Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 5th October, 2023 5.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Contact: Yusuf Patel/Jane Lythgow 

Items
No. Item

26.

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 must consider their interests, and act according to the following:

 

Type of Interest

You must:

 

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

Disclose the interest; not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

 

Other Registrable Interests (Directly Related)

OR

Non-Registrable Interests (Directly Related)

Disclose the interest; speak on the item only if the public are also allowed to speak but otherwise not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

 

Other Registrable Interests (Affects)

OR

Non-Registrable Interests (Affects)

Disclose the interest; remain in the meeting, participate and vote unless the matter affects the financial interest or well-being

 

 (a) to a greater extent than it affects the financial interests of a majority of inhabitants of the affected ward, and

 

(b) a reasonable member of the public knowing all the facts would believe that it would affect your view of the wider public interest; in which case speak on the item only if the public are also allowed to speak but otherwise not do not participate in the discussion or vote; and leave the meeting unless you have a dispensation.

 

(2)       Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(3)       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. 

 

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

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest in matters under discussion were received.

27.

MINUTES

Recommended –

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2023 be signed as a correct record (previously circulated).

 

(Yusuf Patel / Jane Lythgow – 07970 411923 / 07970 411623)

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2023 be signed as a correct record.

 

28.

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 / Jane Lythgow – 07970 411923 / 07970 411623)

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

29.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

The Committee is asked to note any referrals and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.

Minutes:

There were no referrals made to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

30.

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR RELATED TO FIREWORKS AND PLANS FOR THE BONFIRE PERIOD 2023 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Community Safety Partnership Board will submit a report (Document “L”) which provides a summary of the key actions and activities being taken following the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Review of the use of fireworks.

 

The report includes the key partnership approaches and actions to minimise anti-social behaviour during the period around Bonfire Night.

 

Recommended –

 

That the Committee notes the work to reduce and minimise disorder over the Bonfire period and to tackle late night fireworks.

 

(Michael Churley - 01274 431364)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Community Safety Partnership Board submitted a report (Document “L”) which provided a summary of the key actions and activities being taken following the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Review of the use of fireworks.

 

The report included the key partnership approaches and actions to minimise anti-social behaviour during the period around Bonfire Night.

 

Appended to the report were samples of advertising literature including, posters and postcards, provided as an example of marketing techniques used as part of the year-round campaign to minimise anti-social behaviour.  A copy of a letter sent from the Leader of Council to lobby the government to reduce noise levels; stop the sale of the most powerful fireworks and or individuals selling fireworks to require a licence demonstrating they were fit and proper persons was also provided. 

 

Following a detailed presentation Members raised a number of queries and concerns.

 

In response to a question about the meaning of a Community Protection Warning it was explained that the Anti-Social Behaviour Act provided powers, one of which was the ability to issue a Community Protection Warning. (CPN).  Offenders would initially receive a warning which could lead to the issue of a penalty and Criminal Behaviour Orders.  A challenge that was currently faced was that fireworks, traditionally, had to be lit individually.  Boxes of fireworks were now available that once lit could continue for a considerable period.  By the time officers or emergency services were at the scene it was not possible to identify the offenders. 

 

It was explained that firework legislation was the responsibility of a number of bodies including West Yorkshire Trading Standards.  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were responsible for issuing permits to store fireworks, the police dealt with offences and Council officers utilised the anti-social behaviour powers. Members were advised that a full partnership response had been developed and the issue was becoming less problematic. 

 

A Member reported that she and her colleagues received many complaints about noisy fireworks which frightened people and animals.  She questioned the response to letters to government and was advised that a government decision on noise reduction was required.   Currently there were four categories of fireworks and only accredited specialists running professional firework displays were able to access the fourth category.

 

The report revealed that Safer Bradford had provided grants of up to £5,000 for each area to focus on minimising the risk of disorder in ‘hotspot’ locations.  A Member asked for more detail on those grants and was advised that each Area Committee managed their own budgets and, in Bradford East, grants had been provided to engage and deter people from anti-social behaviour.

 

Additional steps which the police could take to protect the emergency service from attack were questioned and it was reported that the Council worked closely with the police and incidents were reviewed and investigated.  Additional support resources were provided during the bonfire period.

 

It was asked what Council or police presence was available after 11pm during the bonfire weekend.  It was explained that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

BRADFORD DISTRICT ANTI-POVERTY STRATEGY 2022-2027 pdf icon PDF 328 KB

The Strategic Director, Adult Social Care (Document “N”) which provides a progress update on the development and implementation of the Bradford District Anti-Poverty Strategy 2022-2027 (BDAPS). The strategy has been developed by the District Anti-Poverty Coordination Group (DACG), a multi-partner group consisting of representatives from the Council, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), NHS, Incommunities, the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and higher education.

 

Recommended –

 

That the Committee considers the report and agree to have an update on progress in twelve months’ time.

(Kevin Brain)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Director, Adult Social Care, presented a report (Document “N”) which provided a progress update on the development and implementation of the Bradford District Anti-Poverty Strategy 2022-2027 (BDAPS). Members were advised that the strategy had been developed and was overseen by the District Anti-Poverty Coordination Group (DACG), a multi-partner group consisting of representatives from the Council, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), NHS, Incommunities, the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and higher education.

 

Document N reported the Adult Services ‘Into Employment Programme’ and it was questioned if any work had been conducted with the Industrial Services Group.  It was explained that the programme included work with people with learning disabilities.  It was agreed to provide further information to Members on that programme. 

 

Work on reducing persistent school absence was queried and it was explained that attendance had fallen most in the poorest areas.  The work being undertaken was a pilot project and the latest information available was that there had been meetings held during the current week.

 

Measures to ‘poverty proof the school day’ were discussed with a Member reporting that schools in his ward still insisted on the purchase of expensive, logo embroidered, blazers.  The current costs for providing uniform in his ward was believed to be £100 per pupil.  He questioned what action had been taken about schools’ insistence on expensive clothing. Some of those schools were local authority controlled. A representative from the Bradford District Credit Union reported work undertaken with the Council on a Uniform Savers initiative.  The scheme had helped 285 people x 2 to save for uniforms.  They were given £100 and then continued to save for uniform purchases.  In the past year they had saved, collectively, £21,000 and the initiative had encouraged and helped residents get into the saving habit.  It was reported that the credit union could also provide micro loans of £200 to help with school expenses which had assisted 200 people already and increased their credit scores.

 

A Member raised her concerns that children, who may not meet the criteria for free school meals, but still be in poverty, would be going to school hungry.  The Assistant Director, Revenue, Benefits and Customer Services reported campaigns to encourage the take up of free school meals. She reported work to develop an auto enrolment programme based on an exemplar scheme in Sheffield.  Work was also undertaken to maximise entitlement to benefits and a lump sum payment for fuel and food supplies would be available again this year.  It was acknowledged that if people had no recourse to public funds support was limited.

 

Concern about residents not trying to obtain dental or doctors’ appointments as they believed they would be not available were raised together with a Members’ experience that young people were hesitant to take-up vaccinations.  In response she was advised that the Primary Care Network were working to address backlogs since the pandemic.  It was agreed that more information would be provided for Members after the meeting.  Vaccine  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 178 KB

The Director of Human Resources will submit a report (Document “M”) which sets out the progress made in the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 further developing the Council’s approach to workforce development since our last report to Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 15 September 2022.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       It is recommended that Corporate Overview and Scrutiny            Members note the contents of Document “M” and provide any feedback that they wish to do so to enable the Human Resources             team to incorporate this into our ongoing work.

 

(2)       That the committee receives a further report updating on Council Workforce Development in 12 months. 

 

(3)       The Committee notes the trajectory and progress made in          2022/23.

 

(4)       To support workforce learning and development to procure an optimum Learning Management System for recording all learning        and development that takes place across the Council.

 

 (Catherine Warrener – 07519532533)  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Human Resources provided a report (Document “M”) which set out the progress made in the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 further developing the Council’s approach to workforce development since the last report to Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 15 September 2022.

 

The Workforce Learning and Development Manager confirmed that the report contained, at Appendix F, information on professional career development spend in Council departments with a breakdown on grade. That information had been requested at the meeting held in October 2022. 

 

Whilst acknowledging achievements in the Document “M” a Member reported that funding had previously been used on direct skills to improve current jobs and support promotion.  He felt it was difficult to assess the impact of the information provided in the report and felt that funding had been used on the ethos but not tools. 

 

In response the Director of Human Resources advised that the report detailed corporate training, leadership and management development and strategic issues.  Leadership management and development was to ensure that managers had the skills and tools to listen and conduct difficult conversations. The information contained in Appendix F was more service specific.

 

Concern was expressed that, despite there being an increase in the number of staff having had an annual Performance Appraisal, the figure of 64% was still not good enough.  A reduction in the number of managers who had completed Evolve Performance Training from 34% last year to the current 22% was also discussed.  In response it was explained that, as new managers were in post, there had not been the capacity to provide that training.  It was planned to launch ‘lunch and learn’ sessions shortly.

 

The Director of Human Resources acknowledged that performance compliance was not where it was wanted to be and there was a need to ensure training was accessible.  It was found that there was a rush for manager training at the beginning of the performance cycle.  A Member questioned the percentage of managers who had completed the Evolve Performance Management training and it was agreed to circulate the information, from 2016/17 to the current day, after the meeting. 

 

Concerns about the 36% of employees who had not received a performance appraisal were raised.  Members were assured that more may have been undertaken but had not been recorded on the system.  It was questioned if it was usually the same people who had not completed the appraisal and it was agreed to compile that information for Members. 

 

The coaching eLearning figures revealed that 2400 people had registered whilst only 1004 had completed courses.  It was explained that some of the coaching sessions were offered on a ‘dip in dip out’ basis and also that some people registered for courses and had then forgotten they had done so. 

 

A Member queried the number of people who had benefitted from the ‘Living Well Stop Smoking’ service at a cost of £11,650 and was advised that it had been a difficult task to provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

PROGRESS REPORT ON THE REFRESHED EQUALITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION PLAN 2022-25 pdf icon PDF 393 KB

the Assistant Director, Chief Executive’s Office will submit a report (Document “O”) which updates the Committee on the progress made in relation to implementation of actions within the refreshed Equality Diversity and Inclusion Plan Objectives 2022-25.

 

Recommended –

 

The Committee is asked to consider the update report.

 

(Khalida Ashrafi)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director, Chief Executive’s Office presented a report (Document “O”) which updated the Committee on the progress made in relation to implementation of actions within the refreshed Equality Diversity and Inclusion Plan Objectives 2022-25.

 

It was confirmed in response to previous questions that the Allyship programme had 718 allies committed, 20 of which were elected members.

 

The report revealed that 4.6% of employees had chosen to disclose that they had a disability, and it was queried if that figure included the Industrial Services Group (ISG).  It was confirmed that those employees were included, and it was agreed to provide a breakdown of that statistic. 

 

Document “O” reported the number of families living in poor quality housing had increased by 1%.  It was questioned if that was an error, and it was agreed to investigate those figures. 

 

The percentage of Year 1 pupils achieving the phonics standards and the percentage of pupils achieving stage 2 reading, writing and maths at expected standard were worsening and it was questioned if this decline was due to the disruption from the Covid pandemic.  In response it was reported that schools in the district had struggled more because of the pandemic and the gap between attainment with the national figures was more difficult to close. 

 

The report revealed a small rise in the number of BAME employees and it was questioned if this was because vacancies were not available or BAME candidates were not interested.  It was clarified that data captured all employee hires.  Some BAME staff may have moved up the promotion ladder.  The Council was seeing more diverse starters than leavers.  Progress was also being made towards breaking the glass ceiling.  It was agreed that more clarity would be provided in the next report presented.

 

Median earnings of employees in the area (average) had improved, however, it was questioned if those earnings had improved as much in Bradford as in other areas.  It was also suggested that recruitment panels should include a diverse range of officers.  It was confirmed that recruitment panels were diverse, and that more information could be provided on pay gaps between areas.  It was requested that future reports include the previous year’s national figures to allow comparisons to be made. 

 

The numbers of people aged between 18 and 25 accessing Council delivered or procured support to develop skills was questioned and it was explained that the figures in the report were for people who were not in education, employment of training (NEET) and some who were in education or work.  It was agreed that more accurate information would be provided. 

 

Resolved –

 

That this Committee requests a further progress report be presented in 12 months, which also includes the comments and observations made by members.

 

ACTION:  Assistant Director, Chief Executives Office

34.

CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - WORK PROGRAMME 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

The Chair of the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee will submit a report (Document “P”) which includes the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2023/24, which are attached as appendix 1 to Document “P”

 

Also attached as appendix 2, is a list of unscheduled topics for 2023-24.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)      That Committee may choose to add to or amend the topics included in the 2023-24 work programme for the committee.

 

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

(Mustansir Butt - 01274 432574)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee submitted a report (Document “P”) which included the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2023/24, which was attached as appendix 1 to Document “P”

 

Also attached as appendix 2, was a list of unscheduled topics for 2023-24.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Lead reported that sessions had been held to discuss the inquiry into anti-social behaviour with another informal session with residents planned for 2 November 2023 at 5pm at the Vicarage, St John’s Church, Northwood Crescent, Bradford BD10 9HX.  The feedback from those session would be collated. 

 

Resolved –

 

That the committee discussed and amended the work programme.

 

ACTION: Overview & Scrutiny Lead