London Fire Brigade

Agenda and minutes

Resources Committee
Monday, 25 July 2016 10.30 am

Venue: City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2AA

Contact: John Johnson, Ground Floor, 169 Union Street, London, SE1 OLL; telephone: 30084; e-mail:  JOHN.JOHNSON@london-fire.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hall for whom Councillor Moulton substituted, from Councillor Khan for whom Councillor Whitelock-Gibbs substituted, and from Andrew Dismore AM and David Kurten AM.

2.

Disclosures of Interests and Dispensations

Clerk to Authority – Known details of membership of the GLA, other functional bodies and London Boroughs are attached as an Appendix to this agenda.  The Appendix does not remove the need for a Member to declare at the meeting an interest (whether or not listed in the Appendix) in any relevant item on the agenda paper and to state also the nature of that interest. 

Minutes:

Resolved – That the details of membership of the GLA, other functional bodies and London Boroughs, as attached as an appendix to the agenda, be noted.   No further disclosures were made.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 10 March 2016.

Minutes:

Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Resources Committee held on 10 March 2016 be signed as a true record.

4.

Terms of Reference and Membership

The Committee is recommended to note the following amended terms of reference and membership of the Committee, as agreed by the Authority at its meeting on 30 June 2016:

 

Terms of Reference

 

In accordance with approved policies –

1.       To consider and, as appropriate, advise the Authority on matters relating to its capital and revenue budgets and budget development, including decisions on proposals to draw from earmarked or general reserves.

2.        Regularly to monitor the Authority’s budget and expenditure and treasury management activities.

3.        To make decisions on capital and revenue building, property and energy schemes that are (a) outside of officers’ delegated authority limits and (b) within the provisions of Standing Order 102(2).

4.        To make any other decision in relation to expenditure on capital or revenue account, including approval to virements and the letting of contracts, provided that the expenditure does not cause the Authority’s approved budget to be exceeded.

5.     To consider and approve requests for shareholder approval from the LFEPA Trading Company where the value of a contract to be entered into or any expenditure to be incurred by the Company exceeds the limit permissible under the Director of Finance and Contractual Services’ delegated authority, and to consider an annual report from the shareholder representative (the Director of Finance and Contractual Services) on the Company’s financial performance.

6.        To submit views to Government or other bodies, on behalf of the Authority, on matters relating to finance, procurement, property and personnel matters, providing those views are in accordance with existing Authority policies.

7.        Regularly to monitor the Authority’s contracts and procurement policies and to review contract performance reports as determined by the Committee.

8.       To develop the Authority’s Human Resources Strategy and its implementation and to agree and review the performance of general personnel, equalities, sustainable development and health and safety policies.

9.     To be responsible for all matters relating to career development and succession planning in respect of all posts to which recruitment is decided on by the Appointments and Urgency Committee.

 

Membership

 

Group

MEMBER

Alternates: All other Members of the LFEPA Labour Group

 

Labour

Dr Fiona Twycross AM (Chair)

Labour

Andrew Dismore AM (Vice-Chair)

Labour

Cllr Mehboob

Khan

Labour

 

Cllr Martin

 Whelton

Labour

 

Cllr Emma

Dent Coad

Conservative

 

Gareth Bacon AM

Alternates: All other Members of the LFEPA Conservative Group

 

Conservative

Cllr Susan Hall

 

Ungrouped Member (Green)

Cllr Caroline Russell  AM

 

Ungrouped Member (UKIP)

David Kurten AM

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted the amended terms of reference and membership of the Committee, as agreed by the Authority at its meeting on 30 June 2016, and set out on the agenda paper.

5.

Resources Committee - Summary List of Actions - FEP 2620 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Clerk to the Authority – reporting on actions arising from previous meetings of the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Clerk to the Authority.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the ongoing and completed actions arising from previous meetings of the Committee, as set out in the report, be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

6.

Action taken under Standing Order 63 - Gas Tight Suits - FEP 2621 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Clerk to the Authority – updating the Committee on action taken under standing order 63.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Clerk to the Authority.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

7.

