Agenda and minutes

Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 29th October, 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 174 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 17 September 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 any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

The following interests were declared:-

 

Personal Interests

 

Councillor

Interest

 

 

Lou Ankers

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a parent of a child at a school named in the report (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Will Dawson

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at St Simon’s Primary School and as a parent of a child at a Stockport school (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Carol McCann

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at Outwood Primary School and Cheadle Catholic Junior School (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Tom Morrison

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at Ladybridge Primary School (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Lisa Smart

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at a primary school in Hazel Grove (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Charlie Stewart

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at Warren Wood Primary School (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

John Taylor

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at Heatons School and as his daughter worked at one of the schools named in the report (see Minute 5 below).

 

 

Wendy Wild

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor at Cale Green Primary School (see Minute 5 below).

 

Officer

Interest

 

 

Jonathan Vali

Agenda item 8 ‘Corporate Asset Management Programme’ as a governor and parent of children at one of the schools named in the report (see Minute 5 below).

 

3.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-in items to consider.

4.

Exclusion of the Public and the Public Interest Test

To consider whether it is in the public interest to exclude the public during consideration of the following agenda items which contain information “not for publication”:-

 

Item

Title

Reason

 

 

 

7

Annual Insurance Report 2018/19

Category 3 ‘Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority)’ as set out in the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That in order to prevent the disclosure of information which was not for publication relating to the financial or business affairs of the any particular person (including the authority), the disclosure of which would not be in the public interest, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the ‘not for publication’ appendix to agenda item 7 ‘Annual Insurance Report 2018-19’ in the event that the content of the appendix needed to be discussed (see Minute 8 below)

5.

Corporate Asset Management Programme pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive

 

The report provides an update on progress in relation to condition projects within the Schools Capital Programme (SCP) following the Cabinet’s decision to establish a £25million SCP to assist in addressing the condition and capacity issues across the school estate. The programme is to be funded using the 2019/20 Basic Need allocation of £10.3m and borrowing of £14.6m, to be repaid as future Schools Condition Allocations are received.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider and comment on the contents of the report.

 

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) updating the Scrutiny Committee on progress with condition projects within the Schools Capital Programme (SCP) following the Cabinet’s decision to establish a £25million SCP to assist in addressing the condition and capacity issues across the school estate.

 

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:

 

·         Concern was expressed about the potential scale of the maintenance need and delays in undertaking condition surveys of schools. In response it stated that a significant backlog of work had developed due to the collapse of Carillion, but that had been a historical underinvestment in the school estate. Changes to the categorisation of maintenance need had provided a fuller picture of scale of the need. The £25m agreed previously by the Cabinet was to address the highest priority need.  Assurance was given that there was not necessarily a significantly worsening situation, rather this was due to changes in the approach to reporting.

·         Assurance was sought that following changes in the management arrangement for the programme that the approach would be more effective. In response it was stated that the collapse of Carillion had caused the programme to cease and had a detrimental effect on its delivery, but staffing were now in place to ensure that, working closely with schools, delivery was at pace and delivered in batches to produce efficiencies, which had resulted in some schemes being delivered under budget.

·         Councillors welcomed the increase in activity in delivering the programme.

·         Caution was sounded in respect of prioritizing 'worst first' and this may result in those lower level needs were not met in a timely manner and would lead to disparities in the distribution of improvements across the estate and borough.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Deputy Chief Executive be requested to submit a further report to a future meeting outlining the outcomes of further school conditions surveys.

6.

Portfolio Performance and Resources - Mid-Year Portfolio Reports 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Mid-Year Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports (PPRRs) for the Resources, Commissioning & Governance and Citizen Focus & Engagement Portfolios are presented for consideration by the Committee. These provide a summary of progress in delivering the portfolio priorities, reform programmes and other key projects in the first half of the year, with a particular focus on the second quarter (July to September). These include forecast performance and financial data (where this is available) for the Portfolios, along with an update on the portfolio savings programmes.

 

These reports are based on the 2019/20 Portfolio Performance and Resource Agreements (PPRAs), which were considered by the Committee on 9 July and approved by Cabinet on 23 July 2019.

