Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee
Friday 17 March 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Stephen Bace  01452 324204

No. Item


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:


The meeting was agreed as a correct record.



Declaration of Interests


No additional declarations were raised.



Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 196 KB

A meeting of scrutiny chairs and vice chairs was held on 28 February 2017 to consider how overview and scrutiny has changed since the County Council election in May 2013, what has worked well, what needs improvement and what changes, if any, should be implemented after the election.





14.1    Simon Harper, Head of Democratic Services introduced the report which had been written following a meeting of scrutiny chairs and vice chairs held on 28 February 2017. The group had considered how overview and scrutiny had changed since the County Council election in May 2013, what had worked well, what needed improvement and what changes, if any, should be implemented after the upcoming election.


14.2    Members noted that this coincided with a national inquiry by the Department of Communities and Local Government Select Committee into the effectiveness of overview and scrutiny in local government.   The inquiry posed a number of questions and, where appropriate, these had been used in undertaking the review.


14.3    A number of examples were provided within the report which outlined the good work that had been carried out. In particular members noted the role of Health Scrutiny and the Police and Crime Panel which had specific powers. In addition, the Committee highlighted some of the task group work which including the response to communities impacted by flooding and the task group on the impact of the badger cull. 


14.4    Feedback from members had been overwhelmingly positive, with a strong understanding of the importance of narrow and deep reviews rather than attempting to apply a broad and shallow approach. In the main, members had prioritised activity in areas where they could add value and work in the best interests of the people of Gloucestershire.


14.5    Although the feedback received from members had been overwhelmingly positive, there had been some areas, particularly around working practices, where improvements could be made. Members noted that although requests for particular scrutiny reviews could come through motions at full Council, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee had responsibility for the detailed arrangements relating to the review.  The committee would determine the terms of reference, time frame and best approach having regard to the subject matter and the resources available.


14.6    It was important to maintain the balance between ‘overview’ and ‘scrutiny’ at scrutiny committees.  Overview remained vital in ensuring that members had the relevant information to scrutinise a particular issue but on occasions these items could take over the meeting leaving limited time for scrutiny items.  Some members stated that often meetings would go on for a long period of time with the majority of time taken up with overview items. Other members emphasised the importance of having this overview and how this didn’t need to be just presentations, but also could take the form of ‘ride-alongs’ in ambulances or visits to service areas.



14.7    With regards to Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee, it was suggested that there needed to be a stronger relationship between the Scrutiny and the Joint Committee. It had been suggested that the Scrutiny Chair should have a mechanism for feeding back to the Joint Committee on the scrutiny activity. In addition, work was needed to engage with district councils.


14.8    The committee commented that scrutiny was an important ‘learning ground’ for new councillors and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Finance Update pdf icon PDF 162 KB

In addition to consideration of the revenue monitoring report, the Committee will also be updated on the final 2017/18 budget.

Additional documents:


15.1    Paul Blacker, Head of Financial Management, introduced the report which outlined that the revenue outturn forecast year end position based on actual expenditure at the end of November 2016 and forecasts made in December 2016 was a £0.893 million under-spend. Members noted that the report was a little out of date and that there would be an updated report to Cabinet shortly which would show a similar position.


15.2    There were continuing pressures in the ‘Adults’ budget, but a balanced position was being forecast due to the underlying over-spend being offset by the unallocated element of the Social Care Levy. For the ‘Children and Families’ budget, the current forecast for non-DSG funded services was an over-spend position of £3.81m. It was proposed that the overspend be offset by corporate underspends, leaving the ‘Vulnerable Children’ reserve intact to assist with demand in 2017/18 given current trends.


15.3    Members were also provided with an update on the 2017/18 budget following the meeting of full Council in February 2017. Members noted that the budget went out to consultation in December 2016 with it being approved on 15 February 2017. On 8th March there were additional funding announcements.


