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Contact: Mark Anthony Galvin Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees
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 C Webster declared a personal interest in Agenda item 4., due to her son receiving Home to School Transport to an Out of County Placement. The subject of Home to School Transport was included as a provision of the report and debated.
To receive for approval the minutes of 17/07/19
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee dated 17 July 2019 be approved as a true and accurate record.
At the request of the Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer and with the agreement of Members, it was recommended that the Senior Democratic Services Officer – Committees seeks further clarification from the Scrutiny Section, on the Conclusions detailed in Minute 130, and if necessary, reports back to the Committee at the next meeting with a further explanation regarding these.
All Cabinet Members and Corporate Management Board
The purpose of this report is to provide the committee with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 30th June 2019 and virements over £100,000, which was approved by Council on the 24th July 2019.
The report outlined certain background information, following which, it gave a summary of the Council’s financial position at 30 June 2019 with Table 1 here, showing a comparison of budget against projected outturn at this date. This reflected a net over spend of £264k comprising of £763k net over spend on Directorates and £499k net under spend on corporate budgets.
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer confirmed that there had been a number of budget virements and technical adjustments between budgets since the MTFS was approved by Council in February 2019. The main virements and technical adjustments were outlined in paragraph 4.1.4 of the report.
In February 2019 Council approved the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2019-20 to 2022-23. This identified the need to develop recurrent budget reduction proposals, based on the most likely scenario, amounting to around £35.2 million over the next four years. Against that background it is essential that expenditure is kept within the overall approved budget and that longer term proposals continue to be developed so that the Council has as much flexibility as possible to meet the challenges which lie ahead.
With regard to the monitoring of Budget Reduction Proposals and Table 2 in this section of the report, showed that of the £2.342m outstanding reductions, £1.795m is likely to be achieved in 2019-20, leaving a shortfall of £547k. Paragraph 4.2.3 of the report outlined some of the proposals that were likely not to be achieved.
Paragraph 4.2.5 of the report, then outlined Budget Reductions for 2019-20. The approved budget for this year included reduction proposals totalling £7.621m, which was broken down in Appendix 2 (to the report) and summarised in Table 3 on page 12 of the report.
A summary of the financial position for each of the Council’s main service areas comprising each of the Authority’s Directorates, was attached at Appendix 3 to the report and comments on the most significant variances were shown in paragraph(s) 4.3 of the report, including a further explanation on Council Wide budgets.
Invitees responded to a number of questions from Members on the content of the report and RAG status detailed in the report’s attached Appendices, following which, it was
RESOLVED: That Committee noted the project Revenue budget for 2019-20 and further noted the ongoing areas of concern.
Mark Shephard, Chief Executive
Martin Morgans, Head of Performance and Partnerships
Phil O’Brien, Group Manager - Transformation and Customer Services
Councillor Hywel Williams, Deputy Leader
The Head of Performance and Partnerships presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee of progress on the corporate Digital Transformation programme.
The report gave some background information, following which it gave a summary of progress in respect of the My Account Platform, with paragraph 4.1 of the report detailing a timeline that demonstrated progress made in this area from 2016 to the present day.
He confirmed that since My Account had been launched in April 2018, the following services have been made available online via the My Account self-serve portal:
Subsequent sections of the report expanded upon these areas and the accessibility to them through the My Account service, together with other potential benefits that were being looked at where My Account on-line services would prove to be beneficial to the public/constituents of the County Borough, in terms of accessing services.
The report then elaborated upon Communications and Marketing and this section of the report covered the following areas:-
1. Corporate website
2. Microsite Transition
3. Communications Strategy
4. Welsh Translations
5. i-Trent – internal HR Solution
6. Digital Strategy
7. Digital First – Channel Capacity
In terms of the report’s financial implications, the original Digital Transformation Programme funding of £2.5m was split into £1m for capital expenditure and £1.5m for revenue expenditure. The current position is that as of the 1 April 2019, there is £520k of capital funding and £899,722 of revenue funding remaining. The table in this part of the report, summarised the expenditure to date incurred on the Digital Transformation programme.
The Chairperson then invited questions from Members.
A Member referred to on-line Council Tax billing/ebilling and asked if any consideration had been given for discount to be given to customers for payments they make in respect of these through My Account as an incentive to sign-up to this.
The Head of Performance and Partnerships confirmed that this could not be given retrospectively to people who have already signed up to the scheme and therefore it would not be fair to do so for new customers. Also, if such discount was given, customers could take the discount and then opt out and resort back to paper based bills.
A Member commended the report and detail and informative accompanying presentation, adding that the area of Digital Transformation in the Authority including the My Account initiative, had come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months since it was last considered by Overview and Scrutiny, when Members had raised some concerns in particular, to automation and possible future job losses of staff. He noted that there were concerns previously at that time regarding the introduction of automation and the effect this in turn may have, on staff job losses. He asked if this may take place, due to the advances made in Digital Transformation within the Authority.
The Head of Performance and Partnerships, advised that under ... view the full minutes text for item 135.
The Head of Legal and Regulatory Services submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to present feedback from the previous meetings of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee for discussion, approval and actioning.
Following consideration of the information contained in Appendices A and B to the report, it was
RESOLVED: That the RAG status of the following be agreed:-
· Social Services Annual Report 2018/19 – Comment/Conclusion 1 – Green, Comment/Conclusion 2 – Amber, Comment/Conclusion 3 – Amber
· Bridgend Replacement Local Development Plan 2018-2033 Draft Vision & Objectives, Growth & Spatial Options – Comment/Conclusion 1 - 4 – all Green,
· Financial Performance 2018-19 – Comment/Conclusion 1 & 2 – Amber, Additional Information – Green
· Council’s Council’s Performance against its Well-being Objectives for 2018-19 – Comment/Conclusion 1 – Green, Additional Information 1 – Amber, Additional Information 2 – N/A
The Scrutiny Officer presented a report on behalf of the Head of Legal and Regulatory Services on the above topic.
Attached at Appendix A to the report, was the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee FWP, which included the items for the next scheduled meeting.
Attached at Appendix B to the report, was the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees FWP which included the topics prioritised and agreed by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the next set of Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees in Table 1, as well as a list of proposed future topics at Table 2.
The Chairperson together with Members discussed the feasibility of establishing a combined Overview and Scrutiny Committee to comprise the membership of the Council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees 1, 2 and 3, in order to consider the MTFS proposals, prior to these being in turn presented to Cabinet, for consideration. Such a Committee would hopefully allow for all such Members on this to raise questions on the budget and also have voting rights. This meeting would be in addition to all such Scrutiny Committees meeting in their own right to consider the MTFS proposals.
The Monitoring Officer advised that any such joint arrangement along the lines of the above, would have to be reported to and approved by Council. She would therefore look into this suggestion in conjunction with the provisions of the Constitution, prior to any such report being compiled.
RESOLVED: That the report and supporting information in the form of Appendices be noted, with it further agreed that Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 1 would consider the subject of Education Outcomes at its meeting on 3 February 2020, and Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 considers the topic of Home to School Transport at its meeting dated 5 February 2020.
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.