Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Friday 27 November 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

See above.

2.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 30 September 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

 

3.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

No additional declarations were made.

 

4.

Work Plan

Forthcoming Executive Decision List

https://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgDelegatedDecisions.

aspx?&RP=0K=0&DM=0&HD=0&DS=1&Next=true&H=1&META=mgforthc

omingdecisions&V=1

 

Council Strategy

https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/media/2083042/gcc_2325-council-strategy-2019_dev20.pdf

 

 

Risk Management item scheduled for early 2021

Minutes:

Members noted the Forthcoming Executive Decision List and the Council Strategy when considering items for the work plan. Members would discuss the next meeting on 7 January 2021 at the relevant item later in the meeting

5.

Strategic Performance Management Report 2nd Quarter 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 558 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1      Rob Ayliffe introduced the performance report for the second quarter of 2020/21 detailing the indicators where the Council was on or ahead of target, within tolerance range or behind target.  69% were on or ahead of target.

 

5.2      Members noted the indicators for Children’s Service and the initial response to risk. This detailed, initial decisions, initial visit, single assessments and Initial Child Protection Conferences (ICPC). Targets were based on outstanding local authorities, which was a high bar to reach but performance was improving in this area. ICPCs was still an area that needed further improvement but there had been positive signs so there was optimism that this would be back on track.

 

5.3      There was discussion around placement stability in Children’s Services with the Council performing less well than statistical neighbours. Timeliness was expected to be the first area of improvement and quality would follow with stability of placements likely to then follow. In addition the Council was below target on re-referrals, repeat Children’s Protection Plans and readmissions to care. These were long-term indicators for quality and would take time to turn around as they often reflected historical practice, but it was disappointing that improvement was not yet being shown here. There had been other signs of improvements as demonstrated in the low number of case audits being judged as inadequate..

 

5.4      One member asked if detail could be provided on the length of time children were staying on plans.  In response it was stated that there had been significant improvement and provided assurances that there were small numbers on plans for two years or more.

 

5.5      There was a discussion around how indicators were selected as part of the presentation for this item.  It was explained that indicators were flagged up to the Committee where there were fluctuations. Members received more performance indicators in the papers for Corporate Scrutiny and more still for Children and Families Scrutiny.

 

5.6      One member asked about the number of social workers that an individual child in care had, emphasising how crucial the relationship between the social worker and the child was. The member wanted to ensure that issues were being picked up in the suite of indicators members were provided with. The data on number of social workers was provided at the Improvement Board but would be included in future for Corporate Scrutiny.

ACTION         Rob Ayliffe

 

5.7      Members were shown a slide that demonstrated the balance of care across Adult Services. This demonstrated reduced demand for long term residential and nursing care, although the reasons for this may have changed from initially being a result of the work the Council was carrying out to now also including the impact  of Covid-19 where individuals were choosing a different type of care than residential. Another factor was that community care was also being provided from Covid-19 budgets to avoid admission to hospital or to help support people leaving hospital sooner. In future versions of the chart Covid-19 impact would be shown seperately.

 

5.8  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Financial Monitoring report pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Minutes:

6.1      Steve Mawson, Executive Director of Corporate Resources, introduced the report which detailed that the current forecast of the year end revenue position against a budget of £468.183 million, based on actual expenditure at the end of August 2020 and forecasts in September was a £7.649 million overspend.

 

6.2      Members noted that the largest non-COVID budget variance was the £7.422 million forecast overspend in Children and Families. This was an improvement on the previous month’s forecast of £1.988 million which was largely due to the reclassification of costs which had previous been regarded as non-COVID.

 

6.3      The Children and Families position was being robustly monitored, a sizeable amount had been added to the budget at budget setting time and it was recognised that this there was still an overspend. Despite this, the overspend position was stable rather than exponentially growing.

 

6.4      One member asked how confident officers were that the additional impact of Covid-19 and the economical consequences would not threaten the budget position. In response it was stated that the Directors and Finance partners met regularly to continue to monitor the position but there was confidence that the risks were understood and being mitigated.

 

6.5      In response to a question it was explained that there was a number of funds that were being provided in relation to Covid-19 spending and this was a complex picture with ringfenced and unringfenced grants. Members felt it would be helpful to see a more consolidated picture of what the total funding was available to cover Covid-19 expenditure.

 

6.6      One member asked whether the County Council was involved in allocation of funding to cultural institutions to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response it was stated that the Council was not involved in these allocations.

 

6.7      In response to a question on Trevone House, it was stated that it was an impressive facility and it was important that it was used in the way it had been modelled for with the right cases. One of the challenges was to ensure individuals did not become reliant on the resource. Already included within capital budget discussions was the possibility of additional similar facilities.

 

6.8      One member noted that in the first wave of Covid-19, grants had been provided to districts to help support community activity, she asked, was there any intention to do that now in the second wave?  In response it was explained that there was a fine balance between how much to give and no provision had been made at this stage. Some thought needed to be given related to the latest grant funding and how districts could be involved in that discussion. Community help hub calls had reduced since the first wave but had recently seen a slight increase in demand.  There was a discussion around the vibrant community networks and the relationships that had built up over this period; this was an important area to continue to develop in the future.

