Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online

Contact: Alison Spall/Alyson Grice  Overview and Scrutiny Officers


No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


Apologies were received from Prof J W Raine.



Declarations of Interest and of any Party Whip




Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Assistant Director for Legal and Governance 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 1 February 2021).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.




Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 November 2020 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.


Performance, In-Year Budget Monitoring and 2021/22 Budget pdf icon PDF 140 KB

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In attendance for this item were:


Karen May, CMR for Transformation and Commissioning

Lucy Hodgson, CMR for Communities

Andrew Spice, Strategic Director for Commercial and Change

Michael Hudson, Chief Financial Officer

Steph Simcox, Head of Finance

Hannah Perrott, Assistant Director for Communities

Richard Taylor, Assistant Director for Human Resources, Organisational Development and Engagement.


As part of the Council’s development of the 2021/22 Budget, each of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels had been asked to consider the draft Budget proposals within their remit and the main messages from it, as identified by the Directorate. The Panel’s views would contribute to the Overview and Scrutiny’s overall response to the budget which was being discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board the following day.


As part of the regular budget and performance monitoring information updates received by the Panel, the latest financial information for Period 8 and performance information for Quarter 3 had been included as appendices to the Budget report.


Draft Budget 2021/22


The Chief Financial Officer highlighted that the Panel had received a copy of the Council’s detailed draft Budget presented to Cabinet on 7 January.  A revised draft Budget for Cabinet on 4 February had now been issued, but there had been no amendments to the budget areas within the remit of this Panel.


The Chief Financial Officer set out the key issues and changes relating to the proposed 2021/22 net expenditure budget compared to the current year’s budget, as follows:

·         From the position of the 2020/21 net budget, there were significant additional pressures and demands faced by the Council particularly in the areas of social care and cost inflation.

·         The pressures specifically relating to this Panel’s remit were predominantly pay, contract and income related. 

·         The grant increases for this year had totalled £9m, which included the COVID-19 grant of £5.9m received for the first quarter of 2020/21 and a £2.2m social care grant.

·         The overall Budget for 2021/22 was showing a £10m funding gap, which was to be balanced by the use of £7.1m savings and up to £3m reserves. The amount of reserves which would need to be used would depend on the support that was forthcoming from the Government regarding the loss of Council Tax payments.

The Chief Financial Officer confirmed the Budget planning timetable and advised that they were not expecting any changes to the Council’s settlement, although the specifics of some capital grants were still awaited. The Panel was informed that the Government’s Fair funding Review had been deferred until 2021/22,  with more information expected to be forthcoming in the Autumn. The Council would continue to lobby the Government on the case for areas including special needs and adult care.


In response to a question about the timescale for recovering the deficit relating to Council Tax, the Chief Financial Officer explained that any deficit on the Collection Fund had to be repaid, but that the Government was now allowing that repayment to be spread over 3 years. He highlighted that any individual council taxpayers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 301.


Corporate Landlord and Facilities Management Delivery Model pdf icon PDF 338 KB


The Panel received a report which set out the proposed structure and delivery model for the Corporate Landlord and Facilities Management function from 1 April 2021.


The Cabinet Member with responsibility (CMR) for Transformation and Commissioning reminded the Panel of the background to the establishment of Place Partnership Ltd (PPL) in 2015 which was to provide property management services through an innovative arrangement by which each partner would gain benefit from the strategic use of  collective assets which would lead to efficiency and savings opportunities through scale and scope of the company. Unfortunately, over time some partners decided that the organisation was no longer meeting their needs and in 2018 Worcester City and Redditch Borough Councils gave notice to exit the agreement.


The CMR advised that in 2020, this Council had also made the decision to terminate its contract with PPL with effect from March 2021. Internal structures were then considered which would return direct control of the strategic activity of property services to the Members and Officers of the Council.  Shortly afterwards, a meeting was held with the remaining PPL partners about the sustainability of the company moving forward and as a result of those discussions, it was agreed that it would be in the collective interests of all the remaining partners for the Company to be brought to a close from 31 March 2021. To this end the partners had committed to a solvent Members Voluntary Liquidation arrangement which would be in place until the end of the third quarter of 2021.


The CMR stressed that in advance of the above, she had reinforced the importance of the following factors being given due consideration:


·         How best to secure an optimum balance between services being provided in-house and those brought in from the market.

·         How to ensure best value and savings for the Council

·         How to minimise redundancies

·         How best to achieve a continuation of services for schools.


The Chairman asked the Strategic Director to provide some further detail to enable the Panel to understand the changes that were taking place and the benefits which the Council would obtain from the new arrangements. In addition, the Panel were keen to know how the staffing issues were being handled and the current situation with the transfer of staff. The Strategic Director advised that there was a report to Cabinet later in the week which provided more detailed information including on the proposed new delivery model to be implemented. He commented that whilst PPL had been an innovative initiative, the partners had grown apart and this Council, as a commissioning Council, had taken action to ensure that the interests of the Council’s estate and customers continued to be its main focus with best value being the key priority. 


As part of the process of closing down the company, the Strategic Director explained that some elements of the workforce would not be transferred to one of the partner organisations. He assured the Panel, however, that all the partners were committed to ensuring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 302.


Work Programme 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

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The Panel reviewed and noted its current work programme.