Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 23rd May, 2024 10.00 am

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

Contact: Charlotte Lynch 

Media

Items
No. Item

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024.

Minutes:

Decision: That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024 be approved as a correct record.

38.

Manchester City Council Connections with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report of the Assistant Chief Executive, Strategic Director (Growth and Development) and City Treasurer.

 

This report provides an update on Manchester’s connections with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in terms of partnerships, governance, and financial arrangements. It sets out the historical context which led to the establishment of GMCA, a summary of previous devolution deals and the current areas of focus given the March 2023 Trailblazer Devolution Deal. It also provides a high-level summary of the financial relationship between the Council and GMCA in relation to core funding and grants, as well as the governance arrangements in place to ensure robust decision making at a city region level to support delivery of Manchester’s strategic priorities.

Minutes:

The committee considered a report of the Assistant Chief Executive, Strategic Director (Growth and Development) and City Treasurer which provided an update on Manchester’s connections with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in terms of partnerships, governance, and financial arrangements.

 

Key points and themes within the report included:

 

·       The historical context behind the establishment of GMCA;

·       A summary of previous devolution deals and the current areas of focus given the March 2023 Trailblazer Devolution Deal;

·       The impacts of devolution;

·       The financial relationship between the Council and GMCA in relation to core funding and grants;

·       The governance arrangements in place to ensure robust decision-making at a city region level to support delivery of Manchester’s strategic priorities;

·       How Manchester City Council was represented at a political level on a range of GM groups including GM Scrutiny Committees; and

·       Manchester’s asks of Government ahead of the next General Election.

 

Some of the key points and queries that arose from the committee’s discussions included:

 

·       Welcoming the Council’s work on delivering Martyn’s Law training, and recognising the need to urge government to pass Martyn’s Law immediately;

·       Noting that the Council was represented on the NHS GM Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) Board and querying when members would receive an update on the GM NHS System Improvement Plan;

·       Why the government had not allocated the Homelessness Prevention Grant using the planned formula, which would have provided the Council with greater funding;

·       The complexities between what services GMCA and MCC were individually responsible for;

·       That GM Scrutiny Committees were often poorly attended and represented by substitute members;

·       The potential for a GM-wide taxi licensing service;

·       How MCC members could get better access to information at GM-level;

·       Whether there was any flexibility in the amount of influence the Council could have through devolution;

·       Requesting that step-free access and the extension of the Metrolink to Stockport be included in Greater Manchester’s ask of a future government to develop ambitious integrated rail plan for the North;

·       Quoting a recent publication on the Devolution Trailblazer, which stated that the majority of councillors in Manchester believed that power remained with local authorities as opposed to the GM Mayor; and

·       Whether responsibility for tackling homelessness remained with MCC or GMCA

 

The Assistant Chief Executive introduced the report and explained the history of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and previous devolution deals, leading to the Devolution Trailblazer which provided greater additional powers to Greater Manchester. He stated that there was significant work underway between GMCA and the ten other Greater Manchester authorities to understand how the devolution deal would be implemented from 2025.

 

In response to queries, the Assistant Chief Executive explained that Greater Manchester NHS had been placed in Tier 1 of oversight by NHS England and that an improvement plan had been developed to address issues in collaboration with partners. He stated that updates on this were likely to be reported to the Health Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Assistant Chief Executive also stated that a request to expedite the passing of Martyn’s Law  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Manchester City Council Connections with the Greater Manchester Integrated Care System and the Manchester Locality

This item has been withdrawn from the agenda by the Chair.

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn from the agenda.

40.

Household Support Fund 5

A verbal update on round 5 of the Household Support Fund will be provided at the meeting.

Minutes:

The committee received a verbal update on the delivery of Household Support Fund 5 grant allocation, which had recently been taken as a Key Decision by the Deputy Chief Executive and exempted from call-in with the approval of the Chair to ensure the timely distribution of funds to residents.

 

The Executive Member for Finance and Resources informed members that the extension to the Household Support Fund was announced just 25 days before the previous scheme ended and he commended Council officers for their hard work in administering this funding that was vital to residents. He stated that there had been significant lobbying of government to extend the scheme and he placed on record his thanks to the Leader of the Council and Manchester’s Members of Parliament (MPs) for their efforts and he also commended the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCSE) organisations that worked with residents experiencing poverty. He expressed his belief that the Household Support Fund was the last line of defence for many vulnerable residents, particularly in the context of the cost-of-living crisis and lack of adequate funding for local authorities from central government, and that the possibility that this scheme might not have been implemented highlighted the need for a new government to be elected to listen to, work with and appreciate local government’s ability to deliver services.

 

The Head of Corporate Assessments explained that the current scheme allocated funding for 6 months with money to be spent between 1 April and 30 September 2024, with the Council receiving £6.453m which had been allocated in consideration of other support available such as the Residents at Risk Cost-of-Living group budget.  He explained that the Council’s focus in administering Household Support Fund 5 (HSF5) was to distribute payments and provide support, with application-based payments also incorporated to meet the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) guidance requirements.

 

The committee was informed that the Council’s delivery of HSF5 focused on free school meal support, which covered the May half-term with a payment of £15 per eligible child being distributed by schools and the summer holidays with a one-off payment of £55 per eligible child. The Holiday Activity Fund in the May half-term would also be supported and a top-up payment of £10 would be made to care leavers. It was stated that Council Tax Support data would be used to identify households in need whilst recognising the difficulty in supporting every household that might require support in response to the cost-of-living crisis.

 

The Head of Corporate Assessments explained that a payment of £100 would be made to all households on Council Tax Support where one or more resident was known to be in receipt of a disability-related payment, which amounted to approximately 22,000 households. He also explained that a payment of £100 would be provided to households of four or more people on Council Tax Support but where a disability-related payment was not being made.  A payment of £90 per household would also be provided to households on Council Tax Support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 119 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 received a report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which provided details of key decisions that fell within the Committee’s remit and any items for information previously requested by the Committee. Members noted that a private work programming session would take place following the conclusion of the meeting.

 

Decision: That the report be noted.