Agenda and minutes
Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 4th February, 2020 10.00 am
Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions
Contact: Michael Williamson
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020 as a correct record.
Report of the Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached.
This report provides an update on the Council’s overall financial position and sets out the next steps in the budget process, including scrutiny of the budget proposals and budget report by this Committee.
Each Scrutiny Committee will receive a budget report aligned to its remit, showing the main changes proposed to delivery and funding. The report also outlines the proposals for how the Council could deliver a balanced budget for 2020/21, the details of which will be discussed at the relevant scrutiny committees.
Further to Minute RGSC/20/02, the Committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer which provided a further update on the Council’s financial position and set out the next steps in the budget process.
In conjunction with the above, the Committee also received and considered the Corporate Core medium term financial plan (MTFP) and budget proposals for 2020/21, the Council’s Capital Strategy and Budget 2019/20 to 2023/24 and the Housing Revenue Account 2020/21 to 2022/23.
The Committee was invited to consider and make recommendations on the budget proposals which were within the remit of the Committee prior to their submission to the Executive on 12 February 2020.
In relation to the Council’s updated Financial Strategy and Budget 2020/21, some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· There was concern with regard to the ‘Fair Funding Review’ that following research by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), there was a potential reduction in future funding of circa 14% in relation to Adult Social Care funding in Manchester and an assurance was sought that the Council would continue to lobby government on the ‘Fair Funding Review’;
· Was social deprivation taken into account as part of the ‘Fair Funding Review’;
· How had the contribution of just over £2m to the Business Rates reserves been determined, what was the existing level of this reserve and how did this compare to other Greater Manchester local authorities; and
· Clarification was sought as to how the potential increase in income of £1m in 2020/21 relating to Housing Benefit for temporary accommodation would be derived.
The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer assured the committee that the Council was making substantial representations to government on the potential implications of the ‘Fair Funding Review’ and the changes proposed in terms of Adult Social Care funding in Manchester were deeply concerning.
The Deputy City Treasurer advised that the Fairer Funding Review was more population based and not deprivation based, which was often a key indicator in the level of need in respect of Adult Social Care.
The Deputy City Treasurer explained that the additional contribution to the Business Rate reserve was derived from the additional £3.7m growth in Business Rates income, of which £1.7m was to be set aside to meet the demand pressures within Children’s Services, with the remainder to be placed in the Business Rates reserve. At present the total value of this reserve was approximately £19m. In terms of comparisons to other local authorities, it was agreed that this information would be provided to the Committee after the meeting.
The Deputy City Treasurer advised that the potential additional £1m income would be derived from the ability to claim Housing Benefit for temporary accommodation based on a small scale transfer of existing properties to be managed by Registered Providers (RPs). It was reported that this additional income would be reinvested in the service.
In respect of the Corporate Core Budget Report 2020/21, some of the key points that arose from ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) attached
This report provides a response to questions raised at the Scrutiny Committee meeting in September 2019 about the review of domestic violence and abuse funding and commissioning arrangements.
The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods), which provided a response to questions raised at the Scrutiny Committee meeting in September 2019 about the review of domestic violence and abuse funding and commissioning arrangements.
The main points and themes in the report, included:-
· The re-tendering and re-commissioning of domestic violence and abuse accommodation services had been progressed satisfactorily, with contracts being awarded to the successful bidders and mobilisation arrangements being implemented, in advance of commencement in April 2020;
· Negotiations were ongoing with the Director of Population, Health and Wellbeing regarding allocation of contributory funding to enable further continuation of the MiDASS service;
· Confirmation was awaiting of the CSP grant that provided for a range of other services and initiatives such as behaviour change programmes, counselling for children affected by DV&A and intervention for those affected by child to parent violence;
· The review team had noted Members’ comments and reflected them in the drafting of the scope and terms of reference of the review of all Domestic Violence and Abuse services, which would be approved at the Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy Group;
· Details were provided of intended spend on DV&A services whilst the funding and commissioning review was completed and its recommendations finalised; and
· Once the review was completed, the findings and recommendations, and the updated Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy, would be submitted to the Strategy Group for endorsement and to the CSP Board for final ratification and, in the case of the Strategy, approval to launch and publish.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees’ discussions were:-
· Had the Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy Group approved the draft terms of reference and timescale for the review;
· There was a need to ensure work with other GM local authorities continued to take place and grow to aid in reciprocal arrangements;
· Assurance was sought that there would be a consistent level of service provided across the organisations that were receiving funding;
· Was it recognised that there was reduction in the number of domestic violence incidents occurring;
· It was positive to see the prominence the Council was giving to supporting those who had been subject to domestic abuse;
· It was reiterated that the review, whilst being cognisant of budgetary pressures, should not be restricted to the current financial envelope; and
· In terms of funding, where did the CSP grant come, when would confirmation of receipt of this be received and connected to this, if the CSP grant was not received and/or reduced, what would be the Council’s alternative plan for delivering these services.
The Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) confirmed that the Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy Group had met on the 23 January 2020 and approved the draft terms of reference and timescale for the review. It was reported that GM Strategy Group existed whose purpose was to look at what services needed to be commissioned and supported at a GM level and the Council was represented on this Group.
The Committee was advised ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Report of the Interim Director of ICT attached.
This report provides a further update on the proposed reshaping of Council's Information and Data Strategy and includes an update on the resilience of the Council's IT service provision.
Further to minute RGSC/19/54, the Committee considered a report of the Interim Director of ICT, which provided an update on the proposed reshaping of Council's Information and Data Strategy. The report also included an update on the resilience of the Council's IT service provision.
Some of the key points referred to in the report included:-
· An overview of the work that had been ongoing to ensure that the Council remained on track in order for the Cabinet Office to deem the Council PSN compliance in 2020;
· An update on ICT resilience and key projects;
· The reasons for a pause in data storage migration in relation to the new Data Centre Programme and the work being done to get the project back on its critical path to limit the impact to timescales and budget;
· Details of work that was being undertaken under the Network Refresh Programme;
· Progress to date with the procurement of a new core telephony and contact centre systems;
· An update on the progress in the adoption of the Liquidlogic suite of systems;
· The Council’s intended move to adopt Microsoft technology for productivity, collaboration and communication, in place of the current Google software, which was scheduled to be completed by the end of September 2020;
· An update on the progress to date with the refresh of the ICT strategy; and
· The ICT revenue and capital budget positions.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees’ discussions were:-
· An assurance was sought that the Council did not share residents’ personal data with external companies other than its required partners;
· An assurance was sought that the Council would achieve PSN compliance in April 2020;
· What were the financial implications associated with the delay in the data storage migration in relation to the new Data Centre Programme and who would absorb this cost;
· Why was the original decision taken to use the Google platform for collaboration when Microsoft offered a similar product at the same point in time;
· Were there any critical legacy systems that were currently operating on the existing Google platform and if so, what steps were being put in place to ensure these transitioned over to Microsoft without significant risk;
· There was concern that the intended implementation target date of the Microsoft collaboration platform was ambitious given the number of other significant project that the Directorate was currently working on; and
· There was slight concern that the ICT strategy was being refreshed whilst the Council did not yet have a permanent Director of ICT in post.
The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources assured the Committee that the Council did not provide any personal data it held on residents to external companies, other than its partners and only where it was required to do so. He added that in most, if not all circumstances, any data that was shared was anonymised. He added that the Council was currently looking at how it collected and stored residents’ data with a view to adopting an appropriate set of ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Report of the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources attached.
This report provides an overview of work undertaken and vision towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in Our Manchester Strategy that are aligned with the Manifesto in those areas within the portfolio of the Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources.
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: -
· What further work was being done to encourage other organisations to promote the city becoming a Living Wage City;
· Achieving the Living Wage employer accreditation was welcomed by Members;
· Was there any more information on the work that the Executive Member had undertaken to address the Council’s climate change agenda, with reference to the income received by the Council from Manchester Airport;
· The improvements in the BHeard results from the 2019 survey were recognised;
· Was the Executive Member undertaking any work to lever any significant sources of external funding to tackle climate change;
· Had any consideration been given to updating the content of Listening in Action material, with reference to the Council’s position in tackling climate change;
· What was the Executive Member’s views on the position of apprenticeships as part of the ‘Our People’ strategy; and
· What more could be done to improve how the Council promoted its employment opportunities in order to attract the best people possible.
