Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 22nd January, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: County Hall, Chichester

Contact: Rob Castle on 033 022 22546  Email:  rob.castle@westsussex.gov.uk

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

43.

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:

43.1   In accordance with the code of conduct the following personal interests were declared in respect of item 7, Revenue Budget 2020/21, Capital Strategy 2020/21 to 2024/25 and Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2020/21: -

 

·         Dr Walsh as Leader of Arun District Council

·         Mr Barrett-Miles as Member for Burgess Hill North

·         Mr Waight as a member of Worthing Borough Council

·         Mrs Sparkes as a member of Worthing Borough Council

·         Mr Smytherman as a member of Worthing Borough Council, as the Council’s governor representative of the Alternative Provision College,  as part of Dementia Friendly Worthing and as a governor of St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School Worthing

·         Mr Jones as a member of Crawley Borough Council

 

43.2   The following other interests were declared: -

 

·         Mr Waight in respect of item 12, Update on Procurement of Joint Venture Partner in Property Development, as a member of Worthing Borough Council

·         Mr Catchpole in respect of item 15, Horsham Enterprise Park, as the Member for Holbrook (Horsham)

·         Mrs Kitchen in respect of item 15, Horsham Enterprise Park, as a member of Horsham District Council

44.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 198 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2019 (cream paper).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

44.1   Resolved – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 5 December 2019 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

45.

Part II Matters

Members are asked to indicate at this stage if they wish the meeting to consider bringing into Part I any items on the Part II agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

45.1   Members were asked to indicate if they wished the meeting to consider bringing into Part I any items on the Part II agenda – there were no such indications.

46.

Responses to Recommendations pdf icon PDF 103 KB

The Committee is asked to note the responses to recommendations made at the 5 December 2019 meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

46.1   The Committee considered responses to recommendations it made at its 5 December meeting and learned that:

 

·       The reference to licences for tables and chairs on the highway had been taken out of the decision on the review of fees and charges whilst consideration was given to issues raised by the Committee – a revised decision would be in the Forward Plan of Key Decisions in March and is scheduled to be scrutinised at ECSSC in March 2020

·       The policy on weed management would continue next year

 

46.2   Resolved – That the Committee notes the responses.

47.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 488 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 10 January 2020.

 

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

47.1   The Committee considered the Forward Plan of Key Decisions (copy appended to the signed minutes) and learned that:

 

·       The Committee would be invited to join the 4 March meeting of the Children & Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee for the discussion on the Adoption of the West Sussex Children First Strategic Approach

·       The decisions on Transport for the South East: response to consultation on draft Transport Strategy and Electrical Vehicle Charging Procurement and Contract Award had been scrutinised by the Environment, Communities and Fire Scrutiny Committee

·       The decision on West Sussex Full Fibre Programme could possibly be scrutinised jointly by a Task & Finish Group involving the district and borough councils

 

47.2   Resolved – that the Committee notes the Forward Plan of Key Decisions.

48.

Revenue Budget 2020/21, Capital Strategy 2020/21 to 2024/25 and Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services.

 

The report sets out how the balanced budget for 2020/21 supports the delivery of the key priorities within ‘The West Sussex Plan’.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

48.1   The Committee considered a report by the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes) which was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance who told the Committee:

 

·       The Council was facing a possible net overspend on the 2019/20 budget of between £7m and £8m to fund the Fire & Rescue Service and Children & Young People’s improvement plans, this would be met from reserves – the 2020/21 budget would be balanced without using reserves

·       The Medium-Term Financial Strategy showed that reserves would be increased by £9m over the next four years and that the contingency budget for 2020/2021 would increase to £6.8m by adding an extra £3.4m

·       Long-term planning was difficult as Government funding was only allocated for one year

·       The Fair Funding Review this year would include authorities keeping 75% of business rates, although this was expected to be financially neutral

·       The Cabinet has lobbied local MPs who promised their support in addressing the Council’s under funding (including schools) since 2010, Cabinet will provide MPs with strong evidence to support the under-funding.

·       The Council propose to increase council tax by 3.99%, which would include 2% for adult social care and equates to £55 extra per year for a Band D property

 

48.2   Summary of responses to Members questions and comments:

 

·       Budget estimates were based on current interest rates, if rates went down, this would be factored in

·       A Member raised concerns over future funding of maintained nursey schools – ACTION: Katharine Eberhart to report back on this

·       A number of schools had been identified as possible locations for special support centres, but nothing had been finalised yet as discussions were on-going with schools

·       It was not known at this stage whether three extra special educational needs & disabilities advisors would be sufficient

·       Mid Sussex District Council was taking part in a one year pilot scheme to reduce food waste going to landfill by collecting it separately from households - £2m was set aside to encourage district/borough councils to collect food waste separately which would be a legal requirement in the next few years

