Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Monday, 2nd October, 2017 5.30 pm

Venue: Room 8

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  01744 67(6106)

Items
No. Item

20.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence were received from Councillors Bond and C Preston

21.

Minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2017 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 July 2017, be approved and signed.

 

It was noted that the action in Minute 15(3) would be superseded with the provision of the actual Communications strategy to the Commission.

22.

Declaration of Interest from Members

Minutes:

No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.

23.

Public Notice of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report was submitted which updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on Key Decisions that the Cabinet expected to make. 

 

The Public Notice of Key Decisions published on 5 September 2017 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report which informed the Overview and Scrutiny Commission that there were no key decisions due to be made at Cabinet on 4 October 2017.

 

*           Resolved that the report and update be noted.

24.

Appointment of Church Representative Co-Opted Member pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Minutes:

The Council’s Constitution provided for the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and the Children and Young People’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel to include two voting Co-opted Members who represent the Church of England and Roman Catholic Dioceses.

 

Church Representatives are appointed to Scrutiny by their host Diocesan Organisations.

The Democratic Services Manager had been informed that the Archdiocese representative, Canon Tom Neylon had resigned from the role and that the

Archdiocese had appointed Mr Chris Williams as his replacement.

The Commission noted that Canon Neylon was first appointed to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission in December 2001, when Council approved to operate the new Executive Arrangements, and that a letter had been sent to Canon Neylon thanking him for his contributions to Overview and Scrutiny.


*           Resolved that the appointment of Mr Chris Williams as the
            Archdiocesan representative be noted.

 

Councillor McQuade here entered the meeting.

25.

Budget 2017-2020 Update pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

(Reported to Cabinet on 19 July 2017)

 

A report was submitted which provided an update on progress of the Budget 2017-2020 and listed key changes which needed to be taken into account as part of the overall budget delivery.

 

The Council, at its meeting held on 1 March 2017, set a three-year Budget covering the period 2017-2020.  This budget was aimed at setting a foundation for the Council’s long-term aspirations of Growth and integration of Care and Health.  These themes were inextricably linked and intended to deliver a sustainable future for the Borough.

 

The budget was based on meeting the challenges of continuing Central Government imposed austerity whilst meeting the Council’s statutory responsibilities.  It required the delivery of £20.6m of savings and service plans for portfolios were set to achieve these savings by 2020.

 

The key elements of the agreed budget for 2017-2020 were:

 

1.           Cash limits were set for each Department for the three individual years’ budget period.

 

2.           Service plans identified the areas to be reviewed with a view to delivering the £20.6m savings by 2020.

 

3.           Council Tax increases of 4.99%, 4.99% and 1.99% were set for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively.

 

4.           Price inflation was set at 3% for 2017-18 and 2018-19 and 2% for 2019-20.

 

5.           Pay inflation was included at 2% for the three years to take account of the impact of the national living wage.

 

6.           The Council Tax base and the Business Rate base were estimated to increase marginally over the period.

 

7.           The budget was set using the principles of the long-term budget strategy established in 2001.      

 

The Cabinet resolved that:

 

(1)        Portfolios deliver their agreed service plans within the agreed cash limits;

 

(2)        Portfolios identify the key decisions required to meet the Budget 2017-2020 and detail these in the Budget Report in September 2017; and

 

(3)        Scrutiny be requested to review the delivery of the Budget 2017-2020.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) was present at the meeting to answer questions from Members.

Members raised questions in relation to the increase to the Mersey Region Waste Authority (MRWA) Levy in 2018/19 and the application for the temporary funding through the Better Care Fund (BCF) timetable which was answered at the meeting. These questions were answered at the meeting.

 

*           Resolved that the report be noted.

26.

Budget 2017-2020 - Proposed Portfolio Actions to Operate within Agreed Cash Limits pdf icon PDF 133 KB

The Cabinet Member, Corporate Services and Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) have been invited to attend.

Minutes:

(Reported to Cabinet on 13 September 2017)

 

A report was submitted which updated Cabinet that Council set a three-year Budget in March 2017 covering the period 2017-2020.  The aim of the agreed Budget was to set a foundation for the Council’s long-term aspirations of Growth and Care and Health integration.  These three elements of the Council’s vision, a balanced budget, a growing local economy and Health and Care integration, were inextricably linked and were intended to deliver a sustainable future for the Borough.

 

The budget was based on meeting the challenges of continuing Central Government imposed austerity, whilst meeting the Council’s statutory responsibilities.  It required the delivery of £20.6m of savings over three years and service plans for portfolios were set to achieve these savings by 2020.

