Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services) on Tuesday 10th September, 2019, 6.30 pm

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Town Hall Bootle

Contact: Paul Fraser  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Brodie-Browne.

 

 

 

9.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Members are requested to give notice of any disclosable pecuniary or personal interest   

 

An advice note on declaration of interests is attached

 

 

Minutes:

No declarations of disclosable pecuniary or personal interests were received.

 

 

10.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.

 

 

 

11.

Digital Inclusion Working Group – Update on Recommendations pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 15 of 11 September 2018 the Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer setting out progress made against each of the recommendations formulated by the Digital Inclusion Working Group and approved by Cabinet.

 

The report also indicated that the Head of Economic Growth and Housing had advised that, additional to the responses to the recommendations, Sefton was aligning itself to Liverpool City Region (LCR) proposed Digital Programme structure, which would allow easier and better flow of information and ideas, and allow Sefton to move the “whole” Digital agenda forward at a pace.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/commented on the following issues:

 

·       The involvement of the LCR in the Digital Inclusion agenda was welcomed

·       The LCR “Digital Passport”, to be adopted as part of its development plans, showed Sefton to be “ahead of the game” on this matter

·       The LCR Digital Strategy needs to be carefully scrutinised to ensure that those deprived communities currently affected by digital exclusion are not marginalised even further

·       Sefton@work needs to be kept closely involved to achieve buy-in from local employers

·       Poor access to ICT in some communities leads not only to digital inclusion but financial inclusion also, especially in relation to Universal Credit issues

·       To obtain Universal Credit claimants are required to log on to an account. This is causing problems and particularly so in respect of conditionality requirements

·       Access to ICT provision via Sefton’s libraries and One-Stop Shops

·       Sefton’s funding of the Sefton Citizen’s Advice Bureau helps residents with their Universal Credit claims     

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the report setting out progress made against each of the recommendations formulated by the Digital Inclusion Working Group and approved by Cabinet be noted; and

 

(2)

the Head of Economic Growth and Housing be requested to submit bi-annual reports to the Committee on the progression of the Liverpool City Region Digital Inclusion Strategy.

 

 

 

 

12.

Disposal of Surplus Council Owned Land/Asset Management Strategy

Presentation by the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That considration of this matter be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee.

 

13.

Revenue and Capital Budget Update 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 181 KB

Report of the Head of Corporate Resources

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Corporate Resources that provided information on the current forecast revenue outturn position for the Council for 2019/20; the current forecast on Council Tax and Business Rates collection for 2019/20; and the monitoring position of the Council’s capital programme to the end of July 2019, the forecast expenditure to year end, variations against the approved budgets and an explanation of those variations for consideration by Members. The report also updated on spending profiles and proposed amendments to capital budgets necessary to ensure the efficient delivery of capital projects.

 

In respect of the forecast outturn position as at the end of July 2019 the report indicated that significant pressures had been identified in several service areas, particularly Children’s Social Care, Locality Services and Home to School Transport; that the latest forecast of service expenditure indicated an overspend of £2.515m; and a table was included within the report highlighting the variations. The report also set out the measures to close the residual gap in 2019/20 to ensure there was no year-end deficit.

 

In respect of the current forecast on Council Tax it was anticipated that a forecast surplus of £1.160m was declared of which Sefton’s share was £0.996m (85.8%); whilst in respect of Business Rates collection for 2019/20 a forecast surplus of £1.768m was declared in with Sefton’s share of this being £1.750m.

 

In respect of the Capital Programme the report detailed the current position of expenditure against the budget profile to the end of July 2019 and that indicated that it should be noted that budgets were profiled over the financial year which skewed expenditure to the final three quarters of the financial year; and a full list of the capital programme by capital scheme was attached to the report as Appendix A.  

 

The report concluded that the Head of Corporate Resources would continue to manage the financing of the programme to ensure the final capital funding arrangements secured the maximum financial benefit to the Council.