15.4    The budget that went out for consultation included a 1.99% Council Tax increase and a continuation of the additional 2% Social Care Levy.  It included investments totalling £24 million and savings of £35.34 million which totalled a net reduction of £11.34 million from the 2016/17 budget.


15.5    Members noted the key investments in the consultation budget:

·         National Living Wage (£3.11m)

·         Pay and Pensions (£2.09m)

·         Vulnerable Adults (£8.38m)

·         Vulneable Children (7.08m)

·         Highways (£0.68m)


15.6    Additional revenue funding of £5.56m was  agreed by Cabinet on 1 February which included the new Adult Social Care Grant (one off funding) of £2.541m.


15.7    One off increases were agreed in the Adult Social Care Budget:

·                       £2.541m from the Adult Social Care Grant (demand pressures)

·                       £650k Dementia hospital discharge trial

·                       £500k Investment in Demand Management in Adults

·                       £300k Preventative Mental Health investment

·                       £44k Proud to Care Initiative


15.8    One off increases were agreed in the Children and Families budget:


·         £800k Domestic Abuse and Family Breakdown

·         £320k Breaking the Cycle programme

·         £270k Reducing Exclusions

·         £30k Enabling Active Communities

·         £100k recruitment of in house foster carers


15.9    The 2017/18 budget was agreed at County Council in February totalling £407.70m, which was a net reduction of £0.76m from 2016/17. This £5.02m was funded through the use of reserves and included additional one off investments:

·         Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership

·         Additional specialists to work alongside extra social workers to improve practice including a focus on mental health and adoption.

·         Money to improve the process for traffic regulation orders

·         Highways Lengthsman scheme

·         Additional funding for every county councillor for their highways local scheme

·         Extra investment in Highways

·         Investment in Building Better Lives

·         Investment to improve adults physical and mental health whilst reducing social isolation and loneliness



15.9    On 8 March Central Government announced an additional £2 billion over three years announced to deal with adult  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Strategic Performance Management Report 3rd Quarter 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 10 KB

It would be helpful if members would email in detailed questions arising from the performance reports in advance of the meeting. This will enable officers to have prepared responses and also better support the committee’s debate on these matters.


The committee needs to consider:-


Do these reports demonstrate that the council is on target to achieve the council’s aims/priorities?


Have resources been targeted appropriately?


Are these areas of low performance that the committee feel would benefit from more detailed analysis?


Are there any particular areas that committee want to refer elsewhere?


Members will find it helpful to refer to the Council Strategy when considering these reports:



Additional documents:


16.1    Rob Ayliffe, Head of Strategic Planning, Performance & Change. introduced the report drawing members attention to the current Ofsted inspection and that the performance team were  heavily involved in managing the inspection process and responding to requests from the inspectors. Overall performance had improved in the 3rd quarter with 67% of indicators on or ahead of target and 90% of indicators on or ahead of target or moving in a positive direction.


16.2    In response to a question it was explained that some of the targets were demand led but that this distinction was not made in relation to the overall percentage. A recommendation would be going to the new council on which targets would be set. Targets were generally set in areas where the Council could have an influence or if it was a critical area in order to deliver the Council’s strategy. 


16.3    The Committee were shown a slide on the number of contacts and referrals in to Childrens Services’ over the last two quarters. This showed a decrease in the number of contacts but an increase in referrals. One of the causes was extensive work that was being carried out at the ‘front door’, reorganisation of the service and ensuring that processes were effective. There were significant challenges further down the system particularly cost pressures due to rising demand.


16.4    Members noted the changing percentage of children becoming subject to a child protection plan for a second or subsequent time. The Council had been an outlier for a period of time, suggesting  previous intervention efforts may not have had a lasting impact. Looking more specifically at children coming back onto a plan within two years, a more positive picture suggests and reflects some improvements in practice.


