Agenda and minutes

Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 9th July, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Town Hall

Contact: Jonathan Vali  (0161 474 3201)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 4 June 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 invited to declare interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

There were no interests declared.

3.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-in items to consider.

4.

Corporate Performance and Resources - Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To consider a report of the Leader of the Council.

 

The Annual Corporate Performance and Resource Report (CPRR) provides a summary of progress in delivering the Council’s priority outcomes and budget since mid-year, with a particular focus on the fourth and final quarter of 2018/19 (January to March 2019).

 

As previously agreed, these reports are focused around highlights and exceptions, so are significantly reduced in length. This ‘light touch’ approach is being used across all Portfolio and Corporate Reports from 2019/20 onwards.

 

A key element of this approach is reducing duplication across and within the reports. Hyperlinks to the seven published PPRRs are therefore included in the CPRR, whilst a comprehensive update on the Corporate Risk Register was considered by Audit Committee in February.

 

National and regional policy drivers are summarised from those highlighted within the PPRRs. The most recent update on the Implementation Plan and Performance Dashboard for the Greater Manchester Strategy was considered by the Committee alongside the Annual Reform & Governance Portfolio report at the last meeting of the Committee on 4th June.

 

As this is the first report under the new Leader and Cabinet, the Leader’s Report is now subsumed within the CPRR introduction. At the suggestion of the Committee, in-year updates on complaints will be incorporated within the new Citizen Focus & Engagement mid-year and third quarter portfolio reports, with a separate Annual Report being presented to Committee.

 

This report was considered and approved by Cabinet on 18 June.  

 

Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

 

·           consider the Annual Report;  

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

·           highlight key areas of and responsibility 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: Michael Cullen / Holly Rae, 474 4631 / 3014, michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk / holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive submitted the Annual Corporate Performance and Resource Report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with a summary of progress in delivering the Council’s priority outcomes and budget since mid-year, with a particular focus on the fourth and final quarter of 2018/19 (January to March 2019). The report had been considered and approved by Cabinet on 18 June.

 

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

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Comment was sought on why  there was deteriorating performance despite the achievement of a budget surplus. In response it was stated that against some measures there would be spikes in performance that were due to particular circumstances, such as the opening of Redrock and the improvement in performance against job creation measures, but that these were not replicable every year. Significantly, the pressures on adult and children’s services were impacting on overall performance levels. In relation to surpluses it was commented that these could be generated in differing ways, but where appropriate this would be factored into future budgeting, helping to reduce future savings targets or to offset borrowing. Surpluses generated would be used for investment in service reform or to meet cost pressures in other areas.

·         Comment was sought on whether the Cabinet was concerned by the deteroriation in performance. In response the issue was acknowledged but performance needed to be seen in the connect of unprecedented demand on adult and children’s services, reflected nationally, and the anticipated green paper from the government on adult social care funding. It was further commented that the new arrangements for performance monitoring should provide earlier indentification of deteroriating performance and allow for more timely action.  

·          Given the prevailing economic uncertainty, particularly in relation to high street retailing, comment was sought on the likely impact on business rate income from potential job loses in the Town Centre. In response it was stated that business rate liability was connected to property, regardless of occupancy, so was not dependent on levels of employment in retail. Nevertheless, the volatility in business rates was emphasised, particularly if landlords chose to change the use class of their assets. It was hoped that the Autumn Comprehensive Spending Review would provide clarity on future business rate retention by local authorities.

·         Assurances were sought that the Council was doing all it could to maximise new business start-ups in Stockport. In response the bredth of activity was emphasised, and comment made that performance set out in the report did not include the Produce Hall activity.

·         It was commented that there had been no fixed penalties issued for dog fouling.

·         Comment was sought on what the Leader fo the Council was doing to ensure the availability of appropriate commercial space in Stockport. The Leader responded by reiterating earlier comments about job creation and regeneration activity, citing examples such as Stockport Exchange, Merseyway and the Mayoral Development Corporation. The Leader expressed confidence in continued business interest in Stockport.

