Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 7 December 2022 7:00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking

Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer 


No. Item


Declaration of Members' Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes - To confirm as correct the minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2022 pdf icon PDF 90 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2022 were confirmed as correct, subject to one change to be made. The minutes currently referenced that ‘Barking Station was the ninth busiest station in London’; however, this should be amended to the ‘ninth busiest station in the UK’.


Young People's Covenant & Employment for Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Participation, Opportunity and Wellbeing(HPOW) delivered a presentation on the Young People's Covenant & Employment for Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), which detailed:


·  What was already being done to promote young people’s employability;

·  Current and past ‘Not In Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) and ‘Not Known’ figures, for Barking and Dagenham, London and England;

·  Strategic initiatives to promote employability, such as the Careers Hub East,

·  The purpose of the employability covenant;

·  The Council’s internal framework to better understand what employment advice, guidance and support already existed for young people, according to their age, as well as to plan for the future;

·  Practical initiatives to promote employability, such as film-focused careers events and the Taste Festival;

·  The governance mechanisms of current work being undertaken;

·  The importance of SEND employability and the Council’s duties around this;

·  National guidance in relation to SEND employability;

·  Initiatives being undertaken to promote SEND employability, such as through the REACH programme, the LBBD Supported Employment Programme and the LBBD Internship Programme redesign;

·  How the Council was working to better plan for the transitions of young people with SEND into employment and to best support them with guidance; and

·  The governance of work being undertaken around SEND employability.


Following the presentation, a Councillor suggested that:


·  The Council create a Care Leaver’s Covenant, similar to the Council’s Armed Forced Covenant, whereby ex-servicemen or women would be guaranteed an interview should they apply for a job with the Council. This would build young care leavers’ employability, giving them the confidence to take their first steps into the world of work.

·  It would be useful to have a network of employers locally, whereby anybody who had completed an apprenticeship, an internship or work experience within the Council, as well as anyone with SEND and care leavers, would be guaranteed an interview.

·  Considering the amount of future regeneration in the Borough, as well as the current ‘Barking Riverside Innovation in Construction’ project, whereby Barking Riverside, the Council’s Job Shop, Barking and Dagenham Adult College and the Council more generally, were working together to facilitate upskilling for adults, it was suggested that a similar initiative be put in place for young people. This would provide jobs for the next generation in the Borough, address a serious skills shortage and promote the green industry. If the Council could assist in training these young people and providing this workforce for employers, in time and in exchange for this support, these employers could help to part fund some of these programmes to continue to grow their workforce from the Borough.


In response to questions from Members, the HPOW stated that:


·  A policy change had been implemented a few years ago, whereby care leavers that met the minimum requirements would be guaranteed an interview for an apprenticeship from the Council.

·  The Council’s Inclusive Growth team was working on the green jobs agenda and how this could be applied to local schools.

·  Whilst the data for SEND related largely to those with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Customer Services (Contact Centre) pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Customer Contact (HCC) and the Customer Services Manager (CSM) delivered a presentation on the Customer Services Contact Centre, which outlined:


·  How the Contact Centre was configured and used;

·  Benchmarking data against the Council’s Contact Centre and other contact centres (including Finance, Banking, Telecommunications, Travel and other Local Authorities);

·  Current performance and challenges;

·  Channel optimisation and improving customer access, such as through work to improve the My B&D platform to enable residents to make payments online more easily;

·  Maximising technology, such as through the Chatbox function and its capabilities, as well as proactive texting to provide residents with links that enabled them to self-serve online;

·  How the quality of calls was being improved;

·  How the service was forecasting the number of staff needed to meet customer demand;

·  How the service was working to remove siloes between different departments and improve complex queries management;

·  The Shared Service Model Strategy, which proposed to provide the first point of contact through community facing buildings, starting with Community Hubs; and

·  Data in terms of overall customer satisfaction, which was at 89% and overall satisfaction with Customer Services Officers, which was at 91%.


Following the presentation, the Chair emphasised:


·  The need to ensure that the Chatbox function was employed and monitored properly, as automated responses could prove unhelpful for service users. She also suggested that conversations through the Chatbox be kept for a period of time, so that issues could be monitored and residents did not need to repeat themselves should their issue continue to present.

·  That some residents would be unable to call during the workday, due to their own working hours and patterns. As such, it would be helpful if the current Contact Centre hours of 8am-6pm could be extended, to enable these residents to call outside of these hours. It would also be useful to extend the service to a Saturday morning for this reason. This arrangement could also enable Customer Services Officers to work more flexibly and work different hours, according to their needs.

·  The usefulness of employment scenario videos in the recruitment process, to enable prospective Customer Services Officers to experience potential scenarios that could arise in their work.


In response to queries from Members, the HCC and the CSM stated that:


·  Customer Services Officers used mobile phones and their laptops to respond to customer queries, which assisted with the work process as all of the Contact Centre staff were permanent home workers. The ability for these officers to work from home permanently had also attracted a high level of job applications during the recent recruitment process. Nevertheless, these officers did have an area within the Town Hall that they could work from if they did wish to work away from home.

·  In terms of the changes to the My B&D platform, payments had previously been available but it was felt that these were not clear and easy for residents to make, particularly as they were not given a reference number to inform them that their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 74 KB


The Work Programme was noted.