Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 12th October, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Shield Room, Civic Centre, West Paddock, Leyland, PR25 1DH

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

Media

Items
No. Item

13.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Will Adams, Jacky Alty, Colin Coulton, Mal Donoghue, David Howarth and Matthew Trafford.

 

Councillor Jacqui Mort attended as a substitute for Councillor Colin Coulton.

14.

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:

There were none.

15.

Minutes of meeting Tuesday, 13 July 2021 of Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Minutes of the previous meeting of the Scrutiny Committee to be approved as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

Minutes:

Resolved: (unanimously)

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Scrutiny Committee, held on Tuesday, 13 July 2021, be approved as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

16.

Minutes of meeting Monday, 13 September 2021 of Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel pdf icon PDF 316 KB

Minutes of the previous meeting of the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel to be noted.

Minutes:

Resolved: (Unanimously)

 

That the minutes of the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel meeting, held on Monday, 13 September 2021, be noted.

17.

Matters Arising from previous Scrutiny Committee meetings pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Report attached.

Minutes:

Members received an update on the recommendations made at previous meetings of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Several queries were raised with particular regard to recommendations made in 2019, which had not been implemented.

 

Further updates on masterplans and the Air Quality Strategy were requested and members also emphasised the desire for site visits to Worden Hall and the Extra Care Facility in Chorley to be planned following the easing of COVID restrictions.

 

More information was also sought in regard to engagement with the police further to a meeting with the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council. In response, the Chief Executive explained that changes in senior staff at Lancashire Constabulary was underway and a transition to a geographical policing model was expected.

 

Resolved: (unanimously)

 

That

 

1.    the update be noted; and

 

2.    those completed actions be removed from the Matters Arising sheet.

18.

Peer Challenge 2021 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council (Councillor Paul Foster) and the Shared Services Lead – Transformation and Partnerships presented a report on the recent Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Challenge and subsequent Action Plan.

 

The Peer Review had taken place virtually between 30 June and 2 July 2021 and was undertaken by a team of peers including elected members, a Chief Executive, and other Executive Directors from across England.

 

Members welcomed the outcome of the Peer Review but questioned what was meant by ‘embed’, which was used frequently in the report. In response, members were advised that this meant ensuring that every area of the authority worked in the same way.

 

A query was raised regarding how success of the Action Plan would be measured, and members were advised that this would be monitored and reported quarterly with performance updates provided to the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel, which the committee welcomed.

 

Discussion focused around shared services with Chorley Council and clarification was sought as to whether phases one and two of shared services had now been delivered. It was confirmed that phase two work on a shared revenues and benefits department and shared customer services was still ongoing and that formal discussions on further development were being held with members at Chorley Council.

 

Members referenced the “takeover” narrative within shared services which was discussed in the Peer Review report. Challenges in cultural change were acknowledged but assurances were provided that staff feedback is regularly surveyed.

 

In response, it was agreed that the results of the employee survey would be made available to the committee once available and that examples of best practice adopted across both South Ribble and Chorley Councils as a result of shared services be presented to a future Shared Services Joint Committee.

 

It was also suggested that recommendation 3, which related to a Programme Plan for the delivery of future work and political priorities, be strengthened to ensure capacity and delivery of corporate projects.

 

The budget gap within the Medium-Term Financial Strategy was raised and mentioned at recommendation 4 in the report and assurances were provided that the Council had several influences to aid in closing this gap, such as strategic reserves.

 

The committee also welcomed commitment to involving all members in the interim review of the My Neighbourhood Community Hubs and were pleased to hear that the LGA had commended the council on the work of the Hubs.

 

In response to a query regarding what was meant by ‘political engagement’ as mentioned in recommendation 4, challenges in cross-party working and relations and a need for all parties to work better together for the good of the community were acknowledged. The Leader explained that he felt positive about this going forwards.

 

Members referred to the possibility of a review of the council’s Scrutiny function, as mentioned in recommendation 8, and emphasised the annual self-assessment undertaken by the committee and its national commendation for best practice.

 

Clarification was provided that any review into the Scrutiny function would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Update of new Leisure Company and future Leisure Projects pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Report of the Directors of Commercial and Communities attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing (Councillor Mick Titherington), the Director of Commercial and the Assistant Director of Projects and Development presented an update on the recently-established Council-owned South Ribble Leisure Company.

 

Members were interested to learn how the process of bringing the management of leisure centres in-house had gone and what the benefits of this had been. In response, it was advised that the process had been successful and allowed the council to be ‘hands-on’ in the development of leisure centres in the borough.

 

It was acknowledged, however, that the company had only been established 6 weeks prior and that a more detailed account of progress would be available for future meetings of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Members also noted the impact of the changes on leisure centre staff and queried what support was in place for them.

 

It was explained that staff were consulted through engagement sessions, on-site meetings and union representatives.

 

Disruption to customers, for example cancellation of children’s swimming lessons, during the transfer of management was also acknowledged as regrettable but due to unforeseen circumstances.

 

A query regarding the difference in service seen by customers was raised and members were advised that, although the new leisure company was still new, a marketing plan had been devised with a new app and website established and marketing campaigns due to commence at optimum times, such as the New Year.