·         Concern was expressed about some targets not having a source of data to measure performance. In response it was stated that there were examples of data sources changing after targets had been set, making tracking more problematic, but assurance was given that the new performance management arrangements would allow for greater narrative information being provided to explains this.

·         Comment was made that the use of three year rolling averages in future reporting would assist in overcoming challenges of measuring performance against annualised statistics.

·         Comment was sought about whether the Council was ensuring developers were meeting their obligations to provide affordable homes. In response it was commented that performance was often misleading as affordable units were not made available in a steady stream but intermittently as developments were finished. The upward trend in the number of unitys should give  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Portfolio Performance and Resources - Draft Portfolio Agreement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

Policy priorities for 2019/20 were set out within the Council Plan, which was adopted at the Budget Council Meeting in February. These priorities are articulated within the Portfolio Agreements, which form the basis for regular in-year reporting. Portfolio and Corporate Performance and Resource Reports (PPRRs and CPRRs) will assess progress against key objectives, priorities, outcomes and budgets, enabling Scrutiny Committees to hold the Cabinet to account and for the Cabinet to identify current and future risks to delivery.

 

This report presents the draft 2019/20 Agreements for the new Resources, Commissioning & Governance and Citizen Focus & Engagement Portfolios for consideration and comment by the Committee.

 

Following agreement with Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee on 17 June, it is being recommended to the Council Meeting on 4 July that the new Inclusive Neighbourhoods Portfolio reports into the Communities and Housing Scrutiny Committee. Pending this decision, the draft Agreement for Inclusive Neighbourhoods is included with the agenda for information, as it includes some areas formerly within the remit of CRMG Scrutiny.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is asked to review and comment on the draft Portfolio Agreements.

 

Officer Contact: Susan Wood / Peter Owston / Alan Lawson, 0161 218 1032 / 474 3274 / 5397, susan.wood@stockport.gov.uk / peter.owston@stockport.gov.uk / alan.lawson@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 the draft portfolio agreements for 2019/20 for the Resources, Commissioning & Governance and the Citizen Focus & Engagement portfolios. The draft Portfolio Agreements had been developed to articulate the Cabinet’s priorities as set out in the 2019/20 Council Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan and would provide the basis of the quarterly Portfolio Performance and Resource Monitoring Reports.

 

The Leader of the Council (Councillor Elise Wilson), Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance (Councillor Tom McGee) and the Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus & Engagement (Councillor Kate Butler) attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Chair reminded the Committee that the Council Meeting on 4 July 2019 had approved changes to the remits of scrutiny committees and allocated the responsibility of scrutinising the Inclusive Neighbourhoods portfolio to the Communities & Housing Scrutiny Committee, and as such the agreement contained in the agenda for this meeting need not be considered. She further confirmed that a Constitution Working Party would soon be convened to consider how to ensure that scrutiny committee remits could be more responsive to changes in cabinet portfolios.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

Resources, Commissioning & Governance Portfolio

 

·         Clarification was sought on why there had been a change in the target to separate housing benefit and Council Tax Support claims processing and to extend the target deadline from 12 days to 15 days. In response it was stated that this had extended due to the likely impact of Universal Credit and it was hoped to reduce the target time in the future. This was due to the fact that in future Council Tax support claims were dependent on decision taken by others on Universal Credit, whereas Housing Benefit claims remained within the control of the Council.

·         It was queried whether, in the judgement of the Cabinet Member, it was acceptable for a Council Tax Support claim to be processed in 3 week. In response the Cabinet Member said it was not, but caveated that by reiterating that processing depended on processes not within the Council’s control, but he gave an assurance that he would ensure the Council could do all it could as quickly as possible.

 

Citizen Focus & Engagement

 

·         Comment was sought on what the vision and aim of the portfolio holder was for the role, and what data had informed its creation. In response the Cabinet Member highlighted a number of key issues for the role in the coming year, including the recent appointment of a new Service Director; ensuring consultations were as engaging and inclusive as possible; increasing the scope and range of online payments; enhancing cultural services, and making the most of the Council’s libraries. The portfolio had been created to mirror the themes of the Cabinet’s overarching MTFP strategy.