 

The reports are presented in the new streamlined format, which focuses on highlights and exceptions, reducing duplication through more cross-referencing and use of hyperlinks to other documents. Performance measures have been comprehensively reviewed for 2019/20 and latest data on all portfolio performance measures is included in the Appendices with performance and contextual narrative included by exception in the reports.

 

Alongside development of these reports, work is continuing to develop web-based Portfolio dashboards with user testing, making performance data more accessible.

 

Scrutiny Committee is asked to:

 

·         consider the Mid-Year Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports;  

·         review the progress against delivering key projects, priority outcomes, targets and budgets for 2019/20;

·         highlight key areas of and responsibility for taking forward corrective action to address any performance or resource issues;

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

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

 

Officer contact: Peter Owston, 0161 474 3274, peter.owston@stockport.gov.uk / Alan Lawson, 0161 474 5397, alan.lawson@stockport.gov.uk / Stephen Pate, 0161 218 1086,

stephen.pate@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted the Mid-Year Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports (PPRRs) for the Resources, Commissioning & Governance and Citizen Focus & Engagement Portfolios (copies of which had been circulated) providing a summary of progress in delivering the portfolio priorities, reform programmes and other key projects in the first half of the year, with a particular focus on the second quarter (July to September). The reports also included forecast performance and financial data (where this was available) for the Portfolios, along with an update on the portfolio savings programmes.

 

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:

 

·         There was discussion about the use of the RAG ratings, and concerns expressed that performance was often below target but rated as green. Explanations were provided in relation to some indicators, particularly where there were seasonal variations in demand on services that might impact performance in a given quarter, but councillors nevertheless expressed concern about the consistency of the use of RAG ratings.

·         Clarification was sought on whether the completed CBT1 return had had an impact on the Council Tax base. In response it was confirmed that there had been growth in the Tax Base, and that this had been assumed within the MTFP Summer Review and forecasting.

·         Confirmation was sought on whether there had been a payment on to the Manchester Airport Group as part of the Council’s investment in the multi-storey car park, and whether legal issues resolved had been resolved. In response it was confirmed that there remained outstanding issues being pursued on behalf of the Greater Manchester Council investments by Manchester City Council City Solicitor but it was expected that a payment would be made by the end of the financial year.

·         It was commented that capturing learning from suggestions or challenging situations before they became complaints would be useful.

·         There was a discussion about the Cabinet proposing changes to museums that would reduce access, such as closing on bank holidays, despite there being a 25% increase in visitors, rather than capitalising on rising numbers through improving on these attractions. There was agreement on the need to update the visitor and cultural offer and that it was available at times of high demand. The Cabinet Member stressed that the aim of the proposal was not to limit or reduce access where there was demand to do so. Councillors stressed the need to ensure that public access to these facilities, such as Chadkirk Chapel, was not lost.

·         Further detail was sought on the number of Open+ library visits by the 2200 registered users. In response it was stated that use of the facility varied by location, but that there had been an increase in usage across those libraries where Open+ had been deployed.

·         It was queried, given the inherent unpredictability of property sales, how robust the Council’s budgeting was and could be. In response, the Cabinet Member emphasised that the management of the Council’s estate and assets was subject to a number of careful considerations, and gave assurance that the assumptions made were always prudent and so could be taken to be robust.

·         Confirmation was sought on whether the new telephony system for Information, Advice and Guidance was now operational. In response it was stated that the system had gone live earlier in the day and had worked well, including the roll-out of a new ‘queue buster’ facility.

 

Reference was made to the potential negative impact on turnout of proposals to require identification when voting at a polling station, and the Chair reiterated the view previously expressed by the Scrutiny Committee that in so far as it was possible, the Council should not participate in any such scheme.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the report be noted.

 

(2) That the Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning & Governance and Deputy Chief Executive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Treasury Management Strategy and Annual Investment Strategy Mid-Year Review Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 493 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

This report provides a mid-year review of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy for 2019/20, approved by Council on 21 February 2019, and has been prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management in the Public Services.

