Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Select Committee
Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: County Hall, Chichester

Contact: Lisa Sampson on 033 022 28193  Email:  lisa.sampson@westsussex.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it. If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Minutes:

1.1  Mrs Sparkes declared a personal interest as a Member and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources at Worthing Borough Council.

 

1.2  Mr Waight declared a personal interest in relation to PropCo Joint Venture as a buy to let property owner.

 

1.3  Dr Walsh declared a personal interest in relation to PropCo Joint Venture as Leader in nomination of Arun District Council.

 

1.4  Mr Lea declared a personal interest in relation to PropCo Joint Venture as a Member of Mid Sussex District Council.

2.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 94 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2019 (cream paper).

 

Minutes:

2.1  Resolved – That the Minutes of the Performance and Finance Select Committee held on 20 March 2019 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

3.

Responses to Recommendations pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Committee is asked to note the responses to recommendations made as follows:

 

A – Response from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources regarding the recommendation from the Business Planning Group and 20 March Committee meeting concerning the timeline and process for the 2020/21 budget; and

 

B – Response from the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee on the recommendation from the Committee regarding:

·         the school transport service, special educational needs pupils and the use of minibuses

·         implications of the Whole Council Design programme on Children’s Services

·         school place planning and how this could be improved

·         implications of the delay to the project at Manor Green Primary school

·         concerns around the provision and cost of residential placements

·         poor customer satisfaction scores for services provided by Capita to schools.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3.1  The Committee received a response from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources regarding the Budget Process Timeline.

 

3.2  The Committee received a response from the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee (CYPSSC) regarding the Committee’s requests for updates concerning school transport, provision and cost of residential placements, and supporting schools to keep pupils within mainstream environments. The Chairman noted that no timeline was given regarding residential placements and will raise this with the Chairman of CYPSSC.

 

3.3  Resolved – That the Committee notes the responses from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Select Committee.

4.

Business Planning Group Appointments pdf icon PDF 53 KB

The Committee is asked to appoint five members to the Business Planning Group (BPG), to include the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee and two minority members.

 

The current members of the BPG are Mr Montyn (Chairman), Mr Catchpole (Vice-Chairman), and Dr Walsh, plus a vacant Conservative seat and a vacant minority group seat.

 

Nominations will be sought for the Conservative vacancy and, with the committee’s agreement, the Labour member sitting on the Committee will be automatically appointed to the BPG when the member has been formally appointed to the committee at County Council.

 

Members are asked to agree the amended Membership of the Group.

 

No background papers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1  The Committee expressed its thanks to Mrs Dennis for her contribution to scrutiny whilst appointed to the Performance and Finance Select Committee.

 

4.2  Resolved:

 

1)        That the Committee appoints Mr Montyn, Mr Catchpole, Mr Crow, and Dr Walsh to the Business Planning Group for the period of one year; and

 

2)        That the Committee agrees, following the appointment of Mr Jones to the vacant seat on this Committee at Council on 7 June, that Mr Jones be appointed to the Business Planning Group to fill the remaining vacancy.

5.

PropCo Joint Venture DOTX 53 KB

A report by the Executive Director of Place Services setting out the proposed decision to procure and enter into a Joint Venture partnership.

 

The Committee is asked to review, comment on and make any relevant recommendations for action to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1  The Committee considered the property development arrangements report  from the Executive Director of Place Services (copy appended to the signed minutes). The Chairman welcomed Emma Davies, Director of Engineering, Design and Project Management (UK & Europe) at Faithful + Gould, who attended for this item.

 

5.2  The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources introduced the report and highlighted key information for the Committee. The Council does not have the appetite for the risk involved in developing surplus land as the sole developer and therefore wishes to seek a development partner with expertise to assist; a Joint Venture (JV) arrangement would reduce the potential benefits of development by half but would also halve the potential risk to the Council. The PropCo Panel have considered the options and recommended entering into a JV partnership. The detail involved in this is to be explored over the coming 12-15 months as the Council need to maximise the potential return from surplus land, and the Cabinet Member will consider all points raised by this Committee.

 

5.3  The Executive Director of Place Services introduced the report and highlighted that there were three options available to the Council – to sell the land, develop it as the sole developer, or to enter into a JV and develop alongside a partner which is the preferred option. The Council wishes to avoid the risk of developers acquiring the land but not developing it due to uncertainty in the property market. A JV partnership option provides an acceptable level of risk and greater rewards than selling un-developed land, and developing surplus land sites over a long period of 15-20 years would help to smooth out the fluctuation of land prices. Initial set-up costs have been benchmarked against other local authorities who have entered into JV partnerships and the requirement is £700k.

 

5.4  The Committee made comments in relation to the property development arrangements report including those that follow. It:

·                  Noted the budget pressures being faced by the Council and acknowledged the need to fully explore income opportunities where possible in order to support services. Political and financial risks must be acknowledged in the use of reserves to maximise income and a more cautious approach taken compared to private investors, however development should proceed and residents wish to see vacant sites developed and used rather than sitting idle.

