Agenda and minutes

Adjourned Meeting, Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 26th February, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Vali  (0161 474 3201)

Note: Adjourned Meeting 

Items
No. Item

1.

Adjournment

Minutes:

At 6.01pm the meeting was adjourned.

 

At 6.00pm on 27 February 2019 the meeting reconvened.

 

 

PRESENT

 

Councillor Lisa Smart (Chair) in the chair; Councillor John McGahan (Vice-Chair); Councillors Stuart Corris, Yvonne Guariento and Mike Hurleston.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2019.

Minutes:

The Minute (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 22 January 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

The following interests were declared:

 

Personal Interests

 

Councillor

Interest

 

 

Stuart Corris

Agenda item 6 ‘Library Service update’ as a Trustee of Signpost Stockport for Carers that was referred to in the report (see Minute 7 below).

 

 

 

Agenda item 7 ‘Armed Forces Covenant Update Report’ as his wife was a member fo the Armed Forces Covenant Steering Group (see Minute 8 below).

 

4.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any)

Minutes:

There were no call-ins to consider.

5.

Corporate Performance and Resources - Third Update Reports 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

This item covers two reports as follows:

 

·           Third Update Corporate Performance and Resources Report (CPRR) 2018/19

·           Third Update Leader’s Report 2018/19

 

The Third Update Corporate Performance and Resource Report (CPRR) provides an update on progress in delivering the Council’s Priority Outcomes and budget since the mid year report 2018/19, with a particular emphasis on the third quarter (October to December). It is based on the 2018/19 Council Plan and Budget, and also reflects Cabinet priorities set out Portfolio Agreements.

 

Updates are included on delivery of policy priorities, alongside Reform Projects. The report also includes forecasts of budget and performance data where this is available, along with an update on the Corporate Risk Register. It is supported by seven Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports which were considered by the most recent Scrutiny cycle.

 

The Leader’s Report reflects on significant achievements and challenges, key decisions at Greater Manchester level, along with areas of progress in delivering council priorities over the first half of the year.

 

These reports were considered and approved by Cabinet on 5 February 2019. 

 

Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

·           Consider the Third Update Reports;  

·           Review the progress against delivering corporate objectives, key projects, priority outcomes, targets and budgets for 2018/19;

·           Highlight key areas for taking forward corrective action to address any performance or resource issues;

·           Identify how areas of strong performance and good practice can be shared in other services.

 

Officer contact: Peter Owston / Jonathan Davies, 0161 474 3274 / 218 1025, peter.owston@stockport.gov.uk / jonathan.davies@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Reform & Governance submitted the third Corporate Performance and Resources Report (CPRR) for 2018/19 and third Leader’s Update Report 2018/19 (copies of which had been circulated) that covered the period up to December 2018 with particular emphasis on the third quarter (October to December).

 

Updates were included on delivery of policy priorities, alongside Reform Projects. The report also included early forecasts of budget and performance data where this was available, along with an update on the refreshed Corporate Risk Register. It was supported by seven Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports that had been considered by scrutiny committees in the January Scrutiny cycle.

 

The Leader’s Annual Report reflected on significant achievements and challenges, key decisions at Greater Manchester level, along with areas of progress in delivering Council priorities over the first half of 2018/19.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         Clarification was sought whether there were any financial implications in relation to off-target performance against littering on highway. In response it was confirmed that there were no proposals to make reductions in public realm spend in the next year, but a review was planned. It was acknowledged that there was a debate about how investment was made in such services. In setting a budget the assumptions were based on existing service specifications, and performance targets were also based on previous years. The Chair commented that it was important for the Scrutiny Committee to have oversight of how investment in services related to performance.

·         Further information was sought on how the Council assessed the job creation implications of the lettings in its property portfolio. In response it was stated that the Council had significant floor space within its portfolio, and the lettings policy was primarily assessed against its commercial viability. The Council was also working to ensure the infrastructure was in place to support existing and new businesses seeking to expand and develop.

·         Concerns were expressed about the methodology used to evaluate performance that lead to off target performance leading to an assessment as ‘green’. In response it was acknowledged that this could lead to confusion but this may be reflective of a number of factors including a range of tolerance or performance being on target for the quarter and projected to meet target by year end although short of target for the reporting period.

·         What were the implications of the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) on Council Tax income? In response it was stated that the Council had worked hard to ensure IT systems had been integrated to ensure that fluctuations in a person’s UC income were factored into Council Tax systems to reduce the likelihood of problems for claimants. It was further commented that there had been a slow transition process so there were not currently large numbers of residents receiving UC. The Council also had an officer based at the Job Centre to provide support and who would encourage claimants to take up for Council Tax Support. It was confirmed that there had been any significant problems encountered as of yet. Committee members thanked officers for their hard work in preparing for these changes and minimising the disruption for residents.

·         What were the implication of recent national retail chain closures in the Town Centre on business rates income? In response it was stated that business rates collection was volatile and could be impacted by factors outside of the Council’s control. Nevertheless the picture in Stockport remained encouraging.

·         The Council had achieved improvements in both Council Tax and Business Rate collection rates that reflected the fact the Council was a good collector but also that residents and businesses were good payers. Recently agreed changes to the Council Tax Discount Scheme may impact on collection rates although there may be an increase in the total in the fund.

