Transparency - The Council

Members Questions

At Annual Council held on 17 May 2017, it was agreed that a facility would be made available for any elected member to ask a question (on matters of budget and policy) to a Cabinet member, at any time.  This would be on the basis that the response would be published on the council’s website, providing the public, the opportunity to review the questions and answers.  Below is the list of questions received and the subsequent reply from the cabinet member:



Question  Answer  Asked By   Date
 1 Subject: Pan / Bluebell Meadows Development

Can I be advised precisely how much of a capital receipt the IW Council has received to 31 March 2017 from its Development Agreement with Barratts to build up to 600 homes for sale on this Council land ?
To date, the Council has received £1 million from Barratts. Cllr. Brodie  14.08.17
 2 Subject: Pan / Bluebell Meadows Development

Can I be advised as to why the multi-stakeholder 'Pan Project Group', a requirement of the Development Agreement with Barratts, has become defunct since its administration was passed into the hands of a private company, ERMC ?
ERMC are the managing agent for the Pan ManCo.  The development agreement places responsibility for the Pan Project Group with the Council and Soverign and therefore it is not for ERMC to administer this group.  The Council will review the need for this group and will discuss with the ward member the membership and on going role of this group. Cllr. Brodie 14.08.17

 3

 

Subject: Island Roads - Core Investment Period

Can the Cabinet member outline for Island residents in urban areas like my Newport East ward what the IW Council administration's policy will be if the road re-surfacing still to be undertaken in so many residential streets is not going to be completed within what little time is left of the Island Roads' Core Investment Period (ends 31.03.20)  

 

Under the PFI contract Island Roads is required to ensure that all roads meet the standards set out in the contract documents for the duration of the 25 year term. Roads are continually surveyed by an independent surveying company which is accredited to survey the network using standards and processes set out nationally. The results from the surveys are used to calculate a score for each section of road (known as a Monitoring Length) and these scores are then combined to provide an average score for each classification of road (Hierarchy 1 to Hierarchy 4) in each of the Islands six districts, which were created for the purposes of the contract.

 During the Core Investment Period (CIP) the scores required in each district for each classification of road increases at each six month milestone. By Milestone 12 (April 2019) the average score for each district should be at or above the score which will need to be maintained for the remaining term of the contract (15.5 for Hierarchy 1 roads, and 15 for all other hierarchies). From Milestone 14 (April 2020) a minimum score for each Monitoring Length needs to be achieved in addition to the district average.

 Whilst most of the upgrading work to achieve the required scores is carried out during the CIP, works will need to continue on an on going basis throughout the term of the contract to ensure the required scores are maintained for the remaining period of the contract. Therefore, we will continue to see works after the CIP as roads deteriorate and interventions are required to ensure the required standards are maintained Island roads is fully aware of this requirement and use its own complex model that inputs proposed treatment types and dates and models future deterioration. Depending upon the upfront chosen treatment type the model envisages for some roads a further intervention during the period after CIP. However the period of maximum activity will be during CIP and whilst further treatments will occur in the period after it ends the  level of activity on the network will be greatly reduced.

 Cllr Brodie  01.09.17
 4

 Subject: Organisational Health

Cllr Hutchinson -

You may have noted press reports today about the record low levels of sickness absence from work in the UK during 2017.

It then occurred to me that I have no idea what the organisational health of the IW Council is since the Employment Committee (which I chaired for 2 years) was terminated by your administration in May last year. As you will recall we used to get quarterly reports on:

 • Completion of staff personal development reviews. 

• Number of reported accidents. 

• Number of reported incidents of violence and aggression to staff. 

• Average number of days lost to sickness per permanent employee together with other statistics that relate directly to initiation (action) points contained within the Attendance Management Policy and Procedure. 

• Voluntary turnover of staff as a percentage of employments.

 You will recall as a member of the Employment Committee during my 2 years that I was always particularly interested in the low level of performance reviews in the 'caring' departments, which always struck me as entirely apposite.

Since May 2017 organisational health has been your area of responsibility, but I have seen no reports or references on these interesting matters. I have briefly looked at some of the Performance Reports that go to Scrutiny and Cabinet, but could see no mention there.

Can you advise me how there is transparency on these matters ? I am sure Council Taxpayers would be interested in current sickness absence rates, particularly those related to mental health issues.

 

 

 

 

Cllr Brodie,

Thanks for drawing this to my attention. Sometimes one forgets that because one is still party to information, others aren't. I do agree we need to have greater transparency on this issue. 

We of course still collect the information and this is regularly discussed at the Resources Group Meetings I have, as well as at CMT as part of a dashboard of indicators as to the management of the organisation. I would in addition expect any concerns around issues such as those you list, to be raised at the regular JCM meetings between Members, Chief Officers and Unions, which both Dave and I attend.

That doesn't however allow review by a wider audience and to address this I shall ask  for these statistics to be regularly published (I think twice a year would be sufficient to monitor trends and any action taken) as an appendix to the performance report presented to Cabinet at the end of each quarter.  That would mean that it is open and publicly available and because all Cabinet papers are examined by Scrutiny, will offer the opportunity of comment or question.

 Cllr Brodie  31.07.18
 5

 Subject: Island Roads Core Investment Period

Cllr Stewart

Thanks for the written response to my Full Council question. I am afraid that I need to pursue this further as your response raises further questions. 

I have copied it to Simon Wiggins so that it can registered as a formal question to you as Leader under the process for dealing with formal questions to Cabinet members. I also intend to continue making these questions public as I feel very strongly that Islanders, not least myself, have been deceived and that your administration is failing to act in their best interests in relation to this contract.

In your response you refer me to the Final Business Case (FBC) for the PFI contract, which was agreed by Cabinet on 29 May 2012 Cabinet, then by the Department for Transport and HM Treasury, and then presented to Cabinet and Full Council on 21/22 August 2012.

The redacted copy of the FBC that I am able to access has the following paragraphs:

2.5.2.3 The 25 year Project consists of a

7 year Core Investment Period (CIP) to refurbish the Project Network to an improved standard

and a further 18 year Lifecycle Replacement period when that standard will be maintained. 

2.5.3 Project Scope 

2.5.3.1 A high-level summary of the Project scope is described below. 

2.5.4 Carriageways 

2.5.4.1

The Island’s 818 km of rural and urban roads that are currently being managed publicly, form part of the Project Network.

(sections emboldened by me)

You will see that at no time do these paragraphs mention your words 'agreed average standard'. Nor is there any qualification for Island Roads not having to refurbish all of the Project Network during the Core Investment Period. The FBC also makes very clear that the Scope of the Project includes all 818 km of the Project Network.

Can you please explain these clear discrepancies between what you tell me and what the FBC says ? 

Can you also tell me what level of fines have been applied to Island Roads for failure to comply with the contract in each of the financial years since April 2013, including the first half of this year ?

 

 

 

 

Can you please explain these clear discrepancies between what you tell me and what the FBC says ? 

 

The obligations of the Service Provider, in reference to the Core Investment Period (CIP), are outline in the Highways PFI contract. These are measured by condition indices, not lengths of treated roads.  The condition indices are calculated from road survey results.  The length of carriageway referenced in the question was the total length of carriageway at the time of contract commencement (the Project Network).  The total Project Networks is still currently in the scope of the contract to be managed by the Service Provider.  That does not necessarily mean that all roads being managed will be treated, if the condition indices are within an acceptable level.

Can you also tell me what level of fines have been applied to Island Roads for failure to comply with the contract in each of the financial years since April 2013, including the first half of this year ?

 

This information is deemed to be commercially sensitive.

 Cllr Brodie  22/09/19