Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 10th January, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions

Contact: Charlotte Lynch 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Interests

To allow Members an opportunity to [a] declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests they might have in any items which appear on this agenda; and [b] record any items from which they are precluded from voting as a result of Council Tax/Council rent arrears; [c] the existence and nature of party whipping arrangements in respect of any item to be considered at this meeting. Members with a personal interest should declare that at the start of the item under consideration. If Members also have a prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interest they must withdraw from the meeting during the consideration of the item.

Minutes:

During the course of discussions, Councillor Rowles declared a personal interest in item 6 – Decarbonisation of the Operational Estate.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 6 December 2022.

Minutes:

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 6 December 2022 be approved as a correct record.

3.

Election Act 2022 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report of the Chief Executive.

 

This report outlines the planning and governance arrangements for the implementation of the Elections Act in Manchester, with specific focus on voter registrations, polling station accessibility and voter ID requirements.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Chief Executive, which outlined the planning and governance arrangements for the implementation of the Elections Act in Manchester.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

  • The Elections Act 2022 was introduced to make new provision for and amendments to existing electoral law and will come into effect over the next two years, impacting delivery of Local Elections in 2023, the Local and Mayoral Elections in 2024, and the next Parliamentary General Election;
  • The main legislative changes, including:
    • Requiring voters to show an approved form of photo ID at polling stations before a ballot paper is issued
    • A requirement to provide reasonable equipment to assist voters with disabilities in polling stations
    • Allowing all British citizens living overseas to vote in UK Parliamentary elections, regardless of when they left the UK, with applications required every 3 years
    • Enabling electors to apply online for an absent vote, with both online and paper applications requiring the applicant’s identity to be verified
    • Requiring postal voters to reapply every three years
    • Further limit to the number of people an elector may act as proxy for
    • Political campaigners will no longer be permitted to handle postal votes, and the number of postal votes an individual can hand in at a polling station will be limited.
    • A review of the eligibility to vote for some EU citizens
  • The scheduled implementation of these changes and suitable ID for voters to show at polling stations;
  • Work was underway within the Council to plan the ‘front door’ access, and what is required for the electors’ journey and processing of their enquiry;
  • Modelling work had been undertaken with the support of Performance, Research and Intelligence (PRI) to determine what transaction volumes could look like in polling stations, to model resourcing requirements;
  • Staff numbers had been increased per station and an additional five stations have been added to polling places where historical information indicated a larger turnout;
  • Detail of the ‘customer journey’ in a station or the processes to check ID had not been finalised and shared by central government;
  • The Elections Strategic Lead for Greater Manchester was leading on a project to seek a consistent approach to reasonable equipment and processes at all Polling Stations across the ten Greater Manchester Districts and meetings are taking place with GM Disabled persons groups to take their views on what can be delivered and how to communicate these provisions to disabled voters;
  • The Electoral Commission will run a high-profile national campaign to raise awareness of the requirement for Voter ID, targeting those who may not already have the required photographic ID and a GM-wide approach to amplify this was proposed; and
  • Members will be briefed on the changes being implemented, with initial focus around changes affecting May 2023 polls. The Member Working Group will also be re-established to provide regular updates as more information becomes available.

 

Key points and themes which arose from the committee’s discussions included:

 

4.

Decarbonisation of the Operational Estate pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Report of the Head of Estates and Facilities.

 

This report describes the activities and progress to date on the decarbonisation of Manchester City Council’s operational estate. It describes the Zero Carbon Estate Programme, including MCC and grant funded retrofit projects delivered under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, as well as major capital schemes that are delivering energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures. The report also describes projects that are in development.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Head of Estates and Facilities which outlined the activities and progress to date of the Zero Carbon Estate Programme and the decarbonisation of Manchester City Council’s operational estate. These included MCC and grant funded retrofit projects delivered under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and major capital schemes that were delivering energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

  • The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 which recognised the need for the Council, and the city as a whole, to do more to reduce CO2 emissions and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change;
  • 316 buildings were reported against in the Buildings & Energy section of the Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, including offices, depots, leisure centres, libraries, markets, properties that provide social care services to adults and children, buildings in parks and buildings owned by the council but operated by third parties;
  • CO2 emissions from the operational estate had reduced by 7,161 tonnes (29.7%) compared to the baseline set by the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25;
  • The completed phases of the Zero Carbon Estate Programme which upgraded energy conservation measures and invested in heat decarbonisation, energy efficiency and generation projects in 11 leisure centres;
  • £18.2m of funding was received from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) for phases 1 and 2 and a further £3.1m had been awarded for phase 3a. A third bid for £1.2m of PSDS funding to support energy efficiency projects at the Town Hall Extension and Woodhouse Park Active Lifestyle Centre is awaiting decision;
  • The projects currently being delivered;
  • 80 Energy Audits had been  commissioned from Equans to inform the long-term strategy for investment, the total scale of opportunity and key challenges;
  • Other projects that are being delivered in addition to the Zero Carbon Estate Programme, which support the decarbonisation of the estate, including the refurbishment of the Town Hall; and
  • Potential challenges to decarbonisation.