16.5    Figures for the numbers of children in care in March 2016 had shown the Council with similar numbers to statistical neighbours. The numbers since then had increased and then fallen slightly in December. It was believed that this was also being matched by neighbours. 


16.6    The number of children being readmitted into was at the lowest level since the measure was introduced in June 2015.


16.7    For measures around the stability of children in care placements, members noted that there was a mixed picture. The Council was still facing some challenges in finding the right placement for children and this could lead to a number of moves at the beginning of care and a lack of short-term stability. Long-term stability has improved, through, with more placements lasting 2 years or more. . 



16.8    With regards to ‘Adults’ the decline in reassessments for care packages had stabilised over the quarter. Staff had now been identified who would be dedicated to reassessments so the expectation was that there would be an improvement in the timeliness of reassessments.


16.9    The Committee was shown a chart which demonstrated ‘Adults in long term social care’ – broken down by the type of care and response they were receiving. The focus was on diverting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Performance Report: Strategy and Challenge pdf icon PDF 135 KB

It would be helpful if members would email in detailed questions arising from the performance reports in advance of the meeting. This will enable officers to have prepared responses and also better support the committee’s debate on these matters.


17.1    Jane Burns, Director: Strategy and Challenge, introduced the report informing members that performance continued to be positive for quarter 3. It was highlighted that work had been carried out recently to respond to the Ofsted inspection.


17.2    Strategy and Challenge was reporting a balanced budget position for the quarter.


17.3    The overall days lost to sickness for Strategy and Challenge was below the GCC wide target but higher than the same time in the previous year. This was due to a number of colds and flu, as well as a small number of long term absences.



Performance Report: Core Council pdf icon PDF 116 KB

It would be helpful if members would email in detailed questions arising from the performance reports in advance of the meeting. This will enable officers to have prepared responses and also better support the committee’s debate on these matters.


18.1    Paul Blacker introduced the report looking at the core council including support services. Sickness levels were proportionate to the same point in the previous year as a result of the impact of a high number of seasonal illnesses.



18.2    It was explained that the service was slightly below target on Meeting the Challenge 2 savings on specific projects. Alternative savings had been found which were reflected in the overall budget position.


18.3    Invoices paid within 30 days was on target. One member commented that he would like to see this indicator changed to ensure contractors were paid according to the terms of their contracts. In response it was explained that some work had taken place to evaluate this area and understand what the impact would be of including payment terms within contracts. Currently there was immediate payment. It was clarified that the figure related to the number of invoices paid and not the value of those invoices.



Health and Care Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Meeting held on 7 March 2017.


19.1    Cllr Iain Dobie introduced the report from the meeting held on 7 March. He commented on the issues with Cleeve Link which he suggested highlighted the risk of dependency on commercial providers.  The Committee would revisit the subject in the new Council.


19.2    An update was provided on the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNHSFT) financial position. The Committee would monitor how this would affect the service to the people of Gloucestershire.     


19.3    With regards to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, the Committee would be monitoring performance against the targets to ascertain whether the rota changes and the re-profiling of vehicles were delivering the expected outcomes.


19.4    One member commented that the CCG or Adult Social Care commissioners needed to ensure there was a focus on monitoring organisations that were delivering services to ensure there were ‘no surprises’.  It was clarified by an officer that before any contract was arranged there would be financial vetting but this was on historical information. Officers stated that there would be an exercise undertaken to consider ‘lessons learned’ from the Cleeve Link situation and that this would be received by Health and Care Scrutiny Committee.
ACTION                  Andrea Clarke






Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Meeting held on 8 March 2017.


20.1    Cllr Rob Bird introduced the report from the meeting on 8 March. The main focus of the committee was to review the work that had been carried out and identify areas for future work.


20.2    The Committee had received an update from the Chief Fire Officer on the potential changes on Fire Service Governance and the potential business case being put together from the Police and Crime Commissioner. The majority of members were keen that the Fire and Rescue Service remain a part of the County Council.


