Manchester City Council

Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 16th July, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Contact: Michael Williamson 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 were submitted for approval as an accurate record of the meeting.

 

Councillor Wheeler requested that Minute RGSC/19/36 (Strategic Acquisition in the Northern Gateway (Part B)) be amended to include reference to the fact that he moved a motion that the Committee should not proceed with the venture, which was seconded by Councillor Clay, but not supported by the Committee.

 

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 as a correct record subject to the above amendment.

38.

Revenue Budget Outturn 2018/19 (formerly titled Revenue Budget Monitoring on main agenda) pdf icon PDF 376 KB

Report of the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive) attached

 

This report outlines the Council’s final Revenue Outturn position for 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive), which outlined the Council’s position for 2018/19 for the Council’s revenue expenditure and income.

 

The main points and themes within the report included:-

 

·                For the previous financial year the outturn variance compared to the revised budget was an overspend of £293k;

·                This was a reduction of £0.767m from the overspend position of £1.060m reported in February 2019;

·                The large budget overspends in both Children’s and Adult’s Services were due to the need to cope with continuing high demands for support and service provision;

·                The balance on the General Fund Reserve at 31 March 2019 was £22.045m, with the budget overspend being taken from the reserve, which was still deemed to be a reasonable amount for the risks the City Council is facing;

·                The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) outturn position was a £11.064m favourable variance; and

·                A summary of budget allocations and transfers to reserves that had been approved by the Executive at its meeting on 26 June 2019.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-

 

·                Clarification was sought as to whether Directorate underspends which had occurred due to vacant posts were not being used to offset the overspend in Children Services and Adult Services;

·                Was the Council’s ability to deliver a balanced budget dependent on Directorate underspends;

·                Was there any instances where vacancies were contributing to a reduction in the ability to deliver agreed levels of service

·                What was the level of vacant posts across all Directorates and at what grades were these vacancies;

·                There was concern that the Council was holding posts open for staff that had been suspended which were then being filled by agency staff and, as such, the post was costing the council twice;

·                What was the anticipated impact to Council Tax and Business Rates collection of arrears with the introduction to a 60 day breathing space payment and attachment to earnings;

·                Were the number of external residential placements in Children’s Services rising above the expect trend level;

·                How had the Leaving Care accommodation service improved the support offered whilst reducing costs by 30%;

·                Why had decision been made that there would be no increase in funding for SEND provision; and

·                Were some of the overspends within Directorates due to “one off” instances/events;

·                Concern was raised that the funding available to address the issue of homelessness in 2018/19 had been sourced from short term funding streams and that there was no guarantee that this funding would be available for 2019/20 or beyond.

 

The Deputy City Treasurer explained that the Council did not make budget assumptions on the levels of underspends in Directorates arising from vacant posts, but did allow for a small percentage (around 2%) of staff turnover in its budget planning process.  She advised that an element of the vacancy saving would be due to internal recruitment and the subsequent vacancy created elsewhere in the Council which was difficult to predict.  She confirmed that she did not have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Global Revenue Budget Monitoring to the end of May 2019 (formally titled In year budget position and delivery of savings and investment proposals on main agenda) pdf icon PDF 459 KB

Report of the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive) attached

 

This report outlines the projected outturn position for 2019/20, based on spend as at the end of May 2019 and future projections. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive), which outlined the projected outturn position for 2019/20, based in spend as at the end of May 2019 and future projections. 

 

The Deputy City Treasurer gave a very brief introduction to the report. Some of the main points and themes within the report included:-

 

·                The forecast for 2019/20 at the end of May 2019 is an overspend of £3.495m;

·                The main differences between the 2019/20 original and revised budget were:-

·                £5.084m for the annual pay inflation award which was included in the original Corporate Budgets and allocated across Directorates (Adults Social Care pooled budget was allocated £1.002m in the original budget);

·                £2.7m Youth Services budget transfer from Children’s Services to Neighbourhoods and Highways;

·                £0.983m Decriminalised Parking Enforcement and Bus Lane income budget from Neighbourhoods and Highways to Corporate Services; and

·                £279k Winter Pressures grant transfer from Adults Social Care to Homelessness;

·                The HRA was forecasting a £1.333m favourable variance;

·                Budgets still to be allocated on the assessment of individual business cases;

·                The drawdown request from the Transformational Challenge Reserve to champion Manchester Fair Trade status;

·                The proposed virements for a revised 2019/20 budget that required either Executive or Council approval;

·                The savings target for 2019/20 was £14.798m, which included an additional £5.776m of recovery plan savings; and

·                As assessment of risk against the delivery of approved savings for 2019/20.