·                  Queried how much it is currently costing to maintain and provide security for the surplus land the Council is holding. The Executive Director of Place Services will provide an estimate of this cost to the Committee.

·                  Commented that the current PropCo programme arrangements work too slowly, and the Committee hope a JV arrangement would bring sites to development more quickly. Recognised that the current arrangements are not adequate and support changes to the process in order to benefit from new income sources. The Leader acknowledged Member frustration with the slow speed of the PropCo programme, and this highlights the need to proceed with the JV which would support development at a faster pace.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Budget Timetable 2020/21 DOTX 49 KB

A report by the Director of Finance and Support Services, outlining the indicative budget timetable for 2020/21 for Members early notice and input to the process.

 

The Committee is asked to review, comment on and note the budget timeline.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1  The Committee considered the 2020/21 Budget Timetable report from the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

6.2  The Director of Finance and Support Services introduced the report and explained that the timetable aims to address Member issues with the previous year’s budget setting. Uncertainty remains regarding the timetable for government’s announcement of funding for the Council.

 

6.3  The Committee made comments in relation to the budget timetable report including those that follow. It:

·                  Welcomed the proposed timetable and earlier Member insight and input to the budget.

·                  Commented that the government’s late announcement of the Council’s settlement figure is not helpful in budget setting and queried whether pressure can be exerted through the Local Government Association (LGA) for an earlier announcement. The Leader commented that she met with MPs recently and highlighted outstanding issues including the fair funding review, adult social care green paper, social care precept, and business rates. The late funding announcement was stressed with MPs but is still expected to be late this year.

·                  Commented that during the budget process it must be made clear to Members, service users and officers when decisions that feed in to the 2020/21 budget are being taken and when they become effective. The Leader commented that most of the decisions taken over the next 6-9 months will be working towards the 2020/21 budget.

·                  Highlighted the forthcoming Budget Member Day and encouraged all Members to attend to engage with the budget process. Members stated that when considering plans for the Member Day officers need to clearly stress the financial challenges being faced, and must clarify the decision-making process regarding savings and how it fits with the approval of the budget in February. Members asked that this day also provide some view to future year’s budgets. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources confirmed the session plans to over the next two financial years.

·                  Suggested a newsletter be considered to keep Members informed of the budget progress. The Director of Finance and Support Services will consider the newsletter suggestion and ensure Members are updated once the settlement information is received.

·                  Commented that a light touch review of the budget process be undertaken after the budget is set to gauge whether the amended timeline was successful.

 

6.4  Resolved:

 

1)          That the Committee supports the timeline presented and recognise issues with the lateness of national announcements in regarding finance;

 

2)          That the Committee requests clarity for all members on the decision-making process around savings be provided, including how this fits with approval of the budget in February;

 

3)          That the Committee recommends the Member Day in June very clearly sets out the financial challenges the Council faces;

 

4)          That the Committee requests regular information is provided to all members as the budget process is progressed to ensure informed  engagement; and

 

5)          That the Committee reviews the process after setting the budget in February 2020.

7.

Total Performance Monitor as at end of March 2019 and Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

A report by the Director of Finance and Support Services setting out the finance, performance, capital and workforce position as at the end of March 2019 and Outturn for 2018/19.

 

The Committee is asked to examine the data and supporting commentary for the March 2019 and Outturn 2018/19 TPM report and make any relevant recommendations for action to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources or a relevant Select Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1  The Committee considered the Total Performance Monitor (TPM) as at end of March 2019 and Outturn 2018/19 report from the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

7.2  The Director of Finance and Support Services introduced the finance element of the TPM report, highlighting that the overspend has been mitigated by non-portfolio and contingency funds to come to a balanced budget position. This was aided by additional funding in the last settlement announcement regarding business rates plus funds from the improved Better Care Fund. Significant budget pressure is anticipated in the coming year due to the investment required in children’s services.

 

7.3  The Committee made comments in relation to the finance element of the TPM including those that follow. It:

·                  Noted in relation to the section 151 officer’s report that budget margins have become tighter and reiterated the need to make this known to the government. The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources confirmed this is regularly raised with central government, Ministers, the County Council Network and the LGA.

·                  Recognised that the Better care Fund is only available for the current year and if no further funding is received there will be a large financial challenge to be mitigated.

·                  Queried where the £3m saving has come from in the IPEH programme. The Director of Finance and Support Services will provide the information.

·                  Queried where an additional £5m funding pledged to Children’s Services by the Chief Executive has come from. The Director of Finance and Support Services will provide this extra information to the Committee.

·                  Commented that the lessons learned in this outturn TPM report should inform the 2020/21 budget process.

·                  Noted the Highways overspend due to issues with awarding the new maintenance contract and requested the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure be asked to clarify what is causing the repeated pressures on the highways budget.

·                  Commented in relation to highway white lining pressures that in the 2018/19 budget an extra 1% was pledged for white lining and signs, and queried how this money had been spent. The Director of Finance and Support Services will provide the detail of this spend.

·                  Noted the overspend in Facilities Management for reactive maintenance and cleaning and queried why the causes were not foreseen. The Cabinet Member for Corporate Relations will seek clarification for the Committee.

