisure Centres. She said that East Leake Leisure Centre would come back under the Council’s control in 2027 with a stipulation that it be returned to the Council in the same condition as it was given and as such the handover should not result in a significant financial implication for the Council.
The Chair of Growth and Development Scrutiny Group referred to terminology in the document in relation to delivery of some targets, such as ‘to support’ and ‘be an active partner’ and thought that more direct language, such as ‘implementation’ could be used. The Service Manager Corporate Services said that the wording for various tasks had been designed to differentiate between tasks within the control of the Council and those where it was an influencing partner. As a result, those which were outside of its control were more to ensure that the Council kept them in focus as they had a wider importance for the Borough. The Chair of Growth and Development Scrutiny Group asked that Cabinet reflect on the wording for the delivery and measurement of the various targets.
The Vice Chair of Governance Scrutiny Group referred to mention of benefits for the Council and suggested that this be reworded to reflect that the actions of Council had led to an increased benefit for residents, that through its interactions the Council had ensured that Rushcliffe residents benefited in some way in which they wouldn’t otherwise have done so.
The Chairman confirmed that the Group agreed to remove recommendation A and suggested updated wording for the two recommendations, as recorded below. The Chairman asked that comments from the Group’s discussion be put forward to Cabinet to provide background to the updates.
It was RESOLVED that that the Corporate Overview Group:
b) considered the draft Corporate Strategy for 2024-2027 and;
c) endorsed the design of the Corporate Strategy 2024-2027 and forwarded it to Cabinet for consideration and reflection upon the wording.