The Mayor's Budget Guidance for 2017/18 - FEP 2622 pdf icon PDF 313 KB

Director of Finance and Contractual Services – summarising the key points for LFEPA of the Mayor’s budget guidance, and setting out the processes and timetable for delivering a balanced budget in 2017/18.  The report also provides an update to the approved capital programme.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Director of Finance and Contractual Services.

 

The Director of Finance and Contractual Services introduced the report and answered questions from Members.

 

The Committee discussed the different approach taken by the new Mayor in regard to the budget process, including the requirement for the Authority to make an initial advisory submission to him by mid-October, before the full budget submission is made (by the end of November). The Mayor would also be undertaking a review of the resources allocated to the Authority which would need to be concluded before the initial submission. 

 

The Chair addressed Members’ concerns about the lack of time to complete the resources review, and confirmed that an announcement on the details of the review was expected shortly.  She also confirmed that she would consult the Mayor about ensuring full lead Member involvement in the various parts of the process.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That:

 

(1)          The report be noted; and

(2)          The changes to the capital programme for 2016/17, as set out in the report, be agreed.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

8.

Review of Financial Outturn for 2015/16 - FEP 2623 pdf icon PDF 563 KB

Director of Finance and Contractual Services – reviewing the financial outturn for the 2015/16 financial year and setting out the position on the financial reserves.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Director of Finance and Contractual Services.

 

The Director of Finance and Contractual Services introduced the report and answered questions from Members.

 

During discussion, it was confirmed that the outturn for 2015/16 on the revenue budget was an underspend of £11.4m, £8.5m of which was related to staff and pension cost variances, as set out in the report.  Officers had reviewed the reasons for the underspend and were now further scrutinising £4m of the total figure to determine whether it could be targeted for further savings in 2017/18.

 

Officers highlighted amendments required to the capital programme as set out in paragraphs 43 to 47 of the report, and the funds being set aside in earmarked reserves as set out in paragraphs 39 to 42.

 

The Committee discussed the report’s recommendation to settle the outstanding FBU claim for London Weighting, which Members welcomed.  The Chair thanked officers for their work in the protracted negotiations.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the Committee:

 

(1)          Notes the revenue and capital financial outturn as set out in this report;

(2)          Notes the revenue funds that have been set aside in earmarked reserves as part of the year end process in order to meet costs in 2016/17, as set out in table 2 and paragraph 42 below; and

(3)          Agrees to settle the outstanding 2014-16 FBU claim for London Weighting at 2.4%, payable from 1 April 2015, (paragraphs 15–16 of the report refer).

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

9.

Treasury Management Annual Report - FEP 2624 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Director of Finance and Contractual Services – reporting in accordance with financial regulations.

 

[For Authority also]

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Director of Finance and Contractual Services.

 

The Director of Finance and Contractual Services introduced the report, answered questions from Members and confirmed that treasury management reports to Members will in future be provided directly by GLA Treasury.  

 

Luke Webster (GLA Treasury) answered questions from Members.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the Authority be recommended to:  

  

(1)          Note the 2015/16 treasury management outturn results against the 2015/16 Treasury Management Strategy Statement (TMSS), as approved by Authority on 26 March 2015 (FEP 2412);

 

(2)          Note the breach of the TMSS, in relation to counterparty concentration limits for Lloyds Bank, which were exceeded over the period 28 March 2016 to 12 April 2016. No losses arose from this breach of the TMSS, and details of the sums involved and reasons for the breach as set out in Appendix 1, paragraphs 3 to 11; and

 

(3)          Approve revisions to the 2016/17 Group Investment Syndicate (GIS) Investment Strategy, as set out in Appendix 1, paragraphs 12 to 17 (this Strategy was originally approved as part of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement for 2016/17 approved by Authority on 17 March 2016 (FEP 2576A)).

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

10.

End of Year Monitoring of Performance Indicators in the London Safety Plan for 2015/16 (for People, Resources and Principles) - FEP 2625 pdf icon PDF 314 KB

Head of Strategy and Inclusion – submitting the end of year monitoring report for 2015/16 (with data for the 12 months to the end of March 2016), containing key performance for indicators in LSP5 related to Authority aims 4-6.

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Strategy and Inclusion.

 

The Head of Strategy and Inclusion introduced the report and, along with the Commissioner and the Head of Human Resource Management, answered questions from Members.

