Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access
Contact: Mark Beeley 01628 796345 / Email: email@example.com
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Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence received.
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To consider the minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2020.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2020 were confirmed as a true and accurate record.
Councillor L Jones mentioned the comments that the Panel had made on the Maidenhead United Football Club – Request for Relocation report at the last meeting in November 2020. She asked if comments were considered by Cabinet and if the Panel would be receiving a response to the comments that were made.
Mark Beeley, Democratic Services Officer, explained that the comments had been published as a supplement to the main Cabinet agenda where members of Cabinet would have been able to read the comments in advance of the meeting. In terms of a response to the comments made, Cabinet were not required to make a formal response to the Panel’s comments but Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council and Chair of Cabinet, thanked the Panel at the meeting for considering the report and for the comments they had raised.
To consider and make comments on the Budget for 2021/22.
Councillor Hilton, Lead Member for Finance and Ascot, introduced the report and explained that the Panel’s views were sought on the main report and five appendices. Appendix A consisted of the Medium Term Financial Plan and incorporated changes that had been made in the current year’s budget. £895,000 had been allocated as a pay increase for all RBWM staff, while £850,000 had been earmarked for use in corporate capacity areas, giving officers greater capacity to fulfil their roles. The impact of Covid was estimated to have a £9.2 million impact on the budget, while £6 million worth of savings had been identified to cover part of this impact.
A member of the public, Andrew Hill, had requested to speak on the item. Mr Hill said that money had been lost from venue licensing as some had chosen not to renew and asked which venues these were. For the registrars, there was reported to be a £25,000 drop in income predicted in the previous budget but this was inflated in the next budget. Mr Hill asked if these figures were used to try and disguise any financial problems. Concern was raised about the cutting of the audit budget, Mr Hill believed that councillors should be demanding more audit, not less. Regarding schools, they were being charged more and Mr Hill wanted to know what the reason for this was. There was increased data protection support so Mr Hill questioned why a breach was deemed ‘likely’ if data protection had been enhanced. Mr Hill raised a final concern, that the allowance paid to councillors who chaired council meetings was increasing, but arts funding for venues like Norden Farm was being cut.
Councillor Hilton said that he had been involved in discussions with the relevant Lead Member along with officers. It was going to be challenging for the arts sector but there was money in the budget provided which would support grants for the arts.
Adele Taylor, Director of Resources, said that she would pick up and answer Mr Hill’s points as the Panel went through the relevant sections of the budget. The Medium Term Financial Plan, which was Appendix A of the report, was part of the draft budget which was presented in December 2020. The plan showed the movement and changes expected in the budget.
Councillor L Jones asked about the estimated total losses from Covid and how the mitigation funding compared to the income lost. There was payment for services at the point of demand and Councillor L Jones wanted to know how this would work for residents who were on a low income. She asked if the pay award for RBWM staff was in the contingency budget.
Adele Taylor said that Covid losses were the estimated income losses for the current financial year. The next budget monitoring report would be going to Cabinet later in the week, with most of the pressures being around the costs to contractors. Income losses had hit RBWM hard, with further detail provided in ... view the full minutes text for item 117.
To consider the report.
Adele Taylor introduced the report and said that the performance was based on the new interim strategic framework which had been agreed by Cabinet in July 2020 and was primarily focussed on responding to the current pandemic situation that RBWM found itself in. Three of the targets were green, five were amber and one was red. Despite the impact of the pandemic, business rate collection was above target. The issues with waste and recycling last year had a knock on effect with the number of calls that were received at the customer contact centre. However, since December 2020 the percentage of calls answered had improved.
The Chairman asked about the diversity and inclusion target and said that there was a lot of words in the report but no figures so it was hard to gain an understanding on how diverse the council was.
Nikki Craig said that the annual workforce profile provided the best information on diversity across RBWM. Work on the profile was planned to start in April 2021 and it would be brought to the Panel for consideration in the summer. Links would be made with the new values and the profile would allow a greater understanding of who worked at the council. Improvements could then be made where required.
Councillor L Jones pointed out that the current period was Q4 now so the comments on the Q2 performance would therefore not have much impact. She suggested that it might be better to circulate the report at the time at which it was available for any comments from Panel members, it could then come back to a future meeting at the appropriate time if any issues arose.
The Chairman said that this idea made sense and suggested it was something that officers could have a think about.
Councillor Sharpe agreed with Councillor L Jones comments. He asked officers if there was anything in the report which was a concern.
Councillor Rayner passed on her thanks to Adele Taylor and her team for the report. Services across the council had been able to continue in the current circumstances and had adapted well. She hoped that the report could be considered by the Panel closer to the time period which it was reflecting. Answering Councillor Sharpe’s question, Councillor Rayner said that the waste issues had proved to be a challenge, especially with all the extra calls which had been a direct consequence.
Adele Taylor said that a number of the performance indicators related to the delivery of services for businesses and vulnerable residents. She passed on her thanks to Louise Freeth and her team who had been doing a huge amount of work behind the scenes.
The Chairman put forward his and the Panel’s thanks to the team and said that it would be good to review the report sooner in future, if possible.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel noted the report and:
i) Noted the 2020/21 Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel Q2 Performance Report in ... view the full minutes text for item 118.
Members of the Panel to consider appropriate content for inclusion in the Annual Report.
Councillor Werner said that the report should reflect an independent view of the work of the Panel. He proposed that Councillor L Jones wrote the report and believed that she would provide a non-political view.
The Chairman said that he was happy to work in collaboration with Councillor L Jones on the report.
Councillor L Jones said that she would be happy to be more involved if the Panel agreed.
Councillor Haseler said that it sounded like a good idea as Councillor L Jones had a good amount of experience on the Panel.
Councillor Sharpe agreed and said that the Panel was working and collaborating well.
The Chairman suggested that he would work with Councillor L Jones initially to draft the report, which would then be circulated to the other Panel Members for their comments.
To consider the Panel’s work programme for the remainder of the Municipal year.
To include consideration of items scheduled on the Cabinet Forward Plan.
Councillor Werner said that the Task and Finish group on Highways contract outsourcing should be pursued and another meeting arranged soon.
The Chairman informed Councillor Werner that himself and Councillor L Jones would be having a meeting with Simon Dale, Interim Head of Highways, later in the week where the group would be discussed.
Councillor Sharpe commented on the next meeting of the Panel and said that the Q3 performance report should be circulated prior to the meeting. Adele Taylor said she would see what could be done.
Councillor Werner said that it would be useful to add the transformation strategy to the work programme so that it could be analysed.
The Chairman said that this was already on the work programme, for consideration at the meeting in April.
Duncan Sharkey said that it would allow the Panel to examine the strategy and explore it in more depth.
Councillor Sharpe suggested having a review of the savings that were programmed into the budget later in the year to check progress.
Adele Taylor said that savings trackers would be produced as part of the budget monitoring report.
Local Government Act 1972 - Exclusion of the Public
To consider passing the following resolution:-
“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public - be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.”
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.
To consider the Part II minutes from the meeting held on 24th November 2020.