Agenda and minutes

Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 4th June, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Town Hall

Contact: Jonathan Vali  (0161 474 3201)

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 April 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 2 April 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

2.

Declarations of Interest

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

No declarations were made.

3.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-ins to consider.

4.

Work Programme and Agenda Planning pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.               

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to give consideration to possible topics for further consideration during the 2019/2020 municipal year. Suggestions will be considered and subject to a further decision at the next meeting in July 2019 when the Scrutiny Committee will be invited to make a formal recommendation to the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee as part of the Scrutiny Work Programme.

 

The normal agenda planning report has been supplemented with an indicative yearly programme of anticipated agenda items.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider the report and provide comment.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out planned or anticipated agenda items for the next municipal year and relevant entries in the Cabinet Forward Plan, and inviting the Scrutiny Committee to suggest any other items or topics it may wish to consider.

 

The Chair encouraged members to submit suggestions to Democratic Services.

 

The Chair also highlighted the previous request of the Scrutiny Committee for an item in relation to Manchester Airport Group and suggested an item in relation to the proposed Council governance review.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

5.

Portfolio Performance and Resources - Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Annual Portfolio Performance and Resource Report (PPRR) for the Reform and Governance Portfolio is presented for consideration by the Committee. Following positive feedback across all Scrutiny and Cabinet Members to the streamlined format of the Third Update Reports, this report follows a similar approach.

 

As an Annual Report, whilst focusing on highlights and exceptions over the last quarter of 2018/19 (January to March), it also rounds up the latest position across all projects, programmes and activities within the Portfolio Agreement, along with the full set of performance measures reported during the year. It also includes out-turn performance and financial data for the Portfolio where this is available.

 

Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

 

·         consider the Annual Portfolio Performance and Resource Report;  

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

·         highlight any significant issues or changes to be fed back to the Cabinet alongside the Corporate Performance and Resource Report; and

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

 

Officer Contacts: Peter Owston / Susan Wood, 0161 474 3274 / 218 1032peter.owston@stockport.gov.uk / susan.wood@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) summarising progress in delivering priorities, reform programme and other key projects and outturn positions for the Reform & Governance portfolio during 2018/19, and in particular during the 4th quarter.

 

The Leader of the Council (Councillor Elise Wilson), the former portfolio holder, attended the meeting to respond to questions from councillors.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Concerns were expressed that the overall performance assessment that was misleading as it included performance that was below target even if it was within a range of tolerance.

·         Comment was sought on what particular areas were detracting from the Council’s performance. In response it was suggested that performance in adult social care and children’s services was proving challenging and impacting overall performance. The digital, real-time performance dashboard would assist in providing greater understanding of performance challenges in this area.

·         There had been noticeable improvements in the responsiveness of Estates and Asset Management to the internal needs of the Council, but there was a need to improve responsiveness to external organisations seeking to invest in Stockport using Council owned properties and facilities.

·         Improvements in Council Tax collection rates were welcomed, and the associated positive impact on the Council’s finances. It was commented that performance was such that it was likely that future forecasts for collection rates would be increased and this would have a positive impact on the Council’s budgeting process.

·         Further information was sought in relation to reduced performance for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processes and confirmation of any legal ramifications for performance being off-target. In response it was stated that legislative changes around GDPR had led to unfavourable conditions for retaining FOIA and Data Protection staff, and the Council had experienced a number of staff changes, although all vacancies had now been recruited to. The Corporate and Support Service model also provided flexibility in deploying staff to areas of pressure. The Information Commissioners Office had been informed of the issues affecting the Council and its performance but they were not taken any action.

·         Clarification was sought on whether the programme of energy efficiency improvements for Council assets would continue. In response it was confirmed that this would, and was partly in response to climate change requirements. Consideration needed to be given to the investment costs of such improvements, although there were increasing opportunity costs associated with not taking steps to limit energy usage given rising energy costs.

·         Comment was sought on increasing legal costs associated with insurance claims. In response it was stated that further detail would be considered as part of the Insurance Annual Report, but efforts had been made to ensure fees and charging structures reduced perverse incentives. It was suggested that consideration might be given to sharing these services or contracting with other local authorities to reduce costs.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Borough Treasurer be requested to provide further information to the Committee members in relation to the total income reduction resulting from the increase in property costs per square metre (measure R&G 2.6 BSDR 027.01 and 2.7 027.04 refers).