·         Concern was expressed about whether the proposals in the draft GMSF to give priority to brownfield sites would lead  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Asset Management Plan Capital Programme 2019/20 - 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive

 

The report sets out progress with delivering the 2018/19 Asset Management Plan (AMP) capital programme, details the programme of work for inclusion in the 2019/20 financial year and provides an indicative programme up to 2022/23. The AMP capital programme is used to carry out upgrade work and improvements to operational buildings within the Council’s corporate estate.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to comment on the report and recommend its approval to the Cabinet Meeting.

 

Officer contact: Charlotte Cordingley, 0161 474 4240, charlotte.cordingley@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Scrutiny Committee to consider an update on the delivery of the 2018/19 Asset Management Plan (AMP) capital programme, details the programme of work for inclusion in the 2019/20 financial year and providing an indicative programme up to 2022/23.

 

The Cabinet Member for Reform & Governance (Councillor Elise Wilson) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         An update was requested in relation to the development of property services. In response it was stated that since the Cabinet had agreed to the new service structure and a number of staff appointments had been made. The Council remained on track to begin the procurement for new Facilities and Asset Management contracts. It was acknowledged that progress with the delivery of the AMP had slipped due to the collapse of Carillion, but there had been progress in catching up and there had been no critical project delays.

·         Clarification was sought on the nature of the proposed investment in Life Leisure facilities. In response it was stated that some of the significant resource requirement was rephrasing of the 2017/18 programme due to slippage caused by the need to short windows in which to carry out work in order to keep facilities open during peak demand. Councillors requested further information on the distribution of the investment.

·         Concern was expressed about the 2020/21 programme forecast spend on leisure and heritage being zero and clarification sought about whether this should read ‘to be confirmed’. In response it was stated that the due to the significant usage of the Council’s heritage and leisure assets, particularly in the Town Centre, the next phase of the Medium Term Financial Plan would include a review of that provision including the developing strategic business cases for investment. It was therefore likely that there would be investment in 2020/21 and the report would be amended to reflect that.

·         Clarification was sought on whether efforts were being made to ensure TLC was able to tender for work. In response it was stated that officers continued to work with TLC and where they were able to deliver work and demonstrate value for money they would be given work.

·         Councillors suggested that more detail should be provided in relation to the larger investment proposals.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Deputy Chief Executive be requested to provide further members with further details in relation to Life Leisure investment.

7.

Library Service update pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive

 

The report provides an update and overview with the developments in the Library Service, including an update on the Open Library initiative. The report also sets out key statistical information for the service.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to note the report.

 

Officer contact: Janet Wood, 0161 474 4443, janet.wood@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with an update and overview of developments in the Library Service, including an update on the Open Library initiative and providing key statistical information for the service.

 

The Cabinet Member for Reform & Governance (Councillor Elise Wilson) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Councillors welcomed the report and the value of the services provide in and by libraries.

·         Comment was sought on what officers and the cabinet member envisaged for the library service in five years’ time. In response it was stated that the Council had taken a different approach to libraries than other Council and sought to enhance the digital officer available and to support residents in developing the skills needed to make the most of the digital offer. It was important to ensure that libraries were embedded within their communities, central to how we deliver services to local people and they were not simply static institutions but part of a wider network of services. Ideally services would be collocated to increase uptake of library services.

·         Further information was sought on the number of users of Open+. In response it was stated that 60 people were register in Bramhall where the pilot was launched but there had been a soft launch in the other six libraries so up take was expected to be low. The service wanted to ensure the technology and procedures were right before publicising the service more widely. It was also commented that for libraries with more limited opening hours this approach had led to positive engagement with users.

·         Clarification was sought on what measures were in place to prevent access by under 16 year olds to the library during Open + hours and what would be done should they gain access. In response it was clarified that access by under 16s was prevented for safeguarding reasons as in other circumstances young people accessing the library was to be encouraged and under 16s could access the service if accompanied by their parents. Users of the service would need to register first and receive an induction. The libraries were covered by CCTV to monitor usage.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Deputy Chief Executive be requested to submit a further report to a future meeting updating the Scrutiny Committee on progress with the roll-out of the Open+ service and providing further detail on the future direction of the library service.

8.

Armed Forces Covenant Update Report pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive

 

The report provides a regular update to scrutiny committees on the support offered to current and former members of the armed forces, reservists and their families as part of the Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to note the contents of this report and the Council commitment to support the armed forces community in Stockport.

 

Officer contact: Nayuri Patel, 0161 474 3167, nayuri.patel@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with an update on the support offered to current and former members of the armed forces, reservists and their families as part of the Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

The Cabinet Member for Reform & Governance (Councillor Elise Wilson) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Clarification was sought on how confident the Council was that children from Forces families were in receipt of Pupil Premium. In response it was stated that there was a reasonable degree of confidence but it was acknowledged that more could be done to ask appropriate questions.

·         What more could be done to ensure all those eligible for support were receiving it? In response it was stated that the Council had supported lobbying of the Government to include questions in the next census relation to armed forces. It was also commented that the Armed Forces themselves were developing a ‘passport’ scheme to facilitate retirees being able to better identify themselves.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

Agenda Planning pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider a report of the Democratic Services Manager.               

 

The report sets out planned agenda items for future meetings of the Committee and Forward Plan items that fall within its remit.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider the information in the report and put forward any agenda items for future meetings.

 

Officer contact: Jonathan Vali, 0161 474 3201, email: jonathan.vali@stockport.gov.uk

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive provided an update on upcoming agenda items for the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee, including the anticipated submission of the Corporate Performance Report for the third quarter of 2018/19 and the updated Asset Management Plan.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.