Agenda item

Attendance of the Portfolio Holder for Resources

This report sets out activities and progress within the areas covered by the

Portfolio Holder for Resources which fall within the remit of this Committee.




Members received an overview of progress on the areas within the terms of

reference of this Committee covered by Councillor Adrian Gulvin, Portfolio

Holder for Resources, i.e.


·         Transformation and Digital Services

·         Council Plan

·         Performance and Service Improvement

·         Business and Administration Support Service

·         Complaints Policy and Management

·         HR

·         ICT

·         Legal

·         Property

·         Category Management//Procurement

·         Travellers

·         Joint Ventures


Councillor Gulvin responded to Members’ questions and comments as follows:


·         Transformation and Digital Services – a Member asked for an assurance that elderly and vulnerable people would still be able to access council services and communicate with the Council in the light of the Council’s transformation agenda. Councillor Gulvin commented that 93% of residents had access to the internet and those who were unable to access services digitally could be helped by trained staff at the Hubs and libraries. In the future access to services would be through digital means only and not to do so would lead to further cuts in services. Some Members commented that the 93% figure included access to a mobile phone and did not mean that everyone with internet access was confident or knowledgeable enough to access services digitally. In response to whether enough was being done to help vulnerable people and whether  resources would be made to provide IT training, Councillor Gulvin confirmed  IT help was available in Hubs and libraries.


Noting that that the impacts of the digital transformation would be significant, both negative and positive, another Member queried whether the current approach adequately took into account the impact on vulnerable people and the affordability of IT equipment. Councillor Gulvin responded the approach would offer an improved service as people who needed help would be assisted by a member of staff in a library – something that did not happen at present. A Member added that some people would not be able to get to a library and this would increase social isolation - an issue a scrutiny Task Group was currently looking at.


A Member asked for an assurance that the digital transformation savings would be achieved and Councillor Gulvin confirmed he was confident the £5m savings target would be delivered.


·         Cashless transactions – a Member referred to the fact a limit had been placed on the number of parking permits which could be purchased by those paying in cash when such a limit did not apply to cashless transactions.


·         Local Plan and travellers – in response to a question, Councillor Gulvin advised that the Council was investigating an offer to acquire, at no cost, a site for travellers.


·         Property


A Member asked for an update on developing Gillingham town centre. Councillor Gulvin replied that the Council was exploring opportunities (such as the Britton Farm site) which would help to regenerate the town centre.


Referring to paragraph 9.14, a Member asked for more information on the customer survey referred to, including how many people had been surveyed and who they were. Councillor Gulvin undertook to provide this information.


·         Strood – a Member asked when the flood defence works were due to start and whether disruption to an already gridlocked centre would be minimised. Councillor Gulvin advised the works would start in the next few weeks and it was hoped that the way in which they would be carried out would lead to less disruption than usual.


·         Affordable housing – referring to the plans to build 600 new homes through the Medway Development Company, a Member asked who was going to provide the affordable homes needed for essential workers. Councillor Gulvin replied that 25% of these homes would be affordable.




The Committee agreed to:


a)    thank the Portfolio Holder for Resources for his attendance;


b)    request a report at the next meeting on the digital transformation agenda  in response to the issues and concerns raised by Members at the meeting, and;


c)    ask for a briefing note on the sale of daily visitor parking vouchers.

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