Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions
Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted by Lindsay Ferris, Kate Haines, Ian Pittock, Malcolm Richards and Shahid Younis.
Rachelle Shepherd-Dubey and Imogen Shepherd-Dubey attended the meeting as substitutes for Lindsay Ferris and Ian Pittock respectively.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 11 July 2017.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 July 2017 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations 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.
Member Question Time
To answer any Member questions.
There were no Member questions.
To discuss priorities for the year ahead with Councillor Charlotte Haitham Taylor (Leader of the Council) and Councillor Chris Bowring (Executive Member for Highways and Transport.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 15 to 20, which continued the process of holding discussions with Executive Members. The aim of the discussions was to increase awareness of key policy and service issues over the year ahead and to identify areas where Overview and Scrutiny could provide effective challenge and support. Members had agreed the principle that Overview and Scrutiny would add more value if it was a proactive process rather than a reactive process.
Charlotte Haitham Taylor (Leader of the Council) and Chris Bowring (Executive Member for Highways and Transport) were in attendance to give an outline of key challenges and opportunities and to answer Member questions developed around key lines of enquiry. Pauline Jorgensen (Deputy Executive Member for Communications) was also in attendance to answer Member questions on communication issues.
Councillor Haitham Taylor addressed the Committee and provided answers relating to the relevant key lines of enquiry set out in the report. She began by welcoming the role of Overview and Scrutiny in holding the Executive to account and supported its bipartisan approach.
Key Line of Enquiry 1 – Remit
Councillor Haitham Taylor described her leadership style as consensual, seeking to support and empower the Executive and Deputy Executive Members. Members had been appointed to those roles based on their ability to deliver and to adapt to the changing local government environment. Her aim was to work with colleagues to enable the Council to deliver sustainable services for the benefit of the Borough’s residents.
Key Line of Enquiry 2 – Priorities
Councillor Haitham Taylor set out a list of priorities for the Council, viz:
· Local Plan Update
· Improving communications
· Engagement with the Government
· Engagement with the business community
· Supporting the more deprived parts of the Borough
· Building capacity in the Council-owned companies
· Making the Council more self-sufficient
· Highways investment to tackle congestion
· Working with partners, including Towns/Parishes and the voluntary sector
· Managing demand and risk relating to adult and children’s services.
Councillor Haitham Taylor felt that two of the most pressing issues were the Council’s plans to meet housing needs and the achievement of financial stability. Areas for new housing were being identified through the Local Plan Update with 263 potential sites identified. It was important to work closely with Members and community stakeholders to ensure that new housing was developed in sustainable locations.
In relation to finance, the Council was approaching a “cliff edge” as a result of reductions in Government grant and the proposed move to a negative grant position. It was important to develop a more commercial approach which delivered new sources of income and maximised the potential of the Council’s assets.
Councillor Haitham Taylor referred to the 21st Century Council programme which would support the priorities by making the Council more efficient and more effective at delivering the key services which residents needed.
Key Line of Enquiry 3 – Communication with Councillors
Councillor Jorgensen outlined her role in improving communication with Members and residents and gave examples of ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
To consider the Council Plan Performance Monitoring report for the first quarter of 2017/18 – April to June 2017.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 21 to 66) which provided Council Plan performance data for the first quarter of 2017/18 (April to June). The report gave details of performance against 48 performance indicators and 19 key projects.
The report stated that the overall direction of travel was positive with 20 indicators showing improved performance and nine indicators showing a worsening performance. The indicators with a Red rating were:
· % of children in care at the end of the period who were in a placement more than 20 miles from their home (excluding unaccompanied asylum seeking children, children placed with parents and children in receipt of short breaks support);
· % of children leaving care who achieved permanence (adopted, returned home or subject to a special guardianship order);
· % of child protection visits due in the period which were on time (within 10 days of the previous visit);
· Shinfield Eastern Relief Road.
In the ensuing discussion the following points were made:
Re the Red indicator on % of children in a placement more than 20 miles from their home – Pauline Helliar-Symons reported that the current position was that the Council did not have sufficient capacity (recruiting more foster carers was a priority) and placements were not made in order to meet the target, the placements had to be right for the child and the families.
Re the Red indicator on child protection visits which were on time – Pauline Helliar-Symons reported performance was affected by several factors such as parents not being at home when arranged visits took place.
Re the Amber indicator on the number of initial carers’ assessments completed – Pauline Helliar-Symons requested that this indicator be included in the performance management report to the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Keith Baker requested that future reports should include details of action plans to bring Red/Amber indicators back on track.
Rachelle Shepherd-Dubey requested that indicators relating to % of schools should also include data on the actual number of schools involved.
Keith Baker requested that Annex B to the report (Changes in Corporate Indicators) should include the reasons why indictors were removed or introduced, including their relevance to the Council Plan.
1) progress on key performance indicators and major projects be noted;
2) Member comments on presentation and content be incorporated in future versions of the report.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme.
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme as set out on Agenda pages 67 to 70.
1) the Executive Forward Programme be noted;
2) Members notify Democratic Services of any issues they wish to include in the Committee’s future work programme.
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 82.
Following the meeting of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 12 September 2017, Pauline Helliar-Symons gave details of amendments to the Committee’s future work programme.
1) the forward Work Programmes be noted;
2) the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme be amended to reflect the update provided at the meeting.
For the Chairman or nominated Member of the Committee to report back in its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.
The Committee considered updates from the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as follows:
· Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 4 September 2017;
· Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 12 September 2017.
1) the updates be noted;
2) future update reports be made on an exception basis.
To consider the dates for three additional meetings of the Committee in 2017/18.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 85 to 86, which gave details of proposed dates for three extra meetings during 2017/18. The proposed dates were 16 October 2017, 21 February 2018 and 16 April 2018.
RESOLVED: That the proposed additional meeting dates for 2017/18, as set out in the report, be approved.