 

Key points and queries that arose from the committee’s discussions included:

 

  • Welcoming progress to date;
  • Whether the Council would be able to continue decarbonisation works at the same pace in order to meet ambitions, given the challenges identified in the report;
  • How guaranteed future funding was and where this could from and if it would be sufficient to continue the Council’s decarbonisation agenda;
  • Whether there was any health and safety impact on Council staff following installation of LED lighting in the Town Hall Extension;
  • How decarbonisation was being approached in buildings which the Council owned but did not manage or operate;
  • Why the graph of Council buildings emissionswithin the report did not include future projections;
  • Why local authority-maintained schools were not included in decarbonisation plans;
  • How much decarbonisation had occurred in Council buildings as a result of programmes to decarbonise the National Grid;
  • Welcoming the installation of renewable energy generation capacity, and querying what more could be achieved by installing more solar panels;
  • Why the National Football Museum was withdrawn from the scope  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2023/24 and Budget Assumptions pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer.

 

This report updates on the main announcements from the provisional local government finance settlement 2023/24 announced 19 December 2022. There is a focus on the impact on the Council’s budget for 2023/24 to 2025/26 and the next steps in the 2023/24 budget setting process.  

 

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer which provided an update on the main announcements from the provisional local government finance settlement 2023/24, which was announced on 19 December 2022. The report also focused on the impact on the Council’s budget for 2023/24 to 2025/26 and the next steps in the 2023/24 budget setting process.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

  • The Council faced significant inflationary and demand pressures in both the current financial year and next, which the settlement addressed in part;
  • The Council’s proposed strategy was to use any additional funding, after covering new priority investment requirements and demand pressures, to help close the budget gap in future years and reduce the need for significant cuts in 2025/26 and beyond;
  • Confirmation that the savings reported to the committee in November 2022 were sufficient to deliver a balanced budget next year without any additional savings requirement;
  • The referendum principles for 2023/24, including a limit of 4.99% for upper tier authorities;
  • Changes to business rates retention and the introduction of additional grant funding for social care;
  • The scale of these policy changes could not have been predicted in advance of the Provisional Finance Settlement and are a significant change from the messages coming from government prior to the autumn statement; and
  • Implications for the Council, including the medium- and longer-term risks.

 

Key points and queries that arose from the committee’s discussions included:

 

  • What was meant by additional targeted support for most vulnerable residents, if the Council Tax precept was raised;
  • Whether additional funds for adult social care and children’s services potentially raised from a 1% adult social care precept and the Social Care grant could be directed into specific areas of need;
  • Staff pay awards;
  • Noting that central government assumed that the Council would increase council tax;
  • What the proposed council tax increase of 4.99% would equate to for the top and bottom band; and
  • How questions were phrased on the council tax consultation.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Resources introduced the item and explained that there had been a recent marked shift in the Autumn Statement, the Policy Statement and the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement which acknowledged a gap in public sector finances that would take four years to remedy, with public sector cuts deferred until after 2025.

 

He explained that central government anticipated the Council increasing council tax to 4.99% to enhance income. He stated that the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement provided breathing space for the authority but the additional funding outlined within the report would not mitigate the inflationary pressures faced by the Council.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer explained that there had been three significant policy changes arising from the Autumn Statement and the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement. Business rates would be frozen and local authorities would be compensated by central government for the difference. 3 additional grants for social care would also be awarded to the Council and would be ringfenced  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 205 KB

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.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which provided responses to recommendations, details of key decisions within the committee’s remit and its work programme.

 

In response to a member’s request, the Chair agreed to receive a report on the progress of the Major Contracts Oversight Board at the Committee’s meeting in March 2023.

 

An amendment was also required to the work programme to reflect that the Committee would meet on Thursday, 25 May 2023.

 

Decision:

 

That

 

1.    the report be noted and

2.    the Committee’s work programme be agreed, subject to the amendments outlined above.