Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee
Wednesday 23 January 2019 10.00 am

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

Contact: Stephen Bace  01452 324204

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

The apologies for the meeting were noted.

 

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Agreed as a correct record.

 

One member raised the fact that at the last meeting in addition to points raised at 73.7 the suggestion had been made at the meeting regarding comparing social care visits alongside the safe and well being visits carried out by the Fire Service. It was explained that this had been actioned for consideration by Environment and Communities Scrutiny and any specifics around the item could be discussed at work planning for that committee.

 

One member raised a question around the Budget Scrutiny day on 10 January 2019 and why there were no minutes from that meeting. It was explained that this had been a budget scrutiny day open to all scrutiny members. OSMC members had been asked to attend to provide consistency throughout but it was not a meeting of OSMC. The meeting had been held in public and a detailed report produced. Another member suggested that this was a confusing position and that there needed to be clarity going forward as the Committee prepared for the next year’s budget scrutiny process. It was noted that the agenda was available under the OSMC papers on the Modern.gov system.

 

3.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

Cllr Andrew Gravells declared an ‘other’ interest that he was governor of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

 

4.

Scrutiny Review Update pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Minutes:

4.1      Simon Harper introduced the report based on previous workshops and a discussion with OSMC Lead Members. It set out some key principles in terms of scrutiny culture and some key questions in terms of how scrutiny moves forward. In additionMembers had attended events on scrutiny to learn from best practice regionally and nationally. Within the report, there were points raised about scrutiny structure and working practices going forward. It was acknowledged that Member development was an area that still needed further work but would be led by scrutiny.

 

4.2      The committee discussed the questions outlined within the report, making a number of recommendations:

 

4.3      Appointment of Vice Chairs

 

            Cllr Dobie used the example of national government where select committee chairs were appointed on the basis of political proportionality. This was seen as best practice. He wanted it on record that he felt that Scrutiny Chairs at the County Council should be appointed in the same way.

 

A member explained that best practice from the Centre for Public Scrutiny was for there to be ‘Opposition’ party for scrutiny committees. It was noted that this was a position that was unlikely to be accepted by the Administration. Some members raised the point that Chairs should be appointed based on their skills and expertise rather than political appointments. The importance of impartiality of chairs was raised with examples given of successful scrutiny chairs from controlling parties.

 

            It was felt that it was a good compromise that there were vice chairs in place from the other political parties. This was a practice that had already been adopted on many committees.

           

            The Chairman stated that being a good chair depended on a good relationship between the chair and vice chair and the ability and willingness to work with all members. With regards to the chairmanship of committees this could be reviewed going forward.

 

The Committee agreed to recommend that:

 

Vice-Chairs should be from a different political group than the Chair.

 

4.4       Committee Structure

 

Members discussed what changes were needed to the current scrutiny committee structure to facilitate the new approach. In particular they discussed the challenging work load of Health and Care Scrutiny Committee and the wide remit of Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee.

 

One member suggested that Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee be removed as it struggled to fully define its role. It was suggested that where there was a need for Chairs and Vice Chairs to come together they could meet to coordinate scrutiny.

 

It was also suggested that the Adult Social Care remit be removed from Health Scrutiny and paired with Public Protection and other Community Services in the form of a new Communities Scrutiny Committee.

 

A suggestion was made that Audit Committee could pick up the strategic performance finance and risk management functions currently under the remit of OSMC.

 

In response a member raised the suggestion of OSMC taking on the remit of Vision 2050 and economic scrutiny and removing the current Economic Growth Scrutiny from the structure.

 

Some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Budget Scrutiny: Draft Medium Term Financial Strategy pdf icon PDF 95 KB

The Committee to consider the draft report following the Budget Scrutiny day on 10 January 2019.

 

Members are asked to agree the report to be received by Cabinet at the meeting on 30 January 2019.

