Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 22nd May, 2020 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

57.

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:

57.1  Cllr Walsh declared a personal interest in relation to Response to recommendations made at the 22 January meeting [xiii and xix One Public Estate] and in relation to the Capital Programme [Littlehampton One Public Estate scheme] as Leader of Arun District Council.

 

57.2  Cllr Boram declared a personal interest in relation to the TPM as Senior Advisor to the Cabinet Member for Environment.

 

57.3  Cllr Sparkes declared a personal interest in relation to the TPM as a member of Worthing Borough Council.

58.

Minutes of the 15 April meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 175 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the call-in meeting held on 15 April 2020 (cream paper).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

58.1  Resolved – That the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 April 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

59.

Part I minutes of the 22 January meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 157 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020 (cream paper).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

59.1  Resolved – That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

60.

Part II Minutes of the 22 January meeting

The Committee is asked to agree the Part II minutes of the meeting on 22 January 2019 as a correct record.

Minutes:

60.1  Resolved – That the Part II minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

61.

Part II Response to Recommendations from the 22 January meeting

The Committee is asked to note the Part II response to recommendations made at the 22 January 2020 meeting.

 

Members are asked to note the response.

 

Minutes:

61.1  Resolved – That the Part II response to recommendations from the meeting held on 22 January 2020 be noted.

62.

Response to recommendations to the Children and Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Response from the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee to recommendations dated 25 March and 24 May 2019.

 

The Committee is asked to note the response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

62.1  Resolved – That the response from the Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Committee to recommendations made on 25 March and 24 May 2019 be noted.

63.

Response to recommendations made at the 22 January meeting pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Response to recommendations made at the 22 January 2020 meeting.

 

The Committee is asked to note the response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

63.1  Further to response iii, the Leader updated the Committee that the West Sussex Plan will be revisited; the priorities will be reset in line with the Improvement Plans and governance changes.  It is anticipated that a draft updated West Sussex Plan will be complete by July 2020, following which it will need to be shared with Members for feedback, finalised, and then any realignment made to the budget. 

 

63.2  Resolved – That the response to Part I recommendations from the 22 January 2020 meeting be noted.

64.

Response to recommendations made at the 15 April meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Response from the Cabinet Member for Finance to the recommendations made at the 15 April 2020 meeting.

 

The Committee is asked to note the response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

64.1  Resolved – That the response from the Cabinet Member for Finance to the recommendations made at the 15 April 2020 meeting be noted.

65.

Response to recommendations made by the Business Management Solution TFG pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Response from the Director of Finance and Support Services to the recommendations made by the Business Management Solution Task and Finish Group on 30 April 2020.

 

The Committee is asked to note the response.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

65.1  Resolved – That the response from the Director of Finance and Support Services to recommendations made by the Business Management Solution Task and Finish Group be noted.

66.

Total Performance Monitor - Qtr 4 End of Year 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

A report by the Director of Finance and Support Services setting out the performance and finance position as at Quarter 4 End of Year 2019/20.

 

The Committee is asked to examine the data and supporting commentary for the Quarter 4 End of Year 2019/20 TPM and make any recommendations for action to the relevant Cabinet Member or Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

66.1  The Committee considered the Quarter 4 End of Year 2019/20 Total Performance Monitor (TPM) report from the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

66.2  The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced the report and informed the Committee that the financial outturn was in line with that forecasted, ending the year with £0.5m less overspend than predicted.  The overspend will be funded by a draw down from reserve funds as outlined in the report.  2019/20 has been a testing year due to the £17m fund provided for the Children’s Services Improvement Plan and £1.4m for the Fire & Rescue Service Improvement Plan; interim reports show both Plans are on course to deliver the expected improvements. The outbreak of Covid-19 has been a further budget challenge at the end of year 2019/20, and all 2020/21 budget assumptions will be reviewed in light of Covid-19.  The Cabinet Member welcomed comments from the Committee ahead of the decision report being considered by Cabinet on 26 May 2020.

 

66.3  The Director of Finance and Support Services introduced the finance aspect of the report and highlighted that the forecasting for the year was realistic.  Capital receipts flexibility was used in October 2019 to fund the overspend.  The failure to deliver savings in-year is significant and officers understand why that occurred.  The current challenge regarding Covid-19 leads to uncertain demands for the year 2020/21 and a more fragile financial position; the reset West Sussex Plan will reconsider the resource implications for the current year.

 

66.4  The Committee made comments in relation to the TPM finance report including those that follow. It:

·       Recognised that 2019/20 has presented financial challenges, that the eventual outturn was forecast in the first half of the year and brought under control during the second half of the year resulting in further potential overspends being avoided.  The Committee noted that the report largely reflects the position prior to the effects attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

·       Highlighted the £15m overspend for 2019/20, the current £85m Covid-19 spend, and the £34m fund provided by central Government towards the additional cost, and queried whether the Council will face future financial difficulties.  Queried whether further funds will come from central government to help fund the Covid-19 response and how our financial situation compares to that of other authorities.  The Leader explained the situation is being closely monitored, the Council has received £36m from central government already, and further funds have been committed by the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government.  The Leader meets weekly with West Sussex MPs who support the Council and represent to central Government, in addition to regular County Council Network (CCN) meetings which represent the Council’s needs and presses for further funding.