 

The Committee discussed the continuing poor performance in sickness levels and noted that officers were looking to see figures improve as the Absence Management Policy bedded in.  Members also discussed the causes of long-term sickness and what work the Brigade were doing with all levels of management to deal with stress and mental health issues, such as the on-line training package, awareness training at stations, the return to work processes, and the in-house counselling and wellbeing service.  Although reaching sickness targets looked unrealistic in the short term, management believed it was important to maintain the current targets, as they benchmarked with other fire and rescue authorities, and were targets which should be achievable.  Members supported maintaining the current targets.

 

The Committee noted the improvements in the data for road traffic accidents and safety events, and the continuing excellent performance for invoice payments.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

11.

Overarching Management Information Solution - Further information - FEP 2626 pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Head of Information and Communications Technology – reporting further following consideration of the issue at the Committee’s meeting in March 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Information and Communications Technology.

 

The Head of Information and Communications Technology introduced the report  and answered questions from Members.

 

The Committee noted the benefits of the new system and the work officers had undertaken in exploring options for collaborative working.  Officers confirmed that it had not been possible to secure collaboration on the project, though several useful contacts had been made and officers would be sharing knowledge around the system with a wide variety of organisations.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the Committee:

 

(1)          Notes the steps taken to investigate whether or not the solution could be delivered in collaboration with another organisation;

 

(2)          Approves the overarching management information solution as described in this report and in report FEP2578, and to be delivered as described in both reports, at a capital cost of £1,210k;

 

(3)          Approves the data warehousing project as a capital cost of £600k; and

 

(4)       Where necessary, subject to the approval under (b) and (c) above, and within the cost approved, authorises the Head of ICT, in consultation with the Head of Procurement, to procure any necessary software and hardware required for the solution, over and above infrastructure already in place or to be procured as part of separate projects (e.g. SharePoint). 

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

12.

Sustainable Development Annual Report 2015/16 - FEP 2627 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Head of Procurement, and Technical and Service Support summarising the performance of the Brigade on sustainable development for 2015/16.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Procurement, and Technical and Service Support.

 

The Head of Procurement and Technical and Service Support introduced the report and answered questions from Members.  He highlighted the revised sustainable development framework and new objectives as set out in the Annual Report, and the increased use of graphics and case studies.  The report summarised a very positive performance by the Authority on sustainable issues, with exceptions being in the areas of recycling and sickness, as set out in paragraphs 5 to 8 of the covering report.

 

Officers also highlighted the process around target setting and the calculation of emissions (from direct to indirect) as a result of outsourcing and the new tenants at Union Street.  Consequently, some further amendments would need to be made to the Annual Report in regard to performance on emission levels. Members would be updated with the final position by briefing note and the Annual Report would be amended for publication on the Brigade’s website as soon as possible.  It was also noted that officers would be further consulting Union Street tenants regarding recycling processes, and will address such issues in the future with any new tenants as part of tenancy agreements.

 

Members suggested adding a further statement in the Annual report to highlight the work the Brigade was doing in relation to home fire safety visits, particularly the targeting of high risk people in the community, such as elderly smokers, and the collaborative work being undertaken with local authorities on fire prevention.

 

In discussing the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) requirements, Members queried the information given in the Annual Report regarding Euro Standards.  Officers agreed to check the information, and amend the Annual report if necessary.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report provided at Appendix 1 be approved for publication, subject to the amendments discussed in regard to performance on emission levels, additional wording on home fire safety visits and related work, and the information given in the Annual Report concerning ULEZ.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

13.

Health and Safety 2015/16 - End of Financial Year Update and Monitoring Report - FEP 2628 pdf icon PDF 588 KB

Head of Health & Safety – submitting the health and safety update report for the 12 month period ending March 2016 (Q4), covering performance against a number of key health and safety indicators and measures.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Health & Safety.

 

The Head of Head of Health & Safety highlighted the good performance trends in the report, the success of the Brigade’s safety campaign around slips, trips and falls, and the closure of several long-standing items as set out in the report. 

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

14.

Rent Deposit Loan Scheme - FEP 2629 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Head of Human Resource Management recommending the introduction of a staff rent deposit loan scheme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management.

