Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel - Monday, 14th June, 2021 5.00 pm

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

Contact: Charlotte Lynch  Email:


No. Item


Appointment of Chair


In the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair, the Shared Services Lead - Democratic, Scrutiny & Electoral Services requested nominations for the Chair of this meeting.




That Councillor Adams be appointed Chair of this meeting.


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Howarth, Coulton and Walton.


Declarations of Interest


There were none.


Minutes of meeting Monday, 22 March 2021 of Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To be approved as a correct record for signing.




That the minutes of the Budget Scrutiny and Performance Panel held on Monday 22 March 2021 be approved and signed as a correct record.




Matters Arising from Previous Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel Meetings pdf icon PDF 158 KB


Members of the Panel received a report which provided updates on the progress of recommendations made at previous meetings of the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel.




1.     That the matters arising from previous meetings of the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel be noted;


2.     That the completed actions be removed from the report.


Quarter 4 (January- March) Performance Monitoring Report 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 651 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive attached.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive which outlined the Council’s performance during quarter 4 (January – March 2021). The Leader and Cabinet Member (Strategy and Reform), attended the meeting and presented the report. He highlighted the Leisure Centres and the delay on some of works however this was so that they tied in to the Council’s green agenda by ensuring energy efficiencies. He also stressed the Council’s concern regarding the impact of the pandemic on young people. It was a key priority for the Council which it would be discussing with partners. 


Members of the Panel asked a number of questions to which the following responses were provided by Councillor Foster supported by the Chief Executive:


-        South Ribble Together Hubs – this project had been delayed due to the  Council’s inability to engage with the public due to the pandemic. The Chief Executive indicated that the Council would follow Government guidance and progress the project as soon as possible.


-        Borough food bank network – Councillor Foster said there is still a high demand for foodbanks throughout the borough. We are looking at bringing foodbank providers together through partnership working so that the service can be delivered via shops and other service outlets. Further to this the Chief Executive indicated that long term solutions were needed to address issues such as unemployment, initially intended to be targeted by the Hubs. There now needs clarity on who is driving the issue e.g. Hubs, Council, Local Strategic Partnership.


-        Community Wealth Building Action Plan – the Shared Service Lead – Transformation and Partnerships gave examples of progress on actions such as the South Ribble Credit Union to be launched this month and the Social Value Portal. Further to this we will looking at embedding the social value element into the Town Deal.


-        3 month delay of Leisure Centres decarbonisation work – The Chief Executive indicated that delay this was driven by funding opportunities – time was required to submit the bids.


-        Long term strategy for leisure centre provision – Councillor Foster said that he looked forward to bringing this before Cabinet in due course.


-        The creation of more affordable housing – Councillor Foster said that land and sustainability had been issues in regard to this. However, it was a top priority for the Cabinet. They were actively pursuing new sites and he hoped to make announcement on Lostock Hall soon. There had been huge demand for Tom Hanson House, with 150 applications being received per property. He confirmed that management of the properties will be in-house. Current regulations state that the Council can only manage a maximum of 200 houses but we are looking at alternative options with our partners.


-        Length of time to approve Disabled Facilities Grants – Councillor Foster explained that unfortunately one particular case had skewed the performance indicator; the Chief Executive indicated we were currently awaiting the occupational therapist’s assessment. In terms of reducing the waiting time generally, partnership  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring 20-21 Outturn pdf icon PDF 723 KB

Report of the Director of Finance attached.

Additional documents:


The Panel considered a report of the Director of Finance which explained the Council’s overall financial position at the end of the financial year 2020-21.


The Cabinet Member (Finance, Property and Assets), attended the meeting and presented the report. He highlighted the staffing costs to be paid by Government COVID funding, the now completed Asset Review of Council buildings, the Extra Care Scheme and additional £168,000 to go in the COVID recovery fund.


Members of the Panel asked a number of questions to which the following responses were provided by Councillor Matthew Tomlinson supported by the Director of Finance:


- Staff vacancies (particularly 2 engineering posts) – the Chief Executive informed the Panel that the Capital Programme had expanded to a larger programme of work and therefore different skills needed to be bought in. Longer term the Council needed to consider what core skills it needed, e,g. a ‘hybrid’ approach strengthening the client side, with some skills being bought in.


Planning Enforcement – future plans to fill vacant post and develop the area further. The Chief Executive explained that it was difficult to source certain skills as the private sector is able to offer higher salaries. A hybrid model was being implemented, with local staff carrying out the more straightforward enforcement work and the Council buying in specialist skills for more complex cases.


Increase in provision for bad debt - Councillor Tomlinson indicated that the Council was being prudent and making provision in response to the uncertainties created by the pandemic.


The process of setting the level of reserves (which is planned for significant increase) – Councillor Tomlinson stressed this has been at the request of the Cabinet and that senior staff are robustly challenged and have to justify the figures. The Director of Finance indicated that a substantial element of the increase in reserves over the course of the year comes from Government funding for business rates.


Leisure Centre repair and maintenance budget – Councillor Tomlinson indicated that the budget had been planned, the work was required and would be followed through and delivered.


Capital Programme underspend of £2.5m – what is being to deliver the capital programme as planned. Councillor Tomlinson explained that the Capital Programme has been affected by the pandemic and some projects will need to be reprofiled. We will need to look at capacity, some supplies are difficult to resource e.g. there is a national shortage of hexagonal sheets needed for the Worden Overflow Car park should they need to be replaced.


That the Panel:

1.     Thanks the Cabinet Member and Director for attending and their detailed report.


2.     Notes the revenue and capital budget monitoring outturn.


3.     Welcomes the reassurance that staff vacancies are not impacting on service delivery in key areas.


4.     Asks the Cabinet Member to ensure the capital programme is deliverable in future years.