·       Noted the significant budget funding uplift required in 2019/20 due to the Children’s Services and Fire & Rescue Service Improvement Plans needed to bring the services up to standard.  Noted that work is continuing and both Improvement Plans are on the right course, however the improvements made  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Capital Programme Performance Monitor Report - Qtr 4 End of Year 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

A report by the Director of Property and Assets setting out the capital programme position as at Quarter 4 End of Year 2019/20.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

67.1  The Committee considered the Quarter 4 End of Year 2019/20 Capital Programme Performance Monitor report by the Director of Property and Assets (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

67.2  The Cabinet Member for Finance introduced the report and confirmed the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the progress of the capital programme.  Most sites are now beginning to re-open and the Director of Property and Assets is driving progress.  A complete review of the capital programme will be required in line with wider reviews of the Council’s priorities.

 

67.3  The Capital Programme Manager introduced the report which confirms the position at 31 March 2020, and provides updated exceptions to mid-May.

 

67.4  The Committee made comments in relation to the Capital Programme performance report including those that follow. It:

·       Commented that the Experience West Sussex project was removed from the pipeline in 2019/20 as no case was made for investment, however as the Culture Secretary has recently announced an ambitious plan to refresh the domestic tourism sector and the Council has declared its intention to boost tourism in West Sussex, should the project be re-prioritised and re-introduced in the current year 2020/21.  Requested that the Committee be updated on this scheme at an appropriate time.  The Cabinet Member for Finance confirmed all projects will be reviewed for suitability in the reset of the capital programme.  The Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Resources noted that the chance of a boost to domestic tourism would be a factor considered in the refresh.

·       Commented that the reset or reassessment of the capital programme is required urgently, may need to be undertaken alongside the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), requested a timescale for this work to be completed, and commented that the Committee should be involved in the reset.  The Director of Finance and Support Services explained this will be undertaken alongside the reset of the West Sussex Plan as outlined by the Leader.

·       Commented that the delay on the Horsham Bluelight Project was attributable to internal officer scrutiny of the programme and not formal Member scrutiny, noted that a joint scrutiny Task and Finish Group (TFG) by this Committee and the Fire & Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee is planned to scrutinise this decision in due course, and queried whether the project will proceed or be cancelled.  The Cabinet Member for Finance stated that all projects will be subject to assessment.  The project business case was over budget which necessitated the delay to further value-engineer the project, and it is expected the project will come to the public Cabinet meeting in July.

·       Expressed disappointment that the Littlehampton One Public Estate (OPE) scheme has been deemed not viable due to a lack of external capital contributions.  The Cabinet Member for Finance reiterated that there is no capital funding in the OPE programme therefore as funding from partners was withdrawn the project became unviable.

·       Encouraged surveying of the A284 Lyminster Bypass site if possible during Covid restrictions, and expressed concern the larger project will fail if this section is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.

68.

Service Led Improvement pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services providing an update on the Council’s redesign activities, achievements of the Step Up Programme and the Whole Council Design Programme, and outlining key programmes to be delivered under the next phase of Service Led Improvement.

 

The Committee is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report, with a particular focus on ensuring:

 

1)   The savings, costs achieved to date, and what has been achieved in terms of transformation and improving efficiency/effectiveness across the Council have been identified;

 

2)   The refreshed programme focusses on the priorities of the County Council going forwards;

 

3)   There are clear and achievable costs and savings identified within the programme budget along with an indicative timeline for achieving the savings; and

 

4)   Risks to achieving the improvements have been identified and are being managed.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

68.1  The Committee considered a report by the Director of Finance and Support Services (copy appended to the signed minutes).  The Chairman reminded the Committee that the report was due to be presented at the 19 March meeting which was cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19, that the report was written prior to the pandemic, and that the priorities for the project reflect the position in March and may now be slightly different.

 

68.2  The Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Resources introduced the report and summarised key information.  The Step-Up programme produced good initial outcomes for the Council and was followed up by the Whole Council Design (WCD) programme which drew on the involvement of consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to further develop the redesign programme.  The Service Led Improvement programme now seeks to address key areas for improvement including customer digital enablement, support focus, and smart core IT systems for which a recent decision has been made.  The need for an engaged culture of collegiate collaboration with Council services was highlighted.

 

68.3  The Committee made comments in relation to the service led improvement report including those that follow. It:

·       Commented that in light of the significant impact of Covid-19 on the economy generally and the Council’s services specifically, and any subsequent amendment needed, should this risk arising from the SLI programme be noted in its risk implications and mitigation assessment.  The Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Resources agreed that the information on the corporate risk register should be reconsidered in light of the Covid-19 impact, however there is no excessive risk to the programme. 

·       Highlighted the impact of the pandemic in shaping ongoing behavioural change and driving residents to contact the Council via digital channels, and queried whether the Council are prepared for this change in behaviour.  The Cabinet Member for Economy and Corporate Resources commented that the increase in residents seeking to engage digitally with the Council presents a key opportunity to further develop digital enablement, however this may not remain across all areas of Council business.  The SLI programme will aim to address this and manage the ‘new normal’.  The numbers of staff working from home is being monitored and the Cabinet Member recognised and commended the work of the IT department in responding to the increased level of demand. 

·       A Member commented that previous Member oversight of the programme could be viewed as not adequate and asked the Committee to consider how confidence in the governance of the programme can be assured.  It was suggested that consideration be given to whether future transformation projects over an agreed value should have their governance arrangements agreed by the Cabinet Member, be subject to scrutiny, and whether an Access to Resources Panel should oversee access to expenditure.  The Chairman noted that recommendations regarding the governance of the transformation programme had been made in the TPM item.

 

68.4  Resolved:-

 

1)   That the Committee recognises there has been a programme of improvements over the previous few years in order to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.

69.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 9 July 2020 at 10.30am.  Probable agenda items are to be confirmed.

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 29 June 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

69.1  The Committee notes its next meeting will take place on 9 July 2020, commencing at 10.30am.