Agenda and minutes
Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 3rd November, 2020 10.00 am
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Webcast at - https://manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/485379
Contact: Michael Williamson
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2020.
The Committee approves the minutes of the meeting held on 6 October 2020 as a correct record
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached
This report sets out the impact of COVID-19 and other pressures and changes on the Council's budget for the period 2021-2025. It will summarise the savings options under consideration from 2021/22 as well as set out the approach to Equality Impact Assessments and consultation as part of the budget setting process.
The Committee decided to take consideration of this report and the following report (Corporate Core Budget Options 2020/21) together. As such, the Committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer and City Solicitor that set out the impact of COVID19 and other pressures and changes on the Council's budget for the period 2021/22, including the impact of COVI19 on the capital programme and the implications for the budget and a report that set out the details on the initial savings options proposed by officers to address the estimated initial budget gap of £105m in 2021/22,
The main points and themes within the first report included: -
· The Medium-Term Financial Plan remained challenged by uncertainty, which included the outcome of the Spending Review and post 2021/22 the potential changes to how local government funding was distributed;
· Prior to COVID19 there was an underlying budget gap of c£20m for 2021/22 rising to c£80m by 2024/25;
· Dealing with the impact of COVID19 had resulted in major spending pressures, particularly in social care, but also across all Directorates;
· The forecasted budget shortfall relating to COVID19 pressures and the Budget Position 2021/22 to 2024/25;
· Initial proposals across all Directorates to start addressing the budget gap in advance of the Spending Review and Local Government Financial Settlement;
· The need to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment on the options put forward, particularly those that involve impacts on services for residents and reductions in the Council’s workforce;
· Proposed consultation on budget options and timescales; and
· Next Steps.
The main points and themes in the second report included:
· The Corporate Core Directorate had a net budget of £76.9m, with 1,823fte’s employees;
· Currently the Corporate Core Directorate had identified officer cut proposals of £7.127m, which broadly equated to a reduction of 130fte’s, against which there were c33 vacancies;
· A breakdown of the savings proposals on a service by service basis, including officer options for other service areas outside of the Corporate Core which formed part of the remit of the Committee;
· If further budgets cuts were required, options for an additional £7.3m had been identified, however, this would reduce the Corporate Core headcount by a further 124fte and reduce capacity down to the provision of the bare minimum;
· In order to achieve the reductions, set out in the report, the council would open a limited voluntary redundancy/voluntary early retirement scheme predominately in those areas in the corporate core which were aiming to achieve staffing reductions;
· Consultations had started with Trades Unions on the MPeople processes to ensure that the Council did not lose focus on providing support for the workforce to develop and progress and where relevant to reskill into different roles; and
· The Directorate budget proposals would be subject to further refinement following feedback from Scrutiny Committee and updated prior to being submitted to Executive. A further report would be brought back to Scrutiny in January 2021 that incorporated the feedback from this meeting, the budget consultation, the impact of the Finance Settlement and the ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached
This report outlines the financial position and sets out Officer options for savings against each service area aligned to the remit of the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee to help achieve a balanced budget in 2021/22.
This item was covered in the above minute (RGSC/20/46).
Report of the Director of HROD attached
This is a revised report containing a more detailed summary and conclusion.
The report sets out a strategy for achieving workforce equality in Manchester City Council. The strategy covers many of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, specifically race, disability, age and sexuality. The strategy also contains an emphasis on analysis and actions relating to race equality, and in particular to the review carried out last year of race relations and discrimination within the City Council.
The Committee considered a report of the Director of HROD, which set out the strategy for achieving workforce equality in Manchester City Council. The strategy covered some of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, specifically race, disability, age and sexuality and contained an emphasis on analysis and actions relating to race equality, and in particular, to the review carried out last year of race relations and discrimination within the Council.
Key points and themes in the report included:-
· It was the ambition of the Council to achieve a workforce that would reflect at all levels and in all professional and vocational groups, the diversity of Manchester’s working age population;
· Through the strategy, the Council intended to be more diverse at senior levels in the Council, through progression of existing staff and external recruitment, particularly from Manchester;
· The Strategy would enable Managers to be more confident in their understanding and creation of racial equality and have a better understanding of the lived experience of the Council’s Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff;
· It was envisaged that the Strategy would enable Black, Asian and ethnic minority employees across the Council to realise their full potential;
· Through the strategy the Council would aim to employ more Asian and particularly Pakistani, and Chinese staff;
· The Council would endeavour to improve its equality data collection in order to have better data on which to make decisions; and
· The Strategy would change the culture of the Council, making it a more inclusive organisation which better valued diversity and focussed on outcomes.
The Executive Member for Children and Schools briefly commented on the report and hoped that the Strategy put some of the Committee’s previous discussions around the feedback of the Race Equality Working Group into more context and reassured the Committee as to how much of a priority this was for the Council.
The Director of HROD commented that the action plan within the Strategy provided the building blocks to where the Council needed to concentrate its efforts in improving monitoring; developing Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff; engagement and communication; HR policies; and leadership.
A thorough debate on the issue then took place and some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· The Strategy was a positive starting position for the Council, however some Members felt strongly that Race Equality should be a separate strategy to the Workforce Equality Strategy;
· It was felt that monitoring of race equality with tangible outcomes was needed;
· It was commented that there was a lack of Black employees at senior levels in the Council and the Strategy needed to acknowledge this as this was a key aspect of the Race Review;
· It was felt that there was a need to put active measures in place in terms of addressing race inequalities;
· There was concern that the number of staff identified in any characteristic was very low and the Strategy needed to address this lack of data and improve staff trust in using this data ... view the full minutes text for item 48.
Report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform attached
This report provides an overview of the engagement activity undertaken to inform the Our Manchester Strategy reset, and the findings and emerging priorities from it.
Further to Minute RGSC/20/38 (Our Manchester Strategy Reset – Timescales), the Committee considered a further report of the Director of Policy, Partnership and Reform, that provided an overview of the engagement activity undertaken to inform the Our Manchester Strategy reset, and the findings and emerging priorities from it.
Key points and themes of the report included:-
· Approximately 3,700 people had been directly engaged with and had their views captured, which compared favourably to the original Our Manchester Strategy engagement in 2015 when approximately 2,000 people were directly engaged;
· Resident engagement had included a universal engagement offer, supplemented with targeted engagement to key cohorts of residents who either had traditionally not engaged with digital communication or who had been particularly affected by COVID19;
· A summary of the resident engagement, which covered respondents, neighbourhoods, gender, age, ethnicity and disability;
· The engagement undertaken with businesses and organisations to specifically gather opinions on the priorities, challenges and opportunities Manchester faced over the next five years;
· A summary of the engagement sessions that had been held with 16 partnership boards, including all boards that report into the Our Manchester Forum, to capture their thoughts on what Manchester should prioritise over the next five years;
· The engagement undertaken with the Our Manchester Forum and Council staff;
· A summary of key priority themes identified from the analysis of all the engagement activity undertaken; and
· Detailed next steps.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· It was surprising to see that policing and anti-social behaviour was not a high priority for residents when compared to the consultation on the original strategy;
The Deputy Leader advised that his was probably due to the current circumstance that residents were facing when the consultation on the re-set was undertaken, with health taking a higher priority for people.
The Committee notes the findings from the Our Manchester Strategy reset engagement activity and the next steps.
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.
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) Note the report.
(2) Note that the Chair will finalise the Work Programme for the next meeting in consultation with Officers.