Agenda and draft minutes

Policy and Organisation Board
Tuesday, 28th July, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Lisa Young  Email: lisa.young@gosport.gov.uk

Link: Click here to access live meeting

Items
No. Item

7.

Apologies for non-attendance

Minutes:

An apology for non attendance was received from Councillor Mrs Hook.

8.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs Ballard declared a personal interest in agenda item 8, Emergency Procurement – IT equipment and Housing Pods as she worked with a number of residents in her employment.

9.

Minutes of the meeting of the board held on 16 March 2020 and 10 June 2020 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the Board meeting held on 16 March 2020 and 10 June 2020 be signed as a true and correct record.

 

 

10.

Deputations - Standing Order 3.4

Minutes:

There were none.

11.

Public Questions - Standing order 3.5

Minutes:

There were none.

12.

External Audit 2019-20 Audit Plan Update pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The Audit Plan Update sets out our updated assessment of the key risks driving the development of an effective audit for the Council, and outlines our planned audit strategy in response to those risks. Our assessment has been updated in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has occurred since our 2019/20 Audit Plan was presented to the 12 February meeting of the Standards & Governance Committee and cross-referred from there to the 16 March meeting of the Policy & Organisation Board.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the external auditor setting out the updated assessments of the key risks driving the development of an effective audit for the Council, and outlining our planned audit strategy in response to those risks, updated as a result of Covid-19.

 

David White was invited to address the Board, he advised that the main audit plan had been previously presented to the Standards and Governance Committee and cross referenced to Policy and Organisation Board.

 

The Board was advised that the risk assessment had been revisited as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the purpose of the report was to report any updates to the risk assessment as a result of the pandemic.

 

The changes were highlighted to the Board including the increased risk around the valuation of investment properties as it was previously determined to be an area of focus, with a higher inherent risk and this had been revised to be considered a significant risk as a result of the impact of the pandemic on the viability of businesses and on rentals and potentially the valuation of investment property.

 

There was uncertainty in the valuation of assets that were valued with reference to market factors and the professional body for valuers had advised its  members that this needed to been recognised as a material uncertainty.

 

Members were advised that it did not mean the valuations should not be relied upon, but should be treated with a greater degree of caution. A slightly larger sample would potentially need to be tested and the internal property valuation specialists would be used to assist the auditors with their review of the balance in the accounts this year.

 

Members were advised that in relation to the rest of land and buildings within the accounts the impact was not as significant as on investment properties as they were not valued with reference to market factors.

 

There was a greater focus on the use of the going concern assumption in the preparation of the financial statements. The Council is defined as a going concern under statute, but this focus related specifically to the financial pressure that the Council was under as a result of the pandemic.

 

The Board was advised that the new accounting standards for leases, IFRS 16 had dropped out of the plan it would have been introduced in 2020/21 but had been deferred as a result of a pandemic.

 

The Board was advised that the order was work in progress and that it was being undertaken entirely remotely, which was a new experience. In addition, internal consultation requirements, which all audits were considering before issuing audit opinions.

 

Members welcomed the report and the assessments that had been undertaken, recognising the uncertainty the pandemic had brought. In answer to a Member’s question, the Board was advised that the use of specialists would be used to provide enhanced expertise, to assess the market with regard to the valuations, to drill down further and to look across the market  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Proposed War Memorial at Stokes Bay pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To seek Member approval to locate a new War Memorial in Stokes Bay to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War 2 and recognise the important role the area played in the war effort.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the HAZ Programme Manager seeking Member approval to locate a new War Memorial in Stokes Bay to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War 2 and recognise the important role the area played in the war effort.

 

Members debated the proposal. It was felt that the debt owed to those that were involved in WW2 would never be paid back and that it was important to provide such memorials to promote questioning from future generations as to what part their ancestors played in the War and the sacrifice made to ensure memories of them remained and to show the value of veterans to the Country.

 

Some Members recognised the significance of all conflicts and the part that both the veterans and the Borough had played in them, including the Falklands War, and welcomed a heritage project and recognition for service personnel. Concern was expressed that the timing of the proposal as one to recognise the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War 2 was not appropriate as this had already passed. They advised that the report was to approve the funding of the memorial, as opposed to the consideration for the provision of one.

