Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 12 June 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

No. Item




See above.



Minutes of the Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 128 KB

The minutes of the OSMC meeting on 22 March have been attached for Members to approve.


2.1      The minutes of the OSMC meeting on 22 March 2019 was considered by the members who had attended that meeting. The minutes of the meeting were agreed as a correct record subject to the amendment detailed below.


Cllr Rachel Smith stated that she felt that the word ‘explained’ at minute 15.9, should be amended as she felt that there was no adequate explanation given. The Committee agreed to amend the word to ‘reported’.


2.2      In addition, Cllr Smith suggested additional wording of: ‘The Chief Executive acknowledged that the council was in a poor negotiating position in relation to UBB’. The Committee as a whole did not agree to the change, but suggested that Rachel’s proposed amendment be included in the current meeting’s minutes to reflect her view.


2.3      The Chairman suggested that it would be helpful to raise any amendments to the minutes in advance of the meeting.


2.4      Cllr Smith noted the action from the meeting for her to write up a one page strategy on the residual waste project. She had prepared a one page strategy and was seeking advice as to how to proceed. This was again picked up at the end of the meeting and officers would take this forward and provide advice. The suggestion of the Chairman was that this should be considered by Environment Scrutiny Committee. 





Declaration of Interests


No additional declarations.



Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 64 KB

The Committee to note the terms of reference.


In addition Members are asked to consider the statutory guidance on overview and scrutiny in local government which has been published by Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government which has been attached to the papers.








Additional documents:


4.1      Simon Harper, Statutory Scrutiny Officer, provided members with details of the Committee’s terms of reference as agreed by the Constitution Committee. Following the scrutiny review that had been undertaken, members had agreed that the committee would replace the previous Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee. The aim was for the new committee to be more forward focussed but still to oversee the coordination of the work of the scrutiny committees as necessary.


4.2      Alongside the terms of reference, members noted the rules relating to scrutiny task groups as outlined at 3.10.7 in the Constitution and the details of the role of scrutiny within Article 8.


4.3      The Committee received details of the CIPFA guidance relating to Audit committees. The Audit and Governance Committee ensured that the risk management framework was in place but Corporate Scrutiny had a key role in the consideration of risk management and scrutiny of the register. It had been suggested that the Chair of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee attend the Audit and Governance Committee with a report on the scrutiny of the risk register at a meeting once a year.   


4.4      As part of the Committee papers, members received the Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities which had been published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. Members noted the particular focus on the organisational culture of scrutiny contained within the document.


4.5      One member emphasised the importance of making sure the Council’s scrutiny arrangements were in sync with the guidance. He particularly noted the voting arrangements suggested in the guidance around a secret ballot of all councillors when appointing chairs. In response it was explained that it was for each authority to consider its own arrangements but could consider a secret ballot. During the scrutiny review the chairing of committees had been considered and the arrangements had been agreed by Council. One member felt that a secret ballot was not in line with being open and transparent.  It was explained that the constitution allowed for a secret ballot but that there was also provision for a recorded vote which would take precedence.


4.6      Cllr Kate Haigh would be attending the CfPS symposium on 20 June 2019 and would report back to members on that.



Work Plan


The Committee  to discuss items for the work plan. Members are asked to note the following:


Forthcoming Executive Decision List



Council Strategy



5.1      At each meeting of the Committee there would be an item on the work plan to allow members to suggest items for future meetings and ensure that the Committee remained focused on its remit and carried out its role effectively.


5.2      The Committee noted the Forthcoming Executive Decision List and Council Strategy and members emphasised how this should be the basis from which the Committee’s work plan be developed. One member suggested that the current 28 day reporting of forthcoming decisions made it difficult to effectively work plan and horizon scan.


5.3      In relation to the Council Strategy a member suggested that ‘transforming services through digital innovation; get the most out of the shared public sector estate and developing a future focussed workforce’ should be the focus of the Committee. In response it was explained that Neil Corbett could be invited to the next meeting of the Committee to present on the One Public Estate. In response to a suggestion of a briefing, a member emphasised the importance of it going to a full meeting of the Committee.   
ACTION         Lead Members/ Neil Corbett


5.4      One member commented on the risk relating to a financial settlement. In response it was explained that going forward there was uncertainty around the settlement and government was being lobbied for greater certainty by the LGA. As the Council got greater clarity on the issue, the Committee would be updated. There was a discussion around the budgetary pressures across children’s and adults.