 

For information, the Draft MTFS was presented to Cabinet on 19 December and can be found at the link below:

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=8903&Ver=4

Minutes:

5.1      The Committee received the draft report from the Budget Scrutiny day on 10 January 2019. The report made a series of observations against budget areas. There was some discussion as to whether the observations within the ‘Summary’ of the report should be explicitly labelled as recommendations. On being put to the vote the majority of the Committee voted to accept the report unchanged.

 

The report would now be presented to Cabinet on 30 January 2019

6.

Finance Update pdf icon PDF 149 KB

In addition to the  update on the County Council's Revenue & Capital outturn expenditure for 2018/19, a report has been provided on Debt Management for Members’ information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1      Paul Blacker introduced the finance update report. Recent Cabinet papers showed an updated position which included that the revenue overspend had been reduced to just under £1m.  A refund from the government business rates level and income credits alongside underspends in communities and infrastructure budgets had contributed to the improved position.

 

6.2      Members also noted the update on the debt position as of December 2018. Since that report had been compiled the increased debt level had been reduced as this had been due to Highways England invoices having been raised and now paid. Good progress had been made in relation to reducing debt .

 

6.3      In response to question it was explained that the was a new appointment of a debt controller within the team as well as a full complement of debt officers across Adult Social Care areas. Corporate Finance was training those officers to ensure a consistent approach. It was explained that there had been some work on the quality of invoices to ensure the descriptions of the service carried out were clear. One member asked if having one debt recovery officers for the non social care debt was sufficient and it was stated that it was as the majority of this was commercial and government agencies which made the collection of debts more straightforward.

 

7.

Health and Care Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Meeting held on 15 January 2019.

 

TO FOLLOW

Minutes:

7.1      Cllr Carole Allaway Martin had sent in her apologies. The report was noted.

 

7.2      One member requested further information on the report received by the committee on Adult Mental Health and crisis and wanted to understand what work was being undertaken to prevent individuals reaching a crisis stage. In response, a member of the Committee stated that it had been an excellent report and extensive debate. A number of points had been made around preventative measures and many members of the public had been in attendance. He urged the member to examine the reports and the minutes of the meeting once available.

 

8.

Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Meeting held on 16 January 2019

 

TO FOLLOW

Minutes:

8.1      Cllr Rob Bird, Chair of the Committee introduced the report for the meeting on 16 January 2019.

 

8.2      One member noted this increase in the price of bus contracts and asked if the Committee had further details on this or would explore this in more detail. In response, Cllr Bird stated that this had not been specifically discussion, but he would take this forward.

            ACTION         Cllr Rob Bird

 

 

8.3      One member explained that he had made a request at the last meeting of Environment and Communities Scrutiny that there be an item at the next meeting on the Value for Money Affordability Analysis report from Ernst and Young on the Residual Waste Project. The suggestion had been made that this was better considered by Overview and Scrutiny Committee due to the budgetary implications. In support of this a member outlined the increased risk to the council and the background of a current legal challenge.

 

8.4      It was noted that Audit and Governance Committee would be receiving a report on 25 January 2019 from the External Auditor. Some members emphasised the importance of it also being considered by scrutiny members either OSMC or Environment and Communities Scrutiny.  Members agreed that OSMC should lead on this due to the Committee’s ‘cross-cutting’ remit and asked that it an item for March 2019. It was suggested that the report be provided in the agenda pack and links to further background reading provided. Relevant Cabinet Members and officers would be asked to attend.

            ACTION                     Democratic Services

 

9.

Children and Families Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Meeting held on 17 January 2019

 

TO FOLLOW

Minutes:

Cllr Brian Robinson, Chair of the Committee introduced the report from the meeting on 17 January 2019, noting that the Chair of the Improvement Board had been in attendance and that recruitment and retention of social workers remained a focus. 

 

10.

New Task Groups

Minutes:

Members noted the working group report detailing progress. The Great Gloucestershire Achievers Scrutiny Task Group report was included and had been sent to the Leader of Council.