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/commented on the following issues:

 

·       The recent public spending announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the acknowledgment that Sefton had not been provided with any details of additional funding it would receive as part of the financial increase to local authorities 

·       Concern was raised that some of the Chancellor’s funding increases would be Brexit dependent

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

the current forecast revenue outturn position for 2019/20 and the current position relating to delivery of savings included in the 2019/20 revenue budget be noted;

 

(2)

the mitigating measures being used to ensure a balanced forecast outturn position be noted;

 

(3)

the updates to the spending profiles within the capital programme across financial years as detailed in paragraph 5.1.1 be noted;

 

(4)

the latest capital expenditure position as at 31 July 2019 to date of £3.3m with the latest full year forecast being £26.7m as detailed in paragraphs 5.2.2 and 5.3.1 respectively be noted; and

 

(5)

The explanations of variances to project  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Members Welfare Reform Reference Group - Update pdf icon PDF 69 KB

At its meeting held on 18 June 2019 the Committee resolved that the Head of Health and Wellbeing be requested to submit updates to each meeting of this Committee on the operation of the Members Welfare Reform Reference Group.

 

In accordance with the above decision a copy of the most recent update is attached.

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 7 (2) of its meeting held on 18 June 2019 the Committee considered update of the Head of Health and Wellbeing on the operation of the Members’ Welfare Reform Reference Group.

 

The update provided information on the purpose of the Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty (WRAP) Cabinet Member Reference Group and in particular on activities associated with:

 

·       The WRAP Conference

·       Action Plan and next steps

·       The Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme

·       Summer Holidays Food Programme

·       A project to provide winter coats

 

The update concluded by providing a narrative that had been developed and agreed by WRAP that would be used as a factsheet with the purpose of describing to other Members the services available in support of welfare reform; and it was emphasised that the focus was on sharing information about services available which included:

 

·       ELAS

·       Sefton Foodbank Network

·       Welfare Rights Team

·       Sefton Helping Hands

·       Citizens Advice

·       Sefton CVS

·       Credit Unions

 

Members of the Committee asked questions/made comments on the following issues:

 

·       Specific updates from the Benefits Service to the Committee would be helpful

·       It would be helpful if all Members could tap into the Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty Cabinet Member Reference Group to share the problems being experienced by their constituents  

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the update on the operation of the Members’ Welfare Reform Reference Group be noted.

 

 

15.

Work Programme 2019/20, Scrutiny Review Topics and Key Decision Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer that updated on the on the Work Programme for 2018/19, topics for scrutiny reviews to be undertaken by a Working Group(s) appointed by the Committee and seeking the identification any items for pre-scrutiny by the Committee from the Key Decision Forward Plan.

 

Regarding the selection of a scrutiny review Working Group topic, the report indicated that at its last meeting the Committee resolved (Minute No. (6) (2)) that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board be requested to consider establishing a cross-cutting review to review and develop options for how the Council’s activities could ameliorate the impact of climate change with a view to integrating proposals in any future strategy or delivery plan together with ways to improve pollution levels associated with traffic management and highway issues. However, at its meeting held on 18 July 2019 the Council approved a Motion on Climate Change Emergency. The terms of the Motion will require, amongst many other actions:

 

·       Overview and Scrutiny Management Board to consider the impact of climate change and the environment when reviewing Council policies and strategies and charge Task and Finish groups to also consider those impacts in any report and every topic

·       The setting up a Sefton Climate Change group

 

The Management Board had met immediately prior to this meeting of the Committee. The Senior Democratic Services Officer advised that the Management Board had been advised that the Cabinet would establish a Working Group to drive forward the terms of the approved Council Motion. The Head of Corporate Resources would provide officer support to the Working Group. The Management Board had agreed that the Working Group Scoping document should be updated to include a section providing details of how each review would contribute to the terms of the Climate Change Emergency motion.

The Management Board had also requested that update reports on the operation of the Cabinet Working Group should be submitted to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Councillor Lappin, Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Resources, who was in attendance at the meeting, advised that the Cabinet was working to establish a comprehensive action plan covering all Council services and activities to take account of the terms of the Motion on Climate Change Emergency; and that expert opinion would be sought to feed into the action plan and help Cabinet Members in this task.  

 

RESOLVED: That

 

(1)

 

the Work Programme for 2019/20 be noted;

 

(2)

the up to date position in respect of Council’s Ethical Business Practices Working Group be noted; 

 

(3)

the decision of the Management Board in respect of the terms of the Climate Change Emergency motion be noted.

 

 

16.

Cabinet Member Report - June to August 2019 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Democratic Officer that included the most recent report from the Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services.  

 

Councillor Lappin, Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services presented her report.

 

RESOLVED:  That

 

(1)    

the update report from the Cabinet Member – Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services be noted; and

 

(2)

 

Councillor Lappin be thanked for her attendance at the meeting.