Agenda item

Performance and Resources Report - Quarter 2 2021/22 (CAB10_21/22)

Report by the Director of Finance and Support Services.

 

Each of the Scrutiny Committee Chairman will be invited to speak for up to three minutes to provide the views of their Committee on respective parts of the Quarter 2 Performance and Resources Report.

 

Each of the main Minority Group Leaders will be invited to speak for up to three minutes on the Quarter 2 Performance and Resources Report.

 

The Cabinet will then discuss the report and proposals prior to taking any decision.

Decision:

Following consideration of the report, Cabinet resolved to:

 

1.   Note the information contained in the Q2 Performance and Resources Report in Annex B,

 

2.   Note the update in the presentation of the report following scrutiny committee feedback from the Q1 report,

 

3.   Agree the allocation of £0.225m from the pay inflation contingency budget to the Fire and Rescue Service to fund the nationally agreed 1.5% pay award from July 2021.

 

The call-in deadline is 14 December 2021.

Minutes:

32.1          Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Executive and Director of Finance and Support Services. The report was introduced by Cllr Jeremy Hunt, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property who advised a number of presentational updates had been made since the Quarter 1 report was considered in response to feedback. The Cabinet Member and Director of Finance and Support Services, Katharine Eberhart, outlined the financial position and pressures, including uncertainty and risks across the portfolio areas, inflation and overspend on the Dedicated Schools Grant and highlighted the importance of continuing to manage spending.

 

32.2              Cllr Stephen Hillier, Chairman of the Children and Young Peoples Services Scrutiny Committee advised the Committee found the new format of the report useful. The Committee wanted to see an improvement in a number of re-referrals to children’s social care and were pleased to hear of the service commitment to achieve this. The Committee noted the significant pressure on Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) transport and whilst they welcomed the parental mileage initiative, were concerned this was not sufficiently publicised. Finally, the Committee was keen to see the rollout of Special Support Centres (SSCs).

 

32.3              Cllr Kevin Boram, Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee advised the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the Fire Service were comprehensive and that the pandemic had a significant impact on the normal business of the service. Improvement work continued and the Committee looked forward to reviewing the Integrated Risk Management Plan later in the year.

 

32.4              Cllr Garry Wall, Chairman of the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee advised the Committee recognised the challenges and the difficult decisions needed. The Committee felt it important to understand the new Health and Care Bill and what it aims to deliver. The Committee welcomed the format of the KPIs against the Quality Assurance framework and felt the report was focussed on the challenges ahead in health and social care.

 

32.5              Cllr Pieter Montyn, Chairman of the Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee also welcomed the new format of the report and the additional information provided. The Committee recognised the pressure on Adults Services and the likely financial pressures owing to inflation and the pay award. The Committee felt further information on service transformation and the benefits realised would be helpful. The Committee looked forward to seeing the results of support for businesses and welcomed the various positive service improvements. There was some concern around climate change targets and that further guidance from government should be sought by local authorities collectively.

 

32.6              The following points were made by Cabinet Members in discussion:

 

Ø  Cllr Steve Waight, Cabinet Member for Support Services and Economic Development commented that the green indicators should also be recognised when reviewing the PRR as there were some big achievements. He highlighted the work of all staff throughout the pandemic and the significant pieces of work being undertaken alongside usual tasks.

Ø  Cllr Joy Dennis, Cabinet Members for Highways and Transport referred to pressure from inflation, staffing and contractor issues and supply chains. She advised that service delivery was on target with some pressures covered by underspends in areas. Savings were on track and over 50% of capital projects had been delivered. A Task and Finish Group was being set up to look at killed and seriously injured incidence.

Ø  Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue advised that the Fire Service had been preparing for the HMI inspection and the Community Risk Management Plan was being finalised. The Communities team had been supporting the Afghan refugees and the library service showed a sustained interest in its digital offer. The Community Hub remained open and available for those who needed support. Savings were on track.

Ø  Cllr Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills highlighted the increase in the number of children with Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and the resultant demand on home to school transport. Thought would be given to raising the profile of fuel reimbursement for parents, however the number of pupils transported by parents was increasing which was positive. WSCC would have schemes ready for additional support for SSCs and special placements once government announced funding opportunities.

Ø  Cllr Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People advised that significant improvement had been noted during the Ofsted Monitoring Visit in September 2021, particularly in respect of children with disabilities. Children would become part of the audit process in 2022 which to place the voice of the child at the heart of the service’s work. Whilst an overspend was projected, the position looked more positive than at the end of Quarter 1.

Ø  On behalf of Cllr Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults Services, Keith Hinkley, Executive Director of Adults Services advised the demand for and cost of care continued to rise placing pressure on the service budget. The reprovision of services such as Marjorie Cobby House and Shaw Day services would however deliver some of the projected savings. Workforce was the biggest challenge for the service, alongside discharge from hospital and market sustainability.

Ø  The Leader noted the enormous challenges faced by the Children and Young People and Adults Services portfolios owing to both volume and cost. The pandemic had created a number of uncertainties and new challenges but the council had shown resilience and ability to respond well.

 

 

32.7              Cllr Hunt summarised that services were working hard to address some big challenges and that the report demonstrated that the council was on track with its budget, priorities and KPIs. Minimising risk and reducing costs remained imperative through robust financial management. Cllr Hunt thanked colleagues and officers for their hard work and acknowledged that WSCC continued to provide many excellent services for its residents.

 

 

32.8              Resolved – Cabinet agrees to:

 

1.   Note the information contained in the Q2 Performance and Resources Report in Annex B,

 

2.   Note the update in the presentation of the report following scrutiny committee feedback from the Q1 report,

 

3.   Agree the allocation of £0.225m from the pay inflation contingency budget to the Fire and Rescue Service to fund the nationally agreed 1.5% pay award from July 2021.

 

Supporting documents: