Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Samantha Morris/Alyson Grice  Overview and Scrutiny Officers

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1082.

Apologies and Welcome

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Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mr A A J Adams and Mr B Allbut.

1083.

Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip

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Minutes:

None.

1084.

Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 23rd January 2019).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.

 

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Minutes:

None.

1085.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

(previously circulated)

 

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Minutes:

The Minutes of the previous meeting were not yet available.

 

1086.

Budget Scrutiny: 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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Minutes:

The Leader, Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer had been invited to the meeting to update Members on proposals for the 2019/20 budget and hear feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Panels' discussions on the draft budget.

 

By way of introduction the Leader of the Council made the following main points:

 

·         With reference to the in-year budget position, the Board was reminded that in September 2018 a £17.9 million overspend had been predicted, the vast majority of which related to adult social care.  The current picture showed a predicted £3 million overspend for 2018/19.  This showed good progress but there was still work to be done before the end of the financial year.  The Leader expressed his thanks to all staff for their concerted efforts.

·         The draft budget that had been presented to Cabinet in December showed that, although the Council's income was growing, this was not keeping pace with demand for services, creating a financial gap.  This was in contrast with previous years when the Council's income had been falling.

·         The Government's Green Paper on adult social care was still awaited which meant the Council had no clarity on future funding.  The Board was reminded that the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care had recently lobbied the Government on funding arrangements on the occasion of the 70th birthday of the NHS and adult social care.

·         Members were reminded that the Council was still awaiting the funding formula for business rates and the Leader suggested that the argument on this had not yet been won.

·         The Board was reminded that the Council was embarking on a considerable reform programme (the Council re-design) which would include a commercial contract review.  This would involve re-imagining the Council of the future.

·         The draft budget proposed a 3.99% increase in Council Tax.

·         Having reflected on feedback received so far, including from Overview and Scrutiny Panels, parish meetings and the public, the Leader had made some modifications to December’s budget proposals.  This included using £1 million set aside in the Strategic Initiatives Fund to moderate some of the proposed initiatives as follows:

o   The proposal to reduce highways spend by £500k would be deleted.

o   The proposal to reduce the budget for the Countryside Service by £100k and introduce car parking charges at Worcester Woods Country Park would be deleted.

o   The proposal to reduce the Libraries budget by £1 million was felt to be too ambitious and would be reduced by £100k in each of the next 2 financial years.  The Libraries budget had been reduced by £3.7 million since 2011 and there was deep concern amongst the public that libraries would close, something that was never the intention.

o   In light of comments at Council and at the Economy and Environment O&S Panel, the proposed saving in the budget for the Archives Service had been reduced from £405k to £250k.

o   A Community Solutions Fund of £145k would be created to support local communities and other organisations to address  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1086.

1087.

Member Update and Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 82 KB

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Minutes:

Children and Families O&S Panel

 

In relation to the setting up of Worcestershire Children First, Panel Members had expressed concern about the transfer of services to an arms-length company.  In particular, there was concern about the potential financial implications of this and the risks of losing control of the budget.  The Panel would be discussing their concerns with the DfE appointed Children’s Commissioner and the Cabinet Members for Children and Families, and Education and Skills at its next meeting.

 

Corporate and Communities O&S Panel

 

The Chairman reported that the Panel had held an excellent meeting earlier in January.  However, he expressed concern about the potential overlap between the remits of his Panel and that of the Economy and Environment O&S Panel which may lead to duplication.  He suggested that, in future, it may be helpful to have a joint meeting between the two Panels.

 

Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

HOSC had rescheduled its February meeting to accommodate the availability of health colleagues.  Future meetings would include items on the Acute Trust, stroke services and the Ambulance Service.  It was possible that the Chairman of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) would be invited to a future Committee meeting.

 

Adult Care and Well-being O&S Panel

 

The Panel Chairman reminded Members that the Adult Care and Well-being O&S Panel had held joint meetings with HOSC and she thanked HOSC Members for their contributions to the budget discussion.

 

Items to be considered at future meetings included:

·         The Adult Social Care Outcome Framework

·         The Adult Social Care Business Plan

·         Preventative work funded by money from the business rates retention pilot

·         Quality assurance and safeguarding

·         The £3 million shortfall in the 2018/19 budget

·         The three conversation model

 

Council re-design

 

The Vice Chairman reiterated that she felt scrutiny should be closely involved in the upcoming Council re-design.  The Chairman of OSPB undertook to write to the Leader and the Chief Executive about the Board’s involvement.

 

Forward Plan

 

The Chairman of the Corporate and Communities O&S Panel asked about the Adoption of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.  The Democratic Governance Manager gave further detail about this.

 

West Midlands Scrutiny Network

The Vice Chairman reminded Members that she had recently attended a meeting of the West Midlands Scrutiny Network.  She went on to suggest that it would be helpful for each member of OSPB to attend a future meeting of the Network.