Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Chairman's Introductions

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The Chairman welcomed members and officers to the meeting.  He requested that members restrict questions to two minutes per question to officers.  The Chairman also noted that the next meeting of the Shadow Executive would be taking place on 8 October.


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs L Clarke, Councillor R Newcombe, Councillor A Cole, Councillor P Kelly and Councillor S Lambert.  It was noted that Councillor Sandra Jenkins was substituting for Councillor Richard Newcombe for the duration of the meeting.


Declarations of Interest

Members to declare any interests.

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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To approve the Minutes of the Shadow Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 5 August 2019.

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The minutes of the meeting held on 5 August 2019 were confirmed as a correct record. 


Regarding item 6, Consolidated Financial Position, it was requested that information regarding where the figures originated from, as noted in paragraph 10 and page 25 of the report, be made available.

ACTION: Democratic Services


It was noted that actions outlined in the minutes had been actioned and information outstanding would be circulated to the Committee.

ACTION:  Democratic Services


Council Access Points

The Committee will receive a presentation on Council Access Points.  Members will then have an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the proposals to help inform the Shadow Executive’s decision.

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The Committee welcomed Sara Turnbull, Localism Workstream Officer Co-Lead, BCC and Jeff Membery, Assistant Director, Customer Fulfilment, AVDC to the meeting to provide a presentation on establishing Council and Community Access Points across Buckinghamshire.  The following points were noted:


·         Council Access Points would be available on day one of the new Buckinghamshire Council (1 April 2020). 

·         A report would be provided to the Shadow Executive on 8 October 2019, outlining the vision, approach and options in establishing the access points across Buckinghamshire.

·         A member working group had been established to investigate and consider options.  Members of the working group had considered good practice at other local authorities.

·         The access points would be undertaken in two phases.  Phase one would provide council access points for residents to access council services locally on vesting day.  Phase two would be an enhanced service to provide community access points, this would be undertaken post vesting day.

·         Work was being undertaken with colleagues at the councils to provide council access points the first day of the new council. 

·         Phase one would be for all services for both county and district to be accessed via website, social media, email, phone and face to face.

·         It would be important to provide online services as these usually had a high volume of customers.  However it was noted that all residents would need access to services and more complex issues would require face to face customer service. 

·         The proposal for phase one would be to have 18 council access points across the county for residents to have access to all services.  Larger areas would have more than one access point and staff would be trained to answer queries and signpost residents to the correct area of expertise.

·         Existing provision would be kept in place and staff trained appropriately to help residents with any queries.  Council access points would provide an upgrade for residents to be able to access all council services.

·         Consideration was being given to provide an additional access point at Waddesdon and discussions were taking place with colleagues at the parish council.

·         The aim was for council access points to cover the whole of the new Buckinghamshire Council area.  In areas of high demand there would be more than one access point.

·         Work was being undertaken on branding and a communications plan for the 1 April launch and colleagues were working on the customer and digital strand to provide a training plan for staff to enable them to be confident in the range of services for residents to access.

·         Post vesting day work would continue on the design and business case for the community access points.  It was confirmed that there would be a wider range of services at the community access points.  Public engagement would be included so that they would be designed to meet local needs.


In response to members’ questions the following points were noted:


·         The current main council offices would be used as council access points from day one but this could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Customer Strategy

The Committee will receive a presentation on the customer strategy, focussing on the impact on residents from day one of the new Council.  Members will then have an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the proposals to help inform the Shadow Executive’s decision.

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The Committee welcomed Maryonne Hassell, IT Strategy Manager, AVDC and Lloyd Jeffries, Director of Customer, BCC to the meeting to provide a presentation on the planned approach and implementation of customer and digital services for vesting day of the new Council.


Members were informed that initially there would be no major transformation, new and existing signposting would be provided to residents to access services.


Members were provided with information regarding customer channel storyboards which demonstrated the customer’s experience when accessing services on vesting day and beyond.  It was noted that the existing telephone numbers would still be in use and a new telephone number for Buckinghamshire Council would also be available.  Staff would be trained and upskilled to deal with enquiries on the telephone and for face to face queries. Payment methods would remain in place for Day 1 and websites for the councils would stay open but would be rebranded.  Existing processes would be kept in place with additional signposting.  Webchat would be available and social media sites would need to be rebranded.  


In response to a query it was confirmed that the process for payments to town and parish councils from council tax would be in line with the current process and this was being dealt with within the finance workstreams.


It was noted that there would be an area on the new website for new residents and for people who were unsure which service to use.   Testing would be undertaken well in advance of vesting day to ensure the least disruption as possible to customers.


It was unknown at this time where the central customer service team would be based for the new council. 


Officers commented that currently the larger resources available provided a better position for customer access to the council than ever before and there would be multiple ‘front door’ access to the council for residents. 


It was noted that the current telecommunication providers to the councils would be used and officers were currently in discussion with suppliers.  The website for the new council would be delivered by a new provider and should be up and running by Christmas 2019.


The Chairman thanked the officers on behalf of the Committee and welcomed them to a future meeting to bring any demonstrations or tests to the Committee so that they could support the work being undertaken.


Shadow Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To consider the Shadow Executive Forward Plan.

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The Committee noted the Shadow Executive Forward Plan.  An updated version published on the 25 September had been forwarded by email to the Committee in advance of the meeting.


The Chairman reported that he would be attending the Shadow Executive meeting on 22 October to present the Scrutiny Work Programme.  He noted that discussions were being undertaken with the Shadow Executive Leader regarding access to the Executive reports in advance of the meetings.


Committee and Task and Finish Work Programme pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To discuss the proposed Work Programme.

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The Committee noted and agreed the draft Work Programme, the proposed approach and schedule for the Budget Task and Finish Group, and the schedule of dates for the Implementation Plan Task and Finish Group. 


Regarding the Budget Task and Finish Group it was noted that a robust process would be in place and during January 2020 the Committee would be interviewing Portfolio Holders as part of the scrutiny process.