 

The report was also to be considered by the Executive at its meeting on 24 July 2019.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-

 

·                Assurance was sought that the £2.7m Youth Services budget transfer from Children’s Services to Neighbourhoods and Highways was still going to be spent on Youth Services;

·                What work was being done to address the £374k overspend due to un-achievement of cross cutting savings in relation to the HR policies;

·                Was the forecasted underspend of £373k on Community Safety and Compliance, City Centre Management, Licensing and the Out of Hours Team for the full year and where did the vacancies in these services exist as the Council had already invested significantly into community safety and compliance and it appeared that the Council was struggling to spend this additional investment;

·                Did the Council have a policy for paying “out of hours” premiums to staff;

·                Who were Redgate Holdings, what service did they provide on behalf of the Council and why was it proposed to pay them a further £355k; and

·                What scrutiny had, or was planned to take place, on the identified savings of £0.775m from Mental Health assessments.

 

The Head of Finance assured the Committee that the £2.7m Youth Services budget transfer from Children’s Services to Neighbourhoods and Highways would still be spent on Youth Services.  He also advised that the £3474 overspend in relation to HR policies was more of a delay in savings being reported due to part year implementation of some of the already agreed saving proposals, some of which would be implemented from September 2019 onwards.  These  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Income Generation pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Presentation of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive), which provided an overview of income generating activities within the Council with a focus on what the Council proactively did to generate income, what more could be done in the future, and what other models exist. 

 

The main points and themes within the presentation included:-

 

·                Local Authorities had traditionally received fees and charges for the provision of services.  These could be split into statutory or discretionary services;

·                Local Authorities did not always control the level of fees that were charged.  For statutory services the fee levels were often set by Government (eg. planning fees);

·                During the years of austerity, income generation as well as reduced spending had been a key consideration;

·                There needed to be a balance between risk/reward when considering income opportunities;

·                A breakdown of budgeted income and actual income across key areas of the Council for 2018/19 and the projected income for 2019/20 within these areas; and

·                The opportunities that potentially existed for further income generation in the future and key issues that would possibly have an impact on these.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussion were:-

 

·                Did (or could) the income generated from parking include income from residential parking schemes;

·                How was it anticipated to generate a further £1 million income from bus lane enforcement when it was anticipated that there would be change in driver behaviour;

·                Had any additional bus lanes been introduced to help achieve this additional projected income and what account had been taken into consideration in regards to a number of highways major projects being behind schedule which might contain additional bus lanes that would contribute to this enforcement income;

·                Clarification was sought as to whether budget underspends were considered as income in future years;

·                The report did not reflect or explain how much surplus was made from income generating services with reference made to the income generated by Legal and Democratic Services and it was asked what this income was used for;

·                Did the Council cover its costs for services that it provided on behalf on other local Authorities;

·                What was the additional one off income from the investment estate;

·                Considering some services (Facilities Management and Other Core Services) had only generated half of their expected 2018/19 budget income, had these services covered their costs and how was the level of income projected for 2019/20 considered realistic or achievable;

·                Was there any specific reason why the 2019/20 projected income figures were just slightly below the actual income figures for 2018/19;

·                It was felt that it would have been helpful if Members had been provided with information on where particular income streams had stipulations as to what they could or could not be spent on;

·                It was felt that there needed to be some clarity around why the Council undertook certain services which were generating income, as not all services were used purely to generate a financial return, but rather it provided a strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Delivering the Our Manchester Strategy pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Report of the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources

 