6.

2018/19 Complaints Annual Report pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of complaints, as at the 4th quarter (January - March). The report also compares complaints received in 2018/19 with the previous year’s complaints.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to:-

 

·           review performance information contained in this report, and

·           comment on the performance measures reported and suggest any additional information that might be collected in future.

 

Officer contact: Anwar Majothi, 0161 474 3182, anwar.majothi@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an overview of complaints, as at the 4th quarter (January - March) 2018/19. The report also compared complaints received in 2018/19 with the previous year’s complaints.

 

The Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) attended the meeting to respond to questions.

 

·         Clarification was sought about the significant number of Stage 1 complaints not proceeding to stage 2 complaints in relation to services to adults. In response it was stated that there was a statutory complaints process for adult social care, but there were some complaints that related to corporate issues and these would be escalated to Stage 2, though these were few in number.

·         Further information was requested in relation to the Ombudsman Report that had been published with findings against the Council. In response it was stated that there were lessons for the Council in relation to ensuring complaints were dealt with in accordance with the agreed policy that might have allowed for actions to have been taken earlier. The Council would respond to the recommendations of the Ombudsman as a matter of urgency.

·         Further information was sought on the capacity and pressure on the complaints team in light of discussions at previous meetings. In response it was stated that pressure had eased and there was more capacity on which to draw to respond to complaints.

·         It was suggested that in light on the increasing demands on officers responding to complaints it may be more efficient to include complaints information related to specific services in the appropriate Portfolio Performance and Resources Report and provide an annual report summarising all complaints.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

7.

Greater Manchester Strategy Implementation Plan Update pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

This report provides the second six monthly update on the Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) Implementation Plan and performance dashboard.

 

In April 2018, the GMCA agreed a two year Implementation Plan with the inclusion of ambitions to be achieved by 2020, and delivery milestones for the first six months.

 

The initial Implementation Plan and Performance Dashboard was considered by CRMG Scrutiny and Cabinet in July 2018, with the first update - reflecting the position at the end of October 2018 – considered by GMCA in late November 2018 and CRMG Scrutiny in January 2019.

 

This report presents the GMS Implementation Plan six monthly update at the end of March 2019 along with the performance dashboard. For each priority, a dashboard of agreed data is presented along with an update on the progress of each of the agreed commitments/actions, and future milestones.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to review and comment on the GMS Implementation Plan and Performance Dashboard update.

 

Officer contact: Holly Rae, 0161 474 3014, holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk   

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing a six monthly update on the Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) Implementation Plan and performance dashboard as at the end of March 2019.

 

The Leader of the Council (Councillor Elise Wilson) attended the meeting to respond to questions.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Concern was expressed that the data intensive process evidenced by the report was taking capacity out of delivery of Greater Manchester (GM) projects. It was queried whether it was possible to determine what difference was being made to outcomes for residents in GM and Stockport in particular from the work of the GMCA. In response it was commented that GM scrutiny committees would be best placed to assess the impact on the GM population as a whole, and this Scrutiny Committee should be assuring itself about the value and impact of those actions. It was also commented that the metrics in the GMS had been incorporated within the local performance arrangements and were reported through the Portfolio Performance and Resources Reports (PPRR). It was also commented that caution was needed about the interpretation of the data as differing approaches to data collection and service delivery may give misleading impression, using the example of child data extraction which appeared to be poor for Stockport though was reflective of better practice.

·         In light of potential confusion about the interpretation of the data it was queried whether the measures contained in the GMS were correct. In response it was stated that some of the GMS measures were GM measures only, not reflective of practice in Stockport, and for their own purposes, but it was nevertheless important to ensure these were co-designing with GM colleagues to ensure they were appropriate and adding value. The importance of ensuring these concerns were fed back to GMCA and into the PPRR process was stressed by committee members.

·         Assurance was sought that the Council was prioritising its own measures and prioritises over those that were simply flagged as being at risk by a performance measure. In response it was stated that the Council was active in addressing local priorities and performance that was of concern locally, and this was fed into the GM process through a network of connections between the Council and the GMCA.

