Manchester City Council

Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 6th October, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Webcast at - https://manchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/485378

Contact: Michael Williamson 

Media

Items
No. Item

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 1 September 2020

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 1 September 2020 as a correct record.

 

38.

Our Manchester Strategy Reset - Timescales pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform attached

 

This report provides an overview of the Our Manchester Strategy reset, including the timescales of the work.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Policy, Performance and Reform, which provided an overview of the Our Manchester Strategy reset, including the timescales of the work.

 

Key point and themes in the report included:-

 

·                The Our Manchester Strategy reset would reframe the existing Strategy, with it continuing to provide the overarching ambition of the city of Manchester;

·                It would reflect Manchester’s priorities for the next five years until the end of the Strategy in 2025, remaining distinctly about Manchester;

·                The overarching principles of equality, inclusivity and sustainability were at the heart of the reset process;

·                The Our Manchester Forum was the governance partnership board for the reset, overseeing the work and approving the final document alongside the Executive and Full Council;

·                A number of other strategies and plans were currently in development or due for refresh in the next 18 - 24 months and Officers were considering alignment to ensure other strategies’ aims flowed from the Our Manchester Strategy reset’s priorities, as the overarching vision for the city;

·                Early results from the engagement and research would also be fed into the corporate budget planning process for 2021/22 and the medium term financial plan; and

·                A further report detailing the reset’s engagement processes and emerging findings would be brought to the Committee for their consideration in November 2020.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:-

 

·                How was the Council engaging with hard to reach groups, for example those who were digitally excluded, under the current COVID restrictions around social distancing;

·                What percentage of respondents where from a BAME background and did this reflect the proportionality of these communities across the city;

·                Consideration should be given to using social media to engage with some of the hard to reach communities;

·                What role would Elected Members have in the engagement process; and

·                Was the Our Manchester Forum membership now up to full complement and had they been able to meet online yet.

 

The Director of Policy, Performance and Reform advised that the Council had undertaken targeted resident engagement for those communities that would typically under engage if the survey had been solely digital.  The Council had also worked closely with the voluntary and community sector in setting up this targeted engagement, which included face to face engagement in a COVID secure way.

 

The Policy Officer advised that Officers were currently undertaking an analysis of the responses received to the survey and it was confirmed that the Council had managed to reach 3679 residents so far.  Throughout the engagement Officers were keeping track of which communities had engaged in order to ensure that the universal offer was promoted in areas where communities were under represented.  It was confirmed that at present there was underrepresentation of residents from the BAME community but this was being supported by the dedicated targeted approach.  The survey had also been translated into the top 10 spoken languages in Manchester other than English and paper copies had been made available at Libraries  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Capital Budget pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached

 

This report informs on the progress against the delivery of the 2020/21 capital programme to the end of August 2020.; the revised capital budget 2020/21 taking account of changes between the approved capital budget and any further changes occurring in year; the latest forecast of capital expenditure and the major variances since the Capital Budget Review and Programme Monitoring 2020/21 report submitted to the Executive in July 2020 and the impact any variations may have on the capital programme for the period 2020/21 to 2024/5.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer, that informed Members on the progress against the delivery of the 2020/21 capital programme to the end of August 2020.; the revised capital budget 2020/21 taking account of changes between the approved capital budget and any further changes occurring in year; the latest forecast of capital expenditure and the major variances since the Capital Budget Review and Programme Monitoring 2020/21 report submitted to the Executive in July 2020 and the impact any variations may have on the capital programme for the period 2020/21 to 2024/5.

