Agenda and minutes

Highways and Growth Select Committee
Thursday, 18 October 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Richard Plummer 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 10 May 2018 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

3.

Declarations of Interest

     

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or

    as soon as possible thereafter:

     

    i.       any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or;

     

    ii.      other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

     

    ·        Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest;

     

    ·        as well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner); and

     

    ·        Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

4.

Questions & Petitions

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (12 October 2018).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (11 October 2018).

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    There were none.

5.

Response from the Cabinet to Issues Referred by the Select Committee

6.

Surrey Employment and Skills pdf icon PDF 286 KB

    Purpose of the Report: To respond to the interest of the Highways and Growth Select Committee in understanding how the Council works with local businesses and partners to address skills gaps and future workforce demands in Surrey.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Paula Neal, Relationship Manager Skills for Business
    Bob Pickles, Chairman of the Employment and Skills Board,
    Head of Corporate & Government AffairsCanon UK & Ireland
    Tracie Evans, Executive Director of Economy, Growth and Commercial

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Officers provided context to the formation of the Employment and Skills Board (ESB) in 2013, noting that it was aimed to encourage economic growth in partnership with the local authority, employers, higher education authorities and other key stakeholders. It was stressed that this was a volunteer, employer led body. It was noted, however, that the ESB had received dedicated officer support from Surrey County Council as of early 2018.

    2. The Chairman of the Employment and Skills Board highlighted that one of the key assets of the ESB was its capability to create a network of employers, local authorities, higher education authorities, and others which would work to identify skills gaps and provide a collective voice to suggest resolutions to these skills gaps.

    3. Members questioned whether there was a significant gap between public and private sector ways of working. The Chairman of the Employment and Skills Board noted that there was a difference in working cultures, but that the public sector had been changing to more match private sector ways of working, which ensured that this issue was not acute. It was noted, however, that there was still a cultural difference in the way that schools work, but that the ESB had worked to outreach to schools to bridge the gap.

    4. Members questioned how the ESB could outreach more to businesses and to improve its visibility. The Chairman of the Employment and Skills Board noted that it had been working with the Relationship Manager, Skills for Business to further develop the digital reach of the ESB, and that more work needed to be done to improve upon this.

    5. Members questioned whether disability groups were represented sufficiently on the ESB and whether there was any opportunity to outreach to these groups to potentially engage with a project to improve disabled employability. The Chairman of the Employment and Skills Board stressed that all representatives of the ESB dealt with issues relating to disability on a regular basis, but that there was no specific representative. The Chairman of the ESB did note that he would like to see improved engagement with disability groups, and welcomed input from the Committee as to how to potentially engage better with these groups. Members offered to provide suggestions to the Chairman of the ESB after the meeting.

    6. Members questioned gaps in membership and outreach, asking whether there was scope to include NHS and school organisations more. The Chairman of the ESB explained that it was working to regain school representation on the Board; it was noted that it had been the case historically that there was a representative of schools on the Board, which the Board was hoping to rectify. It was also stressed that the Board was currently seeking a representative from the NHS. The Chairman  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Overview of Highways Contracts pdf icon PDF 95 KB

    Purpose of report: To provide members with an overview of the current contract arrangements across Highway services and improvements made to date.  The report will also outline the Service’s journey towards retendering when the current contracts come to an end many of which do so in April 2021.

     

    Annex A to follow.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Paul Wheadon, Business Improvement & Consultancy Team Manager
    Lucy Monie, Head of Highways and Transport
    Bernard Hodgkinson, General Manager, Kier

    Colin Kemp, Lead Cabinet Member for Place

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. The Lead Cabinet Member for Place explained that the aim of the session was to consider the complexities of the Highways contracts to understand the development of the current contract structure, with the aim of informing future understanding of the development of the future Highways contracts upon re procurement in 2021.

    2. The Lead Member and Officers provided an overview of the current contract, highlighting the background of the contract, value, scope, functions, high level performance information and improvements to the contract. The representative from Kier explained that Kier had secured an extension to the contract in 2016 with some changes to how the contract was delivered, which had provided some cost savings. It was also explained how the service operated and the hubs that the service utilised to effectively maintain the network.

    3. On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman voiced disappointment that this was the first time the Select Committee members had the opportunity of seeing the presentation slides. It was stressed that, for the Committee is to perform its scrutiny role effectively, it was essential that all notes and presentation material be made available to the Committee in advance for members to have adequate time to prepare questions and comment in an informed manner.

    4. The representative from Kier and the Lead Member noted that the service was undergoing a “managed deterioration” of the network based on current funding levels. It was stressed that this was not an acute problem at present and that the road network quality of Surrey compared favourably to other authorities. Members asked Keir and the Lead Member to provide a comparison of Surrey road quality compared to other authorities to help design how the contract will be designed in future, as well as understand the value for money of the contract and whether there is good return on investment in light of the managed deterioration of the asset.

    5. The representative from Kier noted that the current model was a transparent and open model which allowed for good partnership work. The Officers agreed to supply the key indicators.

    6. Officers highlighted the performance measures and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the contractor. It was noted that the contractor did measure its own performance, but that Surrey County Council officers audited and monitored the accuracy of these measures. It was noted that, generally, the contractor had performed well against these KPIs. Members did note that there was a low measure of resident satisfaction, which could be improved with better communication with residents regarding disruptions. The Lead Member noted that he had undertaken a significant amount of work on this, but that there was more that could be done to improve resident’s perception. It was also suggested that how the service works to communicate better as part of the new contract needed to be examined  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 58 KB

    The Select Committee is asked to review and approve the Forward Work Programme and provide comment as required.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members approved the forward work programme of the Committee.

     

    Members questioned whether it was possible to involve Borough and District authorities in the discussion regarding affordable housing.

    The Lead Cabinet for Place noted that there was work that could be considered in future regarding lane rental.

     

    The Chairman noted that there was future work reagrding the Surrey Investment Strategy and how the service will manage this in future.

9.

Date of the Next Meeting