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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including whipping declarations)
Councillor JE Lewis declared a personal interest in agenda item 4 – Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-20 to 2022-23 as her grandson attends Flying Start.
To receive for approval the minutes of a meeting of the 18/10/18
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 of 18 October 2018 be approved as a true and accurate record.
Cllr Phil White, Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member Future Generations and Wellbeing
Sue Cooper, Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing;
Jackie Davies, Head of Adult Social Care;
Laura Kinsey, Head of Children's Social Care;
Arron Norman, Finance Manager - Social Services and Wellbeing.
The Committee received the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2019-20 to 2022-23, which sets out the spending priorities of the Council, key investment objectives and budget areas targeted for necessary savings. It also included a financial forecast for 2019-23 and a detailed draft revenue budget for 2019-20.
The Committee referred to the recent announcement by the Welsh Government of additional funding to local authorities which was likely to lead to a reduction in Revenue Support Grant of 0.33% compared to the reduction of 0.6% which was previously predicted. The Committee considered that it should defer consideration of the Medium Term Financial Strategy and it have an opportunity to revisit the budget of the Social Services and Wellbeing Directorate once the effects of the additional funding had been factored in. The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that the detail of the final settlement and the outcome of the budget consultation were not yet known, although the direction of travel for the budget would remain the same. The Cabinet Member Social Services and Wellbeing confirmed that negotiations were continuing with the Welsh Government on the additional funding and the final detail was awaited. He stated that the final settlement would not be known until 18 December 2018 and the implications of a reduction of 0.33% in Revenue Support Grant were being evaluated. The Committee considered that it would need to scrutinise and comment on the budget when the settlement is known.
The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that as at Quarter 1, the Directorate had an overspend of £1.8m split evenly between Children’s Services and Adult Social Care. A two year financial plan with a clear recovery plan put in place with the overspend in Adult Social Care and Children’s Services being £220k and £572k respectively, with a total overspend of £800k. She stated that additional money had come into the Directorate in October and the savings requirement of £350k had been achieved. Savings proposals of £1.28m are required in 2019/20, however the Directorate is in a much stronger position, although there was always the risk of a sharp increase in looked after children with additional families potentially coming into care. The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing informed the Committee that the Welsh Government had given additional funding of £20m to local authorities across Wales and this Council was likely to receive additional Revenue Support Grant of £900k. She stated that an additional £30m Special Grant had been given, of which this Council’s allocation was £1.3m for Social Services to support workforce pressures, living wage and domiciliary care. However this funding was not recurring. She informed the Committee that officers had to be very smart in its use of additional funding.
The Committee questioned how the Directorate intended to achieve the budget reduction proposals which have a Red or Yellow status. The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing stated that many of the budget reduction proposals in 2019/20 and 2020/21 which are ... view the full minutes text for item 62.
To receive apologies for absence from Members.
Derbyn ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb gan Aelodau.
The Scrutiny Officer reported on items which had been prioritised by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, including the next item delegated to this Committee. The Committee received a list of further potential items for comment and prioritisation and was requested to identify any further items for consideration using the pre-determined criteria form. The Committee was also requested to consider and approve the feedback from the previous meetings of the Committee and note the list of responses outstanding.
The Committee expressed concern that feedback on the Post 16 ALN Review was still awaited. The Committee further expressed concern that the recommendations made by the Committee had not been considered by Cabinet which in turn could have been put forward to the Welsh Government to inform the Bill. The Committee requested that feedback be provided in a timelier manner.
The Committee determined that it would prioritise an item for the April meeting of the Committee at its February meeting. The Committee considered that there may be an opportunity to have an overview of the authority and what its priorities are so as not to lose track of monitoring recommendations made by scrutiny and requested that the Chairpersons of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees progress this course of action.
The Committee considered that the Welsh Government is looking at far reaching proposals to widen the powers of Town and Community Councils and it believed that there may be potential for Town and Community Councils to assist with services in terms of library provision and some aspects of social care that are not deemed to be specialised. The Committee welcomed the opportunity for greater partnership working with Town and Community Councils.
The Committee also considered that whilst the authority’s discussions are consumed by finance it had to be mindful of its safeguarding and corporate parenting responsibilities.
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.