 

The Head of Human Resource Management introduced the report and answered questions from Members.  Officers expected little delay in concluding consultation with the Staff Side on the proposed scheme, as the FBU had spoken publicly in support of it. 

 

Members welcomed introduction of the scheme.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the Committee agrees:

 

(1)          The Authority should introduce a staff rent deposit loan scheme (noting paragraphs 13-14 of this report);

 

(2)          The proposed scheme is consulted on with the recognised trade unions before this is finalised; and

 

(3)          The Head of Human Resource Management, in consultation with the Director of Finance and Contractual Services, is given delegated authority to approve the final terms of the scheme, and to implement the scheme, following trade union consultation.

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

15.

Human Resources Digest: 6 months ending March 2016 - FEP 2630 pdf icon PDF 168 KB

Head of Human Resource Management providing details of the key HR targets and indicators, and the monitoring of performance against those.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Human Resource Management.

 

The Head of Human Resource Management introduced the report and answered questions from Members.

 

During discussion, officers highlighted the new detailed equalities information set out in paragraphs 6 to 35 of the report, which was previously reported separately.

 

In response to questions from Members, officers confirmed that there had been a reduction in the number of firefighter applicants following the introduction of the  London residency criteria, but in terms of the percentage of BME applicants it had been successful.  However, numbers were low and officers were committed to a full review of the recruitment process and would be reporting to the November meeting of the Committee on that matter.  Officers confirmed that they anticipated sickness levels would reduce with the new attendance policy rules coming into effect.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

16.

Stress Survey Update - FEP 2631 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Head of Development and Training – updating the Committee on the progress in developing a corporate wellbeing action plan and departmental plans, and details of the outcome of the Brigade’s application for London Healthy Workplace Charter accreditation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Development and Training.

 

The Head of Development and Training introduced the report and answered questions from Members.

 

The Committee discussed progress on the wellbeing initiatives (as outlined in the Action Plan appended to the report) which were introduced following stress workshops with over 1,000 members of staff.

 

Members congratulated officers for the successful application for London Healthy Workplace Charter accreditation (as set out in the report), and suggested officers should highlight the Brigade’s very close to ‘Excellence’ rating in recruitment publicity.  Officers confirmed they were working closely with the Charter organisation and expected the Brigade to achieve the ‘Excellence’ level by the end of the calendar year.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

17.

Training Contract: Babcock's Performance - Second half of 2015/16 - FEP 2632 pdf icon PDF 340 KB

Head of Development and Training – providing an update on Babcock’s performance in the delivery of the training contract.

 

 

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Development and Training.

 

The Head of Development and Training introduced the report and answered questions from Members.

 

During discussion, it was confirmed that the report set out the best set of figures since the contract began, with a booking rate of 92% and over 21,000 delegates receiving training.  For core skills training courses the booking rate was an impressive 97%.  The statistics for safety events were also very positive, with Babcock delivering over 30,000 delegate training days and only 16 reported safety events – an accident frequency of 0.05%.  A car parking solution had been found for the Beckton training centre, as set out in the report, and officers were in discussion with a local supplier in order to be able to provide additional car parking space at Park Royal in the future.   Officers were also currently carrying out a feasibility study on a new training centre in Croydon that could provide real fire and incident command training and would be reporting to the September meeting of the Committee on that subject.

 

New Authority Members were encouraged to visit the training centres.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

18.

Judgment of an Employment Tribunal - Update - FEP 2633 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Commissioner – updating the Committee on issues relating to an ET judgment.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

 

19.

Urgent Business

Any other items which the Chair decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

20.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Committee is recommended to agree to exclude the public and press from the meeting, in accordance with paragraphs 5 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), in order to consider the following items of business.

Minutes:

Resolved – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business, in accordance with paragraph 5 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

21.

Judgment of an Employment Tribunal - Update - FEP 2633X

Commissioner – providing further information on issues relating to an ET judgment.

 

Minutes:

Report by the Head of Legal and Democratic Services.

 

The Head of Legal and Democratic Services introduced the report.

 

The motion was made by the Chair – That the recommendations as set out in the report FEP 2633X be agreed.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Whelton, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

22.

Urgent Business

Any other exempt items which the Chair decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There was no exempt urgent business.