Agenda and minutes

Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 17th December, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Town Hall

Contact: Simon Hughes  (0161 474 3218)

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 164 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 October 2019

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 29 October 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:

No declarations of interest were made.

3.

Exclusion of the Public and the Public Interest Test

There are no items for the exclusion of the press and public.

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RESOLVED – That in order to prevent the disclosure of information which was not for publication relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority), the disclosure of which would not be in the public interest, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the ‘not for publication’ appendix to agenda item 12 ‘Award of Facilities and Asset Management Services Contract’ in the event that the content of the appendix needed to be discussed (see Minute 12 below).

4.

Call-In

To consider call-in items (if any)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no call-in items to consider.

5.

MTFP Budget Choices for 2020/21: Update pdf icon PDF 220 KB

To consider a report of the Corporate Director for Corporate and Support Services and the Borough Treasurer

 

Earlier this year, in September, the Cabinet presented a series of proposals in response to the summer term of the Medium Term Financial Plan undertaken earlier this year. The review highlighted the continued uncertainty, complexity and volatility facing local government funding – presenting significant challenges for local citizens and their local public services. The Cabinet’s proposals were developed in line with the medium term strategy (fig.1) which was introduced in 2018(1) to frame the choices the Council will make about its budget, both next year and in future years.

 

Since this report there have been further developments nationally, such as the 2019 spending review which will inform the local government finance settlement expected to be announced in December.

 

The Cabinet remain committed to engaging widely on proposals and this report includes an update on those draft proposals that fall within this Committee’s remit. Since they were originally presented to this Committee for discussion and comment, further development on proposals have been undertaken. The updated proposals presented as part of this report also now reflect further engagement, or where appropriate consultation, with partners, citizens and relevant groups. These proposals are being presented to Scrutiny for further comment before being considered by the Cabinet on 6 January 2020 for inclusion within the Budget.

 

The Cabinet are keen to seek views from Scrutiny on these plans ahead of decision making in January 2020. In order to enable broad engagement on Cabinet’s plans, Scrutiny Committees are receiving this report and suite of appendices relevant to their remit.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is invited to comment on the proposals and consultation results presented within the report relevant to the remit of this Committee.

 

Officer Contact: Holly Rae on 0161 474 3014 or email: holly.rae@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Devolution, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources, Commissioning and Governance, and Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing an update on the Medium Term Financial Plan Budget choices for 2020/21.

 

In September the Cabinet had presented a series of proposals in response to the summer review of the Medium Term Financial Plan undertaken earlier this year. The review highlighted the continued uncertainty, complexity and volatility facing local government funding, presenting significant challenges for local citizens and their local public services. The Cabinet’s proposals had been developed in line with the medium term strategy which was introduced in 2018 to frame the choices the Council would make about its budget, both next year and in future years.

 

The Cabinet remained committed to engaging widely on proposals and the report included an update on those draft proposals that fell within the Committee’s remit. Since they were originally presented to the Committee for discussion and comment, further development on the proposals had been undertaken. The updated proposals presented as part of this report now reflected further engagement or, where appropriate, consultation with partners, citizens and relevant groups. These proposals were being presented to the Scrutiny Committee for further comment before being considered by the Cabinet on 6 January 2020 for inclusion within the Budget.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:-

 

  • A request was made for additional pre-decision scrutiny, if possible, if any of the proposals changed as a result of the Government’s financial statement following the General Election.
  •  In response to a Member’s question, it was clarified that Proposal 9.2 to increase the budgeted Council tax collection rate from 98.5% to 98.75% was based on increases in the collection tax collection rate over at least the last five years.
  • In response to a question about the proposal to reduce the number of staffed hours at libraries, the Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement clarified that it would not be a blanket reduction across each library but assessed according to need and the resources available. More local consultation would be undertaken in the new year.
  • Five libraries currently had the Open + system and another two were being considered. The capital investment had been identified. The idea was to promote library services across the borough so that people aged 16 and over could access services at a time which suited them.
  • To address comments from young people that they did not know about the Open + system in some of the Council’s libraries, the original proposals in the consultation would be sent to the schools’ network.
  • With regard to Proposal 3 – Support Funds, a Member complimented the development of the proposal since it first came forward, the effective scrutiny of it and the consultation undertaken.
  • The uneven amount of consultation for the different proposals was highlighted, for example the small amount of consultation on the libraries’ proposal compared to the Support Funds’ proposal. It was felt that the consultation undertaken should be summarised more consistently.
  •  With regard to the proposal affecting the Council’s museums, a Member felt that the Council’s assets should be publicised more and have their own individual websites.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

6.

