Agenda, decisions and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 11th November, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - City Hall, Bradford. View directions

Items
No. Item

36.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)

 

To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

Notes:

 

(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.

 

(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 

 

(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.

 

(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Green disclosed a personal interest in Minute 39 as he had attended an armed forces and veterans breakfast event.  The interest was not prejudicial and he remained in the meeting during consideration and voting on that matter.

 

ACTION:       City Solicitor

 

37.

INSPECTION OF REPORTS AND BACKGROUND PAPERS

(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)

 

Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 

 

Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 

 

If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 

 

Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 

 

(Yusuf Patel - 01274 434579)

 

Minutes:

There were no appeals submitted by the public to review decisions to restrict documents.

 

38.

REFERRALS TO THE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

The following referrals have been made to this Committee up to and including the date of publication of this agenda.

 

The Committee is asked to note the referrals listed above and decide how it wishes to proceed, for example by incorporating the item into the work programme, requesting that it be subject to more detailed examination, or refer it to an appropriate Working Group/Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no referrals made to the Committee.

 

39.

ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT ON THE LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ARMED FORCES COVENANT pdf icon PDF 362 KB

The Strategic Director, Place will submit a report (Document “P”) which provides an update on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant locally and report on progress made by the Bradford District Armed Forces Covenant Partnership and the Council in identifying and addressing need within the local Armed Forces Community.

 

The report also provides an overview of the West Yorkshire Armed Forces Covenant Implementation Project and notes expected legislative changes to the Armed Forces Covenant expected later this year.

 

Recommended –

 

To note and comment on the contents of the progress report on the Bradford District Armed Forces Covenant and the work of the Bradford District Armed Forces Covenant Partnership to meet the needs of the local Armed Forces Community.

(Gemma Paine - 01274 437573)

 

Decision:

Resolved –

 

This committee requests that a further report be presented in 12 months, which also focuses on:

 

-       Impacts of the expected legislative changes;

-       Development in relation to the Armed Forces Hub;

-       The work being provided through the Health Service.

 

(Gemma Paine – 01274 437573)

 

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Director, Place submitted a report (Document “P”) which provided an update on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant locally and reported on progress made by the Bradford District Armed Forces Covenant Partnership and the Council in identifying and addressing need within the local Armed Forces Community.

 

The Chair introduced Councillor Dodds and referred to her passion for her duties as Armed Forces Champion.  Councillor Dodds reported that an enormous amount of work had been conducted throughout the Covid pandemic and paid tribute to the efforts of the West Yorkshire Armed Forces Covenant Implementation Officer and to the work of other West Yorkshire Partners.  It was explained that the work undertaken to develop the West Yorkshire Service Pupil Premium Resource Directory for schools, which was hosted on the Bradford Council website, had received national recognition.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Davies, who was representing the armed forces, expressed gratitude for the support that the City provided; he felt that the city loved the armed forces; was an amazing partner and he believed that the armed forces could not achieve the things it did without the city’s support. He reported that across the UK Bradford was a place with a lot to shout about; he felt that was not the case in some other places and he expressed thanks and the appreciation of all the armed forces. 

 

The report revealed that between 1 April2018 and 30 June 2021 a total of 373 people applying for employment with the Council identified themselves as either currently serving or having served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Of those applicants 37 were shortlisted for interview and 13 contracts of employment were issued.   Member queried why only 10% of applicants had been shortlisted and only 5% had been offered a contract.  It was questioned if additional training may be required to allow those applicants to successfully apply.  In response the representative of the armed forces explained that all local authorities recruited in identical ways although this was not always universally understood.  A partnership to support applicants through the process was being developed by the armed forces.

 

A Member questioned if statistics were compiled to show the number of homeless people or rough sleepers who were armed forces veterans.  It was explained that this information was not available at the meeting but was compiled by the Housing Options teams.  It was agreed to provide that information after the meeting.

 

It was explained that a training programme to build staff awareness of the covenant was being developed and a survey was being conducted to understand if the Armed Forces Community were represented in the workforce.  Members expressed interest in the covenant awareness training programme.  It was clarified that this was an on line training course and details would be shared with Members. 

 

 

It was queried why NHS users were questioned to ascertain if they were armed forces personnel or veterans and it was explained that this was to allow for additional support to be provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

QTR 2 FINANCE POSITION STATEMENT FOR 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 591 KB

The Director of Finance will submit a report (Document “Q”) which provides Members with an update on the forecast year-end financial position of the Council for 2021-22.

 

It examines the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and the forecast year-end financial position based on information at Qtr 2. It states the Council’s current balances and reserves and school balances. 

 

Recommended –

 

That the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee review and comment on the Qtr 2 Finance Position Statement for 2021-22.

 

(Andrew Cross - 07870 386523)

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Members of the Committee thanked officers for the report and looked forward to receiving the Third Quarter Financial Position Statement.

 

                                                                        (Andrew Cross – 07870 386523)

 

Minutes:

The Director of Finance presented a report (Document “Q”) which provided Members with an update on the forecast year-end financial position of the Council for 2021-22.

 

Document “Q” examined the latest spend against revenue and capital budgets and the forecast year-end financial position based on information at Quarter 2. It stated the Council’s current balances and reserves and school balances. 

