Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 5th July, 2021 09:30

Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


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)





Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 01 02 2021 and 14 04 2021



Additional documents:


RESOLVED:                      That the Minutes of a meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee dated 1 February and 14 April 2021 be approved as a true and accurate record.



Revenue Budget Outturn 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 244 KB



Councillor Huw David - Leader

Councillor Hywel Williams - Deputy Leader

Councillor Stuart Baldwin - Cabinet Member for Communities

Councillor Nicole Burnett - Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help

Councillor Dhanisha Patel - Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing

Councillor Charles Smith - Cabinet Member for Education & Regeneration


Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director - Education and Family Support

Gill Lewis - Interim Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change

Claire Marchant - Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing

Janine Nightingale - Corporate Director - Communities

Kelly Watson - Chief Officer Legal, HR & Regulatory Services



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The Interim Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that, as requested, she would not go through all the details in the report as Councillors had been given the opportunity to hear the report previously, but commented, for the record, that Members would see a summary of the financial position and drew attention to the narrative which demonstrated that it was an incredibly unique position, this year. As explained previously at Cabinet and Council, the money from the Welsh Government (WG) hardship fund in the first instance, the money from the significant grants that were received in the last quarter, at least £9m in terms of one-off grants that were for specific purposes and the subsidy on Council Tax collection, were the reasons why the year end position looked so different from what had been expected and the position reported to COSC in quarter 3 that had been expected.


The second point, which had been made at Cabinet and Council, was that the overall position remained quite difficult going forward. There were incredible pressures, the Country was still not out of the pandemic and the Directorate Budgets in the main still had an underlying deficit position. The schools’ position, in particular was masked by nearly £9m of one-off grants, whereas actually what had been forecast was the majority of schools being in deficit.


It was that uncertainty of the pressures of the future and as Members would have seen in the press, a number of Directors of Finance having to issue Section 114 Notices where their local authorities were actually in danger of going bankrupt, in around 35 Councils.  A tale of two halves was being seen, of a unique significant surplus but the underlying position could be quite perilous.


Members of the Committee asked the following:


A Member referred to the Interim Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change mention of the grants and hardship funds that had been received in the last few months and the forecast at COSC Q3, which had been a quite different position, and asked if the budgets were foreseeable.  The current outturn budget masked the real position, but Bridgend was one of 22 Local Authorities in Wales and how many local authorities in England and Scotland were in the same boat.


The Interim Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change clarified that she felt that the picture was not real, as it stood.  It was a true picture in terms of accounting and recording the entries and gave a position, in terms of the earmarked reserves and what those were for, but it did not give the real picture.  Just two items could make up £2m in deficit, most of the schools were close to running into deficit positions and some of them were in deficit.  It was unique in terms of timing, but it was not unique across Wales.  Each of the 22 Welsh local authorities were in a similar position in terms of grants and the hardship fund, but were not all in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Performance against Wellbeing Objectives for 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 635 KB



As above for Item 4



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The Interim Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change introduced the report upon Performance against the Wellbeing Objectives for 2020-21. She noted that some Members as Chairs of Scrutiny, would have attended the Corporate Performance Assessment (CPA) Q4 and presented a brief overview of the report which was a reflection of the year against the Corporate Plan Objectives, which were revised for 2020-21 because of the pandemic and the affect that had on delivery of services and agreed at Council in September 2020. The revised plan defined the 32 corporate commitments to deliver against the 3 wellbeing objectives and set out 46 outcome focussed indicators to measure the progress for the year. The usual process was followed with Directorate business plans, with all the indicators that fed into that corporate plan. Appendices A to D outlined each of the Directorates end of year dashboard and COSC had a key role in monitoring and scrutinising progress of the delivery of those wellbeing objectives.


The year-end data showed that 12 of the 32 commitments were completed, with the other 20 achieving most of their milestones, noting that this was a unique year, with some services not able to be delivered, some partly delivered, and there was a need to bring in new services to assistant with the residents living through difficult times. Of the 440 indicators collected as part of the corporate planning process, there were 89 that had targets where the data had been submitted, which was a reflection of the very difficult year. The Council was not able to collect data for all the indicators. Of the 89 indicators with targets over half were on target, 10 were off target by less than 10% and 32 missed their target by more than 10%. There were 51 indicators with either no target or no data available at the year-end, which was detailed in part A of the annex. There were 79 indicators that had trend data, of which 46 showed an improvement or maximum performance with 10 not being able to be improved any further. One indicator was the same as last year, and 32 worse than the previous year.


Members of the Committee asked the following:


The Chairperson advised she had been asked as Chair to make an opening statement about how the report was set out, that some of the information wasn’t clear, there was confusion with the indicators going up and down, and some of the data set out.


A Member raised that Members had been asking for an executive summary because of the amount of data in the reports. She acknowledged the recent response, which advised that the Corporate Report Template would not be reviewed until next year, but Members had been requesting executive summaries for each scrutiny report for over 2 years.


A Member advised that this issue had been picked up by the Chairs at the CPA meeting with data hard to understand in some cases. He was  trying to see it from a point of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Forward Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 110 KB

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The Senior Democratic Services Officer – Scrutiny advised that Members would recall that following on from consideration of the work programme for the Committee at the last meeting on the 9th June, the FWP for this committee was attached as appendix A and the FWP for Subject Overview & Scrutiny Committees, 1, 2 and 3, were attached as appendices, B, C & D for co-ordination and oversight of the overall FWP. The Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees FWP’s would continue to be included in the report to COSC with any updates from each round of SOSC meetings included.


She also advised that attached as Appendix E was the recommendations monitoring action sheet, which tracked the responses to the Committees’ recommendations from the previous meeting, and referred to the responses emailed to Members of the Committee on the 29th June and 2nd July 2021.





Having considered the Forward Work Programme, the Committee made the following recommendations:


  1. That Ethical Procurement be added to the Forward Work Programme.


There were no requests to include specific information in the item for the next meeting.


RESOLVED:          That the Committee considered and approved its Forward Work Programme in Appendix A, subject to the above, noted the Forward Work Programmes for the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees following consideration in their respective June Committee Meetings in Appendix B, C & D, and noted the Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet to track responses to the Committee’s recommendations made at the previous meetings in Appendix E.


Urgent Items

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.