Agenda and minutes

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 26th February, 2018 5.30 pm

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre

Contact: Sonia Stewart - Tel: 0191433 3045 - Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 91 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2018.


RESOLVED -That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Information Governance and the Council's use of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance


The Committee received it’s third annual report regarding the Council’s Information Governance Framework.  It aims to provide the Committee with the legislative context within which the Council manages a range of sensitive information and personal data, compliance with relevant guidance and good practice and the Council’s performance in this area over the last twelve months.


Public trust in the way public services handle and share data is increasingly important, particularly in the context of greater digital storage and transfer of information.  Success in this area depends on many factors, but effective and secure exchange and management of information is vital for good service delivery.  The public and regulatory bodies must have confidence in the way that any data we hold is treated, taking privacy and confidentiality into account and that it is kept safe from misuse. 


With the approval of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which had been ratified by the European Parliament and comes into effect in the UK on 25 May 2018, there is a move away from seeing the law as a box ticking exercise and instead work on a framework that can be used to build a culture of privacy that pervades an entire organisation.


The Council formed an information rights working group in March 2017 to start preparing for GDPR implementation.  A lot of work had been done  so far:


·         All information assets are being captured in information asset registers

·         Privacy notices have been prepared for children’s services, schools, elections, councillors and staff.  Templates are being prepared to roll out to the rest of the Council

·         Web pages are being updated to include contact details of the Data Protection Officer which is a new statutory role which public sector organisations will be required to have

·         Information asset registers also contain the legal basis for processing and the retention periods

·         Consent forms are being revised to be GDPR compliant

·         Data collection forms and systems are being re-engineered to comply with data minimisation and privacy by design

·         All data controller/processor agreements are being reviewed

·         Forms and procedures have been devised for privacy impact assessments

·         All schools have received training

·         Training for governors is scheduled in March

·         A members seminar is scheduled for March

·         Staff in Procurement, ICT, Web Design and Legal have been training

·         Roll out of training to all remaining employees starts in February

·         Data sharing and handling agreements are being drafted for all of our trading companies, including GHC


The report included information on data breaches.  These are reported by an inbox which internal audit access and can investigate in relation to serious breaches.  In 2017 there have been 7 reported breaches.  In these cases human error has been identified as the reason for the breach.  Further training has been given to the staff involved.  There have been no complaints made to the Information Commissioner.


The Committee were advised that this is the second report in relation to the Council’s use of RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000).  It was recommended in  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR28


Case Study - The Implementation of Universal Credit in Gateshead pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Resources.


The Committee received a report and presentation on The Implementation of Universal Credit in Gateshead.  The Committee were shown a very powerful video produced by the Communications Team showing the impact of poverty on one particular resident in Gateshead.


The Committee heard that previously details of information which had previously been reported to Committee in February 2017.  In particular the Housing Benefit penalty for under-occupation which affected 2225 council tenants.  The Limited “Live Service” Universal Credit in place, with “Full Service due in October 2017, committee shared concerns about the impact of this, including on Free School Meals.  It was also reported to Committee in February 2017 about the Local Housing Allowance Cap on housing costs which was to be extended to the social rented sector, however, implementation has been delayed until 2019 and the benefit cap was reduced to £20,000 (£13,400 for a single person).


The Committee were advised that within the last 12 months, there has been a reduction in council tenants affected by under-occupation, this is down to 1,883.  Full Service Universal Credit was implemented at Gateshead Job Centre in October 2017 and Blaydon Job Centre in November 2017.  It was also announced that the plan for Local Housing Allowance in the social rented sector was scrapped and 1.6m Personal Independence Payment claimants are to be reassessed.  Call Charges have been removed from the Universal Credit helpline as of 29 November 207.  The built-in delay before the first payment has been reduced from 42 days to 35 days as of February 2018.  Existing Housing Benefit claimants will be able to continue to receive Housing Benefit for an extra two weeks while waiting for UC payments to start as of April 2018.  Advances of Universal Credit up to the full claim value instead of half and can be repaid over 12 months instead of six, this was implemented in January 2018.


The Committee were informed that the rollout of Universal Credit is now much more rapid, the original scheme came to Gateshead in June 2015, in February 2017 there were 299 Council tenants on Universal Credit, with 381 tenants at the point Full Service was launched in October 2017.  It is understood that there were 1162 tenants on Universal Credit at the start of February, 272 of which were waiting for their first payment.  Full Service now includes new claims and changes of circumstances for a wider range of households, including those with up to 2 children.


The Committee were informed that there are still claimants on live service Universal Credit, they will be required to reapply online for Full Service from 12 March 2018, there will be a need to communicate and support to ensure there is no gap in benefit. 


It has been found that the main problems arise when claimants don’t have enough money or they are not able to cope with the receipt of a large amount of money. 


Teams within the Council have provided Personal Budget Support to 309 claimants in Quarter 3,  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR29


Annual Work Programme pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance

Additional documents:


The Committee were asked to consider the Annual Work Programme report and to suggest any additional items they would like to submit to the Work Programme.


RESOLVED - That the work programme be noted.