Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Monday, 1st February, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Claire Johnston - 01202 123663  Email: claire.johnston@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

135.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs M Earl and D Kelsey

136.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

 

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications. 

 

Minutes:

Cllr D Brown substituted for Cllr M Earl and Cllr A Filer Substituted for Cllr D Kelsey

137.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest

138.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meetings held on 4 January 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings held on 4 January 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

139.

Action Sheet pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To note and comment on the attached action sheet which tracks decisions, actions and recommendations from previous meetings.

Minutes:

The Board’s latest action sheet was noted following an update from the Chairman.

140.

Public Speaking

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeID=151&Info=1&bcr=1

The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no public statements, questions or petitions submitted for this meeting.

141.

Budget Scrutiny 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

For the Overview and Scrutiny Board to consider and scrutinise the following budget related Cabinet reports which are due to be considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 10 February 2021:

 

·       2021/22 Budget and Medium-term Financial Plan (MTFP) (pages 21 – 172)

·       Housing Revenue Account Budget Setting 2021/22 (pages 173 – 230)

·       Dedicated Schools Grant and Early Years Formulae 2021/22 (pages 231 – 246)

 

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Also attached are notes from the Children’s Services O&S Committee Budget Working Group (pages 247 – 248). In addition, the Chairs and Vice-Chairs from the Children’s and Health and Adult Social Overview and Scrutiny Committees are invited to attend the Board for consideration of this item.

 

The following Cabinet members have been invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation.

 

The Cabinet report for these items are included with this agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, the Portfolio Holder for Housing and the Portfolio Holder for Covid Resilience, Schools and Skills presented a series of reports, copies of which had been circulated to each Member and copies of which appear as Appendices 'A-C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

Budget and MTFP

 

A number of issues were raised by the Board in the subsequent discussion, including:

 

  • A Board Member queried the additional £13M to be added to the adult social care budget, particularly when the majority of it was to be spend on the minimum wage increase? He further queried why the decision had been made to not take advantage of the option of a precept increase this year as allowed by the Government and if it would be pursued as an option for next year. The Leader of the Council stated that he would ask the S151 Officer to cover the detail relating to the additional £13M before explaining that it had been identified that the council, helped by the transformation programme, had no need to increase the adult social care precept this financial year. He added that whilst there was the opportunity to increase the precept by a full 3% next year, this was not the ambition it was hoped that this would not be necessary and would therefore allow residents to be better off for it. The S151 Officer highlighted that Section 42 of the report set out the reasons for why £13m extra investment was needed for adult social care.
  • A Board Member agreed with the importance of keeping money in the pockets of residents, but it did appear to him that this meant the council was borrowing more and also selling off more of its assets. He stated that it was important that vital services were funded, and it seemed odd that the Leader was not taking advantage of the offer from central government to increase the adult social care precept. The Leader of the Council highlighted that the council retained the option to take advantage of this allowance in 2022/23, but aspired to not have to do this in full unless absolutely necessary. He added that 41% of conservative-led councils were taking advantage of precept offer, as 82% of labour-led councils, which was proof that BCP Council were being more efficient and £44M of these efficiencies were from the transformation plan.
  • A Board Member commented that the use of flexible capital receipts needed to be done responsibly and felt that the current method was “on steroids” and queried why utilising capital receipts had been “turbo charged”? The Leader disagreed with this analogy and indeed the comments raised. He added that the Council should be retaining assets and not selling them selling off, what was being done was allowing the Council to maximise offers from the government. The S151 Officer referred to figure 11 and section 65 of report, which set out the capital receipts/assets which had been used for this budget and stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 141.

142.

Scrutiny of the Corporate Strategy Delivery Plans Refresh 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To consider the Corporate Strategy Delivery Plans Refresh 2021/22 Cabinet report due for consideration by Cabinet on 10 February 2021.

 

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the report and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

 

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transformation.

 

The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'D' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

A number of issues were raised by the Board in the subsequent discussion, including:

 

  • The Chairman referred to Page 259 of the report, and raised a query relating to connectivity improvements and if big changes and improvements could be expected? The Leader of the Council explained that there was a big opportunity to do something at scale and it would be necessary for the Council to bring forward some large-scale infrastructure projects. He explained that he believed the futures fund would bring forward significant interest and investment and that he hoped to entice government and other partners into working with the Council to assist with the delivery of such projects.
  • The Chairman asked the leader to define what was meant by the creation of an iconic cityscape and queried if residents would want this? The Leader of the Council explained that whilst none of the three towns within the conurbation were cities, the scale of the conurbation could be compared with cities such as Bristol or Brighton and Hove and as such the Council needed to attract business and funding to the area in order for it to flourish.
  • The Chairman stated that there had been some significant changes to the corporate delivery plan and that he would like to see the baseline of the corporate plan retained. The Leader of the Council explained that he agreed with the comments that had been made and advised that he felt this would be useful.
  • A Board Member queried how other industries that had not been listed in the big plan could present development opportunities that would fit into the priorities? He also queried how a key area such as Tourism, for example, could impact on how the council utilised its infrastructure? The Leader of the Council explained that there were clearly some core industries, but there were others that could emerge from the smart cities programme and the council needed to understand and unlock the potential of such industries and what they can bring to the area. He added that through the futures fund the council could pump-prime different schemes if required. He further explained that tourism was a huge business for the conurbation and that the council promoted itself as a destination for services too.
  • A Board Member stated that there seemed to be a lack of consultation in relation to the production of this document, particularly with the public. She queried what the innovative projects that were referred to were? She added that whilst she agreed with the principle of revising the delivery plan as things did often change, she was disappointed that there did not appear to be any document explaining the difference between the existing plan and the proposed plan. The Leader of the Council explained that this was a big ambitions plan  ...  view the full minutes text for item 142.