·         Clarification was sought on how the public might access this information. In response it was commented that the public reports to GMCA and the Council were available on both organisations’ websites as well as through the online dashboard. In response to a further question it was confirmed that the Council would also be moving toward providing real-time online performance dashboards but work was continuing to ensure appropriate contextual narrative to aid public understanding of data and measures.

·         It was commented that given the increasing demands on the Council and GMCA from Government, for example in relation to air quality, it was vital to have robust data collection capacity to provide clear evidence for planning and decision making.

·         In was commented in response to a question that the Council and GMCA strove for transparency with its data and would share data with researchers wherever appropriate to aid in public policy development, but that it was important to ensure appropriate safeguards and systems were in place.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

8.

The Greater Manchester Model White Paper on Unified Public Services for the People of Greater Manchester and 'Taking Charge: the next 5 years' pdf icon PDF 113 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Scrutiny Committee will be invited to consider the content of the white paper and provide comments that will inform the Council’s response.

 

Officer contact: Holly Rae, 0161 474 3014, holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing details of the ‘GM Model - White Paper on Unified Public Services’ and ‘GM ‘Taking Charge’ - the next five years: our prospectus’ that had recently been developed and endorsed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the GM Health and Social Care Partnership.

 

The Leader of the Council (Councillor Elise Wilson) and the Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) attended the meeting to respond to questions.

 

The GM White Paper sought to link up work taking place across Greater Manchester to reform public services and to provide a reference point for public service organisations across GM for how to progress joined up place-based public service reform.

 

The GM Taking Charge paper set out the core characteristics of Greater Manchester’s system that would respond to and demonstrate progress against the NHS long term plan with a specific focus on population health; integrated health and care systems; and contribution to economic development.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         The vision set out in the White Paper was brave and ambitious, that had the potential to have a big impact on Greater Manchester.

·         The White Paper gave rise to concerns about governance and accountability and whether these issues had been given sufficient consideration in the development of the proposals. They also deviated from the original intention and vision behind the GMCA and moved toward a county-council model.

·         Much of the thrust of the White Paper was related to health, and NHS and local authority governance were very different and caution was need in this regard.

·         Interest from Government in devolution was likely to be at a low ebb and may wane further. It was important to bear this in mind when prioritising the use of resources.

·         The Council needed to be clear and comfortable with the proposals so as not to be caught out by changes that we had not been clear were being signed up to.

·         The examples used in the White Paper did not always rely on useful comparisons. Comparing the GMCA to other combined authorities without health devolution and using this to measure improvement would be more informative.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

Update on The Council’s Approach to Consultation Scrutiny Review pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive

 

Following discussion about consultation in relation to Medium Term Financial Plan proposals shared with the Committee in January, a request was made for a report to be submitted to a future meeting on progress with implementing the recommendations of the previous Scrutiny Review on the Council’s approach to consultation. This report responds to that request.

 

This report provides an update on progress with recommendations made by this Committee following its review undertaken in 2016 and reporting in February 2017. It also provides details of response rates in relation to Medium Term Financial Plan proposals.

 

Scrutiny Members are asked to consider and comment on the progress with recommendations made by this Scrutiny Committee following its review undertaken in 2016 and information provided on response rates in relation to Medium Term Financial Plan proposals.

 

Officer contacts: Lisa Wright / Holly Rae, lisa.wright@stockport.gov.uk / holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk, 0161 474 3030 / 3014

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) updating the Scrutiny Committee on actions taken in response the recommendations contained in the Scrutiny Review ‘The Council’s Approach to Consultation’.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         It was commented that the printed Stockport Review was a useful tool to reach every household and provided a source of factual information and it was queried how the Council encouraged subscription to the online Review. In response it was stated that residents using MyAccount were encouraged to subscribe and the current number was approximately 50,000. It was further commented that developing simple app technology that brought together all Council activity and messages would enhance the MyAccount offer.

·         Caution was urged in the choice of consultation methods being used as this could often influence the outcome.

·         It was commented that the Council did not appear to use opinion polling in its consultation activity.

·         Comment was made that feedback from users of services was often more useful than general public consultation data in the development of services.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.