·         It was commented that the portfolio had a strong digital focus and assurance was sought that actions were being undertaken to ensure residents were not being left behind. In response it was stated that the one of the key aims of expanding the Council’s digital offer was to release capacity to assist those who might struggle with an online offer. It was important to demonstrate the value of self-service online to those residents who could go digital. Digital inclusion was a theme across a range of other transformation activity and the other portfolios and was reflective of the changing role of local government.

·         Assurance was sought that the £2m shortfall in the portfolio budget could be met from projected income. In response it was confirmed that the efficiencies generated by the Digital by Design programme and income from the Events & Registration service would be sufficient to cover the portfolio budget.

·         Concern was expressed that some of the targets in the portfolio were not sufficiently ambitious. In response it was stated that all the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Ludworth School Expansion pdf icon PDF 89 KB

(Note: the Chair has agreed for this item to be included on the agenda as a matter of urgency)

 

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The report sets out the result of consultation undertaken on a proposal to expand Ludworth Primary School from a 1.5 form entry (FE) to a 2FE Primary School. The consultation was undertaken from 11 June 2018 and Friday 6 July 2018 and it is proposed to implement the expansion.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider the report and recommend that the Cabinet Meeting approve the proposals.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Note: the Chair was of the opinion that this item, although not included on the agenda, should be considered as a matter of urgency in accordance with Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 in order that the matter could be considered prior to a decision being taken by the Cabinet)

 

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Scrutiny Committee to consider a proposal to expand Ludworth Primary School from a 1.5 to a 2 form entry school. The report summarised the outcomes of a consultation exercised carried out in relation to the proposal.

 

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

 

The following comments were made / issues raised:

 

·         Clarification was sought on whether places had been allocated in September 2019. In response it was confirmed that the school would accept additional pupils to being the numbers on roll into line with the physical capacity of the school.

·         Concerns were expressed about the adequacy of the proposals to address traffic and parking issues raised by the consultation and clarification sought on how these would be addressed further during the process of implementing the proposals. In response it was clarified that the consultation summarised in the report was an informal process and not part of statutory consultation, but would inform the development of the planning application. The measures that had been developed in response to the concerns raised were deemed adequate to address traffic issues.

·         It was commented that one of the challenges for the Council ensuring adequate school places was the legal restrictions prevent local authorities from opening their own schools.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

7.

Treasury Management Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The purpose of this report is to update councillors on the operation and effectiveness of the Council's Treasury Management function for 2018/19. 

 

Throughout 2018/19 the Council complied with its legislative and regulatory requirements.  The key actual prudential and treasury indicators detailing the impact of capital expenditure activities during the year, with comparators are found in the main body of the report.  

 

The Borough Treasurer confirms that borrowing was only undertaken for a capital purpose and the statutory borrowing limit (the authorised limit) was not breached.

 

This annual review report is a backward-looking review of the treasury management operation for the previous financial year and is the last report in the 2018/19 reporting cycle.

 

In treasury management terms the 2018/19 financial year largely continued the challenging environment of previous years, with lasting low investment returns and counterparty risk remaining.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to comment on the report.

 

Officer contact: Lorna Soufian, 0161 474 4026, lorna.soufian@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an update on the functioning of the Council’s Treasury Management functions for 2018/19. The report confirmed that during the period in question the Council had complied with its legislative and regulatory requirements and that borrowing had only been undertaken for a capital purpose and the statutory borrowing limit had n not been breached.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·           Comment was sought on the implications were for the Council’s borrowing in light of the removal of the cap on Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing. In response it was stated that further analysis would be undertaken over the summer to determine the most sustainable financing arrangements to meet the Council’s ambitions. It was likely that HRA borrowing would be used to supplement General Fund borrowing, as there were risks to HRA borrowing from Right to Buy depleting assets. It was also commented that the Treasury were likely to review rules for local authorities borrowing for purely commercial purposes, particularly where invested out of area.

·           Comment was sought on the variance between the capital programme budget and expenditure. In response it was stated that the Council had a significant capital programme, but there had been some slippage due to external factors, such as the collapse of Carillion, that required the programme’s rephrasing.

