Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
The minutes of the meeting on 7 April 2022 were agreed as a correct record.
In relation to the action on 6.6 officers confirmed that insurance cover was in place.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations were made the meeting.
Members to discuss any items for the work plan
Forthcoming Executive Decision List
4.1 Referring to the forthcoming decision list, one member noted that there was a decision about to be made on the Ofsted report and associated plan. Given that scrutiny and CFPS advocate pre decision scrutiny, he asked if scrutiny had been involved in this report. The member acknowledged that there was the ability to ask questions at Cabinet but didn’t feel this was sufficient. The Chair of Children and Families Scrutiny had been involved in discussions and the committee had been given early sight of the Ofsted report. The Committee was continuing to monitor actions relating to this as well as noting the work of the Improvement Board. The Committee were informed there was an item on the agenda at the next Children and Families Scrutiny Committee. Officers advised that scrutiny could identify areas to look at in more detail and make a case to the Executive on an area where they felt scrutiny input would be beneficial. There were a lot of pre policy discussions already taking place at scrutiny committees.
4.2 Members provided examples of the way in which work planning worked in their committees and the scrutiny work that was being undertaken.
4.3 One member discussed the importance of seeing the list of forthcoming decisions to help inform items for scrutiny. Members commented that it would helpful to have a briefing session explaining the forthcoming decision list. (Action: DSU)
4.4 It was suggested that the Committee receive the Financial Outturn report at its meeting on July 2022.
4.5 One member suggested that consultation processes be considered as an item by the Committee. He provided details of current consultation processes and outlined concerns around the techniques being used, the nature of the questions asked and the way in which information was shared. He suggested that consultations should include a range of options rather than steered around a preferred option.
Lead Members would take forward the suggestions.
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.
5.1 Rob Ayliffe, presented the report which provided an overview of performance at the end of Quarter 4 2021-22. 64% of indicators were on or ahead of target. He outlined achievements, areas of focus and areas of positive travel and long term issues. He highlighted particular performance indicators relating to Adult Services, Children’s Services, staff appraisals and staff turnover. Members welcomed the overview of risk, including high risks and changes to risk scores. He noted that some areas of performance were still being affected by COVID.
5.2 The Committee were informed that in Children Services there was a reduction in performance relating to repeat referrals into children’s social care and child protection plans. In addition there were challenges around the timeliness of initial decisions and initials visits for children. There was improvement in the percentage of children placed in in-house foster care, which resulted in better outcomes for children as well as helping to control the budget. Over the last few quarters it had been challenging to maintain high performance due to demand in children’s services.
5.3 One member stated that he acknowledged the positive direction of travel in Children’s services following the inspection, but would not feel comfortable with this being labelled as an achievement or success as they had been in the presentation. It was clarified that the slide showing this was the performance team’s attempt to highlight the key messages arising from the data for members.
5.4 Members were informed of the continuing challenges in increasing the number of adult social care reviews completed within 12 months. One member questioned the poor performance in this area noting that the targets did not seem challenging. This was a national challenge and the Council was looking to invest in this area and put in place measures to drive improvement and respond to the reforms arising from the Care Act. This was an indicator the Committee should expect to see improvement on over the coming year.
5.5 One member felt that the 50% target for re-assessments for adults was not high enough and suggested that this should be considered by the Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny Committee. The Chair of the Committee agreed with the importance of incremental targets and this was something to look at. Officers explained that this was a difficult target to benchmark but that it would be looked at in more detail. The Committee were informed of the work underway to mitigate the risk including more regular visits in order to flag if there was a need for re-assessment. The size of the backlog, and the length of time individuals were waiting for an assessment was reducing.
5.6 It was suggested that assessments were even more important during the cost of living crisis to ensure individuals were safe given the additional pressure.
5.7 The Committee were informed that the Council were below the target around the percentage of staff having had an appraisal within 12 months. In response to a question it was clarified that ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
6.1 Steve Mawson introduced the performance report noting the discussions that had been had at the previous item on sickness and appraisals.
6.2 With regards to ICT the Council was entering a phase over the next few months when the work to improve the WIFI and complete infrastructure projects would begin to improve system stability. The rollout of Microsoft Office 365 had just begun for the wider Council. Members had been at the forefront of that project. The next step was moving that onto the Cloud. There would then be a cultural shift which would adapt the way in which officers worked on their documents with input from other teams. In response to a question it was explained that the target for moving Office 365 to the Cloud was September 2022.
6.3 The committee was provided
with details of the progress being made on this cultural shift
including the use of Service Now which which was the best way of reporting ICT
issues. There was a challenge around ensuring feedback was
sought from users to ensure that calls had been resolved to their
satisfaction. There was some discussion around the service level
agreement. It was confirmed that the initial decision regarding the
implementation of the new ICT structure was taken by Cabinet some
time ago, but that authority to enter into specific contracts had
been delegated to officers. One member urged Cabinet and Officers
to consider whether the current service level agreement was
appropriate. Members requested that further updates would be
provided at the September meeting as part of the Corporate
6.4 One member highlighted the importance of communicating widespread ICT issues as early as possible and he also asked that the language on emails relating to ICT be better tailored to the audience. Members were informed that Service Now was the place to access details on any service issues. Members were directed to the cyber ninja training that was available for them. The links for cyber ninja would be recirculated.
ACTION Democratic Services
6.5 One member noted the number of complaints going to the ombudsman and stated that it was a disappointing position to have had so many decisions upheld. It was accepted that issues needed to be identified at an earlier stage with legal input in complaints before they reached the ombudsman stage. A member asked that if a complaint went to the ombudsman and an issue was highlighted where improvements were already being made would that complaint still progress? In response it was explained that the individual complaint would still need to be resolved.
6.6 A member requested that an ICT working group meeting be arranged, he gave details of issues he had with his iPad that needed wider discussion. He noted that the Cabinet Member had refused that request. Officers provided suggestions on how to resolve the member’s specific issues with the iPad and would raise the request with the Cabinet Member.