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

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome

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The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Apologies were received from Mr C J Bloore and Mrs J A Brunner.


Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip

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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 23 July 2019).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.


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Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

(previously circulated)


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The Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 May and 25 June 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Annual Worcestershire County Council Community Safety Report pdf icon PDF 110 KB

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The Board was asked to consider the Annual Update on developments in relation to Community Safety in Worcestershire. There was also an additional focus on the new GET SAFE support and protection approach to child criminal exploitation.


The Annual Update on developments in relation to Community Safety in Worcestershire


The Senior Public Health Practitioner introduced the Report and he reminded the Board of the Council's statutory responsibilities, which were summarised in the Report. Appendix 1 of the Report gave an update on the key areas of focus in respect of 2018/19 outcomes and activity.


There was a requirement to adapt to changing community safety and criminal activity.  The Council, as a significant Responsible Authority, was committed to further understanding the problems and finding preventative and operational solutions to minimise risk and harm to the population.


The Directorate of Public Health and other Directorates would continue to ensure that systems assurance and rigour was embedded in the Council's responsibilities for community safety, but it was noted that there were increasing challenges in the system both for the Council and its partners.


In conclusion, the Board was advised that the Council continued to meet its own duties relating to community safety as far as it reasonably could and made a significant contribution across Worcestershire and West Mercia through its leadership role and its commissioned services.


Main Discussion Points:


·         the importance of the role of local councillors was emphasised in terms of local intelligence to inform and improve services.  It was noted that the Community Safety Partnerships had a local ward and district focus and some Councillors sat on these bodies.  Local Policing Teams also welcomed support from local councillors

·         It was confirmed that at the present time, the dissolution of the West Mercia and Warwickshire Strategic Alliance was not having strategic impact on services.  However, the Safer Communities Board was keeping a watching brief on this

·         The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) explained that the Alliance had been set up 6 years ago, but there were some anomalies with the arrangement which were not acceptable to West Mercia. Local policing was split out in April 2019.  The West Mercia Police and Crime Panel held the PCC to account and would continue to receive updates in respect of the Alliance

·         Data monitoring of crime reduction strategies was referred to and how the Council was carrying out its monitoring role.  The Senior Public Health Practitioner advised the Board that there were challenges around this and although there was a range of data available, it was used for different purposes. Looking ahead, the Council was looking to develop a data set in partnership with Police analysts that could be more meaningful for monitoring purposes.


West Mercia Police and Crime Panel (PCP)


The Chairman of the PCP updated the Board on the recent work of the Panel.


At its last meeting, the Panel looked at the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) Draft Annual Report, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1109.


Performance and 2018/19 Year-End Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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The Board was asked to consider and comment on the feedback from Scrutiny Panel Chairmen following the discussion of Quarter 4 (January – March 2019) performance monitoring and 2018/19 year-end budget monitoring information and determine whether any further information or Scrutiny on a particular topic was required.


Adult Care and Well-being Panel


The Chairman of the Panel had given her apologies and had provided an update for the Board which was read out by the Democratic Governance and Scrutiny Manager.


Finance - Adult


·         Overall, there was a £12.4m overspend due to increased client numbers and unit cost for older people, physical, disability, learning disability and mental health services

·         Support services historic savings targets had not been achieved and were offset by an additional government grant

·         Integrated Commissioning Unit - vacancies and additional grants and health contribution income received

·         Improved Better Care Fund reduced call in contingency set aside for care price review with learning disability providers

·         £0.602m reduction in forecast overspend since period 11.


Finance – Public Health


·         Overall, there was a £0.10m underspend due to strategic functions staffing vacancies with within the Team and future fit savings offset by investment in other Council services.

·         Adult Services reduced spend against Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) contracts including sexual health, social prescribing and health checks

·         Children’s services investment in Council positive activities

·         Council services increased public health investment on Public Health Ring-fenced Grant eligible Council services.


Future scrutiny meetings were going to be set to align with the financial calendar so that budgets could be monitored more efficiently.


Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel


The Chairman of the Panel reported that although there had been an overspend of £8m on the Higher Needs budget this was not as high as other authorities.  A recovery plan was required for this.


An overspend of £0.2m on adult learning was unexplained and had not been predicted. 





Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel


The Chairman of the Panel reported that he was pleased with the budget and performance information being received by his Panel and looked forward to receiving more timely quarterly reporting, which he advised should be happening for January 2020.


The Directorate underspend of £4.69m, had helped to offset the Council’s overall overspend for the year ending March 2019, which as reported to Cabinet in June was £2m.


There had been increased use of capitalisation, which was currently running at around £7.5m per year and £5m had been taken off the base budget.  It was acknowledged that there were risks associated with this approach.


Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel


The Chairman of the Panel reported that although there had been a Council wide financial challenge in 2018/19, the Directorate had achieved a £1.127m underspend, due to factors including additional income, lower than anticipated spend relating to repair and maintenance, deleting vacant posts and reducing the number of placements on the Graduate/Apprenticeship Programme.  In relation to Communities, there had been an overall underspend of £170,000, mainly due to one-off additional Public  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1110.


Refresh of the Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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The Board considered and approved the draft Scrutiny Work Programme for 2019/20 and it was agreed that it should be considered by Council at its September meeting.


Member Update and Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 81 KB

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Adult Care and Well-0being Overview and Scrutiny Panel


The Democratic Governance and Scrutiny Manager read out the Panel Chairman’s member update.


The Panel was in the process of carrying out a Task Group in respect of Quality Assurance of Care and Nursing Homes and a Task Group about Care work as a career was due to start in September.


The Panels’ work programme detailed the other issues for future Scrutiny.


Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel


The Panel Chairman advised that the Panel had met twice in July and had looked at Libraries Remodelling, Councillors’ Divisional Funding, Paper Reduction as well as Performance and In-year Budget monitoring.


The Chairman reported that he was disappointed with member attendance at Panel meetings.


Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee


The Chairman of HOSC referred to the April meeting, when the Committee received an Update on the Quality Priorities for 2019-20 for Acute Hospital Services from the new Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.


Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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The Democratic Governance and Scrutiny Manager referred to the statutory guidance on Overview and Scrutiny from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which followed on from the House of Commons Select Committee report of December 2017 and noted the written and oral evidence supplied to that Committee.  It stated that Local authorities must ‘have regard’ to the guidance when carrying out their functions and was attached as an appendix to the Report


The Board was asked to consider the Statutory Guidance and whether there were any areas where the County Council’s approach should be reviewed and how it would like to deal with this going forward.


Following the discussion, it was agreed that that it would be helpful to have a Scrutiny Protocol which included quotes from the Chief Executive and Leader to set out the context and support for Scrutiny, build on the Nolan principles, identify training available and how Scrutiny dealt with confidential matters.  The suggestion that there should be an annual event to review scrutiny and look forward was also supported.