 

The Report provides an economic update for the first six months of 2019/20 and details how this impacts upon the interest rate predictions and outlook provided in the initial strategy.  An overview is provided of more recent forecasts and developments in the financial markets and how these are affecting the Council’s investment portfolio and borrowing strategies for the current financial year.  A review is provided of the Council’s capital expenditure prudential indicators and compliance with Treasury and Prudential Limits for 2019/20.

 

There are no key changes required to the Treasury Management and Capital strategies for 2019/20, which continue to be relevant and effective. 

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider and comment on the report prior to its submission to Cabinet and the Council Meeting.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with a mid-year review of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy for 2019/20, approved by Council on 21 February 2019, and has been prepared in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice for Treasury Management in the Public Services. The report highlighted that there were no key changes required to the Treasury Management and Capital strategies for 2019/20, which continued to be relevant and effective.

 

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:-

 

Further information was sought on the implications of the increase in the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) lending rate on the Council’s borrowing. In response it was stated that there was little impact on the Council as the last tranche of borrowing had taken place in August prior to the increase and there was no immediate need to undertake any further borrowing. All options would be considered in the event that more borrowing was needed but it was increasingly likely that the PWLB would be a last resort lender for many local authorities. A note of caution was sounded that in light of the PWLB rate increase the market rate may converge on that rate, making borrowing more expensive. Further comment w

 

The hard work and diligence of the Council’s Treasury Management team was commended.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

8.

Annual Insurance Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

(Note: the report includes information ‘not for publication’ that will be circulated to committee members only)

 

The Annual Insurance Report provides a summary of insurance performance for the financial year April 2018 to March 2019. The report includes comparisons with the previous four financial years in order to allow for a meaningful comparison of trends. The information is used to understand the claims profile and recognise any areas where further risk management can assist in reducing claims and also those areas that have benefited from effective risk management.

 

The Scrutiny Committee will be asked to comment on and note the contents of the report.

 

Officer contact: John Pearsall, 0161 474 4033, john.pearsall@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Scrutiny Committee with a summary of insurance performance for the financial year 2018-19. The report included comparisons with previous years and highlighted trends over that time to identify areas of risk and opportunities to mitigate risk.

 

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

 

It was highlighted that the repudiation rate for highway related claims was now at 80%, an increase from 48% in 2014/15, and this was a credit to the Council’s Insurance and Highways teams. Of the four insurance cases that went before the courts, all were won by the Council.

 

The following comments were made/ issues raised:-

 

·         Further information was requested in relation to processes for learning from reported ‘near misses’ including expected levels of savings. In response it was stated the Insurance Team were working closely with the Health & Safety Team to be more proactive to address issues across the whole Council and its estate. While the insurance team was only small, it was working to embed risk management in the work of all departments. This work was not yet at a stage where an assessment of impact or savings was possible.

·         Further clarification was sought on the reasons for the increase in non-highways related insurance claims. In response it was suggested that the because of the Council’s investment through the Highways Investment Programme and work to reduce insurance costs, the scope for claims was reducing so that solicitors were increasingly exploring other areas where claims could be made. The Council’s proactive approach was nevertheless limiting the scope further and the in-house personal injury specialists provided expertise to understand the detail of claims and share learning to reduce the potential for further claims.

 

RESOLVED – That the report 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 92 KB

To consider a report of the Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Council’s current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Policy and Code of Practice (updated in 2016) has been reviewed. It requires updating to reflect changes brought into effect through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers legislative framework and to take account of changes to Council personnel that have occurred over the previous three years. The opportunity has also been taken to improve the clarity of the policy where it has been appropriate to do so.

 

This Report also provides an update on the recent use of the powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).

 

That the Scrutiny Committee considers and notes changes to the RIPA Policy the content of the RIPA monitoring report

 

Officer contact: Vicki Bates, 0161 474 3219, vicki.bates@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) in the second quarter (July to September) of 2019. The Council’s current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Policy and Code of Practice (updated in 2016) had also been reviewed to reflect changes in the legislative framework and in Council personnel, and to improve the clarity of the policy where appropriate.

 

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

 

It was reported that since publication of the report the Council’s policy had been reviewed by Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office and further minor amendments were likely to be needed once the final report of that process had been received by the Council. A further report would be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee in due course.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

10.

Agenda Planning pdf icon PDF 67 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 – That the report be noted.