 

Concern was expressed at the proposal to approve £30,000 to develop the design and secure planning permission and a further £50,000 to deliver the project and that this could increase at a particularly challenging time financially for the Council.

 

It was felt that additional planning was required before the proposal was presented for consideration and that it should be reconsidered and represented to the Board to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the end of the war to allow for more consideration to be given to the proposal and for greater consultation be undertaken with veterans groups and more community groups as well as the D-Day Fellowship and potentially look at additional sources of funding such as crowd funders and veterans association funding.

 

Members acknowledged that the timing of the proposal had slipped, but also acknowledged that the generation involved in the War were also advancing in age and it was important to try and provide the memorial to ensure as many of them as possible remaining were able to see it and it was therefore inappropriate to delay it any longer.  It was also acknowledged that the HAZ work was also time limited.

 

Members were advised that the scheme had been considered previously but that the project had slipped as a result of Covid-19 and that the proposal came as a result of the success and support by the public for the commemoration event held on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and that the proposal was for a contemplation space, that included the re-siting of some memorials. This would provide as space for those of an age that contributed to WW2 were able to remember and reflect and that it should provide a space to commemorate the beach landings, D-Day  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

EMERGENCY PROCUREMENT IT EQUIPMENT/HOUSING PODS pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Report to follow

Minutes:

Councillor Ms Ballard declared a personal interest in this item, and took no part in the discussion or voting there on.

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer detailing the procurement made in relation to IT equipment for the Town Hall and the provision of housing accommodation for rough sleepers and the homeless in Walpole Park.

 

The Board welcomed the unique opportunity Covid had provided to try and reduce the homelessness levels in Gosport and recognised the value of the pods in helping to address this and helping to provide a long-term, secure future including support services in addition to temporary housing and welcomed the sympathetic approach the Council had taken.

 

Members welcomed that there should be a complete support package for those that require help.

 

In answer to a Member’s question the Board was advised that it was hoped that negotiations could be undertaken with the 101 hostel to establish whether they could reconfigure any of their space to provide support to those that needed it the worst weather conditions. Members also expressed concern that the pods would be exposed to poor weather in the winter as they were located in an open space.

 

Members welcomed the efforts that Council staff had made to implement the provision in a difficult situation, and had undertaken exceptional work in accommodate those that were homeless.

 

Members reiterated a desire to see the support for those that were homeless continued and hoped that Government funding would be available to do so and recognised the importance of a full support package.

 

Members also acknowledged that homelessness numbers had far exceeded what had been predicted, adding to the pressure on the services.

 

The Board was advised that the current difficulty with the 101 hostel and the winter beds scheme was that with the current pandemic, there was potential to bring in residents to the facility in mixed rooms without any knowledge of their medical history, potentially compromising the residents located in their individual rooms as bathrooms and facilities were shared and that this issue would be replicated in Churches and other communal facilities. It was hoped that the way in which the services were delivered could be reassessed, as many different services were currently having to as a result of Covid-19.

 

Members also expressed concern at the restrictions placed by estate agents meaning that those in need could not secure permanent properties as they could not get a guarantor for their payments and this was obstructive to long term housing for them.

 

A vote on the recommendation was taken and unanimously agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Board:

i)             Notes the procurements made in relation to IT equipment for Council staff to enable critical council services to remain operational through remote working and the provision of Housing accommodation for rough sleepers and the homeless at Walpole Park

 

ii)            Approves the procurement of the Housing accommodation at Walpole Park together with associated services, as set out in the report.

 

15.

CCTV MONITORING CONTRACT EXTENSION pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To seek Board approval to utilise the optional extension provision in the   CCTV Monitoring Contract for the period of one year.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Corporate Policy and Communication Safety seeking approval to utilize the optional extension provision in the CCTV monitoring contract for the period of one year.

 

Members welcomed the proposal and the recommendation was unanimously agreed.

 

RESOLVED: That the Board agree a one year contract extension with Enigma Security Solutions and approve the Borough Solicitor entering into a legal agreement with Fareham Borough Council to meet its costs of the contract extension.

 

16.

Any other items

Minutes:

There were none .