Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Board on Monday 15th January 2018, 6.00 p.m.

Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board - Monday 15th January 2018 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside. View directions

Contact: Amanda Scarce  and Jess Bayley

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Named Substitutes


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest and Whipping Arrangements

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


There were no declarations of interest nor any whipping arrangements.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 176 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the overview and Scrutiny Board held on 27th November 2017 were submitted.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 27th November 2017 b e approved as a correct record.


Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Update


The Chairman advised that as Councillor Hotham, the Council’s representative on the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), needed to leave early for another meeting, he had agreed to bring this item forward in order for Councillor Hotham to provide his update.


Councillor Hotham confirmed that at the most recent meeting of HOSC further information had been provided in respect of the budget for Adult Social Care, which continued to be of concern, although it was acknowledged that the increase in Council Tax would be ring fenced to give an additional £7.2m, funding.  The major concern was several car homes had closed as a result of staff shortages across Worcestershire and there were currently over 300 vacancies for health care assistants.  However the following year this the additional funds being raised through Council Tax reduced to 1% which would result in some tough decisions being made.  The situation would be monitored closely to ensure that the situation did not reach an unacceptable level. 


Following Councillor Hotham’s update Members raised a number of areas which were discussed in more detail, this included:


·         The increase was less than inflation so would become an issue even with the proposals in future years.

·         The recruitment situation and whether funding would make a difference to the vacancies – it was suggested that the ability to pay a more reasonable wages would encourage more people to take up the posts and improve the terms and conditions for these roles.





Transport Planning Report - Verbal Update

(i)            Discussion with Representatives from Worcestershire County Council Highways Team.

(ii)          Discussion with Representatives from Worcestershire Regulatory Services.




The Chairman welcomed the visitors to the meeting and explained that the item would be broken down into two areas, Highways and Air Quality; although it was acknowledged that there may be some overlaps in places between the two.  Members were reminded that we were looking at the strategic overview and that it was important to avoid discussing specific planning applications, as these were a separate process and not areas which were within the Board’s remit.


The Worcestershire County Council (WCC) Officers (Mr. Nigel Hudson, Ms. Karen Hanchett, Mr. Steve Hawley and Mr. Martin Rowe) introduced themselves and provided background as to their individual roles.  Mr. Hudson thanked Members for the opportunity to attend the meeting and said his team had been provided with the minutes of the previous meeting so they were now here to listen to what Members had to say in order to feed into the report that would be prepared by the Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager.  Information had already been provided and dependent on what came out of this meeting, further information and discussions would be taking place to assist with that final report.


Following discussion it was agreed that in order to give the WCC Officers an opportunity to respond to points raised, was for the bullet points within the minutes to be discussed.


·         Full data sets being requested from WCC under a Freedom of Information application and this being refused – it would be helpful to understand why this was the case and whether they were now willing to release that information.


WCC responded that there were still a number of applications in progress and therefore they had not, on legal advice, been able to release that data.  However, following further discussions they had been informed that this was now possible and were happy to share it outside of the meeting.  It was currently being used for the modelling work on the A38 and would form part of a business case for that work.  Analysis of that data was at the early stages and would continue.


Members asked whether if it was being used for the A38 business case, it was originally classed as commercially sensitive, but appeared now not to be and had been released to other parties.  The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager confirmed that he had received the traffic count data and Mr. Hudson confirmed that there had been one piece outstanding, which had been provided today.  It was understood that there had been a variety of data requested, some of which had been provided, including full counts and historic data.


WCC reiterated that that this data was now available and they were happy to provide it.  Mr. Hudson clarified that there were a number of different groups of data, the surveys from May and subsequent work based on the counts used for planning applications, which had been withheld, but this was now being made available.


As there appeared to be confusion as to the circumstances of the data  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79/17


Finance and Budget Working Group pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Mallett, Chairman of the Finance and Budget Working Group, introduced this report and explained that this was the first stage of the work it was carrying out following the request from full Council to look into breakdown of costs between the two Councils.  Officers had carried out an historic review of time together with a short “time and motion” exercise going forward.  It was clear in the recent figures that, following additional management support required in relation to housing at Redditch, that there was a disproportionate amount of time being spent on that work which was reflected in the figures.  The Group had therefore put forward two recommendations.


Following presentation of the report Members discussed a number of areas in more detail, including:


·         The legal implications and the need to consider any potential changes that may impact on these.

·         The Executive Director, Finance and Resources explained that the original shared services legal agreement was for a 50/50 split.  The historic figures had produced a relatively small difference, but as the Council’s Section 151 Officer she agreed that it was reasonable to seek reimbursement in respect of the element of work relating to the Housing Revenue Account Review, when this work was completed.

·         The recommendations would be referred to Cabinet.

·         The potential for a refund to be sought had been advised to the relevant Portfolio Holder at Redditch.

·         The need to ensure the Council was receiving value for money from the shared service agreement.

·         It was confirmed that the Working Group membership was cross party and its decision had been unanimous in respect of these recommendations.