 

7.

Performance Report - Corporate Resources 2nd Quarter 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

7.1      Steve Mawson introduced the performance report for the second quarter outlining how impressed he had been in terms of the flexibility of the teams and that he was aware of it being important to guard against ‘burnout’ for staff. During the Christmas period he was encouraging staff to take a break.

 

7.2      With regards to Legal Services it was explained that there was sufficient staff to meet the ambition for a caseload of 12. There was access to additional resource at Warwickshire County Council. Pressure was created by one or two key members of staff off work due for various reasons that led to less resilience within the team. There had recently been a recruitment drive for paralegals as a long-term strategy to add this level of resilience.

 

7.3      One member expressed concern about the low performance in relation to the holding of PDRs with staff. In particular it was noted that PDRs in Children’s Services were not being completed and that there was high staff turnover in this area. The members sought assurances that this would be improved. In response it was recognised that this was one of the things that had slipped during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was emphasised that this did not mean that managers weren’t speaking to staff and supporting them, but that they weren’t formalising this as part of a review. This would be tolerated for a while but it was expected that performance would improve in this area going forward. In relation to Children’s services, some of the turnover was due to the movement from agency staff towards the recruitment of permanent staff.

 

7.4      It was explained that a new head of Internal Audit had been recruited and overall no concerns around resourcing had been raised.

 

 

8.

public participation scrutiny task group pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Minutes:

8.1      The Committee noted the task group report. The ambitions for the review had been to understand what the County Council did at present in terms of improving public participation; explore how effective those processes were; to learn from relevant outside sources and to make recommendations to enhance public engagement with the Council.

 

8.2      The report outlined that the group had met three times from November 2019 to February 2020 before pausing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then reconvening in September. The group reflected on the changes working practices over that time and the lessons that had been learnt.

 

8.3      The group had discussed the importance of promoting the current mechanisms of public engage on the website and through social media as well as asking for a review to be carried out on consultation processes. In addition a recommendation had been made to review the County’s Community Charter which set out the way engagement was carried out between the County Council and communities.

 

8.4      The Committee recognised that the group had asked that the public representation pilot which had been carried out by Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee be made a standing item going forward and be expanded to all other scrutiny committees. The Chair of the Committee provided some feedback of how successful the pilot had been discussing the range of topics and representations that had been discussed.

 

8.5      There was discussion around the use of YouTube and ensuring the public were able to listen in and view the committee meetings. It was important that this continued in the future. Members welcomed all scrutiny meetings being webcast.

 

8.6      One member made suggestions for an additional recommendation detailing a facility for supplementary questions to be provided in writing or on an individual’s behalf. Members felt that this needed significant discussion and it was agreed that an additional meeting of the task group would be held to discuss in more detail.

ACTION                     Stephen Bace

 

9.

Annual Scrutiny Report pdf icon PDF 771 KB

Minutes:

8.1      The Committee noted the task group report. The ambitions for the review had been to understand what the County Council did at present in terms of improving public participation; explore how effective those processes were; to learn from relevant outside sources and to make recommendations to enhance public engagement with the Council.

 

8.2      The report outlined that the group had met three times from November 2019 to February 2020 before pausing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then reconvening in September. The group reflected on the changes working practices over that time and the lessons that had been learnt.

 

8.3      The group had discussed the importance of promoting the current mechanisms of public engage on the website and through social media as well as asking for a review to be carried out on consultation processes. In addition a recommendation had been made to review the County’s Community Charter which set out the way engagement was carried out between the County Council and communities.

 

8.4      The Committee recognised that the group had asked that the public representation pilot which had been carried out by Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee be made a standing item going forward and be expanded to all other scrutiny committees. The Chair of the Committee provided some feedback of how successful the pilot had been discussing the range of topics and representations that had been discussed.

 

8.5      There was discussion around the use of YouTube and ensuring the public were able to listen in and view the committee meetings. It was important that this continued in the future. Members welcomed all scrutiny meetings being webcast.

 

8.6      One member made suggestions for an additional recommendation detailing a facility for supplementary questions to be provided in writing or on an individual’s behalf. Members felt that this needed significant discussion and it was agreed that an additional meeting of the task group would be held to discuss in more detail.

ACTION                     Stephen Bace

 

10.

Arrangements for Budget Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Please see attached the proposed agenda for 7 January 2021 committee meeting.

Minutes:

10.1    The Committee agreed the arrangements for the meeting on 7 January 2021. Members of he other scrutiny committees would be invited to attend the relevant discussion with Cabinet Members and Senior Officers.

 

10.2    The Draft report of MTFS was due to be published for the December Cabinet Meeting so that would be available to members for this meeting.

 

10.3    One member noted that this would be a virtual meeting and explained that virtual meetings alongside physical meetings should be explored in the future. A procurement process was underway for the technology to allow for this kind of solution going forward, but this would also depend of legislation allowing for this. It was suggested that the LGA Improvement and Innovation Board who was doing some work on this be consulted.