Agenda and minutes

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 21st January, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre

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

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 122 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2018.


RESOLVED -              that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2018 be approved as a correct record.



Review on Increasing Support/Capacity to the Voluntary Sector - Evidence Gathering Session 2 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Report of the Acting Strategic Director, Communities and Environment


This was the second evidence gathering session with regards to the Review on Helping to Increase Support / Capacity of the Voluntary Sector.


The Committee heard from Aidan Lawson on the work of the Brighton Ryton Local Environmental Group.   Aidan explained that the group first got together on the back of another meeting which members of the group had been attending.   The group’s aim is to support Gateshead Council in improving the environment in Ryton.  The group got charity registration in record time and have undertaken 3600 hours of work in the first year and 5300 in the second year.  The group have carried out work in the cemetery and memorial gardens.  The group got licences for some of their members and undertook training for grass strimming equipment.  The license excludes from cutting within 12 inches of the headstones. 


Aidan showed the Committee some examples of the work the group had undertaken.  The work is undertaken at Heritage sites, memorial gardens and cemeteries as well as litter picks undertaken by the litter action groups.


The group undertakes their own fundraising and between January 2017 to December 2018 raised, £9650 from the Gateshead Fund, £15,00 from the Sir James Knott Trust, £1930, Land of Oak and Iron Grant, £2508 from donations, £8362 from fund raising activities, £5324 from supporting members and £950 from sponsors.


The organisation would like to carry out further work including, maintaining grass levels and hedging to a good standard, clean and paint railings of the old cemetery, level ‘dipped’ graves to ease grass cutting, clear pavement areas of composting materials and weeds and maintain standards of cleanliness around the village, woods and walks.


The organisation hopes to form a group of residents with a genuine desire to work together to refurbish the park so that it is fully sustainable and returns to be appreciated and used by a significant proportion of the community.


The organisation also hopes to form a group of individual and sub-groups working together to provide a program of events to bring our community together.


The organisation also hopes to restore the Historic Drover’s pond, to recover stones and rebuild Victoria monument, to prepare and publish various trails booklets, to revisit and complete Pinfold, to design and place info boards of Stella and Ryton trails, to remove tress threatening historic walls in conservation Area. 


The organisation would like to establish with the Council and effective and efficient management process that delivers in a timely manner.


The organisation would like the Council to accept them as a free resource, they feel that in order to work together as a successful team there should be a recognition of each other’s strengths, areas of responsibility should be co-ordinated and controlled and performance should be monitored and reported upon.


The organisation feel that the Council needed to take action to ensure that the organisation can retain the volunteers they have at present.  The organisation would like to see improved processes and performance by the Council to create a  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR16


Annual Complaints and Compliments Procedure 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance

Additional documents:


A report was presented to Committee providing an analysis of complaints and compliments recorded by the Council and the Gateshead Housing Company in the year ended 31 March 2018.


Cabinet has referred the report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee as part of the performance management process.


The complaints procedure has three steps, the first of which ‘problem solving’, relies on the quick resolution of complaints by employees and their managers and does not require the complaint to be recorded.  At the second step the complaint is recorded, there is a formal investigation into the complaint and a written response is given by a Senior Manager. If the complainant is still unhappy they can request the Chief Executive (or Managing Director of the Gateshead Housing Company) to carry out an independent review of their  complaint.


In the year 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018:


·         258 complaints were recorded

·         466 compliments were recorded

·         27 complaints were the subject of an independent review by the Chief Executive of the Council and the Managing Director of the Gateshead Housing Company undertook 14 reviews.


The number of complaints recorded has reduced from 307 in 2016/17 to 258 in 2017/18, a decrease of 49.


466 compliments were recorded in 2017/18 compared to 754 in 2016/17, a decrease of 288.


The number of complainants requesting a review of their complaint by the Chief Executive has increase by 9 to 27 in 2017/18.  The Managing Director of the Housing Company carried out 14 reviews in 2017/18 compared to 20 in 2016/17.


The proportion of complaints found to be fully justified decreased from 36.9% in 2016/17 to 36.6% in 2017/18. The proportion of complaints found to be partially justified increased from 15.6% in 2016/17 to 24.7% in 2017/18.


The Council’s managers used the information gained through the monitoring of complaints to improve the provision of services.

The current computerised corporate complaints recording system had made it easy to record and track and respond to complaints. However, the system is now  outdated and is to be replaced. A new corporate complaints system is currently being developed using the case management features of the Council’s Digital Platform. .


During 2017/18, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigated 24 complaints.  Of these 13 were closed after initial enquiries, 4 were not upheld and 7 were upheld partially or fully.  A summary of the cases which were upheld have been presented to Cabinet.  Each case has provided learning opportunities in terms of reviewing policy, maintenance of records, the operation of systems and the provision of guidance and training to staff.   The Council maintains a good working relationship with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and all cases have now been settled to their satisfaction. .

From 1 April 2013, the Localism Act 2011 extended the jurisdiction of the Housing Ombudsman to cover all social landlords, including Councils.  The Housing Ombudsman is able to consider complaints in so far as they relate to the provision or management of housing.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR17


Annual Health and Safety Report pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance


The Committee were updated on the performance of occupational health and safety matters for 2017/18.


Gateshead Council is committed to providing its employees with safe conditions of work as far as is reasonably practicable and has structured arrangements in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and others who may be affected by our activities.  Our aim is to minimise the adverse impacts to individuals and the business from ill health and injury.


The annual report provides an overview of key performance statistics, including the number of lost working days and reportable accidents, along with information on key aspect of health and safety during the year 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.


All Council premises have had at least one FRA carried out.  The FRA programme is an ongoing process with annual reviews and re-assessments.  During the reporting period the Council’s Health & Safety Officers completed 71 (as opposed to 68 the previous year) fire risk assessments and reviews.  This has met the target set out on the planned programme of fire risk assessments and reviews.  Officers work regularly and closely with Tyne and Wear Fire and Risk Services (TWFRS) continues and has proven to be an effective way of dealing with issues which arise from their audits of Council premises and schools.


The occupational health unit is running at full capacity at the moment.  The number of counsellors has been increased to work with employees.  One third of employees who are seen are suffering with work related stress.  Two thirds are relating to family and financial issues.  Some of those who have been seen who are suicidal it is a stop gap until they can be seen through GP referrals as the waiting time can be up to 6 months via the GP.


If employees meet certain criteria they can be referred into Go Gateshead at Gateshead, Heworth and Blaydon Leisure centres.  There have been 21 Domiciliary Care referrals since October mainly to Heworth.


There are a number of potentially high-risk areas which are managed, including Contractor Management, Asbestos Management, Educational Visits and Legionella Management.  The management in these areas is working really well at present.


RIDDOR is if an employee is involved in a certain accident or incident this needs to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


The HSE have not taken any prosecutions against the Council, have not issued an prohibition notices or improvements notices.


RESOLVED -  That the Committee is satisfied that the actions taken are appropriate and effective in maintaining and improving the health and safety management system.




Work Programme 2018-19 and Development of Work Programme for 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

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

Additional documents:


The Work programme was submitted to the Committee for information.  The Committee were also asked if they had any additional views on the emerging themes for the 2019/20 work programme.  The developing work programme will be taken to partners and stakeholders for further consultation prior to Cabinet and Council for final approval.


It was suggested that we look at, based on the themes within the Thrive Agenda, “How this Authority can help communities to help themselves.


RESOLVED    -           (i)         that the work programme for 2018/19 be noted.

                                    (ii)         that the comments of the Committee on the development of the 2019/20 be noted.