Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 January 2021.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 20 January 2020 were confirmed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman at a later date.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
To answer any public questions. A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice. The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this Committee.
Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions
There were no public questions.
To answer any Member questions.
In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited Members to submit questions.
Gary Cowan asked the Chairman the following question:
I do find it bizarre that the Constitutional Group consists of the Leader, his deputy, and another member of the ruling Executive plus one Lib Dem Member; but when one adds the Standards Committee debacle to the workings (or not) of the Constitution, in my opinion this does not show Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) in much of a good light but again because of its majority, it’s the committee construction’s responsibility of the ruling party.
My question to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, who are responsible for co-ordinating the Council's arrangements for holding the Executive to account; do they consider that the current membership of the CRWG will be seen by the Committee and by default our residents as more judge and jury rather than being democratic and so should be at least be reviewed soonest?
You imply in your question that CRWG is not democratic. I do not agree. Let me explain why.
There are no legal regulations around the process for reviewing and updating the Constitution - it is up to each local authority to decide its local arrangements.The Constitution Review Working Group (CRWG) was set up by Council on 27 October 2005. Council agreed that its purpose was “to review the whole of the Constitution in order to provide further consistency and clarification.”
The terms of reference of CRWG set out more broadly its purpose stating that it will undertake this role by:
a) Reviewing areas in the Constitution to ensure that they are fit for purpose and put forward appropriate changes;
b) Receiving requests to review certain areas of the Constitution;
c) Considering changes proposed by Members, Officers and Committees;
d) Recommending proposed changes to Council for approval.
Council agreed that the membership of CRWG should be four members and should be politically balanced. Members are appointed to CRWG at the Annual Council Meeting and I do not recall, Councillor Cowan, that you raised the issue about membership at that point. Maybe you did. My memory is not that strong on that sort of thing. I assume that you agreed it at the time, as the rest of us probably did.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committees are, indeed, tasked with holding the Executive to account. Since neither the Leader nor his deputy, nor any member of the Executive are on any of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, they are well able to hold them to account.
In addition, CRWG is not about political point scoring, but is about process and procedure. Therefore, there is nothing to judge or to be a jury for. It is important to reiterate that CRWG is not, in any case, a decision making body. Any changes to the Constitution are decided by full Council. If Council wishes to change its current local arrangements, that would be a decision for the whole Council.
When I look at Overview and Scrutiny within an Executive model, from a Scrutiny perspective, I find it quite interesting. Under the Executive ... view the full minutes text for item 75.1
To consider the Quarter 3 2020/21 Performance Management Report.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 9 to 30, which gave details of Council performance during quarter 3 of 2020/21 (October to December).
Laura Callan and Will Roper from the Communities, Insight and Change service attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions.
The report stated that each quarter of 2020/21 had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Quarter 3 started with some services able to resume, albeit at reduced capacity due to social distancing measures. The Borough was then affected by the second national lockdown in November.
Despite the significant impacts of Covid-19 and the Council’s focus on response and recovery, performance at the end of quarter 3 remained positive across the majority of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 61% of KPIs were on track (Green), with 16% close to target (Amber) and 17% missing the target in quarter 3 (Red).
The following indicators were reported as Red in quarter 3:
· CS1 – Percentage of children who became subject to a Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time within 24 months.
· RA5a – Percentage of successful homeless preventions.
· PG19 - Percentage of household waste reused, recycled and composted.
· AS3 – People aged 65+ who received reablement from the START team following discharge from hospital, and remained at home 91 days later.
· CIC16 – Number of Stage 1 complaints received.
· AS7 – Proportion of people receiving long term care who were subject to a review in the last 12 months.
· CS4 – Percentage of EHCP assessments completed within 20 weeks of referral.
· CIC5 – Visits to Wokingham Borough libraries.
· RA3 – Usage of Wokingham Borough leisure centres.
· RA4 – Participation in leisure centre activities to support those who may be experiencing social isolation.
· RA5d – Proportion of applicants supported into settled accommodation.
In addition to the KPIs in the report, the following KPIs were under development and would be reported to the Committee in due course:
· Alternative measure for Delayed Transfers of Care;
· Channel shift - % digital transactions;
· Staff engagement survey – to develop more frequent reporting.
In the ensuing discussion, Members raised the following points:
· Government financial support for spending on Covid-19 – was there more certainty about future funding? It was confirmed that the Finance team would be asked to comment on levels of financial support as the pandemic progressed.
