Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Mrs KM Howard 01744 676106
Appointment of Chairman
* Resolved that Councillor Clarke be appointed as the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.
Councillor Clark here took the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
It was reported that there were no apologies for absence.
* Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2020, be signed and approved.
Declarations of Interest from Members
There were no Declarations of Interest from Members.
· The Assistant Chief Executive, Rob Huntington has been invited to attend the meeting.
The Assistant Chief Executive, Rob Huntington gave a presentation to the Commission on Recovery and Reset.
The Presentation, entitled ‘COVID 19 – The Council’s response and our ‘Reset’ blueprint’, detailed the following:
· Our Strength / Our Challenges;
· CV19 in St Helens;
· Our Response;
· Support of Residents & Community #sthelenstogether;
· Doing Things Differently;
· Summary of Action Taken to support our Communities;
· Doing Things Differently;
o Schools & Education;
o Council Workforce;
o A Selection;
· Supporting the Local Economy Recovery;
· St Helens Economy – An Overview;
· Economic Impact;
· Local Economy and Business Support;
· Test, Trace, Isolate & Contain (TTIC);
· TTIC Governance;
· Reset and Recovery Challenges & Opportunities;
· St Helens Reset, Recovery and Remobilisation Architecture;
· Reset and Recovery Principals;
· Reset and Recovery Planning;
· Timelines and Phasing;
· End – Let Go – Restart – Amplify?
· Transformation vs Responsibility; and
· Governance & Planning.
Concerns were raised in relation to the impact of the pandemic on Adult Heath and Social Care, particularly in relation to deaths in care homes. There were comments that Central Government risk assessment for care homes had been inadequate, and it was proposed that the issue be brought to Scrutiny to determine what went wrong and what can be done to improve resilience in care homes going forward.
The Commission was advised that a lot of work had been undertaken with local care homes during the pandemic which had been led by the Director of Adults Services alongside the ongoing work in understanding the impact of the virus on Adult Social Care Sector.
It was noted that the Covid-19 crisis in care
homes was a national issue and not just a
The Assistant Chief Executive advised that
before the Government directive to work from home in March 2020,
the Council had staff working from over 50 buildings across the
borough and that an accommodation strategy was now being developed
with the view that work should be viewed as ‘something that
people do not somewhere they go’.
The Scrutiny Manager presented the report Future Overview and Scrutiny Structure Discussion Paper.
report advised that the Council Budget 2020/21 contained a decision
to reduce the number of Scrutiny Panels from five to three with the
Commission and remaining Panels covering the three directorates
(Corporate, People and Place). The report provided
suggestions to inform the Commission on how the new
structure could be implemented to enable Councillors to discuss
The report gave background information on the scrutiny structure and legislation to date, example structures from other Local Authorities, possible options for the future structure and detailed other changes to the Scrutiny Function, such as reporting to Cabinet and Reponses from Cabinet, work programming, frequency of meetings and production of Annual Report and communications.
1 – reduce the number of Panels through
the merging of two of the existing panels into some of the
· Option 2 - focus the structure of the Scrutiny Committees on the Council’s priorities within the Council Plan.
Commission raised questions, which were answered in the meeting in
relation to the role and remit of the Blackburn with Darwin’s
Call-in Committee. The Scrutiny Manager advised that it was likely
this Panel met on an ad hoc basis if/when a decision was
‘Called In’. It was noted that the last ‘Call
In’ by the St Helens Scrutiny function had been in 2008 and
that if a ‘Call-In’ occurred it would be the leading
Panel that would be likely to review that decision.
Further questions were raised in relation to the financial
impact and savings from restructure and the date that the report
would be submitted to Council for decision. It was advised that any
savings were corporate savings against deficits and that there was
no redirection of savings. The Scrutiny Manager advised that the
report was scheduled to be taken to the Council meeting scheduled
for 22 July 2020.