To receive a report from the Director of Law and Governance providing a Service Delivery Risk Registers update.
RECEIVED a report from the Director of Law and Governance, presenting the risk registers for the Service Delivery operating areas (People and Place Departments).
1. The report was presented by Gemma Young (Head of Internal Audit & Risk Management).
2. A representative from each department had been nominated to attend the meeting to answer questions relating to their register. These were Tony Theodoulou (Executive Director People) and Sarah Cary (Executive Director Place).
3. Tony Theodoulou stated there are risks in the report where the People department have taken steps to ensure that they mitigate against the worst possible scenario.
When working with vulnerable children or vulnerable adults, you cannot eliminate risk completely which is why some of the department’s assessments are in the Amber matrix range.
4. After consulting the committee on which People risks, they wanted Tony Theodoulou to focus on, Councillor Yusuf requested PEO/1819-01 Failure to protect Children and PLA/1819 – 01 Failure to recruit & retain staff. These are detailed at 3.5 (Table on page 22) of the report:
· PEO/1819-01 – This risk would always be inherent to the work of People department. Even with additional resources, you cannot completely control what happens in peoples’ homes or communities. There was no reason why this risk should be reduced from last year as it would always be there.
Schools have always played a big part in recognising vulnerable people. The other major source of information relating to referrals to Children’s Services is from the Police.
· PLA/1819-01 – This risk was Place department and was clarified by Sarah Cary. This risk was not specific to Enfield. This was in the council’s planning & housing developments and property areas where qualified professional staff are needed. There is generally a shortage of these professionals within local government and across the UK. Because of that there are competitive salaries and is difficult to recruit and retain staff. The department had taken steps to improve the risk with Human Resources department and is not getting any worse at present.
In terms of Planning, the department must have professional chartered planners in post. There is a statutory duty to have certain levels of staff and this is not about the council setting its sights too high. The pool in local government is low.
5. The committee referred to 3.7 (page 23) of the report, regarding the 3 risks that have been removed from the register. Was this because they are green (matrix) and if so, what was the impact, in terms of moving them out of the risk register. Tony Theodoulou clarified:
· PEO/1819-02 – This was highlighted as a risk since 2015, following an OFSTED inspection at that time. Since that time the service and processes had improved. The department’s responses’ to missing children is legally compliant. They have a system in place for cross-checking databases so that the department can understand far more strategically where children are going missing from and going to.
The department have a process for return home interviews and this risk was not particularly significant anymore.
· PEO/1819-06 – This risk was not particularly specific for People department and should be listed in the Corporate Risk register.
· PEO/1819-09 – This risk was covered elsewhere – Failure to protect vulnerable residents’ risk (PEO/1819-01).
6. The committee asked for clarity regarding the following risks as detailed at the table on page 22 of the report:
· PLA/1819-05 – Customer Experience - Low
· PLA/1819-06 – Contract Management Failure – Medium
Councillor Ozaydin referred to Housing repairs, problems with contractors and unhappy tenants and wanted to understand why the risk ratings were low for customer experience and medium for contract management failure. Sarah Cary clarified that the reason why the customer experience risk has dropped is because the department not only look at housing repairs but the entire spectrum of ways they can interact with residents.
The department have a comprehensive programme across a couple of areas, housing repairs is one and planning is another, to try and change the way services are delivered and to try and improve the customer satisfaction. There had been significant improvement with housing repairs over the past 3 months. Contract management continued to be a risk as there are quite a few substantial high value contracts in place and are complicated.
7. The following questions and queries raised in response to the report:
a. The committee asked if the council still had a policy on training and retention of staff. Tony Theodoulou clarified that the council still had the post entry training scheme. This entailed funding a member of staff to participate on an expensive course which furthers their professional development. In return, the staff member stays at the council for at least 2 years after course completion. This was still a council wide policy. Sarah Cary further clarified that the council run several different programmes around training and development. Including a successful return to work programme aimed, not entirely, at women returning to work after pregnancy as experienced members of staff. This is an area the council needs to improve on regarding its learning and development training offer.
At present, every department has been asked to put forward their training needs for 2019/20 and are in the process of costing this.
b. Councillor David-Sanders asked for clarity regarding the following risks:
· PLA/1819-09 – Comprehensive Masterplan Delivery and if this risk was likely to go green in the future or stay in the amber area.
· PLA/1819-11 – Compliance with statutory obligations around corporate landlord and other functions – This risk had gone green and did that mean that mitigation was right here, or should it still be in amber.
Sarah Cary clarified that with the Master Plan comprehensive delivery, Meridian Water development and large developments of this scale are inherently very risky, and the risk would not be going green for a while.
Regarding the corporate landlord risk & function, the department had made good progress with this over the past 6-9 months, which is partially why this risk had changed. At a recent Directors meeting, discussion was around the success that was had in documenting and having records of what they thought was going on. Directors were concerned that while they knew that health & safety checks and legionella checks were being done, there was no paper work to prove that. The department had also done 3 areas of pilots across the council to double check that they are doing all the right safety checks as corporate landlord.
There was also a discussion, at the recent Executive Directors meeting, around schools, a low risk on the register, and we are comfortable that the risk is shared appropriately. Directors were comfortable with the level of scrutiny that was going on.
c. The Chair enquired about the Brexit risk and that in the medium term, how will council staff be affected and have any assessments been done by each department on how many employees will be affected. Fay Hammond (Interim Executive Director Resources) clarified that Julie Mimnagh (Head of Human Resources Operations) was doing some work on what the impact would be on the workforce of the council. The council’s role would be in making sure that staff are signposted and aware, in terms of applying for British Citizenship and how to make that application. The council could not identify which staff are specifically directly affected by Brexit because its HR systems does not hold data like that e.g. EU resident, etc.
Tony Theodoulou further clarified that there is Council Brexit Board (meeting every 2 weeks) chaired by Cllr Daniel Anderson and Sarah Cary, Tony Theodoulou, Fay Hammond and Gemma Young are all part of that board. The board are in close liaison with the government and the message coming from those and advice. The council is doing what it can to prepare for the exit from the EU. Those council employees affected will have to apply for British Citizenship and have 2 years to do this. The charge for this has now been scrapped.
8. The Chair thanked Gemma Young for her report.
AGREED to note the risks recorded in the Service Delivery Risk Registers and to note that the Corporate Risk Register will replace the Service Enabling and Service Delivery Risk Registers at future meetings.