 

The Cabinet, at its meeting held on 19 July 2017, requested that Portfolios should specify how they will operate within the agreed cash limits, agreed by Council for the three years 2017-2020.

 

Significant progress had already been made in meeting the financial challenge and the report highlighted the further portfolio actions required to complete the Council requirement. These questions were answered at the meeting.

 

At this meeting Cabinet had resolved that:

 

(1)          the individual savings schedules be approved and the individual Portfolios be authorised to progress them to final decisions within the timescales listed;

(2)          Portfolios continue to monitor and manage their services within the agreed Cash Limits; and

(3)          the Strategic Directors, be delegated authority, in consultation with the relevant Portfolio Holders, to progress the key decisions within the savings schedule and to undertake any required stakeholder consultation, including trade unions, and equalities impact assessments.


The Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) was present at the meeting to answer questions from Members.

Members raised questions in relation to the 100% Business Rate pilot, clarity on the timescales for the implementation of the proposed savings and reviews, if reviews would be undertaken with regard to the value they generate in relation to prosperity to the town and clarity regarding the implications of portfolios not meeting their identified savings targets and measures in place to ensure slippage did not occur.

 

*           Resolved that:

 

(1)          the report be noted; and

(2)          the Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate Services) be thanked for their attendance;

(3)          an update report be provided on the implementation of the schedule of proposed savings 2017-20 as detailed in the report, including a detailed timetable for implementation to allow for active monitoring by the Commission;

(4)          Looked After Children be considered as an additional work stream for the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel; and

(5)          a budget implementation task group be established.

 

Councillor Pearl here left the meeting.

27.

Communication Strategy

Head of Corporate Communications has been invited to attend

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate Communications and Head of Governance/City Region Liaison were present at the meeting to present the Communication Strategy.

The Commission was informed that the three year Communication Strategy had been developed and focused on the borough’s key ambitions as detailed in the St Helens Plan: improving people’s lives, creating a better place and innovative and adaptive Council.

 

Members asked questions which were answered at the meeting in relation to the strategy’s focus, specifically if this was on the dissemination of Council communications or the message that the Council wanted to disseminate.

 

*           Resolved that:

 

(1)       the report be noted;

(2)       the Head of Corporate Communications and Head of
           Governance/City Region Liaison be thanked for their attendance;
         

(3)        the Communications Strategy be circulated to the Commission for consideration and comments; and

 

(4)        the Head of Corporate Communications be invited to a future     
meeting of  the Commission.
 

 

28.

Review of Scrutiny Arrangements pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

A Scoping Matrix was submitted to the Panel which confirmed to Members the purpose of the review, aim and objectives, methodology and approach to undertake the Review of Scrutiny Arrangements.

 

*           Resolved that:

(1)        the report be noted; and

 

(2)        the Scoping Matrix be approved.

 

29.

Update on Scrutiny Work Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

A report was submitted which updated the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on the Scrutiny Work Programme 2017/18.

 

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.

 

Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel

Scrutiny Review of Mental Health Services
It was reported that a scoping meeting had taken place

Audit and Financial Monitoring Overview and Scrutiny Panel

It was reported that the Panel continued to consider Internal Audit Reviews undertaken and agreed actions and budget performance monitoring

Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel

Scrutiny Review of Traded Service to Schools

It was reported that further information on this topic had been requested by the Task and Finish Group

 

Scrutiny Review of Boys Early Language and Communication Skills

It was reported that a presentation on the ‘Lost Boys’ had been given to the Panel and that this would now be rolled out to all Members at the request of this Task Group

 

 

 

Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel

Scrutiny Review of Effectiveness of Multi Agency Working

It was reported that a scoping meeting had been arranged for the 5 October 2017

 

 

It was noted that there was a high volume of reviews scheduled for the Scrutiny Work Programme and it was proposed that each Panel/Task Group look to set a timetable for completion of reviews to enable tracking of progress.

 

*           Resolved that:

(1)        the report and verbal updates be noted; and

 

(2)        an update report be brought to the next meeting of the Panel on Traded Service to Schools.

 

Councillor Gomez-Aspron here entered the meeting.

 

30.

Update on Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA)

Minutes:

The Chair gave a verbal update on Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA).

The Commission was informed that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) Scrutiny Committee had set their work programme for 2017/18 and that the following reviews would be undertaken

 

·         Spatial Strategy;

·         Welfare reform; and

·         Air Quality

 

Members raised questions with regard to the evaluation of the International Business Festival, it was noted that this had been raised at the LCRCA Scrutiny scoping meeting.

 

*           Resolved that the update be noted.

 

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