5.5      The recommendation from the Constitution Committee to the next Council meeting was for the Committee to meet at least four times a year. It was suggested by the Chair that the meeting of the Committee on 31 July 2019 could be cancelled in order that a joint meeting of the Health Overview and Scrutiny and Adult Social Care and Communities Scrutiny to be set for that date. The subsequent meetings of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee would then be on 27 September and 29 November 2019. One member expressed concern about only having four meetings of the committee a year and suggested the importance of having enough meetings to carry out the work. Another member suggested that a reduction in meetings would fit with the more focussed role for the new committee avoiding duplication.


5.6      The Committee discussed whether the meeting on 31 July 2019 should be cancelled and whether there should be six meetings a year as previously set for OSMC or support the Constitution Committee recommendation for less. On being put to the vote the Committee agreed to recommend to full Council that there should be a minimum of six meetings a year for Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee in line with the other scrutiny committees. A decision regarding the July meeting would be made following the Council meeting but would remain in calendars.
ACTION         Cllr Shaun Parsons/ Simon Harper





Changes to Corporate Performance Management Framework pdf icon PDF 393 KB


6.1      Rob Ayliffe informed the Committee of the proposed changes to the corporate performance management framework including a review of the Council’s core performance dataset, the development of a corporate dashboard and the development of a Gloucestershire 2050 index.  This was a timely piece of work as the Council had agreed a new strategy in February: ‘Looking to the Future’ and with the implementation of a new scrutiny structure and new statutory guidance.


6.2      Over the previous 6 months meetings had been held with senior managers in each area of the Council in order to review the measures used to track performance at a corporate level. A set of 127 measures that should form the basis of a quarterly scorecard had been proposed. These would need to be kept under constant review to ensure they remained relevant.


6.3      In relation to the Corporate Performance Dashboard, this would consist of no more than 20 measures helping to focus on a more in depth understanding of the most critical aspects of council performance.


6.4      The 2050 index would build on engagement undertaken by Leadership Gloucestershire as part of Vision 2050. Under each ambition within the new Council Strategy would be a small number of key strategic indicators to track, analyse and report on. The aim to complete this would be for the end of July.


6.5      One member suggested it would be useful to have a performance indicator which reflected fire fighters response to medical emergencies.


6.6      One member requested population figures relating to the adult social care data.  in relation to average waiting time for carer assessments the member stated she would want welcome details of the actual times. Another member reiterated the importance of understanding what targets meant and what the numbers sat beneath the percentages. It was suggested that the dataset recorded ‘what was happening’ and not why it was happening. It was explained that where possible ‘impact measures’ were chosen.


6.7      One member stated that it would be useful to have a traffic light system for key indicators. It was stated that the performance team was encouraging colleagues to set targets so there would be RAG ratings where appropriate.



6.8      There was a discussion around the performance indicators for Trading Standards with one member commented that it would be interesting to see the complaints received around internet scams and targeted activity against vulnerable people and livestock movements.


6.9      In response to a question, members were informed that there were measures of accessibility which modelled public transport and data around public proximity to various facilities and services, but that these were not really suited to quarterly reporting as they do not ten to change from quarter to quarter.


6.10    One member noted the indicators around the amount of energy produced per tonne of household waste. She asked whether there was a way of measuring the waste that wasn’t put into energy production. A response would be provided.

            ACTION                     Rob Ayliffe


6.11    It was clarified that the 2006 baseline for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Strategic Performance Management Report 4th Quarter 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 400 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 the committee want to refer elsewhere?


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

Additional documents:


7.1      Rob Ayliffe presented slides detailing some key areas within the Councils strategic performance for Members’ attention. This included the data score card for the fourth quarter of 2018/19. The Council was meeting or exceeding 69.4% of its targets. Some indicators for children were not expected to show improvement over the short term.


7.2      The Committee noted the data relating to the timeliness of children seen following referral. Data up to March 2019 indicated 55% of children were seen in timescale following contact, this had not shown significant improvement. This was an area of main focus before Ofsted returned in August. One member commented that performance was variable patchy across the County. It was stated that Children and Families should consider this in more detail; they had met with the Chair of the Improvement Board. This would continue to be an area of focus for the committee. Members understood that since September 2018 there had been an increase in the numbers of referrals.


7.3      Data relating to Children’s Services re-referrals within 12 months showed a reduction in re-referrals in the fourth quarter. It was noted that this was an area to keep an eye on, but feedback suggested that increasingly the ‘front door’ element of children’s services was stabilising.