2020/21 Treasury Management Strategy, Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy pdf icon PDF 315 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

This report seeks the views of Scrutiny Committee on the development of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy for 2020/21 prior to consideration by the Council Meeting on 27 February 2020.

 

The Scrutiny Committee are requested to comment on the report.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) seeking the views of the Scrutiny Committee on the development of the Council’s Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy for 2020/21, to be considered for approval at the Cabinet Meeting on 4 February 2020.

 

The CIPFA Treasury Management in Public Services Code of Practice placed emphasis on the regular reporting of the treasury management strategy and performance and scrutiny of treasury management strategy and policy to a specific named body.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

7.

Corporate Performance and Resources - Mid-Year Corporate Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

This item covers two reports as follows; 

 

·         Mid-Year Corporate Performance and Resources Report (CPRR) 2019/20

·         Mid-Year Leader’s Report 2019/20

 

The Mid Year Corporate Performance and Resource Report (CPRR) provides an update on progress in delivering the Council’s Priority Outcomes and budget during the first half of 2018/19, with a particular emphasis on the second quarter (July to September).

 

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.

 

Scrutiny Committee is asked to: 

 

·         Consider the Mid Year Reports;

·         Review the progress against delivering corporate objectives, key projects, priority outcomes, targets and budgets for 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 on 0161 474 4631or email: michael.cullen@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing a summary of progress in delivering the Council’s priority outcomes and budget in the first half of the financial year, with a particular focus on the second quarter of 2019/20 (July – September 2019).

 

The report was the first Corporate Performance and Resources Report to be produced for 2019/20 reflecting the 2019/20 Council Plan, Medium Term Financial Plan and new Portfolio priorities. It included an executive summary and performance analysis, along with the forecast position on revenue and capital, and a focus on highlights and exceptions during the quarter.

 

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

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:-

 

  • The Leader of the Council had met with the local MPs and would continue to request their support in obtaining financial assistance from the Government for Stockport to help combat flooding in the borough.
  • The Leader of the Council would pursue with Transport for Greater Manchester an announcement made by the Government during the General Election campaign that funding would be available to extend the Metrolink system to Stockport.
  • The Council was actively addressing those performance indicators within the Children, Family Services and Education portfolio which were within the Council’s control and which showed an amber or red status.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

8.

Council Tax and Business Rates Discounts Annual Review pdf icon PDF 575 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer

 

The Council is required to annually review the local scheme of Discounts and Exemptions which are available in respect of Business Rates and Council Tax.

 

Regulations allow for certain occupiers of non-domestic properties to be entitled to relief on the Business Rates payable. Some types of relief are mandatory but Local Authorities can further reduce the amount of Business Rates payable by awarding Discretionary Relief. Discretionary relief can either “top-up” mandatory relief or be awarded as a stand-alone discount. Stockport has agreed a number of local discounts for Business Rates.

 

This report outlines the current arrangements and any proposed changes

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer Contact: Alison Blount on 0161 474 5107 or email: alison.blount@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) outlining the current arrangements for business rates and council tax discounts and any proposed changes.

 

The Council was required to review annually the local scheme of Discounts and Exemptions which were available in respect of Business Rates and Council Tax. Regulations allowed for certain occupiers of non-domestic properties to be entitled to relief on the Business Rates payable. Some types of relief were mandatory but local authorities could further reduce the amount of business rates payable by awarding discretionary relief. Discretionary relief could either ‘top up’ mandatory relief or be awarded as a stand-alone discount. Stockport had agreed a number of local discounts for business rates.

 

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

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:-

 

  • In response to a question enquiring whether the Council’s response to those affected by flooding was sufficiently flexible, the Cabinet Member stated that within two days of the incidents of flooding the Council had a relief package in place. Four months’ rate relief had been agreed and all but two of the claims had been supported.
  • In order to ensure the transition from care to adult life was as a smooth as possible and to mitigate the chances of care leavers falling into debt as they began to manage their own finances, Members had previously agreed a scheme to exempt care leavers from paying Council Tax up to the age of 25. It was highlighted that it was important that foster carers were made aware of this.
  • With regard to relief on the business rates payable to large businesses new to or significantly within the Borough, it was clarified that that there was no specific definition of a large business. It was linked to the amount of business they brought to the borough and a strong business case was required.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

9.

Proposed amendments to the Council Meeting Procedural Rules - Part 5 of the Constitution pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider a report of the Monitoring Officer.

 

The report provides the Monitoring Officer’s proposals that were agreed by the Constitution Working Party to amend the Council Meeting Procedural Rules (Part 5 of the Constitution pp 199 to 216 of the Constitution).

