Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: virtual meeting with restricted public access

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

Media

Items
No. Item

98.

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

98.1  Personal interests were declared in relation to the Revenue Budget item as follows:

·       Cllr Smytherman as Chair of the Worthing Dementia Action Alliance,

·       Cllr Lea as a Member of Mid Sussex District Council,

·       Cllr Walsh as Leader and Member of Arun District Council.

 

98.2  Cllr Lea declared a personal interest in the Reset Plan item due toa professional interest in artificial intelligence and data analytics.

99.

Business Planning Group (BPG) Membership

The Committee is asked to note the appointment of Vice Chairman Cllr Pieter Montyn to the BPG.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

99.1  The Chairman thanked Cllr Peter Catchpole for his service as Vice Chairman of the Committee.

 

99.2  The Committee noted the appointment of Vice Chairman Cllr Pieter Montyn to the BPG.

100.

Responses to Recommendations

The Committee is asked to note the responses, to follow, to recommendations made at the December meeting from:

·       The Chairman of Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee regarding Audit Planning and Internal Control Testing, and

·       The Chairman of Children and Young People’s Service Scrutiny Committee regarding the current situation around Children Looked After.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

100.1  The Chairman confirmed a response has been received from the Chairman of the Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee regarding audit planning and internal control testing, and informed the committee the points were satisfactorily addressed at the recent RAAC meeting.

 

100.2  The committee noted the response from the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee to the recommendations made regarding the current situation around Children Looked After.

 

100.3  Resolved – That the Committee notes the responses.

101.

Revenue Budget 2021/22, Capital Strategy 2021/22 to 2025/26, and Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 160 KB

The report is presented by the Director of Finance and Support Services.  The draft budget for 2021/22 is presented to the Committee for preview and endorsement ahead of the agreement and approval of the Budget at Cabinet on 22 January 2021 and County Council on 12 February 2021.  Any issues or concerns raised by the Committee will be considered by the Cabinet ahead of approval at County Council.

 

The Committee is asked to consider the report and appendices and make any comments to Cabinet to take into account when it considers the draft Revenue Budget 2021/22, draft Capital Strategy 2021/22 to 2025/26, and draft Treasury Management Strategy Statement for 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

101.1  The Committee considered the Revenue Budget 2021/22, Capital Strategy 2021/22 to 2025/26, and Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2021/22 report by the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

101.2  The Leader introduced the report and highlighted the challenge in budget setting for all local authorities with the backdrop of the Covid pandemic.  The Budget is presented in the context of the Reset Plan and aims to deliver its priorities.

 

101.3  The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced the report and highlighted the work that has gone into balancing the budget and supporting residents in unprecedented times.  Thanks was offered to the Finance team for their hard work in a challenging timeline, and Members for their understanding of the financial limitations faced by the council.  The predicted budget shortfall in November has been mitigated by savings identified by the services, and now the provisional Government settlement has been received some of the proposed savings measures can be removed.  The revenue spend has been increased year on year by 5.2% which supports key services for residents.  Spending has been re-profiled to allocate extra funding to two priority areas, highway maintenance and supporting the council’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.  The funding challenge is expected to continue in 2022/23.

 

101.4  The Director of Finance and Support Services outlined key information to note in the budget.  Key concerns in setting the budget include the uncertainty of Government funding streams, uncertainty in long term funding of adult social care, and the ongoing effects of responding to the Covid pandemic, however the budget for 2021/22 is balanced without relying on reserves which gives strength to the council’s financial position.

 

101.5  The chairmen of the service scrutiny committees were asked to update the committee with any recommendations or comments from their scrutiny discussions on the budget proposals, as follows:

·       Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee (CYPSSC) chairman welcomes increased financial support for the service. Proposals for reductions in the Early Help service are out for consultation and will be further scrutinised at the appropriate time.

·       Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee (HASC) chairman noted a Task and Finish Group will be established to look at the savings in adult social care.  The committee noted concern regarding reductions to respite services and the resulting effect on families.

·       Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee (ECSC) chairman welcomed the removal of four key savings proposals and the committee supported the business as usual savings. 

·       Fire & Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee (FRSSC) chairman noted the Fire & Rescue Service were allowed to offset their savings against the deferment of investment required to facilitate crewing arrangements.  The Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities confirmed that this was due to significant savings having been made over the last decade and acknowledged the service requires investment to facilitate improvement.

 

101.6  The Committee made comments in relation to the Revenue Budget 2021/22 proposals including those that follow. It:

·       Expressed concerns regarding the significant external risks to the council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

West Sussex Reset Plan and Key Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 105 KB

The attached report and Appendix A are presented by the Leader and Chief Executive.  Appendix B, the Reset Plan and all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), will be sent to follow. 

 

The latest version of the West Sussex Reset Plan was presented to County Council in December 2020 for approval, and takes account of the recommendations of this Committee.  Scrutiny committees have previewed the priorities and outcomes specific to their area of council business and considered the proposals for KPIs to measure performance and achievement of the plans aims.  These measures will be included in the final plan to be presented alongside the budget for approval at County Council in February 2021.

 

The Committee is asked to consider the draft Reset Plan attached as Appendix B and make any comments to the Cabinet and Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

102.1  The Committee considered the West Sussex Reset Plan report by the Chief Executive (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

102.2  The Leader introduced the Plan which outlines what the council aims to achieve for its residents in the period 2021/22 to 2025.  The Plan reflects the priorities of residents and has been developed collaboratively with staff, Members, council partners and stakeholders.  Its focus is post-Covid and it has been developed alongside the 2021/22 Budget presented to the Committee.  The Plan will report on a quarterly basis and be updated annually. 

