Agenda and draft minutes

(Virtual), Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel - Monday, 9th November, 2020 5.00 pm

Venue: Accessible via MS Teams and YouTube

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

Media

Items
No. Item

22.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

None.

23.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

24.

Minutes of meeting Monday, 14 September 2020 of Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To be signed as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That the minutes of the previous meeting, held on Monday 14 September 2020, be approved as a correct record.

25.

Matters Arising from Previous Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel Meetings pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Report attached.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That

 

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

 

2.    those completed actions be removed from the report.

26.

Period 2 (July - September) Quarterly Performance Monitoring Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 463 KB

Report of the Interim Chief Executive attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Interim Chief Executive which outlined the Council’s performance against the delivery of the Corporate Plan projects and objectives during Period 2 (July-September 2020).

 

Overall, performance of the projects was good, with 8 out of 14 projects marked as on-track. The remaining projects were either still being developed or scoped before commencement.

 

The report presented a position statement on the Corporate Strategy adopted in September 2020 and members queried how other performance indicators, such as resident satisfaction, council tax collection rates and missed bins, would be monitored. Assurances were provided that this information was still being monitored and would be incorporated into individual directorate performance reports to be presented to future Panel meetings.

 

Members acknowledged the wide-ranging and ambitious nature of the Council’s priorities but offered a contrast with the projects within the ‘Exemplary Council’ priority, which were felt to be narrow in focus.

 

In response to this and a query regarding how the link between projects and priorities could be strengthened, members were informed that all projects were scoped to ensure clarity and a more streamlined approach. It was suggested, however, that the project mandates could be supplied to members to provide further detail and the Panel welcomed this.

 

A period of positive change for the Council was noted and members queried other methods of transformation besides Shared Services with Chorley Council, which was highlighted in the report. In response, members were informed that every directorate would undertake a review of their service; significant work on digital inclusion was being performed, with a new website set to launch; and organisational development was underway with staff.

 

Members expressed their interest in work on organisational development and requested that this be looked at in more detail at a future meeting.

 

Clarification was sought on the ‘One Front Door’ model and it was explained that this would incorporate a range of services, such as Citizen’s Advice, to improve accessibility for residents and those presenting themselves to the council for support. Some aspects of the model were already in operation and it was anticipated that the full model would be rolled out by the end of November 2020.

 

The work of the South Ribble Together Hub and the Holiday Hunger Scheme was queried with members seeking further information on any financial implications for the Council.

 

In response, members were informed that the Holiday Hunger Scheme was introduced in summer 2019 and currently provides food for children during all school holidays. Assistance is also now offered to all self-identifying low-income families, with approximately 2000 families helped during the October 2020 half term.

 

A budget of approximately £90,000 had been allocated to the project for a three-year period and some government funding was included in this. However, the Leader of the Council acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic meant that a significant amount of this budget had been used. 

 

Members also queried the timeline for the delivery of mental health support for young people, given how COVID-19 had exacerbated mental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Corporate Performance Framework Review pdf icon PDF 232 KB

Report of the Shared Services Lead – Transformation and Partnerships attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Shared Services Lead for Transformation and Partnerships which presented the outcomes of a review into the Council’s Corporate Performance Framework.

 

The need for sound and robust performance monitoring data was acknowledged in order to promote confidence in the operation of the Council.

 

Members queried if performance information on other Council services, such as missed bin collections, could be more explicitly reflected in the Framework and were advised that detailed breakdowns of performance in each service could be provided to the Scrutiny Budget and Performance Panel to allow members to decide what to assess further.

 

Assurances were sought regarding the quality of data with members querying accuracy and reliability.  In response, members were informed that all performance measures were reviewed by officers and subject to sign-off by senior officers. Workshops would also be held for those who collect data to ensure sufficient training and knowledge.

 

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That

 

1.    the Panel thanks the Leader of the Council, Interim Chief Executive and Shared Services Lead – Transformation and Partnerships for presenting their report and answering questions; and

 

2.    the Panel asks that consideration be given to being explicit on the level of performance information being reported.

 

 

28.

Budget Monitoring 2020-21 Quarter 2 pdf icon PDF 408 KB

Report of the Deputy Director of Finance attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Section 151 Officer which provided an update on the Council’s overall financial position at the end of Quarter 2 of the 2020-21 financial year.

 

Members acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Council’s finances and requested an update on the current budgetary implications of support provided by the council. In response, the Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets (Councillor Matthew Tomlinson) advised that the situation was ever-changing but that £20 million had been provided to support businesses during the initial lockdown earlier in the year and additional funding from central government was anticipated to cover the second lockdown period.

 

Members welcomed the Cabinet Member’s suggestion of incorporating all COVID-19-related financial information into one report in the interests of transparency and ease of monitoring.

 

A savings target of £187,000 was identified in the report and the Panel queried how this would be achieved. This figure was noted as target savings from Shared Services but members were informed that, due to issues in Human Resources, these savings would not be met. A report detailing proposals for further savings would be considered at the next Full Council meeting.

 

Queries were also raised regarding the garden waste scheme which had achieved a surplus income. As the income was more than expected, members enquired if a further cut could be made to charges but were advised that, although the reduced charge had led to an increase in subscriptions, the Cabinet Member was confident in the appropriacy of the current £25 fee.

 

Similarly, members noted a deficit in income from court summons and were informed that this was a result of courts being closed due to the pandemic but also because of the need for sensitivity and compassion during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Discussion largely focused on staff vacancies and the progress of recruiting a second Enforcement Officer and Head of Licensing was queried. Work was underway to ascertain whether there was sufficient workload to justify employing an additional Enforcement Officer. A consultant was currently commissioned by the Council to handle complex cases with the permanent Officer working on day-to-day cases and there was an option to continue with this model if considered suitable going forwards.

 

The Head of Licensing position remained vacant due to progress with Shared Services and members were assured that interim management arrangements would be confirmed within the second phase.

 

In response to a query regarding the replacement of the South Ribble Museum Curator, who had recently retired, it was explained that this was a Shared Services post within the Visitor Economy directorate and that a temporary 12-month arrangement was in place with the intention to review after this period.

 

Assurances were also sought on the number of vacancies within the Governance directorate. Some concern was acknowledged but it was felt that there was no impact on ability to deliver services.

 

An update on the progress of the review of reserves was requested and members were informed that this was ongoing and would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.