 

The key points and themes in the report included:-

 

·                The latest forecast of expenditure for 2020/21 for the Council was £435.9m compared to the current revised budget of £485m;

·                Spend as at 31 August 2020 was £169.9m;

·                A summary of each part of the programme, providing details on the major projects, which included a summary of the financial position, and as a result any changes to the budget that were required, which included:-

·           The Highways Planned Maintenance Programme;

·           The Factory

·           Hammerstone Road project

·           Our Town Hall Project

·           Housing Schemes funded through the Disabled Facilities Grant; and

·           The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Education Basic Needs (EBN) programme;

·                The forecast was subject to continual review by the programme leads to establish whether the forecast remained achievable; and

·                Whilst the intention was for the Council to progress the programme as stated, some projects and their sources of funding may require re-profiling into future years, particularly in light of the uncertainty regarding activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The report was to be considered by the Executive at its meeting on 14 October 2020

 

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

 

·                Even though multiple requests had been made, the report still lacked detail of the original budget allocation for the capital programmes and without this it was difficult to scrutinise how much it was actually costing to deliver a number of these programmes;

·                There was no mention within the report of inflationary pressures against the capital programmes

·                Concern was raised that there was a risk that inevitable, covid related cost pressures obscured cost increases on projects where the cost to deliver these programmes had been increasing prior to COVID;

·                Was there any opportunity to accelerate some of the planned works under the Highways Maintenance Programme to counter act the increase in costs to deliver the schemes;

·                Due to the Social Value requirements of seeking to employ local contractors to work on the capital programmes, there was concern that this might result in local contractors increasing their prices as they were not being required to compete as strongly with contractors who were not local to Manchester or Greater Manchester;

·                There was disbelief as to how the Council had ended up with such significant overspends on a  number of capital programmes and it was asked what steps were being taken to place the onus of responsibility on the contractor for the delivery of these  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Temporary Accommodation pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Report of the Director of Homelessness and Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached

 

This report details information on the demand and financial impact of homelessness. It also presents the impact covid has had on the service, The report also covers the financial steps the Council is taking within its capital budget to improve the provision of good quality temporary accommodation within the broad geographical boundaries of the city. It also covers the value of money that could be derived from the Council building its own provision for homelessness

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Homelessness and Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer, which provided information on the projects that had been undertaken with capital finance in order to improve temporary accommodation in the city. It also contained figures to aid Members to understand if it would be better value for money for the Council to manage emergency accommodation itself, or to continue with the current practice.

 

Key points and themes in the report included:-

 

·                Details of where the capital budget had been used to improve the provision of good quality temporary accommodation within the broad geographical boundaries of the city, which included:-

·                     Development of Apex House;

·                     Buying or larger properties for families;

·                     Refurbishment of Shared Housing;

·                     Refurbishment of Woodward Court;

·                     Refurbishment of Women’s Direct Access Centre;

·                     Adaption of accommodation at Dalbeattie Street; and

·                     Investment in Extra Care facilities;

·                An overview of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) Ministry for Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) and Homes England Bid;

·                Information on Emergency Accommodation being built and managed by the Council; and

·                Detail on the value for money that could be derived from the Council building its own provision for homelessness.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:-

 

·                Assurance was sought that with the Apex House site being a former office, the properties would be of a decent size with appropriate levels of natural lighting for each property;

·                Had any work been undertaken with partners who had hostel accommodation in reconfiguring this accommodation into a more appropriate configuration to ensure it was COVID secure;

·                Was there any update on cost effectiveness of buying larger properties;

·                What demand was there on PPE equipment from those coming out of hospital or prison;

·                Did any monitoring of BAME residents in temporary accommodation take place;

·                Whilst it was sad that our residents require temporary accommodation, it was pleasing to see temporary accommodation being provided within the boundaries of Manchester;

·                Clarification was sought as to who would be providing the support to those residents that would be accommodated in Apex House;

·                It was hoped that through reducing the demand on temporary accommodation from families and the cost that this would save, this money could be re-invested in building more large social housing for families to live in; and

·                Was it proposed that all dispersed accommodation was to be managed by an external provider as the current contract came to an end or was this just in relation to Apex House.

