Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 22nd July, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Items
No. Item

6.

ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 

 

Minutes:

Apologies from Councillor Nazir.

 

Councillor Dearden for Councillor Akhtar.

7.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest in matters under discussion.

8.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 and 23 March 2021 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Yusuf Patel - 01274 434579)

 

9.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Yusuf Patel - 01274 434579)

 

Minutes:

No request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper was made.

10.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

No referrals had been made at the time of the publication of this agenda.

 

 

 

Minutes:

There were no referrals to the Committee.

11.

FULL-YEAR PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The Chief Executive will submit a report (Document “A”) which provides a summary of the high level achievements of the authority as well as performance in the last year.

 

The municipal year 2020-21 was far from usual with all Council activity dominated by the response to Coronavirus pandemic. A summary of some of our key achievements over the last year are included in this report.

 

We also agreed a new Council Plan at Full Council in December. This will cover the years from 2021-22 until 2024-25. Whilst the new council plan period only began in April this year it is useful to reflect on our performance against our key indicators. This report provides an overview of performance against the key Council Plan targets to form a baseline for our future performance.

 

Recommended –

 

That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee notes the baseline of the key performance indicators in the 2021/25 Council Plan

 

(Phil Witcherley - 01274 431241 /  Laura Copley – 01274 437381)

 

 

Minutes:

Officers from Bradford Councils Chief Executive Office, presented the report to Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee members and highlighted that the report provided a summary of the high level achievements of the authority as well as performance in the last year.

 

Officers emphasised that the municipal year 2020-21 was far from usual with all Council activity being dominated by the response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Officers also covered some of Bradford Councils key achievements over the last year and are included.

 

Members indicated that previous reports had contained information relating to crime and safety and this report did not contain such information.

In response, Officers indicated they could present this to the Committee at a future meeting.

 

Members also enquired about whether the Business Rate relief was over and above.

 

Officers indicated that the Business Rate relief was over and above the COVID Support Grant and that Business Rate relief was allocated to people who were eligible.

 

In response to member’s questions about how many businesses had closed due to the COVID19 pandemic, Officers indicated that they did not have figures in relation to business closures, however the food and hospitality sector had been severely affected by the pandemic.

 

Moreover, members were keen to explore the use of foodbanks across the District, during the Pandemic and Officers confirmed that the use of foodbanks across the District had increased, as well as youth employment increasing significantly.

 

There was considerable discussion relating to children and obesity between members of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and officers, in particular relating to the characteristics that contribute to it, such as deprivation, the environment and diet, with all agreeing that this was complex. 

 

Members were in agreement that the effectiveness of the approaches being used to address child obesity needed to be considered by the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Resolved –

 

1.    That a further performance report be presented to the Committee which specifically focuses on:

 

-       Housing;

-       Jobs;

-       Crime and Safety.

 

2.    This Committee requests that the Health & Social Care Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers a detailed report on childhood obesity across the District and the effectiveness of approaches being used to tackle childhood obesity.

 

Action: Strategic Director, Corporate Resources

              Public Health Director

 

                                                (Philip Witcherley – 01274 431241)

12.

FINANCE POSITION STATEMENT FOR 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 627 KB

The Director of Finance will submit a report (Document “B”) which provides Members with an update on the year-end financial position of the Council for 2020-21.

 

It examines the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and the financial position at the year end. It states the Council’s current balances and reserves and school balances for the year. 

 

Recommended –

 

That the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee review and comment on the 2020-21 Finance Position Statement.

 

(Andrew Cross - 07870 386523)

Minutes:

Officers from Bradford Councils Finance section, informed member of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the report provided members with an update on the year-end financial position of the Council for 2020-21.

 

Members also learned what the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and the financial position at the year end was.  Bradford Council’s current balances and reserves and school balances for the year were also covered.

 

Members of the Committee were keen to understand why there was a continued overspend in Children’s Services and what approaches were being used to address the overspend in this this service area.

 

In response Officers indicated that finances could not be put ahead of a child being at risk.  However, officers did acknowledge that they should be reviewing child placements, in terms of their suitability.  Moreover, Officers also highlighted that a major review of the budget spend in Children’s Services was required.

 

Members enquired about the recruitment drive in Children’s Social Care to increase the number of permanent Social Workers to improve the service and reduce the number of agency staff, with the net increase in permanent staff only being eight.

 

Officers indicated that this was due to some staff not staying with the Council for less than one year.

 

Officers were not able to respond to member’s questions in relation to the underspend in the Early Years’ service, so Officers stated that they would provide this information to members of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Resolved –

 

The Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee reviewed and commented on the 2020-21 Finance Position Statement.

 

Action: Strategic Director, Corporate Resources.

 

                                                            (Chris Chapman – 01274 433656)

13.

QTR 1 FINANCE POSITION STATEMENT FOR 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 560 KB

The Director of Finance will submit a report (Document “C”) which provides Members with an update on the year-end financial position of the Council for 2021-22.

