Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Monday, 20th March, 2017 5.30 pm

Venue: Room 10

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  01744 67(6106)

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for Absence were received from Councillors Ireland and Pearson and Reverend D Hall.


Minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2017 pdf icon PDF 79 KB


*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2017 be approved and signed.


Declaration of Interest from Members


No Declarations on Interest from Members were made.


Public Notice of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:


A report was submitted which updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on Key Decisions that the Cabinet expected to make. Members were informed that there was a Key Decision expected to be made within areas which would be subject to each Scrutiny Panel’s key policies and strategy reviews.


A brief description of the Key Decision had been included in the report for Members to consider and identify any issues of particular relevance to be taken into account in the key policy/strategy reviews.


A Public Notice of Key Decisions published on 28 February 2017 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.


*           Resolved that the report be noted.


Scrutiny Review of Portfolio Spending Plans for 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 88 KB


The Chair of Audit and Financial Monitoring Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Fletcher presented the report on Scrutiny Review of Portfolio Spending Plans for 2017/18.


The focus of the review had been to consider the budget proposals and the implications for service delivery, with a particular focus on service performance and quality, and the continuous pressures on services. This process was informed by way of consideration of the draft and final Portfolio Spending Plans and questioning of the Strategy and Spending Plans.


The report detailed the findings of the review and outlined key issues that had been discussed during the review meeting in the follow areas: People’s Services, Children, Families, Young People and Education, Adult Social Care and Health, Public Health and Wellbeing and Growth (including Planning) and Green Smart and Sustainable Borough.


Members recognised the difficult financial climate against which the spending plans had been developed and acknowledged the detailed work and hard decisions that had been undertaken in this time of unprecedented challenges.


The Commission supported the submission of the Council's four year efficiency plan and welcomed the Council’s proposals to integrate health and social care within an Accountable Care System.


It was noted as a result of this Scrutiny Review, the Commission had no specific issues but welcomed the opportunity to contribute/be involved in the Council's Transformation Programme.


*           Resolved that:

(1)        the report be noted; and

            (2)        the final report be submitted to Cabinet.


During discussion of the following item Councillor McQaude declared a Personal Non-Pecuniary interest in the item.



Communications within the Council

·         Jayne Taylor, Head of Corporate Communications has been invited to attend the meeting.


The Head of Corporate Communications attend the meeting to give a verbal presentation on Communications within the Council.


In spring 2016, the Local Government Association (LGA) undertook a Communications Health Check on the Council’s Communication Service. The Health Check found, although there were elements of good practice, the communication function was ‘fragmented ‘and recommended the appointment of a Head of Corporate Communications to address this issue.


Since appointment, the Head of Corporate Communications informed the Commission that she had undertaken a Communication Review and developed a set of recommendations. These would be used to inform the development of a Communication Strategy, the first draft of which would be due May 2017.


Members were informed on the communication activities which would be undertaken over the next 12 months this included: a review of St Helens First, development of social media to handle customer enquiries, further development of the corporate website, design of a place narrative and branding, internal structural changes/streamlining, discontinuation of Council@Work and development of a new intranet using SharePoint and Yammer.


The Commission raised questions which were answered at the meeting in relation to: distribution of St Helens First, migration costs to new systems, Invest St Helens website development, use of social media targeted advertising, Freedom of Information and the use of the Yammer Platform, delivery of the Communication Strategy and on the corporate and political relationship in relation to media releases.


*           Resolved that:


(1)          the verbal report be noted;


(2)          the Head of Corporate Communications be thanked for their attendance; and


(3)          a six month update report on the Communication Strategy be brought to a future meeting of the Commission.



Update on Scrutiny Work Programme 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 69 KB


A report was submitted which updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the Scrutiny Work Programme 2016/17.


The Overview and Scrutiny Commission was encouraged to review the Work Programme on a regular basis to ensure it remained timely and relevant.


An update on the Work Programme 2016/17 was outlined by the respective Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels, Members of the Task and Finish Groups and Scrutiny Manager, where appropriate.

An Update on the Vision and Change Programme from the Assistant Director - Vision and Change was tabled for Members information.


*           Resolved that the update reports be noted.



Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Scrutiny Panel


The Chair gave Members a verbal update report on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) Scrutiny Committee.


The Commission was informed that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) Scrutiny Committee had met to consider Governance issues and that an update on this would be brought to the next meeting of the Commission.


Members raised questions with regards to the role the Liverpool City Region would be undertaking in the apprenticeships scheme across the region.


*           Resolved that:

(1)        the verbal report be noted; and

(2)        Cabinet Member, Liverpool City Region be invited to the next meeting of the Commission to address Members concerns with regards to the regional apprenticeship approach.