Venue: Conference Centre, Jakemans Community Stadium (Boston United), Pilgrim Way, Wyberton, Boston, PE21 7NE
Contact: Janette Collier, Tel. no: 01205 314227 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Members of the public wishing to attend must register with the clerk prior to the day of the meeting.
To sign and confirm the minutes of the last meeting, held on 22nd April 2021.
Committee agreed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 22 April 2021.
To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes (if any).
Apologies for absence were tabled from committee members Councillors Tom Ashton and Martin Howard. Councillor Judith Welbourn substituting for Councillor Martin Howard.
Councillor Anne Dorrian who had intended to attend as an observer tabled her apologies.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.
Councillor Yvonne Stevens declared that she had previously held the post of Portfolio Holder in respect of the first report on the agenda.
Councillor Alison Austin declared she was a member of Lincolnshire County Council.
To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Thursday, 1st July 2021.
Please note: it will not be possible for officers to record this meeting or stream it live on YouTube.
There will be a limited amount of space for public attendance and anyone intending to be present must register with Democratic Services beforehand, with places to be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Anyone who arrives without being registered will not be permitted to enter unless there are seats remaining.
Two members of the public had registered their intent to table questions at the meeting.
The first question came from Mr Darron Abbott:
“I attach a copy of a response to a recent freedom of information request in which I requested information regarding the contract with Enfortis Limited. Considering Enfortis was not incorporated until 31 December 2020 the information supplied was very intriguing. It did seem to confirm that no serious procurement process was entered into when choosing the company. The response to my question of what checks were carried out to ensure that the company had the correct licences to carry out the duties it was employed to do the response was we checked the legal entity at companies house, by which I understand to be we did nothing. The reply I am afraid just displays how confusing and convoluted this whole matter is.
My question centres around the various dates and contracts could you be so kind as to put some meat on the bones and give details of the name of the businesses involved in the negotiations and contracts entered into?”
In response the Chairman replied:
As set out within the report tabled tonight, the Council entered into an environmental crime enforcement contract, under The Concession Contract Regulations 2016, with Optimal Risk Group Ltd in August 2020. Upon it reviewing its business model, a new company, Enfortis Ltd, was established to focus specifically on local authority enforcement, which resulted in the contract with Optimal Risk Group Ltd being novated to Enfortis Ltd on 17 March 2021.
Mr Abbot then tabled a supplementary question:
Mr Chairman, please indulge me a little here. So let me get this straight, it appears that these contracts are with a company called Optimal Risk Group Limited, not Optimal Risk limited as stated by Jenny Moore in an email to me on the 20th May 2021. I can therefore assume that this is the same Optimal Risk Group Limited that is mentioned as being part of the 3GS arrangement as mentioned in 2.1 of tonight’s report. The arrangement that was approved by Cabinet on the 12 February 2018 and I assume is the same 3GS that requested that their contract to be terminated as it was not cost effective as reported by Boston Standard on the 13 February 2019.
The officers then go back to this Company just a few months later and negotiate new contract. A Company that had let the Council down just a few months earlier this does not make sense. From the answers I received to my Freedom of Information request there appears to be very little of a procurement process, instead it appears to me we pick up the phone to our mates that have not wanted to come out and play such a short while ago. The officers then set up two contracts one of which that is now with Enfortis Limited that seems to guarantee a bumper pay out by just selecting 2 sites ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
(A report to be presented by the Chairman, Councillor Stephen Woodliffe)
The Chairman presented the report reading it in full, confirming it had been requested by committee to scrutinise the background and procurement and contract arrangements put in place with a third party contractor for overt surveillance capability to target fly tipping and littering offences within the Borough. Cabinet had approved adoption of the Governments Litter Strategy for England in 2018 that introduced new powers for Councils to issue fixed penalty notices for small-scale fly tipping offences. Cabinet had also approved at the same meeting, the extension of the contract with its’ existing provider at that time 3GS to progress the overt surveillance which was provided to 3GS by optimal risk Group Limited. The model approved by Cabinet was a ‘no cost to the Council’ model.
Procurement advice received in November 2018 confirmed that such a nil cost pilot contract for environmental crime enforcement fell under The Concession Contract Regulations 2016. Concession contracts at that time had a threshold for an UE tender of £4,551,433. The current pilot contract for one-year fell very significantly under the prevailing threshold value such that there remained no requirement for formal competition.
Based on the advice received, in early 2019, what turned out to be a lengthy period of negotiation commenced with Optimal Risk Group Ltd for the provision and management of such an overt surveillance enforcement service. A contract was entered in to in August 2020 that expires 24 August 2021.
As expected by Cabinet, the current pilot contract was entered in to in order to assess the longer-term feasibility and effectiveness of a ‘no cost’, overt surveillance offer to the Council. For clarity, the Council does not ‘pay’ the contractor directly under this pilot, rather, the contractor retains the money it receives through its issue of Fixed Penalty Notices.
Post contract award, Optimal Risk Group Ltd reviewed its business model that resulted in a new company, Enfortis Ltd, being established to focus specifically on enforcement activity for local authorities. Legal advice was secured by officers regarding use of Enfortis Ltd that resulted in the novation of the contract to the company
On conclusion of the presentation of the report the Chairman advised he has submitted a further four questions in addition to the 14 within appendix A of the report, and read out the 4 additional questions:
As the Guidance states (DEFRA Part 1A Effective Enforcement Sept 2019 Code of Practice), Enforcing Authorities remain responsible for the whole enforcement process whether they contract it out or not. So, how does the Council approach the exercise of discretion objectively, as also specified in the Guidance, when operating a zero-tolerance policy?
A FPN review panel has been established to review informal challenges of liability for the offence to which the FPN relates. Zero tolerance does not mean not having a review process, rather it means taking a robust line against fly tipping within a robust framework that is what the Council has done and is doing.
What means has the Council, or its ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
(A report by Rebecca James, Scrutiny Officer)
The Interim Deputy Chief Executive – People presented the report reaffirming to Members that when the alliance had been formed in July 2020, it had been agreed by both Council’s that a joint scrutiny panel would be convened to undertake scrutiny of the alliance and merged workforce.
For confirmation, Members were reminded that appendix B within the report, had already been agreed at Full Council and the report sought only to seek agreement of Appendix A, the scoping document. The time line for the review to begin in July 2021 and conclude towards the end of August 2021 with the resulting report coming back to the Corporate and Community Committee.
Committee Members did not question or comment on the report and agreed the recommendation unanimously.
(For Members to populate the Committee’s work programme for 2021/22)
Committee agreed the following reporting onto its work programme:
The meeting scheduled on the 22nd July 2021 to be re-scheduled to the 20th July to accommodate the South Lincolnshire Council Partnership report. This would be a one item agenda
An additional meeting scheduled in August to accommodate the report in respect A Town Council for Boston.
The meeting on the 16 September to accommodate two reports:
1. Pilgrim Hospital Operating Model – United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT)
2. Consideration of Upgrading Case Management System (confidential item)
Reporting for meetings thereafter for agreement at future meetings.