·         Membership of the Shared Services Board and how often it met.




a)    Redditch Borough Council refund Bromsgrove District Council for the additional officer time spend due to the additional management time being spent on the housing service in Redditch; and

b)   A review of the Management Team re-charge between the two councils be carried out in light of the information received by the Finance and Budget Working Group.


Measures Dashboard Working Group - Update


Councillor Shirley Webb, Chairman of the Measures Dashboard Working Group provided an update on the Group’s most recent work.  She confirmed that it had completed its work in respect of looking at each of the Council’s strategic purposes and had fed back to officers and arranging to meet with them to discuss their findings.  It also planned to meet with Councillor S. Colella, the Chairman of the Joint Staff Survey Task Group in order to explore how best the Group could implement the Task Group’s recommendation in respect of performance measures.  It had also arranged to meet with the Chairman of the Redditch Performance Scrutiny Working Group with a view to progressing joint working with them.  The Group had arranged meetings for the remainder of the municipal year.



Task Group Updates


CCTV Short Sharp Review


Councillor S. Colella, Chairman of the CCTV Short Sharp Review confirmed that the Group had met before the Christmas break and had discussed with Officers the potential for a review of the needs of the CCTV Team and the District through the use of an external consultant.  Funding had been made available for this through the Community Safety Partnership and the necessary arrangements put in place.  The Group planned to meet with the consultant in early March to discuss his work and to feed in their own thoughts to this process.  It was hoped the Review would be completed and a report provided to the April meeting of the Board.


Joint Staff Survey Scrutiny Task Group


Councillor Colella, as the Chairman of this completed Task Group, provided an update on recent events.  He confirmed that, as the Lead Scrutiny Member for Staff, he had attended a staff briefing at the Depot, which had covered a number of areas, including the most recent staff survey.  It was understood the results of the survey would be available shortly.  Councillor Colella also advised that he had attended a presentation in respect of the survey which had been issued and whilst he had not been able to influence its content as the meeting was after it had been issued, he had raised a number of issues which had not been picked up despite discussions at meetings with officers.


Members discussed a number of areas around the staff survey including whether the response rate had been better this time; Cllr Colella responded that he understood that in some areas it was better and in others not so much.  Currently the results were being analysed and it was hoped these would come before the Board in due course.





Overview and Scrutiny Topic Proposal Report pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman invited Councillor Cooper to present his topic proposal and in so doing Councillor Cooper highlighted that the proposal had come forward following discussions with officers.  He provided an example of reports which were produced in a number of agendas and questioned the amount of paper that was used for agendas.  Additional costs were also incurred from agendas being posed out or from Members travelling in to collect them.  He envisaged that the investigation would include reviewing whether the current IT equipment used by Members was fit for purpose and it was agreed that the IPads were not suitable for carrying out a number of functions, for example accessing the Measures Dashboard.  It was also suggested that it might well be an opportunity to resolve the ongoing issue faced by “dual hatters” and having access to both councils’ information on one devise.


Members were in agreement that the IPads had limited used and agreed that it was an opportunity to look at the options available and what steps could be taken towards paperless.  Printing of documents was also discussed, as concerns were raised that by being paperless it would encourage Members to print off agendas themselves, although it was noted that currently there was not the facility to do this. 


It was questioned whether, currently officers had capacity to facilitate a Task Group and it was confirmed that a new Democratic Services Officer would join the team in early March 2018, with responsibility for the day to day work of the Overview and Scrutiny function, with the Senior Democratic Services Officers’ support and overarching responsibility.  It was suggested that this topic would be a good piece of work for her to take responsibility for and work could therefore commence in mid-March.


Officers would seek interest from Members at a later date and the membership would come back to the Board to be signed off together with the appointment of a Chairman.


RESOLVED that the topic be included in the work programme and a Task Group established to undertake a more in-depth investigation, with the appointment of a Chairman for the Task Group being set at a date to be determined.





Cabinet Work Programme pdf icon PDF 216 KB


The Chairman invited Members to consider whether there were any items on the Cabinet Work Programme which it wished to pre-scrutinise.   Officers highlighted that a number of these were already on the Board’s Work Programme, this included the Industrial units Investment Outline Business Case, which had been further delayed, the Sports Hall Feasibility Options Appraisal, which the Executive Director, Finance and Resources would now be brought to the March Cabinet meeting.


Members requested an opportunity to consider the Hagley Air Quality Management Area, Kidderminster Road, Hagley – Potential Revocation and raised concerns around the potential impact of this.  It was therefore agreed that this would be added to the Board’s Work Programme.


The Executive Director, Finance and Resources advised that although the Finance and Budget Working Group would consider the Medium Term Financial Plan she would also bring a presentation on this to the Board’s February meeting for completeness.


RESOLVED  that the Cabinet Work Programme 1st February to 31st May 2018 be noted.


Overview and Scrutiny Board Work Programme pdf icon PDF 253 KB


The Board considered its Work Programme and officers provided updates and reminders in respect of a number of items.  It was confirmed that the Board’s Work Programme would be update in respect of the items from the Cabinet Work Programme.


Members noted that the items for the February and March meeting were particularly heavy and agreed that no further items would be included within these agendas unless really necessary.


RESOLVED that the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s Work Programme be noted.