·       The Council needed to replenish its reserves to remain resilient

·       There was now a Joint (County Council and NHS) Strategic Director of Commissioning who would help joint working especially regarding the NHS Long-term Plan

·       The ‘Proud to Care’ website had information about working in the care industry and listed vacancies – this could help recruitment if numbers dropped after Brexit

·       Bed blocking had been eased in West Sussex by social care teams working in hospitals and the ‘Home First’ and ‘Discharge to Assess’ initiatives

·       The refreshed Dementia Strategy included ways to prevent people with dementia being admitted to hospital unnecessarily

·       Work was ongoing with providers to address the shortage of mental health professionals

·       The Children First improvement programme will receive funding in 2020/21 of £12m - £5.1m on a permanent basis and £6.9m temporarily

·       Rationalisation of the buildings that the Early Help Service operates from will be done safely and appropriately

·       £1.8m was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Procurement for the Provision of Agency Workers Recruitment Services pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Report by the Director of Law and Assurance and the Director of Finance and Support Services.

 

The report sets out the options and proposals for the re-procurement of the temporary agency worker services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

49.1   The Committee considered a report by the Director of Law and Assurance and the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

49.2   Summary of responses to Members’ questions and comments:

 

·       The Committee expressed concerns over the viability and attractiveness of the contract to suppliers

·       The possibility of children’s services being run by a trust would mean that an option for the trust to purchase staff from the framework would be built into the contract terms

·       A lot of agency spend at the moment is linked to improvement programmes, especially in Children’s Services, this should reduce as more permanent staff are employed

·       Vendor neutral companies want to help authorities bring down their agency spend and are willing to leave their technology behind to be used by authorities when contracts end

·       A contract with a vendor neutral company would include access to both temporary and specialist interim staff which would broaden choice and reduce costs for the Council compared to using separate specialist providers with higher rates

 

49.3   Resolved – that the Committee asks the Cabinet Member for Economy & Corporate Resources to include options in the tender for knowledge and IT transfer and for no transfer, giving contractors the option to tender on both or one of the options.

50.

Possible Items for Future Scrutiny

Members to raise any items which they believe to be of relevance to the business of the Select Committee and suitable for scrutiny, e.g. raised with them by constituents, arising from central government initiatives etc.

 

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:

50.1   Two items were proposed for consideration by the committee’s Business Planning Group:

 

·       The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s report into its financial review of the Council

·       CAPITA

51.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 19 March at 10.30 am at County Hall, Chichester.  Probable agenda items include:

 

·         Workforce/People Strategy

·         Total Performance Monitor Quarter 3 – December

·         Capital Programme Quarter 3

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 4 March.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

51.1   The next meeting of the committee will take place on 19 March at 10.30.

52.

Update on Procurement of Joint Venture Partner in Property Development pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Update report by the Director of Property.

 

The report provides an up-date on the current position, work in progress and timeline for the venture.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52.1   The Committee considered a report by the Director of Property (copy appended to the signed minutes) which was introduced by Andrew Edwards, Director of Property who told the Committee that the Council’s Joint Venture partner would be structured in the same way as those used by other authorities. Initial sites had been identified and would be tested for viability. The Council was ready to go out to tender.

 

52.2   Summary of responses to Members’ questions and comments: -

 

·         The Council was looking at low risk sites that were all in local development plans and was working with district and borough councils to test their viability

·         It was anticipated that costs would be around £460k (including preparatory site work) at the end of set-up, which is within the budget of £700k

·         There would be more than one site being developed at a time

·         The joint venture would be a stand-alone commercial company that would get the best possible returns for the Council on its assets – the Council would not set any standards for houses built

·         Consultants Gardner & Theobold could help by ensuring economies by getting standard building designs for all sites

·         The Council will put land into a venture - when the project starts the Council will receive the current market value of the land

·         Executives at Hertfordshire felt the model had been successful

·         To decide whether sites are sold through the joint venture or by conditional sale, the limited liability partnership would refer details to the limited liability company, which would pass these to the Council for a decision by PropCo on how to proceed, if at all

·         The Committee would like to look at this again once the proposed partner was known

 

52.3   Resolved – that the Committee: -

 

  1. Stresses the importance of consulting the local council and planners at the early stages of feasibility works
  2. Expresses concern over the time it will take for the Council to receive any monetary gains
  3. Requests that a further report is brought to the Committee when more certainty over the joint venture arrangements have been designed and that the decision report, when it comes for formal scrutiny, contains a clear outline of the governance arrangements to be put in place
  4. Requests that the Chairman of the Committee contacts other scrutiny chairmen in other appropriate local authorities to seek their views on the success of joint venture arrangements

 

53.

Horsham Enterprise Park

Report by Executive Director Place Services and Director of Property and Assets (for members of the Committee only).

 

 

Minutes:

53.1   The Committee discussed a report by the Executive Director Place Services and Director of Property and Assets and made recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Finance on the way forward.