 

It examines the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and the forecast year-end financial position based on information at Qtr 1. It states the Council’s current balances and reserves and school balances. 

 

As the District emerges from national restrictions and looks to build recovery from the impact of the COVID pandemic a series of priority investments are proposed in order to kick start recovery with a particular emphasis on sustainable and economic growth, visible services and support to our children and young people.  These investments will be made through the deployment of any remaining COVID Emergency Grant or through existing Council reserves.

 

Recommended –

 

That the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee review and comment on the Qtr 1 Finance Position Statement for 2021-22.

 

(Andrew Cross - 07870 386523)

 

 

 

Minutes:

Bradford Councils Finance officers explained to member of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, that this report examined the latest spend against revenues and capital budgets and the forecast year-end financial position based on information contained in the Quarter 1 Financial Position Statement.

 

Officers also covered key areas relating to:

         The forecast outturn of the Council’s revenue budget;

         The forecast financial impact of Covid-19;

         Proposals for the utilisation of any remaining COVID Emergency Grant alongside Council reserves to support investment in social and economic recovery;

         An update on Council Tax and Business Rates collection;

         A statement on the Council’s reserves including movements;

         An update on the Capital Investment Plan.

 

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee members were keen to explore the situation in relation to the Hanson School.

 

In response, Officers indicated that discussions with Hanson’s School are ongoing, as to whether they school stays under the control of the Council or converts to an Academy.

 

Members were concerned about the Economic Plan and whether the actions contained within the Economic Plan were still relevant and also whether the actions could also be RAG, (Red, Amber, Green), rated.

 

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee members were keen to consider a real live analysis of the risk register in operation.  For instance, members suggested that one live case that members could consider as part of the risk register is the recent closure of the Valley View Home Closure in Children’s Services; in particular, focusing on the identification of risk, how this happened and actions being taken to address this.

 

Resolved –

 

The Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee requests that a report be presented to this Committee in relation to the use of the Corporate Risk Register as a live example in relation to the recent closure of the Childrens Care Home in the District, to also include reasons for this happening and identification of risks.

 

Action:  Strategic Directors, Corporate Services and Childrens Services.

 

                                                            (Mark St Romaine – 01274 432888)

14.

EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC

Recommended –

 

That the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item relating to the Council’s Insurance Contract on the grounds that it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if they were present, exempt information within Paragraph 3  (Finance or Business Affairs) of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), would be disclosed and it is considered that, in all the circumstances, the public interest in excluding public access to the relevant part of the proceedings outweighs the interest in publication of the report.

 

It is in the public interest in maintaining these exemptions because it is in the overriding interest of proper administration that Members are made fully aware of the financial implications of any decision.

 

 

Minutes:

That the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the item relating to the Council’s Insurance Contract on the grounds that it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if they were present, exempt information within Paragraph 3 (Finance or Business Affairs) of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), would be disclosed and it is considered that, in all circumstances, the public interest in excluding the publication of the report.

 

It is in the public interest in maintaining these exemptions because it is in the overriding interest of proper administration that Members are made fully aware of the financial implications of any decision.

15.

THE COUNCIL'S INSURANCE CONTRACT 2022 TO 2027

The Director of Finance will submit a report (NOT FOR PUBLICATION DOCUMENT “D”) which updates the Committee on the Council’s Insurance Contract.

 

Recommended –

 

That Members consider the recommendations set in Not for Publication Document “D”.

(Mark St Romaine – 01274 432888)

Minutes:

The Director of Finance submitted a report (NOT FOR PUBLICATION DOCUMENT “D”), which updated the Committee on the Council’s Insurance Contract.

 

Resolved –

 

1.    The Committee considered the report and endorsed the use of the YPO or CCS framework to procure a new Insurance Long Term Agreement from 1April 2022 and also requests that Officers explore the costings in relation to cover for COVID.

 

 

Action:  Strategic Director, Corporate Resources

 

                                                            (Mark St Romaine – 01274 432888)

16.

CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - DRAFT WORK PROGRAMME 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee will submit a report (Document “E”) which includes proposed items for the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee DRAFT work programme for 2021/22.  The Committee is asked to consider which items it wishes to include in the work programme.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       members consider and comment on the areas of work to be      carried forward into this municipal year.

 

(2)       That members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that they            may wish to conduct.

 

(3)       That the work plan for the committee be approved.

 

(Mustansir Butt - 01274 432574)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Overview & Scrutiny Lead presented the Draft 2021-22 Work Programme for the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and also discussed the topics which had yet to be scheduled, as well as the progress against the recommendations that the Committee made in 2020-21.

 

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee members discussed, amended and agreed the 2021-21 work programme for the Committee.

 

Resolved –

 

The Committee amended and agreed the Draft Work Programme and included Customer Services into the 2021-22 work programme.

 

Action:  Overview & Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                                        (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)