Agenda and draft minutes

(Hybrid), Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Accessible via MS Teams and YouTube

Contact: Charlotte Lynch  Email: charlotte.lynch@southibble.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Mal Donoghue.

15.

Declarations of Interest

Members are requested to indicate at this stage in the proceedings any items on the agenda in which they intend to declare an interest. Members are reminded that if the interest is a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct) they must leave the room for the whole of that item. If the interest is not a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, but is such that a member of the public could reasonably regard it as being so significant that it is likely that it would prejudice their judgment of the public interest (as explained in the Code of Conduct) then they may make representations, but then must leave the meeting for the remainder of the item.

Minutes:

Councillor Michael Green declared a personal interest in Item 6 – Community Wealth Building Action Plan.

16.

Minutes of the Last Scrutiny Committee Meeting pdf icon PDF 233 KB

Held on Thursday, 9 July 2020 to be signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

Minute number 7 – South Ribble Partnership – was queried and members requested a further update on the implementation of the Refernet service. This would be provided outside of the meeting.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That the minutes of the last Scrutiny Committee meeting, held on Thursday, 9 July 2020, be signed as a correct record by the Chair.

17.

Minutes of the Last Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Held on Monday, 14 September 2020, to be noted as a correct record.

Minutes:

Discussion around the minutes of the last Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel focused on the legitimacy of the Panel.

 

Assurances were provided that meetings of the Scrutiny Panel are open to members and residents and that the minutes of each meeting are available on ModGov. Responsibility was also placed on members of the Panel to feedback on meetings to other members of their political group.

 

It was agreed that the role of the Panel would be considered further.

 

The minutes of the last meeting of the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel, held on Monday 14 September 2020, were noted.

18.

Matters Arising from Previous Scrutiny Committee Meetings pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Report attached.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update on progress made against matters arising from previous meetings.

 

The update was noted and those actions implemented would be removed from the table.

19.

South Ribble Community Wealth Building Action Plan pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Report of the Director of Planning and Property attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Social Justice and Wealth Building (Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder) and the Director of Planning and Property (Jonathan Noad) presented the South Ribble Community Wealth Building Action Plan to the Committee and responded to members’ comments and queries.

 

The independent Policy Advisor (Matthew Baqueriza-Jackson) for the Action Plan was also in attendance at the meeting.

 

Members were informed that the Action Plan would ensure resiliency in the local business and community sectors and would identify tangible benefits with the intention of localising wealth and supporting enterprise.

 

This would be achieved by diversifying the local economy, using planning powers to recognise wider benefits and ensuring that wealth reaches more residents through a democratic economy.

 

Members initially sought assurance that the proposals were realistic for a shire district like South Ribble compared to cities and unitary authorities. In response, confidence in the delivery of benefits in South Ribble was expressed with particular reference to the large numbers of public and private sector employers in the borough. 

 

Other local authorities such as the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Camden, Birmingham City Council and Wakefield Council had successfully implemented similar Wealth Building Action Plans. Further information on other authorities who had adopted similar strategies could be found on the Centre for Local Economic Strategies website.

 

In response to a query regarding the evidence base for the Action Plan, the Committee was informed that significant engagement had been undertaken. A core officer group had been established in the Council’s Economic Development department and consultation had been undertaken with South Ribble Partnership.

 

Disappointment was expressed that the report and draft action plan did not include engagement with businesses and business organisations. Assurances were provided, however, that officers would meet with local businesses to discuss the Action Plan in early November.

 

Members suggested that corporate organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Directors, also be consulted.

 

Members also queried how success of the Action Plan would be measured and were informed that a Social Value Monitoring Officer would be employed to oversee progress and observance by businesses and employers. A social value portal would also provide ready-made indicators for success.

 

The benefit of appointing officers to deliver and monitor the Action Plan was questioned and the Committee was informed that they would be able to monitor the outcomes of the Action Plan and provide evidence for the Council to make strategic decisions. A review of current resources would be undertaken to confirm whether additional staff are needed before a business case is submitted.

 

It was confirmed that an implementation plan would be devised for the Action Plan if approved by Cabinet and an annual progress report would be created. All reports going to Cabinet, Full Council or committees would be required to assess social value impacts.

 

Some concern was expressed over the abilities of small businesses to commit to the social values of the Action Plan and reassurance was provided that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Scrutiny Portfolio Update: Community Engagement, Social Justice and Wealth Building pdf icon PDF 757 KB

Report of the Director of Customer and Digital attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Social Justice and Wealth-Building (Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder) and the Directors of Customer and Digital (Paul Hussey), Neighbourhoods and Development (Jennifer Mullin) and Planning and Property (Jonathan Noad) presented an update on the work of the portfolio since May 2019 and responded to members’ comments and queries.

 

Key achievements for the portfolio included the response to the COVID-19 pandemic; changes to the Council Tax Support Scheme for 2000 residents; the implementation of ‘One Front Door’ model and the presence of the Citizens Advice Bureau in the Civic Centre; high customer satisfaction; and the development of the My Neighbourhood Community Hubs.

 

Members, however, alluded to the wide-reaching breadth of the portfolio and queried its appropriacy. Assurances were provided in response that the different areas of the portfolio link well together and underpin the practices of care for South Ribble residents.