7.4      Performance on Children becoming subject to a protection plan and children services admissions and readmissions to care were highlighted. It was suggested that there was a lack of confidence to hold and manage risk and that may be the cause of the increase in this area. The Chairman of Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny explained that there were a high number of ‘Section 20’s’ and he had a big concern that children were not being adequately looked after for their long term needs and that the focus was too short term. Re-admissions to care was an area of concern in terms of outcomes for young people but also in terms of budget pressures.


7.5      The Committee received a snapshot of the types of adult social care being provided. Growth was shown in the number of clients with dementia, but the snapshot showed the achievement in managing demand in this area. Some of that demand management was carried out at innovation sites where it is also, reducing the amount of time that people were waiting for an assessment.


7.6      Proportion of adult social care ‘clients’ reviewed or reassessed in the last 12 months showed a downwards trend and ended the year at 59%. The performance team was providing more detailed data and analysis to locality teams to help them achieve an improvement in subsequent quarters. One member asked for clarity as to the number of people involved and members suggested that numbers should be included in future graphs. In response to a question it was explained that as part of the Older People data a proportion would have dementia. Members were reassured that those with the greatest need were prioritised. There were processes in place to identify when an individual’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Finance Update pdf icon PDF 145 KB


8.1      Paul Blacker introduced the update on the County Council’s Revenue and Capital outturn expenditure for 2018/19. The report set out a forecast of the year end revenue position of £418.081 million based on actual expenditure at the end of February 2019, which had been updated to show a year end actual position of an underspend of £2.9 million.. Members commented that it would have been helpful to have the Cabinet paper with their agenda. 


8.2      The biggest overspend was in Children’s Services of £9 million and this included additional funding of around £3 million. That had been added to the 2019/20 budget which included £12 million.


8.3      One member noted that there were a number of transfers in the Cabinet paper. In response it was explained that the end of year outturn report included transfers that would have previously been budgeted for. The example of the strategic waste reserve was given where the transfer would not be made until the end of the financial year despite being previously budgeted for.


8.4      One member asked if the Committee could receive the most up-to-date finance reports, particularly when the committee meeting was being held close to the Cabinet meeting. On this occasion the publication of the finance report had been after the publication of the agenda. Some members commented that scrutiny should receive the report before Cabinet. Consideration would be given to how this might be taken forward.
ACTION         Democratic Services/ Paul Blacker



Performance Report - Strategy and Challenge (4th Quarter 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 186 KB

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



9.1      Jane Burns introduced the performance report for Strategy and Challenge. The report detailed the drafting of the new 3 year Council Strategy ‘Looking to the Future’ and the 98.2% achievement of the targeted savings in 2018/19.  Further details were provided about the ‘For the Record’ project in Gloucestershire Archives and the recent completion of the Scrutiny Review.


9.2      92.2% of improvement activities for Strategy and Challenge were on or ahead of target and 91.3% of indicators was on or ahead of target. The budget was underspent for the year with the majority of those funds being capitalised for the completion of the ‘For the Record’ project.


9.3      In response to a question it was explained that there was a Members ICT group and that a briefing note could be provided to the Committee on progress that was being made with regards to Members’ ICT equipment.
ACTION                     Simon Harper



Performance Report - Core Council (4th Quarter 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 249 KB

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



10.1    Paul Blacker introduced the performance report for Core Council. It was noted that there had been a slow but steady increase in the staff headcount for the year which was mainly down to having more starters than leavers in both Children’s and Adults Social Care. Overall sickness absence levels were 8% above the target with long term sickness levels high but this was an improving position on the last financial year. The number of days lost due to stress was being investigated further with senior managers.


10.2    Invoices paid within 30 days was increasing and almost at the 95% target at 94.2%.


10.3    One member asked about the shared public estate and whether this would involve surplus assets. It was explained that those assets would go in front of the Property Board to see if there was any wider public sector use first.


10.4    In response to a question it was explained that absence due to stress was higher in those frontline service areas such as children’s and the Fire and Rescue Service. A briefing could be circulated to members.
ACTION                     Mandy Quayle




Approach to Budget Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 73 KB


11.1    The Committee considered the draft proposals for budget scrutiny which was based on previous years and comprised of a meeting in January 2020 involving all members of Council. The day would include allocated times for each Committee to consider the budget under their remit with the relevant Cabinet Members and Senior Officers. Corporate Scrutiny Committee members would be in attendance throughout the day to ensure continuity and that recurring themes could be picked up. The Committee agreed to the approach as detailed in the paper.


11.2    At the close of the meeting Cllr Haigh updated the committee that the scrutiny task group on taxi licensing had been agreed by Economic Growth Scrutiny.