 

The Director of Homelessness confirmed that Apex House would conform to all the temporary accommodation standards and Members would be welcome to visit the site when it was completed.  In terms of the issue raised around hostels, this was regularly reviewed and the Council had had to cease using a number of hostels and shared spaces due to the risk of COVID.  Government had issued guidance around the safe use of hostel space, and discussions were taking place with partners to make these types of accommodation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Supplier Assurance pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer attached

 

This report outlines the steps normally taken by the Council to mitigate the risk of supplier failure for major capital projects and larger revenue contracts and the additional measures that have been in operation due to the increased pressure on suppliers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer, which outlined the steps normally taken by the Council to mitigate the risk of supplier failure for major capital projects and larger revenue contracts and the additional measures that had been in operation due to the increased pressure on suppliers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Key point and themes in the report included:-

 

·                Following the Dawnus incident, a review was carried out into the approach to Due Diligence for significant contracts which concluded that a range of indicators should be used with key suppliers on an ongoing basis and not just at the point of award of a contract;

·                The Integrated Commissioning and Procurement Unit had developed a system of categorisation for contracts based on how critical they were and how they were performing;

·                This system helped to provide an initial guide as to which contracts might require more intensive financial scrutiny linked to risk rather than just value;

·                Having identified any critical contracts a range of tools were now in use to inform those involved in management of contracts about the financial stability and any specific risks relating to a key supplier;

·                In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Integrated Commissioning and Procurement Unit had subscribed to an application “Company Watch” which, as well as providing information on a suppliers’ financial position, provided an additional “Covid Scenario Forecast H-Score” which provided an additional rating on how susceptible a supplier might be to issues created as a result of the pandemic; and

·                The Council had recently established a Due Diligence Working Group with representation from Audit, Finance, Development and Shared Services that was reviewing current Due Diligence arrangements in respect of suppliers, various partners and other organisations that were commercially involved with the Council.

 

Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:-

 

·                Could the PPN arrangements that were currently under review by the Cabinet Office, if not extended, be used as a baseline of good practice;

·                Could assurance be given that projects could be adjusted in ways that social value was being delivered due to the impact of COVID; and

·                Assurance was sought that top tier contractors were paying promptly to other suppliers further down the supply chain.

 

The Head of Integrated Commissioning and Procurement advised that the indication from the Cabinet Office was that they were not prepared to continue with supporting local authorities with any spend for supporting suppliers. Officers were working with service units across the Council to consider what arrangements needed to be put in place where this support could either be wound down or continued.  In relation to Social Value, it was explained that this was monitored on a contract by contract basis and ongoing discussions were taking place with contractors around how social value could be derived under current COVID restrictions. He also advised that the prompt payment of suppliers could be an issue which was difficult to address but was something that was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 758 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.

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. 

 

Decisions

 

The Committee:-

 

(1)        Notes the report.

(2)        Agrees the Work Programme as submitted.

 

43.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

The Committee agrees 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.

 

44.

The Factory

The report was to follow and is now available to members of the Committee.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director, Growth & Development

and the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer, which updated Members on: progress with the delivery of The Factory, including the impact of Covid-19 on the project and progress with the redevelopment of St John’s.

 

Having had regard to the report, the Committee asked a number of questions to which the Officers responded.

 

Decision

 

The Committee:-

 

 (1)       Whilst noting the intention, expresses its disappointment, to further increase of the Capital Budget resources to support the delivery of Factory in advance of external contributions being received by the Council, in order that the Council can continue to meet its contractual obligations.

(2)        Notes the progress with the delivery of The Factory.

(3)        Notes the proposals for seeking external funding contributions.

(4)        Recommends that it receives a report at a future meeting that provides an update on the progress that is being made with external funding contributions.

(5)        Recommends that it receives a report at a future meeting on the Ethical Policy Statement and the issues identified as part of the procurement process in regards to potential naming rights.

(6)        Notes the intention to make the next formal submission of the updated business plan to Arts Council England (ACE) in December 2020 and the planned Business Case review process with ACE.

(7)        Notes the progress in the development of employment, training and education opportunities and creative engagement programmes as part of The Factory’s skills development programme.