 

In response to a query regarding learning from customer complaints, members were informed that complaints are thoroughly investigated with learning shared with the relevant department. Regular training sessions are also held for Gateway staff.

 

The committee sought clarification on the term ‘channel shift’ and how residents who cannot access services electronically can still engage with the council.

 

‘Channel shift’ was defined as the move from traditional methods of engagement to informal means such as social media and live chat. Assurances were provided, however, that traditional methods of communication would remain available for residents who could not access services digitally and that extensive training would be held for the public.

 

Further information on this would be available in due course.

 

Members were interested to note that work on the Council’s new website was in the advanced stages and a beta version would be available for members to test before Christmas 2020. It was anticipated that the new website would go live in the New Year.

 

An update on the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in South Ribble was also requested and members were informed that no dates had been confirmed for the arrival of the next cohort.

 

Discussion centred around the delivery of the portfolio’s projects and assurance was sought that sufficient resource and staff was available. In response, officers expressed confidence in the current capacity of staff. 

 

In response to questions around the decision-making and budgetary powers of the new My Neighbourhood Hubs, assurances were provided that the models were still in development but it was the Cabinet Member’s hope that decision-making would be more autonomous. Individual budgets would be allocated to each Hub with the option of applying for additional funding from a central budget consisting of £20,000 for larger-scale projects.

 

Further development of the My Neighbourhood Hubs would take place in early 2021 and this was identified as a key priority for the portfolio moving forwards, in addition to implementing the Community Wealth Building Action Plan.

 

The committee thanked the Cabinet Member and the Directors of Customer and Digital, Neighbourhoods and Development and Planning and Property for their attendance.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That the Scrutiny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Worden Hall Update pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Report of the Assistant Director of Projects and Development attached.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets (Councillor Matthew Tomlinson) and the Assistant Director of Projects and Development (Neil Anderson) presented an update on the progress of the Worden Hall project to the Committee and responded to members’ comments and queries.

 

Clarification was sought on the expected cost of the project to which members were informed that £2.17 million had been reserved for the project and that this sum included cover for any contingencies.

 

Members queried if the Hall would retain its name following completion of works and were assured, in response, that the matter had not been discussed and that there was no intention to change this.

 

The Committee was pleased to note that the project was expected to be completed in the next financial year and acknowledged the major works being undertaken.

 

The decision to extend the current car park site at Worden Park as opposed to creating a separate provision was questioned. Members were informed that the original plans would have meant cutting down trees which was felt to contradict the administration’s green agenda.

 

Members were pleased to note that the car park would comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to include disable parking provisions.

 

Further information on the number of parking spaces within the extended car park was requested.

 

In response to a query regarding what progress could be expected by the next meeting, it was explained that a planning application for the project was likely to have been submitted for consideration by the Planning Committee.

 

The Committee thanked the Cabinet Member and the Assistant Director of Projects and Development for their attendance.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That the Scrutiny Committee

 

1.    thanks the Cabinet Member for his detailed report and answering Members’ questions

 

2.    looks forward to an update at the next meeting, including details of car parking arrangements.

 

22.

Scrutiny Matters

22a

Lancashire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee Update

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor David Howarth, virtually attended a recent meeting of Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) Health Scrutiny Committee and provided members with an update.

 

The implementation of the new NHS 111 First initiative was discussed at the meeting. This was a new appointment system for those who would normally self-present at A&E departments supported and aimed to reduce overcrowding, waiting times and subsequently COVID-19 infection rates.

 

The initiative was currently operating in Blackpool, Warrington and Blackburn to assess effectiveness and outcomes prior to the national campaign launch. All A&E departments would be implementing the system by the end of November 2020.

 

Representatives from two adult social care providers in Lancashire also attended the meeting to detail their experiences of the support provided by LCC during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Councillor Howarth also informed members that a Task and Finish group had been established to review the proposals for the future of Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital.

22b

Update on Scrutiny Review of Health Inequalities

Minutes:

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee and the Scrutiny Review Task Group on Health Inequalities, Councillor David Howarth, informed members that the Task Group had met twice since September 2020.

 

Work was underway to scope the review and a number of potential areas for focus had been identified.

 

The Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Wellbeing, Councillor Mick Titherington, and key officers had also attended a recent meeting to provide an overview of ongoing work and projects to tackle health inequalities in South Ribble.

 

The Task Group would meet again in early November.

22c

Meetings and training attended by Scrutiny Committee members

Minutes:

Councillor Michael Green informed members of the committee that he had recently attended a virtual Strategic Scrutiny in Practice session, hosted by North West Employers.

 

The session was useful and Councillor Green found it particularly interesting to hear different perspectives of scrutiny in other local authorities.

22d

Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan and Work Programme

To be discussed at the meeting.

Minutes:

Members discussed the committee’s work programme and suggested potential agenda items for future meetings.

 

Suggestions included the Playgrounds Strategy; a portfolio update from Councillor Sue Jones (Cabinet Member for Environment); the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and the Council’s rebrand.

 

Members also agreed that it may be useful to include the progress of works to the borough’s leisure centres  as a standing item on future agendas.

22e

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Cabinet and Council Forward Plan attached.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Forward Plan was noted.