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report prior to its consideration by the Cabinet and the Council Meeting.

 

Officer contact: Vicki Bates on 0161 474 3219 or email: vicki.bates@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out proposals that had been supported by the Constitution Working Party to amend the Council Meeting Procedural Rules (Part 5 of the Constitution).

 

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

 

A Member expressed concern that the one hour provided for in the Council Meeting Procedure Rules for the business of Community Engagement was insufficient (Rule 2.1(b)) as it referred to public questions (30 minutes), receiving petitions and presentations with no presentation to exceed 20 minutes.

 

RESOLVED – That the proposed schedule of revisions to the Council Meeting Procedure Rules that have been developed following consultation with the Constitution Working Party be supported, subject to:-

 

·         Rule 1 – Annual Council Meeting being amended to reflect that the appointment of the Cabinet Leader (Leader of the Council) is either agreed or noted in a particular year.

 

(2) That the Monitoring Officer be requested to liaise with Members of the Constitution Working Party as to a revised proposal for the timing of the different parts of the Community Engagement item at Council Meetings.

10.

Health Safety and Wellbeing update report pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with an update on the governance and management arrangements of health, safety and wellbeing within the Council’s corporate and school estates.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer Contacts: Ann-Marie McCullough at ann-marie.mccullough@stockport.gov.uk or Stephen Dawson at stephen.dawson@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) providing the Committee with an update on the governance and management arrangements of health, safety and wellbeing within the Council’s corporate and school estates.

 

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

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:-

 

  • Councillors were treated in a similar way to employees. Personal safety training was offered to Councillors and Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans carried out for Councillors, where appropriate. Officers were available to go through the Fire Evacuation Policy in more detail with any Member who wished to do so.
  • A Member asked for the percentage of employees who had received health and safety training, and it was agreed to provide this information in writing.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

11.

Greater Manchester Strategy - Implementation Plan & Performance Dashboard Update pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

The report provides the latest six monthly update of the Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) implementation plan and performance dashboards. The update provides progress against the agreed delivery milestones and ambitions, and updates the outcome measures for each of the GMS priorities. The updated plan also provides new delivery milestones for the next nine months. This item was considered at by GM Scrutiny Committees and as an information item for GMCA in November.

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

Officer Contact: Holly Rae on 0161 474 3014 or email: 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 the latest six monthly update of the Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) implementation plan and performance dashboards. The update provided progress against the agreed delivery milestones and ambitions, and updated the outcome measures for each of the GMS priorities. The updated plan also provided new delivery milestones for the next nine months.

 

This item had been considered by the Greater Manchester Scrutiny Committees and as an information item by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in November.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

12.

Award of Facilities & Asset Management Services Contract pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Exective.

 

The report details a proposal to appoint a Facilities Management & Asset Management Service Provider, which will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration at the meeting of 6 January 2020.

 

The appointed supplier will provide Facilities Management services across the entire Stockport Council property portfolio including schools on a buy back arrangement. The suppler will also provide Asset Management Services across the operational and school estate.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer contact: Charlotte Cordingley on 0161 474 4240 or email: 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 comment upon the proposal to appoint a Facilities Management and Asset Management Service provider, which would be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration at the meeting on 6 January 2020.

 

The appointed supplier would provide Facilities Management services across the entire Stockport Council property portfolio including schools on a ‘buy back’ arrangement. The supplier would also provide Asset Management Services across the operational and school estate.

 

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

 

Members asked questions, which were responded to, with regard to how the various weightings were arrived at and social value measured.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

13.

Electoral Review pdf icon PDF 496 KB

To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.

 

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (“The Commission”) is an independent body, responsible for determining electoral arrangements of local authorities across England.

 

The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 outlines the duty on the Commission to undertake an electoral review of every principal local authority in England ‘from time to time’.

 

Many metropolitan districts have not been reviewed since the Commission’s predecessor body undertook a review of all local authorities in England between 1996 and 2004; Stockport’s last electoral review was completed in 2003. The Commission intends to review all authorities that have not been reviewed since that time, and thus have decided to undertake an electoral review of Stockport in 2020/21.

 

The Scrutiny Committee is recommended to comment on and note the report.

 

Officer Contact: Caroline Bell on 0161 474 3173 or email: caroline.bell@stockport.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) advising Members of the intention of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to review all authorities that have not been reviewed since the review of all local authorities in England which had taken place between 1996 and 2004. The report further advised on the electoral review process which would be used and the timescale, current progress and the next steps to be taken by the Council.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

14.

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: Simon Hughes, 0161 474 3218, email: simon.hughes@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.