 

7.4  The Head of Intelligence and Performance introduced the performance element of the TPM report, and highlighted that three quarters of the 68 performance indicators had been met or nearly met including child healthy weight, key stage 2 attainment, cycle paths and delayed transfers of care. Failed indicators were highlighted and further narrative provided on each in the report.

 

7.5  The Committee made comments in relation to the performance element of the TPM including those that follow. It:

·                  Members expressed concern that the KPIs for the Best Start of Life priority do not reflect the reality within the service and the concerns shown in the recent Ofsted report, nor highlight ‘danger’ areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Capital Programme Quarter 4 Performance Monitor Report and Outturn 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 31 KB

A report by the Executive Director of Place Services setting out the Capital Programme Quarter 4 Performance Monitor report and Outturn 2018/19.

 

The Committee is asked to review, comment on and make any relevant recommendations for action to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1  The Committee considered the capital programme quarter 4 and outturn 2018/19 performance monitor report by the Executive Director of Place Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

8.2  The Capital Programme Manager introduced the report and summarised key aspects of this end of year report. A full year of pipeline data now provides a good baseline for future years. Projects that were dropped from the programme are detailed in the report. The RAG status over the year shows steady performance and projects judged Red are detailed for the Committee.

 

8.3  The Committee were satisfied with the clear information presented and thanked the Capital Programme Manager for the end of year report.

 

8.4  Resolved - That the Committee reviewed and noted the March 2019 and outturn 2018/19 capital programme performance monitor report.

9.

Annual Scrutiny Performance 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

A report by the Director of Law and Assurance and Head of Democratic Services, reviewing scrutiny performance and effectiveness during 2018-19 and including performance data and feedback from the annual scrutiny member survey.

 

The Committee is asked to review the report, make any recommendations for improvements to scrutiny practice, and identify any training or development needs for Scrutiny Members.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1  The Committee considered the Annual Scrutiny Performance 2018/19 report from the Director of Law and Assurance and Head of Democratic Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

9.2  The Head of Democratic Services introduced the report and highlighted key information for the Committee, with the results of the annual scrutiny member survey demonstrating frustration with some aspects of the scrutiny process. Select Committees have a good appetite for external witnesses, informal briefings outside of Committee, and engagement with the Youth Cabinet. There is a need to focus more on outcomes in the annual report and to identify how best to measure the effectiveness of scrutiny. A Member Day is due to be held in September with the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) to review scrutiny at the Council and the new national scrutiny guidance.

 

9.3  The Committee made comments in relation to the annual scrutiny performance report including those that follow. It:

·                     Thanked the Head of Democratic Services for this useful review of scrutiny within the county.

·                     Commented that the scrutiny survey should be distributed in electronic format in future years rather than paper to enable Members to respond anonymously, to save paper and to encourage response rates. The Head of Democratic Services agreed that this could be actioned.

·                     Expressed concern regarding the reduction in Members feeling select committees were able to influence decisions appropriately and commented that scrutiny must be more proactive, robust and add value to decisions. The Head of Democratic Services confirmed that a Member Day would take place in September with a focus on scrutiny arrangements, including the use of performance information. The outcomes from the session would feed into the scrutiny work programme for the next 2 years.

·                     Stressed the importance of scrutiny needing to be independent and raised a suggestion that Chairmen should be appointed by the committees in a secret ballot.

·                     Suggested that more minority party Members should be appointed to the roles of Chairmen and Vice Chairmen.

·                     Queried whether the recent corporate peer review highlighted any areas that require attention. The Head of Democratic Services explained that the peer review did not focus on scrutiny arrangements, but scrutiny may benefit from an independent view especially in light of the recent MHCLG guidance that needs to be considered.

·                     Acknowledged the inevitably reactive nature of select committees, in addition to necessary regular items such as the budget, but expressed support for a more pro-active approach to scrutiny. It was suggested that best practice in other authorities and the private sector could also be considered alongside risk.

·                     Commented that more officer time and support resource is required to help Members enquire into issues arising.

 

9.4  A Member of the Committee proposed some suggested recommendations regarding scrutiny that the Committee may wish to consider, following on from the recent Ofsted report which demonstrates the need for effective, independent and comprehensive scrutiny. The suggested recommendations are set out below and it was recognised that a change to the Constitution of the Council may be required to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 236 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 13 May 2019.

 

Anextract fromanyForwardPlan publishedbetween the date of despatchof the agenda and the date of the meetingwill be tabled at the meeting.

 

The Committee is asked to consider whetheritwishes to enquireinto any of the forthcoming decisions withinits portfolio.

Minutes:

10.1  The Committee considered the Forward Plan of Key Decisions (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

10.2  Resolved – That the Forward Plan be noted.

11.

Date of the Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 12 July 2019 at 10.30 am at County Hall, Chichester.  Probable agenda items include:

·         Horsham Enterprise Park (former Novartis site)

·         Business Planning Group report

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 2 July 2019.

Minutes:

11.1  The Committee notes its next meeting will take place on 12 July 2019, commencing at 10:30am.