 

Clarification was sought as to where responsibility for the leisure centres lay, as the report was listed under both Directors of Commercial and Communities.

 

In response, it was explained that responsibility for leisure provisions lay within the Communities directorate and the responsibility for the leisure company and day-to-day organisation fell within the Commercial directorate.

 

Members welcomed an offer to recirculate the decision-making matrix and governance structure of the Leisure Strategic Partnership Board and Company to members.

 

Further explanation as to the role of the management accountant was also sought, with members advised that this position was specially dedicated to the leisure centres and was a new post within the council’s shared services with Chorley Council. An external auditor would also be commissioned to review the leisure centres’ finances.

 

The committee also requested that the report be made more user-friendly and welcomed the offer to inform future reports with the information desired.

 

Members discussed the possibility of updates on the management of leisure centres being a standing item on the Scrutiny Committee agenda but it was agreed that this would be provided on a quarterly basis.

 

The committee thanked the Cabinet Member and Directors for their attendance and report.

 

Resolved: (Unanimously)

 

That the Scrutiny Committee

 

1.     welcomes the Cabinet Member and Director’s update on the Council’s future strategy for the leisure centres and tackling health inequalities in the Borough;

 

2.     will consider the information needed to scrutinise the leisure company performance in the future, including the development of a financial and performance dashboard;

 

3.     is grateful for the reassurance that an engagement and marketing plan is being developed for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Worden Hall Progress Update pdf icon PDF 850 KB

Report of the Director of Commercial attached.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets (Councillor Matthew Tomlinson), the Director of Commercial and the Shared Services Lead – Development and Business presented an update on progress of the Worden Hall project.

 

Members noted that it was an exciting time for the development, with works ongoing and booking enquiries already being received, and welcomed confirmation that the project remained on-track for completion by the Platinum Jubilee Leyland Festival in 2022.

 

The committee also welcomed a commitment to arranging a site visit to Worden Hall following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

 

A query was raised with regards to the Cabinet Member’s confidence in keeping to the budget of the project and assurances were provided in response that contingencies of £250,000 had been incorporated into the budget in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

 

Members were also keen to learn how the Council’s climate change ambitions had been incorporated into the project. Some difficulty in this was recognised due to the building’s Listed Building status but members were informed that a new and more-efficient heating system and new windows would be installed to cut emissions.

 

Some risk was identified due to the national shortage of materials in the construction industry but the Council was working with the building contractors to ensure access to and supply of necessary materials.

 

The committee thanked the Cabinet Member, Director and Shared Services Lead for their report and attendance.

 

Resolved: (Unanimously)

 

That the Scrutiny Committee

 

1.     thanks the Cabinet Member and Director for their report and welcomes the progress being made with the project;

 

2.     is grateful for the reassurance that the project is currently on track to open for the Platinum Jubilee Leyland Festival and currently within budget; and

 

3.     looks forward to a site visit of Worden Hall as soon as this can be arranged.

 

21.

Urgent Decisions pdf icon PDF 493 KB

Report of the Director of Governance attached for noting.

Minutes:

The committee received a report of the Director of Governance and Monitoring Officer which outlined a number of urgent decisions taken since 21 July 2021 in accordance with urgency procedures outlined in the Council’s Constitution.

 

The report highlighted that 7 urgent decisions had been submitted during this period, which required agreement from either the Mayor or the Chair of Scrutiny Committee to be taken using urgency procedures.

 

Members expressed some concern over the number of urgent decisions taken, given that these were not subject to call-in and therefore ineligible to be considered by the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Assurances were provided to the committee that a legitimate process had been followed in the approval of these decisions.

 

Resolved: (Unanimously)

 

That the Scrutiny Committee

 

1.    notes the report;

 

2.    expresses concern at the use of waiving call-in; and

 

3.    asks that the Executive use this procedure sparingly in future.

 

 

22.

Scrutiny Matters

22a

Lancashire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee Update

Minutes:

Members received and noted the minutes of the last meeting of Lancashire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee.

22b

Scrutiny Review of Health Inequalities Update

Minutes:

Members were advised that the work of the Scrutiny Review Task Group into Health Inequalities was ongoing.

 

The Task Group were in the process of organising a final workshop to consider their recommendations, which would take place by the end of November.

22c

Meetings and training attended by Scrutiny Committee members

Minutes:

There had been no recent training undertaken by any committee members.

22d

Forward Plan

Minutes:

The Cabinet Forward Plan was noted.

22e

Scrutiny Committee 2021/22 Forward Plan and Review Programme pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan attached.

Minutes:

Members received and considered the Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan for the 2021/22 municipal year, which also included potential topics for a Scrutiny Review Task Group.

 

A review of the Council’s assets was suggested, and it was agreed to get an update on this before agreeing to establish a full task group.

 

It was agreed to establish a Scrutiny Review Task Group to examine the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Group Leaders were asked to contact Democratic Services with up to 2 nominations from the Labour and Conservative Groups and 1 from the Liberal Democrat Group.