20.3    Satisfaction survey for Highways had been discussed at the beginning of the meeting. Some members had expressed a view that the survey was being circulated too late and that it would not feed into decisions around the highways contract. Members had been informed that the survey would not be released during the pre-election period, but would go out after the County Council elections. A request had been made to the Cabinet Member from the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee that the survey be released in advance of the pre-election period. A response to the recommendation would be provided.
ACTION                     Cllr Vernon Smith/ Nigel Riglar


Children and Families Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Meeting held on 9 March 2017.




21.1    Cllr Tim Harman, introduced the report which detailed the discussion by the Committee reflecting on scrutiny’s work on safeguarding and the challenges for the future. The committee was pleased with the progress made in response to task group recommendations on Children’s Social Workers and emphasised the importance of meeting social workers and thanking them for their work.


21.2    The Committee also wished to better understand the government’s policy requiring councils to establish regional adoption agencies by 2010.


21.3    In response to the recommendations from the task group set up to consider Educational Attainment in Secondary Schools in the Forest of Dean, stakeholders would be coming to Committee including the Regional Schools Commissioner.


21.4    The Chairman also informed members that he  had been interviewed by Ofsted as part of their inspection.



Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Meeting held on 23 February 2017

Next meeting to be held on 15 March 2017. 




22.1    Cllr Joe Harris had sent in his apologies for the meeting but had asked for an updated to be provided. It was explained that at the meeting on 23 February, members of the committee had expressed concerns about the engagement between the Joint Committee (executive body) and the Scrutiny Committee. Comments had also been made about the role of district members in communicating the work of the committee to districts and in advising the committee of key issues within their areas.


22.2    At the meeting on 15 March 2017, it was suggested that the terms of reference of the committee be reviewed and there was a proposals to change the current arrangement of holding scrutiny committee meetings on the same day as the joint committee. The Chairman of Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee would also attend the meetings of the Joint Committee to update on the scrutiny work.


22.3    In response to questions it was explained that there had been concerns expressed about the role of Leadership Gloucestershire and the need to ensure transparency. It was noted that the notes and agendas of those meetings were available online and that these were now being circulated through Members Matter.


Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Meeting to be held on 14 March 2017.




23.1    The Committee was aware that in January it had been announced that Chief Constable Davenport would be retiring in April. The Police and Crime Panel were informed that the Police and Crime Commissioner had taken the decision to hold the post vacant for the time being and had asked DCC Rod Hansen to fulfil the role as Temporary Chief Constable. The Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office stated that this was legislated for in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (2011) S.41 (subsections (1) and (11)). The Panel held a robust debate on the subject expressing concern that they had not had prior notification of the Commissioner’s intentions and that the Panel had not been given an opportunity to hold a confirmatory hearing.


23.2    Members were informed by the Commissioner that the drive from Government was to review Fire and Rescue Service governance and that this had played a part in influencing the decision to hold the position vacant. The Commissioner had wanted to ensure all governance options were open to him once the results of the business case and consultation on future Emergency Services Collaboration was known. He felt that appointing a new Chief Constable at this time may limit those options.


23.3    The Police and Crime Panel had also sought to clarify the situation with regards to the Road Safety Partnership. Members understood that the removal of funding had been due to the Commissioner’s Office concerns that the money raised by the fees being charged for motorists for speed awareness courses was being spent on other road safety related activities by the County Council. It was stated that the legal advice from the Commissioner’s Office was they were not legally able to do this. The Chairman of the Panel stated that new legislation was being drawn up which allowed greater flexibility around the use of funds obtained through courses of that nature.



23.4    The Panel also considered the HMIC Peel inspection reports on the Constabulary and received an update on the Community Safety Review.



New Task Groups


No new task groups were considered.


Cllr Shaun Parsons thanked officers on behalf of all Scrutiny members.


Jane Burns thanked members for their interest and support in scrutiny over the last four years.