Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Executive Scrutiny Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 5th August, 2014
Time:
10.00am
Place:
Conference Room 2, Municipal Buildings, Church Road, TS18 1LD
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Miss Tina Large (Chair),Cllr Mrs Lynne Apedaile, Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Nigel Cooke, Cllr Robert Gibson, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Maurice Perry
Officers:
Paul Diggins (DNS); Graham Birtle, Nigel Hart, Peter Mennear, Ms Judith Trainer (LD); Ms Kate Fulton (PIE); Tony Montague (R).
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Cherrett, Cllr Javed, Cllr Kirby, Cllr Kirton, Cllr Lupton, Cllr Patterson, Cllr Stoker, Cllr Walmsley and Cllr Mrs Womphrey.
Item Description Decision
Public
EXC
7/14
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
EXC
8/14
MINUTES FOR SIGNATURE - 25TH MARCH 2014
 
EXC
9/14
DRAFT MINUTES - 14TH MAY 2014
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
EXC
10/14
2013/14 PERFORMANCE OUTTURN REPORT
AGREED that:-

1.The strong levels of performance in line with previous years be noted, acknowledging this level of performance has been achieved within a context of reduced financial resource, increased demand on services and reductions in staffing capacity and that future targets should be set to reflect this context.

2. The explanations and actions being taken in relation to those areas where target performance has not been achieved be noted.

3. The option for areas not reaching their targets to be included in the development of the scrutiny programme for 2015-16, taking into account any areas presently being covered within the 14/15 programme, be noted.
EXC
11/14
MTFP UPDATE
AGREED that:-

1. The following recommendations agreed by Cabinet on 17th July 2014 be noted:-

i) The Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP), the current level of General Fund balances and the allocation of 400,000 from the Transformation Reserve to fund transformation work supporting Adult Social Care be approved.

ii)The revised Capital Programme attached at Appendix A to the agenda papers be noted.

iii) Members note the increase in projected savings from the Spark of Genius Joint Venture to 600,000 per year and approve the allocation of an additional 450,000 from the transformation reserve to support the project's capital costs.

iv) Members approve 400,000 from the transformation reserve to support adult social care and 103,000 from the unallocated balance of schools capital funds for developments at Rosebrook School, and also endorse the bids for PSB programme funding.

2. Clarification be provided regarding schemes included within the Town Centre Schemes Capital Programme.
EXC
12/14
PROGRESS UPDATES ON PREVIOUSLY AGREED RECOMMENDATIONS
AGREED that the progress report be noted and assessment of progress be confirmed.
EXC
13/14
DRAFT SCRUTINY ANNUAL REPORT 2013-14
AGREED that the Scrutiny Annual Report for 2013/14 be approved.
EXC
14/14
SCRUTINY REVIEW OF TREE PRESERVATION ORDERS
AGREED that the report be noted and be referred to Cabinet for consideration.
EXC
15/14
SCRUTINY REVIEW OF STREET CAFE FURNITURE AND
A-BOARDS

AGREED that the report be noted and be referred to Cabinet for consideration.
EXC
16/14
SCRUTINY REVIEW OF A SAFER PLACE FOR CHILDREN
AGREED that the report be noted and be referred to Cabinet for consideration.
EXC
17/14
FORWARD PLAN
AGREED that the Forward Plan be noted.
EXC
18/14
REPORT ON CHAIRS UPDATES
AGREED that the updates be noted.
10am-11.15am

Preamble

ItemPreamble
EXC
7/14
There were no Declarations of Interest declared.
EXC
8/14
The minutes of the meeting held on 25th March 2014 were signed by the Chair as a correct record.
EXC
9/14
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 14th May 2014.
EXC
10/14
Members were provided with details of the Council's performance in 2013/14, highlighting key achievements, areas for improvement and proposed actions; as well as statistical information relating to Freedom of Information requests, complaints and commendations, and the Staff Suggestion scheme.

In addition to providing a perspective on the overall performance of the Council, the report focused on the achievement of the basket of measures and associated targets agreed as part of the Council Plan 2013-16.

The Committee noted that performance against the targets set was equivalent to that achieved the previous year (67%) at a time when the Council continued to operate within severe budget constraints and had suffered job losses.

Members held discussion on the report and raised the following questions/queries:-

-The impact of the release of sanctions data from the DWP and its effect on the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance was awaited with some concern particularly given recently reported tragic cases ; and would feature in future reports on Welfare Reform. Details would be shared with the elected member who had voiced these concerns;

-58.1% of secondary school pupils, including those attending Academies, were attending good or outstanding schools. An overall performance report including a breakdown of the performance/identity of each school, would be produced in the Autumn by the Head of Education, Early Years & Complex Needs;

-The number of children in poverty within Stockton was 22.5%; which compared to 20.6% as the national average. Work was ongoing on a range of welfare reform indicators that would allow for targeted activity against this indicator;

-Members noted the option for areas not reaching their targets to be included in the development of the scrutiny programme for 2015-16, taking into account any areas presently being covered within the 14/15 programme.
EXC
11/14
Members were provided with an update report that focused on the financial performance and position at the end of the 2013/14 financial year; including the updated MTFP position and Capital Programme.

Members noted progress against both General Fund Non Big Ticket areas; as well as progress against the Big Ticket reviews themselves, namely Adult Social Care, Children's Social Care, and Energy and Waste.

Members held discussion on the report and raised the following questions/queries:-

-Members noted and supported the need for continued capital investment as part of the Spark of Genius Project including the allocation of 450,000 from the Transformation Reserve in the event that a bid to the Transformation Challenge Award was unsuccessful;

-Clarification was requested whether the Town Centre Schemes Capital Programme budget included the regeneration schemes at the Victoria Estate and Tarring St (Parkfield & Mill Lane.

EXC
12/14
Members considered a report that provided an assessment of progress relating to the implementation of recommendations coming from a number of previous reviews.
EXC
13/14
Consideration was given to the content of the proposed Scrutiny Annual Report for 2013/14.

Following the Committee's agreement of its content, the report would be circulated to key partner agencies and would be published on the Scrutiny pages of Stockton Council's web site.
EXC
14/14
The Committee considered the draft report of the Scrutiny Review of Tree Preservation Orders.

EXC
15/14
The Committee considered the draft report of the Scrutiny Review of Street Cafe and A-Board Advertising.

EXC
16/14
The Committee considered the draft report of the Scrutiny Review of A Safer Place for Children.
EXC
17/14
Members were provided with the Statutory Forward Plan 1st July-31st October 2014.
EXC
18/14
The Committee was provided with updates on Select Committee reviews.

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