Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 27 September 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

No. Item



To confirm and sign the minutes of the meetings held on 26 July 2023.

Additional documents:


Subject to the following amendment, the minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2023 were confirmed and agreed as a correct record of that meeting.


Section 4.3 of the minutes amended to read: Officers advised that they did receive more routine and regular benchmarking data, but that it was less complete, which was why a yearly report was brought to Committee once all areas were available and appropriate analysis could be made. Although out of date by the time it was considered by the committee, it was still a useful prompt for any performance areas that needed attention. Usually, at this point, officers were able to reassure the committee that the areas in question had been picked up and acted on.



Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.


Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.


No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.


Finance, Performance and Risk Report - Quarter 1 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 981 KB

To consider the attached reports.

Additional documents:


The following reports were presented as a single item and considered as a combined report: -


      i.        Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Performance, Risk and Financial Monitoring (Quarter 1) Report 2023-24

    ii.        Corporate Performance Monitoring Report (Scorecard) Quarter 1 2023-24

   iii.        Strategic Risk Monitoring Report Quarter 1 2023-24

   iv.        Finance Performance and Risk Meeting Performance Report Quarter 1 2023/24 (Corporate Resources)


To view the detail of the reports, please refer to the link published on the County Council website at the link here.


Paul Blacker, Director of Finance, introduced the item with an overview of the current Revenue Forecast Outturn Position 2023/24. The following points were highlighted in reports circulated in advance of the meeting: -


      i.        The current forecast for the year end revenue position showed a balanced position against the revenue budget of £567.133 million, based on forecasts made in July 2023.


    ii.        The largest variances identified at the time of the meeting included a £4.970 million forecast overspend in the Children and Families Budget. The overspend to be offset by the £4.557 million underspend in the Economy, Environment & Infrastructure Budget and a £1.507 million underspend in Technical & Countywide Budgets.


   iii.        National negotiations continued to seek 2023/24 Green Book pay awards. Current budgets and forecasts included an allowance of 4.5% to offset this, subject to the potential risk that the final agreement could result in a larger increase. Any excess to be managed through General Fund reserves.


   iv.        On 21 June 2023, Cabinet approved a carry forward of £1.748 million from the COVID emergency grant to fund ongoing commitments associated with the recovery from the pandemic. The full amount of the carry forward was reflected in the current forecast.


    v.        Referencing delivery of the Council’s Savings Programme, it was reported that at the end of Quarter 1, £11.796 million savings had been achieved, representing 55.9% of the annual target, with a further £4.280 million savings forecast to be delivered against a target of £21.101 million.


   vi.        A total of £5.026 million was forecast to be at risk of being delivered by the end of 2023/24, representing 23.82% of the annual target. The most significant elements considered to be at risk included £3.895 million Adult Social Care Savings, £200k income targets across Economy, Environment & Infrastructure budgets and £604k income targets across Corporate Resources and Technical & Countywide budgets.


  vii.        The current capital budget for 2023/24 was reported at £156.567 million. Actual spend against the capital programme at the end of June was reported at £21.532 million.


 viii.        The forecast outturn position for 2023/24, based on forecasts set out in July 2023, (Period 4), was forecast at £156.524 million against a budget of £156.567 million. This reflected a forecast in-year underspend of £43k.


   ix.        All service areas were forecast to spend within £250k of current budgets.


    x.        A recommended increase in the capital budget was proposed to Cabinet at £1.582 million. Details of the increases are set out in the Performance, Risk and Financial Monitoring (Quarter 1) Report and can  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Council Estate pdf icon PDF 7 MB

To consider the attached update presentation for the council estate.


Neil Corbett, Assistant Director of Asset Management & Property Services, attended the meeting by remote access to give a presentation on the Council’s Estate.