This reports provide an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council's priorities as set out in the Our Manchester Strategy for those areas within the portfolio of the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources, which provided an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities, as set out in the Our Manchester Strategy (OMS), for those areas within his portfolio.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions within the Executive Members report were: -

 

·                How did the Executive Member intend to improve how the Council monitored and managed its contracts;

·                What were the main concerns arising from the BeHeard 2018 survey results and what was the Executive member doing to address these concerns;

·                What progress had been made with the appointment of a full time Director of HROD;

·                What role did the Council have in relation to the Credit Union offer being promoted to staff and how was this being promoted;

·                Doe the Council offer payroll saving to a Credit Union and if so how is this being promoted;

·                A request was made that the Executive Member assisted in getting a response to the Committee on the Trade Union recognition from Highways contracts;

·                Could the Executive Member give an assurance that all staff employed on the Manchester International Festival (MIF) 2020 would be paid a minimum of the Manchester Living Wage;

·                What involvement did the Executive Member  in the Council’s review of the diversity of its workforce, and if it did not already, would this review look at those staff subject to misconduct;

·                What consideration or thought had the Executive Member given to incorporating the Council’s recently adopted stance on climate change within the procurement process; and

·                A request that the success of the recent Council Tax charge on empty properties pilot was included in the annual Revenue and Benefits report.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources advised that he had established a small working group of officers to look at contract management with a  view to establishing a database.  He had also met with Open Data for advice and guidance on how monitoring could be implemented.  This work was on going at present but was intended to help shape how improvements could be made to how contracts were monitored and managed.

 

The main concerns arising from the BeHeard survey were in the main at Senior Leadership Group level and the feeling amongst staff at this level not having the flexibility to actually drive forward improvements.  The Chief Executive and City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive) were meeting with these staff to address the concerns that had been raised.  In the main, he advised that satisfaction levels were up amongst staff and there had been a 77% positive response from staff who felt that their managers helped fulfil their potential.  He acknowledged that there was still work to be done to improve certain areas and ensure that Manchester City Council was a place where people wanted to come and work and this was being addressed though Listening into Action sessions.

 

The Committee was advised that at present there was an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit attached

 

This report provides the Committee with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme. 

 

The Chair suggested that the Committee should receive a report at its next meeting on the progress that had been made with motions submitted and carried by full Council over the last three years, if possible.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-

 

·                Further information on the Register of Key Decisions:-

·                Velodrome (reference 2019/05/21E);

·                Airport Car Park Investment (reference 2018/12/14B); and

·                Collection, disposal and recycling of street cleansing and bulky waste (2019/03/01B); and

·                A request to consider reviewing capital expenditure within the Highways Department at a future meeting.

 

The City Solicitor advised that she was already undertaking a piece of work in relation to the tracking of progress with Council motions.  She commented that it would be possible to provide a report to the next meeting which provided information on the progress of motions submitted over the last 12 months, but it would take longer to provide this information on motions submitted over the last three years as suggested.

 

The City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive) advised that the Velodrome required a large amount of maintenance akin to all of the Commonwealth Games legacy estate, but could not give any specific detail at the current moment in time.  She agreed to provide further information in due course.  She also advised that the Airport Car Park Investment proposals had been to Executive and would provide the minute extract for the Committee.

 

The City Treasurer advised that she was not aware if Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee were planning on scrutinising the collection, disposal and recycling of street cleansing and bulky waste.  The Chair commented that she would have a discussion with the Chair of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee in relation to the scrutiny of the collection, disposal and recycling of street cleansing and bulky waste and the scrutiny of the delivery of Highway capital projects.

 

Decision

 

The Committee:-

 

(1)       Agrees to receive a report at its next meeting on the progress that has been made with motions submitted and carried by full Council over the last 12 months and any future updates will also include the progress of motions older than 12 months;

(2)       Notes that the City Treasurer (Deputy Chief Executive) will provide the Executive minute extract in relation to the Airport Car Park Investment;

(3)       Notes that the Chair will speak to the Chair of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee in relation to the scrutiny of the collection, disposal and recycling of street cleansing and bulky waste and the scrutiny of the delivery of Highway capital projects; and

(4)       Agrees the work programme for future meetings