Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Monday, 1st October, 2018 5.30 pm

Venue: Room 10

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  01744 67(6106)


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Fulham, Haw, McQuade, C Preston, L Preston and Mr D Thorpe.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 71 KB

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*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2018, be approved and signed.


Declaration of Interest from Members

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No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.


Public Notice of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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


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 4 September 2018 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.


*           Resolved that the report be noted.



Budget 2018 - 2020 Update pdf icon PDF 97 KB

·         The Portfolio Holder for Collaborative Services, Councillor A Johnson and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services, Cath Fogarty have been invited to attend the meeting.

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(Reported to Cabinet on 18 July 2018)


A report was submitted which provided an update on progress of the Budget 2018-2020 and listed key changes which needed to be taken into account as part of the overall budget delivery.


The Council set a three-year Budget in March 2017 covering the period 2017-2020. This budget aimed at setting a foundation for the Council’s long term aspirations of Growth and Care and Health integration. These three themes 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 the period and service plans for portfolios were agreed to achieve these savings by 2020.


The Cabinet, at its meeting held on 19 July 2017, requested that portfolios should provide a further report as to how they would operate within the agreed cash limits.Subsequently, the meeting of Cabinet on 13 September 2017 received a further report that detailed progress made in meeting the financial challenge and highlighted the further portfolio actions required to deliver the necessary position.


At its meeting held on 28 February 2018, Council reaffirmed the budget strategy and position and agreed the cash limits for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Savings requirements over the 2017-2020 period were reconfirmed as being £20.6m.


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


1.         Cash limits were set for each Directorate / Portfolio 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%, 5.99% and 2.99% 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 in accordance with the offer that had been made by the National Employers.


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 Member for Collaborative Services and Strategic Director of Corporate Services was present at the meeting to answer questions from Members.

Members raised questions in relation to the financial impact of academisation of schools on the Local Authority and its impact on
private finance initiative (PFI), the percentage of Council financial reserves used to date and if this was being loaned to other Authorities.


*           Resolved that:


(1)              the report be noted;


(2)          Councillor A Johnson and the Strategic Director of Corporate Services be thanked for their attendance at the meeting; and


(3)          further information be provided  by the Strategic Director of Corporate Services to the Commission on the impact of  private finance initiative (PFI) and the percentage of Council financial reserves used to date.


Councillor Gomez-Aspron entered the meeting during discussion on the following item.




Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

·         Councillor D Long, Leader of the Council has been invited to attend the meeting.

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Councillor D Long, Council Leader had been invited to update Members on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA).


The Commission was updated on the ongoing developments within the City Region and new functions being devolved from Central Government which continued to give more power to decision making both regionally and locally and in lobbying Central Government on issues key to the region.


Councillor D Long updated Members on grants in the process of being settled including; £25m for Regeneration, Development and Culture and £26m for transport developments, anticipated future grants for skills and housing and current projects within the borough being supported through the City Region including; Newton-le-Willows interchange and Parkside Development and Link Road.


Members were informed that a report to identify brownfield areas within the region was currently being developed which would aid the lobbying Central Government to provide funding for regeneration of these areas, and in working towards a co-ordinated approach on housing development across the City Region.


Questions were raised at the meeting regarding; the City Region’s funding streams and details on how the allocated money to St Helens was being spent by area, the timeline for completion on the update on the railway rolling stock, developments in relation to strategic investments for super-fast broadband and green energy, apprenticeships in digital education and the potential impact the City Region’s Brownfield report may have on the Local Plan.


*           Resolved that:


(1)          the verbal update be noted;

(2)          Councillor D Long, Council Leader be thanked for his attendance at the meeting; and

(3)          Further information  be provided to Commission with regards to:

·         St Helens spending of the £50mil grant, broken down by area;

·         LCRCA’s timetable for provision of Superfast Broadband;

·         The Current LCRCA position with respect to apprenticeships and skills shortages; and

·         If the LCRCA bid for part of the announced £1.6m Transport Improvement grant from Central Government.


Councillor Gomez-Aspron here left the meeting.


Update on Scrutiny Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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The Scrutiny Manager presented the Update on the Scrutiny Work Programme 2018/19.

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 2018/19 was outlined by the respective Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels, Members of the Task and Finish Groups and Scrutiny Manager, where appropriate.


Audit and Financial Monitoring Overview and Scrutiny Panel

It was reported that the Panel would continue to consider Internal Audit Reviews undertaken and agreed actions alongside budget performance monitoring.

The Chair of this Panel reported he had raised his concerns with Strategic Directors regarding the timeliness of reports.

Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel

The Chair of this Panel reported that the Panel had agreed it’s priorities for the work programme, which were detailed at paragraph 2.3 of the report.


Environment, Housing, Culture and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Panel

The Chair of this Panel reported the following additional topics had been identified for the work programme: Pre planning processes and Trade Waste.

The Panel was currently working on
Brownfield Site Remediation and Development / Affordable Housing and was currently awaiting a response on the Scrutiny Review of Recycling Arrangements from Cabinet.

Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel

It was reported that the Panel had received presentations on the annual report from the Children’s Safeguarding board and Joint Local Area SEND



The Panel was currently undertaking a mapping exercise on uniformed organisations and a Task and Finish Group had been formed to consider the recent Ofsted inspection.


*        Resolved that the report and verbal updates be noted.