· RA5a – Percentage of successful homeless preventions – could further detail be provided on this indicator and the reasons behind the move from Green to Red status in Quarter 3? It was confirmed that the service would be asked to provide written details.
· RA5d – Proportion of applicants supported into settled accommodation – could further detail be provided on the rationale for the 40% target (which seemed low) and further information on the scale of homelessness across the Borough (actual numbers in addition to percentages). It was confirmed that the service would be asked to provide a written response.
· CIC5 – Visits to Wokingham Borough libraries – could the ... view the full minutes text for item 76.
To consider a report with proposals to improve horizon scanning, the development of work programmes and tracking recommendations.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 31 to 38, which set out proposals to improve Overview and Scrutiny work programming, monitoring and reporting.
The report referred to discussions at the Committee’s meeting in January 2021. Members had requested a further report setting out ideas for “horizon scanning” in order to ensure that emerging issues and policies were factored into the Overview and Scrutiny work programmes.
The report proposed that the relevant Executive Member/Directors be invited to the first Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings in the new Municipal Year in order to discuss priorities over the year ahead. The report also proposed more frequent meetings between the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen, the Executive and the Corporate Leadership Team in line with the Protocol (appended to the report) agreed in 2019.
The report also suggested the introduction of an improved action tracking system for the Committees’ recommendations to ensure that the relevant actions were taken and feedback was provided for Members. This would allow Scrutiny Members to build up a picture of progress during the year and would enable progress chasing on actions that were outstanding. It was confirmed that the tracking system could include recommendations made to the Executive and that the updates could be date stamped.
1) the proposed improvements to “horizon scanning” and action tracking, set out in the report, be approved;
2) the relevant Executive Member/s and Director/s be invited to the first Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings in the new Municipal Year to discuss priorities for the year ahead;
3) regular meetings be held between the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen, the Executive and the Corporate Leadership Team in line with the 2019 Executive-Overview and Scrutiny Protocol;
4) each Overview and Scrutiny Committee adopt an action tracking report to be discussed and updated at each meeting during the year.
To approve the 2020/21 Overview and Scrutiny Annual Reports for submission to the Council meeting in March 2021.
The Committee considered the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Reports for 2020/21, set out at Agenda pages 39 to 56. The Annual Reports gave details of the issues considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees during 2020/21.
In line with the Constitution, the Annual Reports would be submitted to the full Council meeting in March 2021.
RESOLVED: That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Reports for 2020/21 be confirmed for submission to the Council in March 2021.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme.
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme, as set out on Agenda pages 57 to 66.
RESOLVED: That the Executive and Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programmes be noted.
To discuss the work programme of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
The Committee considered its forward work programme and that of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as set out on Agenda pages 67 to 72.
It was confirmed that the following items would be carried forward into the work programme for 2021/22:
· Equality Strategy;
· Development of the co-produced Anti-Poverty Strategy – Sarah Kerr requested an update report to the March meeting of the Committee;
· Partnership working with charities and other bodies tackling poverty;
· Update on the operation of the new Street Sweeping contract;
· WBC website development.
Suggested items for the 2021/22 Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programmes would be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee.
1) the Overview and Scrutiny forward work programmes for 2020/21 be noted;
2) suggested items for the 2021/22 Overview and Scrutiny work programmes be considered at the next meeting;
3) a report be submitted to the next meeting with an update on the process for developing the co-produced Anti-Poverty Strategy.
Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group
To consider an update from the Chairman on the Task and Finish Group’s work programme for 2021.
Alison Swaddle, Chairman of the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group, gave an update on the Group’s work programme for 2021. The Group had agreed a programme of meetings running up to June 2021 and had invited a number of WBC officers and external experts to attend. The aim was to submit the Task and Finish Group’s second report to the Management Committee at its meeting on 16 June 2021.
Sarah Kerr reported that the LGA had produced a number of tools relating to Behaviour Change which would be useful for the Group.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that, due to the election purdah, the next meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday 23 March 2021, commencing at 7pm.
The Committee noted that the proposed date of its next meeting – 31 March 2021 – fell within the May election purdah period. It was suggested that the meeting be rearranged for Tuesday 23 March 2021.
RESOLVED: That the next meeting be held at 7pm on Tuesday 23 March 2021.