The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources advised that in terms of working towards becoming a Living Wage city, he was engaging with a number of anchor institutions to actually commit to paying the Manchester living wage to its staff. In terms of climate change, he reported that responsibility for Manchester Airport fell in the Leader portfolio, but he would pass on the Committee’s comments. He advised that going forward schemes within the Capital Programme would need to demonstrate how they would contribute to addressing the Council’s climate change agenda and in terms of Social Value, he was awaiting results back from a pilot within Highways where a 10% weighting in terms of addressing climate change had been included in two tenders, to see if this was something that could be rolled out across all Council tenders.
The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources commented that the Council would also look to try and source any external funding streams that were available to tackle climate change, such as grants for external charging point for electric vehicles. He added that the Council would also look to use its leverage with other organisations to push this agenda forward. He advised there was a HR refresh taking pace and the feedback from the BHeard survey would feed into the content of future Listening in Action sessions.
The Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources commented that he was very passionate about apprenticeships and advised that last year, the Council (excluding schools) had exceeded its target in the number of apprenticeship starts and data would be released around this at the Social Value Conference on the 14 February 2020.
In terms ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit.
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.
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.
(1) Notes the report;
(2) Agrees the work programme.
Presentation of the City Solicitor attached.
The Committee received a presentation from the Deputy City Solicitor, which informed Members of the structure and role of the Council’s Legal Services department and provided an update on the work undertaken by the Department.
The main points and themes within the presentation included:-
· An overview of the aspects of work the different teams within Legal Services undertook;
· Examples of areas of success in delivering, innovative and excellent legal services that provided value for money;
· How the Department contributed to the Council’s corporate plan priorities; and
· An overview of the positive responses from Legal Services 2019 client survey.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· Further information on the diversity of the service’s workforce would be welcomed in future reports;
· Was there any potential increase in capacity for supporting aspects of adult social care around protecting vulnerable children and adults;
· Concern was raised in relation to the turnaround time on leases associated with the Council and was there any KPI’s in relation to this specific area;
· Clarification was sought as to what legal responsibility the Council had to staff who had been TUPE transferred to another employer;
· Clarification was sought as to what the single justice procedure was, implemented in Manchester by the Legal Services Regulatory Team;
· It was requested that Members be provided with the short guide to the constitution.
The Deputy City Solicitor advised that the service was working with Children and Families and Adult Services around the deprivation of liberty for children, to assess what this would mean in terms of additional volumes of work due to the complex nature of the work required.
The Deputy City Solicitor commented that she was not aware of any specific issues in relation to the delays in granting leases but agreed to look into this. She advised that it was dependent on the type of lease arrangement that was being sought as to how long these would take to progress.
The Committee was advised that once council staff had been TUPE transferred to a new employer, whilst their employment rights were protected by law, the Council’s legal obligation to them ceased to exist after their transfer was completed.
The Deputy City Solicitor explained that the single justice procedure allowed the Council to deal with particular matters, such as fixed penalty matters in connection to environmental crimes in the city, by a way of electronic means where a guilty plea had been entered into. This saved the need for the Council to have a solicitor attend court to deal with individual cases. This had saved time and money and had been picked up as an area of good practice amongst other Greater Manchester local authorities. She also gave a commitment to provide members with a copy of the short guide to the constitution.
The Committee notes the presentation.
Exclusion of Press and Public
The officers consider that the following item contains exempt information as provided for in the Local Government Access to Information Act and that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. The Committee is recommended to agree the necessary resolutions excluding the public from the meeting during consideration of this item.
To exclude the public during consideration of the following items which involved consideration of exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of particular persons and public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information
Legal Services update (Public Excluded)
Report the City Solicitor attached.
The Committee considered a report of the City Solicitor, which set out how the Council’s Legal Service Department was funded, which included commercially confidential information regarding external contracts to partner organisations.
Having had regard to the report, the Committee asked a number of questions to which the City Solicitor responded.
The Committee notes the report