To view the full presentation, please refer to the link here


Forming part of the presentation, members attention was drawn to the Council’s Corporate Asset Management Plan 2019-2024. Approved by Cabinet on 24 April 2019, the plan sets out key objectives and supporting principles adopted to manage the council’s estate. To view the asset management plan, please refer to the link here


Outlining some of the key initiatives undertaken following approval of the plan, members were advised of the following achievements: -


·         £117m Capital Receipts achieved since 2011

·         3.977m One Public Estate Grant Funding to support One Gloucestershire

·         Estate initiatives

·         Agile Working Programme and creation of Locality Hubs

·         Re-purposing of existing buildings for service use

·         Quayside House Development (relocation of two GP practices and a Pharmacy)

·         Creation of New Schools: High School, Leckhampton, Brook Academy, Brockworth and acquisition of site for a new primary school at Bishops Cleeve

·         Gloucestershire Care Partnership Strategy

·         Land acquisitions for the M5 Junction 10 Improvement Scheme


Forming part of the Council Strategy 2022-26, (Building Back Better in Gloucestershire), members noted some of the Council’s further ambitions from which to maximise use of the Council Estate, including the continued modernisation and improvement to the Shire Hall complex to make the building accessible, fit for purpose and more suitable for agile working. It was confirmed that the Council, in conjunction with business partners, continued to proactively seek ways to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and increase renewable energy generation.


Specific actions and requests for information raised at the meeting included: -


      i.        No decisions had been made on the future use of the current library building located on Brunswick Road, Gloucester. Pending discussions with Gloucester City Council, details on the decision to be shared with members. Action by - Assistant Director of Asset Management & Property Services


    ii.        A member requested improvements to political group rooms and external areas adjacent to Shire Hall form part of site modernisation programme.


   iii.        It was agreed members would be provided with locality maps to identify estate buildings and key work within their divisions. Action by - Assistant Director of Asset Management & Property Services


   iv.        Questioning the pace at which the council’s climate change strategy was being applied to estate buildings, including new schools, members were informed that the Council was doing all it could to progress the work. It was explained that each building required a fundamental review of its carbon footprint and that the process could be complex and lengthy.


    v.        An Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Climate Change Officer had recently been appointed to consider solar renewables and climate change issues on the corporate estate. 


   vi.        A member asked that the council consider the storage/re-use of batteries as part of its climate change strategy.


  vii.        Another member suggested an all member briefing be arranged to advise members of the plans for schools located on the council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Councillor Communications

To consider a verbal update on the current position in relation updating members on local issues/changes in their areas.


Rob Ayliffe, Director for Policy, Performance & Governance, outlined proposals on how the committee might enhance councillor communications. Explaining that, in previous years a written protocol had been used to inform the arrangements, it was confirmed no protocol existed at this present time.


It was anticipated everyone would benefit from the proposals and that the introduction of a clear written protocol would be the most effective source of establishing good communications.


Speaking in support of the proposal, one member questioned the terminology and use of technical language used by officers, and asked that the style of communication be considered when sharing information with councillors. It was agreed communications should be as brief and as succinct as possible.


Another member suggested that the protocol form part of the member induction programme, with clear guidance on the remit and responsibilities of members when being asked to share or pass on information.


Welcoming the proposal of a written Councillor Communication Protocol, it was agreed that a draft protocol would be produced for consideration by the committee at a later date. Action: Rob Ayliffe, Director for Policy, Performance & Governance


WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 71 KB


The committee was asked to submit any items for consideration at future meetings via email.


Noting the large number of items included on the committee work plan for consideration at the December meeting, members were asked to reflect on the recommendations and to prioritise those items they believed should be added to the agenda and considered at the meeting. Action: Committee


Cllr Wendy Thomas enquired about the progress of Motion 926: Hunting with dogs on Council Land. Agreed at the full council meeting on 13 September 2023, the motion states that: Council is opposed to the use of Gloucestershire County Council land for trail hunting, exempt hunting, as defined in Section 2 and Schedule 1 of the Hunting Act 2004, hound exercise and hunt meets and asks that the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee establish a cross party working group to consider, and make recommendations to Council, on any actions that could be taken in respect of this matter.


It was agreed that the motion would be considered as part of the discussion at the next committee work planning meeting. Action: Chair/Democratic Services


Members noted that the committee meeting on 10 January 2024 was a budget discussion meeting. Items relating to the Corporate Peer Challenge and suggested by officers had been added to the committee work plan as tentative items.  


Future Meetings

6 December 2023


(Tuesday) 10 January 2024 – Budget Scrutiny

27 February 2024

24 April 2024

29 May 2024

10 July 2024

25 September 2024

11 December 2024


6 December 2023


Budget Scrutiny Meeting – Tuesday 10 January 2024

27 February 2024

24 April 2024

29 May 2024

10 July 2024

25 September 2024

11 December 2024