 

Following a very detailed presentation Members raised a number of questions to which the following responses were provided:

 

·         The departmental commentary on recruitment to Children’s Social Care included some internal promotions within the number of new posts but was broken down into two separate figures to reflect the natural turnover in that service. 

·         Significant pressure in the Department of Place had arisen in the Waste Management Service and mitigating factors were included in the report.  It was more difficult to comment on services such as Sport and Culture as those services were more reliant on income generation.  That income was relied upon to balance base budgets but had been significantly impacted by COVID.  People were beginning to return to sports centres and theatres but there was still some hesitancy because of the pandemic.  An initiative to generate additional income by the Museums Service had also been delayed. 

·         The Council’s Strategic Risk Register, appended to the report, was reviewed to assess risk after mitigating action had been identified.  It was acknowledged that some legacy risk remained high and it was agreed that discussions would be held with the Council’s Risk Manager to ascertain if that was an error in the report.

·         A major deficit in income from business rates was not expected as this had been offset by government relief through Covid funding.  There would be a concern if businesses did not recover from the pandemic and ceased to trade in the future.

 

Officers were thanked for the report and Members looked forward to receipt of the third quarter information.

 

41.

PROGRESS OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK UNDERTAKEN BY IMPOWER AND THE COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The Strategic Director of Corporate Resources will submit a report (Document “R”) which sets out a summary of the progress made by the Council in partnership with IMPOWER since the commencement of the new IMPOWER contract on the 1st September 2020.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       The Committee to note the content of this report.

 

(2)       The Committee to note the progress made on the transformation         projects and the benefits being realized.

 

(3)       The Committee to not the completion of the required works and           successful handover by IMPOWER.

 

(Chris Chapman - 01274 433656 / Marium Haque - 01274 431078 /

Iain MacBeath - 01274 432900 & Ian Day - 01274 433507)

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Councillors thanked officers for the report and the work undertaken.

 

                                                                        (Chris Chapman – 01274 433656)

 

 

Minutes:

The Strategic Director of Corporate Resources submitted a report (Document “R”) which set out a summary of the progress made by the Council in partnership with IMPOWER since the commencement of the new IMPOWER contract on the 1st September 2020. 

 

Members were reminded that the previous report provided in December 2020 had outlined that IMPOWER were supporting work in three key areas with the Council.  The information provided at that time was reiterated in Document “R” and reported programmes conducted in the Council’s Departments of Health and Wellbeing; Children’s Services and Localities.

 

It was reported that since that time IMPOWER had completed their support activity in all three areas; completed their transition and handover arrangement for the projects; provided skills transfer support to internal teams; completed the project and had exited at the end of July 2021.

 

A Member questioned the value for money that the contract had provided and believed that the actions that had been identified through the contract were part of the ordinary day to day work of the Council.  He used issues in Children’s Services which the Council had acknowledged and being dealing with for the previous ten years to demonstrate his point.  Measures identified in localities had also been debated for some time in Area Committees and Council Policy amended accordingly.  He stressed that he struggled to see if the contract costs were a wise investment.

 

In response it was reported it was national experience; best practice; strength based practices and understanding what the organisation was not doing well which would bring ongoing services and benefits.

 

The impact in Children’s Services was once again questioned and it was stressed that the organisational requirements to make improvements had been known and management were supposed to be sorting.  Discussions were held about projected savings and it was felt that the real test would be if things continued to improve and savings were continued to be made in 12 months’ time.  Concern was expressed that if things were not being done properly previously would they be undertaken efficiently in the future. In reply it was explained that an understanding of business models had been provided and national skills and expertise transferred.   

 

The Chair explained that work in Localities had helped managers to utilise performance measures to improve outcomes.  It was felt that looking at Key Performance Areas there had been improvements.  Analysis of critical indicators had afforded an understanding of what was required and provided a strong focus on how improvements could be made.

 

The length of the contract with IMPOWER was queried and it was explained that, with the exception of a few additional handover days in August, it had run for a period from September 2020 to July 2021.

 

Assurances were provided that the savings did take account of the costs incurred and that as soon as the skills required were transferred the contract had ceased.

42.

CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The Chair of the Committee will submit a report (Document “S”) which presents the Committee’s work programme for 2021/22. 

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       That Members consider if they wish to choose to add to or amend       the topics included in the 2021-22 work programme.

 

(2)       That Members consider any detailed scrutiny reviews that they            may wish to consider.

 

(Mustansir Butt - 01274 432574)

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved –

 

Members agreed the consultation arrangements, in relation to the Domestic Violence Scrutiny Review.

 

                                                            (Mustansir Butt – 01274 432574)

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair of the Committee submitted a report (Document “S”) which presented the Committee’s work programme for 2021/22. 

 

It was reported that the Review of Domestic Violence was ongoing and measures were being undertaken to engage with strategic partners.  Once those arrangements were in place an informal session would be arranged with Members to discuss the scope of the review.  Following that process engagement would be made with victims of domestic violence. 

 

Members were asked to contact the Overview and Scrutiny Lead with any comments they wished to make and advised that they would be contacted separately about the dates and times for the informal review sessions.