·           It was queried whether it would be prudent to reduce the HRA CFR, regardless of legislative requirements. In response it was stated that this was a prudent approach, and the summer review would assess whether this was advisable.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

8.

Sickness Year End report 2019 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

This report highlights the Council’s (excluding schools) sickness absence performance at the year-end point, (1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019).

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to note the report and comment on the year-end outturn of 9.85 days per FTE which is slightly higher than the Council target of 9.5 days.

 

Officer contact: Greg McNair, 0161 218 1427, greg.mcnair@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing a summary of sickness absence for council employees for 2018/19.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:

 

·         It was commented that while performance was over target, it was nevertheless an improved position given the performance at the end of the previous reporting period. There was a high level of confidence in the data underpinning the report and confidence in the processes and consistency of application. Council performance also compared favourably with other Greater Manchester authorities.

·         Concern was expressed that there was inconsistent application of procedures by managers in cases of anxiety, stress, depression, other psychiatric illness due to a bereavement, as identified in paragraph 3.8 of the report. In response it was stated that the information contained in the report was to ensure transparency, but reflected the challenges faced by managers to support colleagues during difficult life experiences. The official advice was to always apply the Council’s policy to support employees. It was further commented that it was important to ensure consistency out of fairness to all employees.

·         Councillors welcomed the provision of onsite counselling for employees who had suffered an unexpected loss of a colleague.

·         Assurance was sought that the Council sought to learn from best practice amongst Greater Manchester authorities. In response it was confirmed that the Council would seek to emulate best practice from any organisation.

 

RESOLVED – That the report and year-end outturn of 9.85 days per Full Time Equivalent being higher than the Council target of 9.5 days be noted.

 

9.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: Stockport Council's use of directed surveillance and covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Council’s Code of Practice for carrying out of surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) specifies that quarterly reports will be taken to the Scrutiny Committee to demonstrate to elected members that the Council is complying with its own Code of Practice when using RIPA. 

 

This report provides an update in relation to the 2nd, 3rd & 4th quarters of the 2018-2019 financial year, along with the 1st quarter of financial year 2019-2020.  

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to note the RIPA monitoring report.

 

Officer contact: Rosalind Thorpe, 0161 474 3080, rosalind.thorpe@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing a summary of surveillance carried out under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2018-2019 and the 1st quarter of 2019-2020, as required by the Council’s Code of Practice. There had been no uses of surveillance during this period.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

10.

Scrutiny Review Topic Selection and Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The report seeks suggestions for Scrutiny Review topics for inclusion in the 2019/2020 scrutiny work programme, building on the recommendations of the ‘Undertaking Scrutiny in Stockport Review’ carried out by the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee in 2018/2019.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to select a topic for inclusion in the Scrutiny Review Programme.

 

Officer Contact: Jonathan Vali, 0161 474 3201, jonathan.vali@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 make suggestions for Scrutiny Review topics in 2019/2020 for inclusion in the scrutiny work programming. The report incorporated recommendations of the ‘Undertaking Scrutiny in Stockport Review’ undertaken by the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee in 2018/2019.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Scrutiny Coordination Committee be recommended to include the following topic in the Scrutiny Work Programme 2019/20:-

 

Manchester Airport Group: investment and relationship with the Council.

 

(3) That the Panel for the review include the following councillors:-

 

Councillors Tom Morrison (Lead); Carol McCann, John McGahan, Lisa Smart, Charlie Stewart and Wendy Wild.

 

 

11.

Agenda Planning pdf icon PDF 58 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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out planned agenda items for the next meeting and relevant entries in the Cabinet Forward Plan.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Deputy Chief Executive be requested to amend the work programme to:-

 

(i) remove

 

·      the Safer Stockport Annual Report (as this was to be considered by another scrutiny committee);

·      quarterly complaints report;

 

(ii) include

 

·         the Mayoral Development Corporation Investment Framework;

·         Brexit preparedness (September 2019);

·         Constitutional changes (December 2019);

·         Response to the Boundary Commission;

·         Scrutiny of Whole Owned Companies;

·         GM Whitepaper on support service (April 2020).