 

102.3  The Chief Executive introduced the report and noted the committee’s feedback on the Plan’s key performance indicators (KPIs) at its previous meeting has been listened to.  The Plan is a live document, ambitious but realistic, and it will be flexible to change as needed.

 

102.4  The chairmen of the service scrutiny committees were asked to summarise the discussion and outcome of the debate at their January meetings to review the Reset Plan and key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to them, as follows:

·       Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee (CYPSSC) chairman confirmed the committee agreed the KPIs are appropriate and challenging but base data was needed to provide a context in relation to the targets included.  It was suggested that adding a measure on the Early Help work be considered.

·       Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee (HASC) chairman confirmed the committee had requested more challenging  KPI targets to ensure good monitoring of the services.  It was suggested KPIs for healthy weight at mid-life, healthy life expectancy of BAME residents and a KPI in relation to Mental Health should be added.

·       Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee (ECSC) chairman confirmed most of that committee’s suggestions had been included within the Plan and the KPIs provide a good framework. 

·       Fire & Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee (F&RSSC) chairman confirmed committee were satisfied with the KPIs and they are consistent with the Service Improvement Plan.

 

102.5  The Committee made comments in relation to the Reset Plan, including those that follow. It:

·       Welcomed the Reset Plan and KPIs and supported the continued development and review of the Plan and indicators over time.

·       Commented that the Committee would have liked more involvement on the development of the Reset Plan and performance indicators, and that a full and detailed review has not been possible due to the limited time frame.  Similarly the Committee has not been involved in the development of the Quarterly Performance Monitor.  It was recognised that the documents will continue to develop over time, and it was requested that scrutiny members are involved in any further review of performance monitoring or reporting to help ensure effective scrutiny.

·       Looks forward to reviewing the Reboot Plan at the appropriate time with details of how the performance aims will be achieved.

 

102.6  The Committee made comments in relation to the proposed KPIs, including those that follow:

·       Regarding KPI no. 18 (A and B road maintenance) that the target percentage should be reviewed as it is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

Endorsement: Broadbridge Heath Retail Scheme pdf icon PDF 103 KB

A report by the Director of Property and Assets regarding the proposal to regenerate the Broadbridge Heath Highway Depot declared surplus to operational requirements in 2018. 

 

The Committee is asked to review the draft decision report attached as the Annex documentand make any comments to the Cabinet Member for Finance ahead of the decision being taken.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

103.1  The Committee considered the draft Endorsement: Broadbridge Heath Retail Scheme decision report by the Director of Property and Assets (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

103.2  The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced the report and highlighted that the Highways Depot site has been redundant since being declared surplus in 2018.  The development design holds good potential for generating income and aligns with the commercial and retail use as designated in Horsham District Council’s Local Plan.  The proposed tenants are secure blue-chip retail companies and a pre-let agreement will be signed before development begins.

 

103.3  The Director of Property and Assets introduced the report.  It was highlighted that the council regenerating the site ensures autonomy over its design, will increase employment in the local area, and provides the council with a revenue return. 

 

103.4  The Committee made comments in relation to the draft Broadbridge Heath Retail Scheme decision report, including those that follow. It:

·       Reflected on the effect of out of town retail developments on the economic decline of High Streets.  The Cabinet Member for Finance reiterated the area is designated for retail in the Local Plan and that the potential tenants would not consider High Street units.

·       Supported increasing revenue income to the council for future budget setting, and welcomed the predicted 6.91% yield on the development.

·       Raised positive and negative views about the effect of the pandemic and related national lockdowns on the retail industry in the changing economic environment.

·       Noted the viability study for the development was undertaken in 2019, suggested this be reviewed to ensure it is still viable before taking the scheme forward, and recommended that a sensitivity analysis be undertaken to ensure the scheme remains financially viable when different variables and risks are taken into account.  The Director of Property and Assets confirmed officers are confident in the predicted development costs and hold planned contingency funds which should not be required, and that the investment return will be constantly monitored.

·       Encouraged that tenants be locked in before development begins.  The Director of Property and Assets confirmed tenants will be locked in via an Agreement to Lease

·       A Member suggested amendments be made to strengthen the recommendations in the draft decision report.  There was agreement that recommendations 1 and 3 be amended and that a further recommendation 6 be added that both recommendations 3 and 4 be contingent and provisional on the other [as detailed in the recommendations below].

·       Highlighted the use of private vehicles by shoppers to access out of town retail units and raised concerns on whether the proposed development supports the council’s commitment to tackling climate change.  Suggested mitigation measures be considered to relieve the carbon footprint and increase the site’s green credentials, which could include electric vehicle (EV) charging points and solar panels.  Including a significant number of EV points was particularly highlighted in relation to the Government’s focus on ending manufacture of petrol and diesel vehicles.  The Director of Property and Assets confirmed that as many measures as practical will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.

104.

Possible Items for Future Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 252 KB

The Committee is asked to review the extract of the Forward Plan and mention any items believed to be of relevance to the busines of the Scrutiny Committee.  An update of any relevant changes to the Plan will be tabled ahead of the meeting.

 

If any member puts forward such an item, the Committee’s role at this meeting is to assess, briefly, whether to refer the matter to its Business Planning Group (BPG) to consider in detail.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

104.1  No additional items or decisions were identified for addition to the committee’s work programme.

 

104.2  The Chairman informed the committee that it has been agreed with members of the Recommissioning of Support Services Task and Finish Group (TFG) that the TFG be disbanded as scrutiny of the next stages of the decision will be brought before the full scrutiny committee at its 11 March meeting.

105.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 22 February 2021 at 10.30am by virtual meeting.  This is an extra meeting scheduled to consider the Horsham Enterprise Park programme.

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 10 February 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

105.1  The Committee notes its next meeting will take place on 22 February 2021, commencing at 10.30am.