Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Thursday, 10 March 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell

Contact: Priya Patel  01344 352253

Items
Note No. Item

None

49.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 28 January 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 28 January 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

None

50.

Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an affected interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Mrs Birch declared a personal interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Health & Housing.

 

Councillor Mrs McCracken declared a personal interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection.

None

51.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business.

52.

Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

There were no submissions from the public in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

53.

The Council's Budget Consultation pdf icon PDF 273 KB

To consider the Council’s additional draft budget proposals for 2016/17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Borough Treasurer reported that full Council had considered a report that set out budget setting proposals to meet the £11.6m funding gap faced by the Council. It was agreed at this Council meeting that £4.5m of savings would be made, a rise in council tax would raise a further £2.1m and £5.1m of reserves would be utilised.

 

Following this meeting, it was clear that using reserves in this way was not a sustainable approach and that further savings needed to be identified. Additional budget proposals were subsequently agreed by the Executive on 23 February.

 

This range of saving proposals were now being put before the O&S Commission for consideration. The Borough Treasurer reported that if these budget proposals were implemented, the Council would have an underspend of approximately £3-4m, this underspend could then be added to reserves to be utilised in future years.

 

The Transformation Board would be working to identify further savings and undertaking a number of reviews to identify further economies over the next four years. Budget proposals were currently being consulted upon and consultation would take place over a 6-12 week period.

 

In response to Members questions, the following points were made:

 

·         A range of documents had been made available alongside the revenue budget savings proposals to assist understanding of the proposals.

·         A proposal to reduce the grant funding to South Hill Park had been made and it was anticipated that South Hill Park would respond to the consultation exercise and this would be taken into account. It was clear that South Hill Park would need to adjust their programme of events to account for a loss of grant of £44,000. The Chief Executive confirmed that he had written to the Chief Executive at South ill Hill Park and that any detailed proposals would be developed over the next 12 weeks with South Hill Park.

·         It was confirmed that youth provision would be considered under the heading of early intervention/prevention heading on page 14 of the agenda papers.

·         It was clarified that whilst the Executive work programme detailed in the agenda papers identified a decision on voluntary sector grants decision on 18 March, this would need to be revised to take account of the additional budget proposals.

·         It was reported that the parish council tax reduction support detailed on page 15 of the agenda papers was an additional reduction to that already identified in the Commitment Budget 2016/17.

·         The budget consultation exercise had been shown on the Council’s website and a press release had also been published.

·         It was reported that the transitional grant would be paid over a two year period. It had to be taken into the revenue budget and it was viewed as a stop-gap measure to lessen the impact of the funding gap.

·         The level of prudent reserves was regarded to be a minimum of £4 million.

·         The proposed saving of £200,000 on highway maintenance was a deferral of spending.

 

Councillor Mrs Temperton reported that she had recently attended a Life  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Transformation Programme pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To receive an information report on the Transformation Programme, and to consider the input to be made to the programme by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and Panels.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Transformation Programme Manager reported that a Transformation Board was set up in October 2015 to develop and deliver a programme to fulfil the new Council Plan’s commitments over the next fours years and beyond.

 

During autumn 2015 the Board moved quickly to develop a work programme comprising both strategic reviews and other projects. The services chosen for review represent some major areas of expenditure. In addition, the Board focussed on the identification of additional savings that could be implemented relatively quickly during 2016/17.

 

All reviews commenced in January 2016 with the formation of project boards and the production of detailed delivery plans.

 

The Transformation Programme Manager reported that the Board was keen to secure member engagement at an early stage. Gateway reviews would commence in April 2016. Given the pace at which reviews were being developed it was proposed that O&S Commission Members be invited to a workshop session on 31 March 2016. The session would start with lunch, followed by a workshop between 2pm and 4.30pm.

 

The Chairman stated that he in principle welcomed this engagement and that O&S Commission members should lead this process and chair each gateway review. It would be important to take a holistic and consistent approach.

 

The Programme Manager agreed to circulate executive summaries of the programme implementation documents to members. This would provide members with the scope of each review and milestones. Further, at the workshop session members would be briefed on key work strands, progress made and the process for gateway reviews.

 

A chairman would need to be appointed for each review, there would be an open invitation for all Members to attend reviews.

 

The Chairman stated that in order to ensure consistency, he and the Vice Chairman should chair all reviews.

 

The Chief Executive reported that the two overarching principles for this work were that it should be led by Overview and Scrutiny and that reviews would operate broadly on the same basis as portfolio review groups, with all members being invited to attend review meetings.

 

The Chairman stated that he was disappointed about the low level of member involvement on the Transformation Board itself. The Chief Executive stated that it was a management led Board, reporting to the Executive every four weeks and would drive forward the work. Furthermore, Gateway Reviews would have substantial member involvement.

 

The Chairman stated that this potentially would be one of the most important pieces of work that he would be involved in during his career as a councillor and that the consequences would be felt for years to come. He agreed to have further discussions with the Chief Executive around process and ensure that all members who were interested in being involved in this process were sent invites to relevant meetings.  

None

55.

Quarterly Service Reports (QSRs) 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSRs for the third quarter of 2015/16 (October to December 2015) relating to:

 

·         The Chief Executive’s Office

·         The Corporate Services Department

 

Please bring the previously circulated Quarterly ServiceReports to the meeting.  Copies are available on request and attached to this agenda if viewed online.

 

The Chairman has asked that any detailed or procedural questions arising from the Quarterly Service Reports should be referred to either the Assistant Chief Executive or Director of Corporate Services in advance. Except in cases of urgency, only issues of strategic importance or of wider implications should be raised at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Commission noted the Quarterly Service Reports for the third quarter of 2015/16 (October to December 2015) relating to the Chief Executive’s Office and the Corporate Services Department.

None

56.

Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Forthcoming items on the Executive Forward Plan of a corporate nature are attached for consideration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commission noted the forthcoming items on the Executive Forward Plan of a corporate nature.  

 

It was clarified that the decision on voluntary sector grants scheduled to be taken on 18 March would need to be revised to take account of the additional budget proposals.

57.

Work Programme and Panel Activity pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To note the progress against the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for 2015-16, and the reports from Overview and Scrutiny Panel Chairmen on each Panel’s progress against the work programme.

Minutes:

The Commission noted the progress it had made against its work programme and also the progress made by Overview and Scrutiny Panels against their work programmes. Progress of the work of Overview and Scrutiny working groups was also noted.

 

The Head of Overview and Scrutiny proposed that given the scale of work that potentially lay ahead with the Transformation programme and the level of involvement of Overview and Scrutiny members, it would be prudent to complete those working groups that were currently underway but to not embark on any further working groups and to focus energy on the Transformation work. The Chairman agreed with this approach and stated that overview and scrutiny officer support would also be required for the transformation work.

 

The Chairman of the Adult Social Care and Housing O&S Panel reported that members had attended a good session on homelessness and a briefing for all members would be beneficial on this.