Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Colm Ó Caomhánaigh, Tel 07393 001096  Email: colm.ocaomhanaigh@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

10/18

Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Charles Mathew (substituted by Councillor Jeannette Matelot), Councillor Liam Walker (substituted by Councillor Ian Corkin) and Councillor Tony Ilott.

 

11/18

Declarations of Interest - Guidance note on back page of the agenda

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

12/18

Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2018 and to receive information arising from them.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 4 January 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

13/18

Petitions and Public Address

Minutes:

A request was received from Mr Simon Hunt, Chair of Cyclox, to speak on item 10 – “The Council’s role in shaping places”.  It was agreed to receive the presentation at the start of that item.

14/18

Quarter 3 Business Management Report pdf icon PDF 577 KB

10.05

 

This paper provides details of performance for quarter three 2017-18 for Performance Scrutiny Committee to consider before making comments to Cabinet by 20 March. The report, and any comments made by the Committee, are required so that the Cabinet can monitor the performance of the council in key service areas and be assured that progress is being made to improve areas where performance is below the expected level.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the performance reported, in particular, items which members wish to schedule for future scrutiny, and make any comments necessary for escalation to Cabinet before 20 March.

 

Minutes:

Mr Fairhurst Jones introduced the report.  It is a positive report with 22 of the 23 outcomes rated Green or Amber, as for Quarter 2.  The outcome related to looked after children (LACs) remains Red but with an improving trajectory in line with expectations.

 

Officers responded to Members’ questions as follows:

·         The indicators related to LACs are improving and the outlook is positive for Quarter 4.

·         The Oxfordshire figures for highways condition are not worse than the national average.  The problems include limited budget and roads having to take greater traffic and loads than they were designed for.  The outlook is ‘stable’, meaning no improvement to the performance indicator in question is expected in Q4, though efforts to maintain and improve highway conditions will continue to have positive results.

·         It is expected that there is capacity to deal with the increase in Early Help Assessments – it has not been flagged as an issue.

·         Members’ concern with air quality in Oxford and market towns has been noted with a view to including the matter in next year’s indicators.

·         The report will not be produced in the same format for Q4, as this would duplicate effort, but the issues will be covered in the narrative statement with the Statement of Accounts.

 

15/18

Corporate Performance Measures 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 140 KB

10.25

 

This paper invites Performance Scrutiny Committee members to help County Leadership Team (CLT) and Cabinet to develop outcomes and measures that will demonstrate publicly how we are performing in achieving the Council’s new vision, as set out in the prospectus published in January 2018. The Committee’s views will be considered when CLT meet on 21 March to prepare an initial draft suite of outcomes and measures for approval.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to suggest to CLT what it believes are the key areas of business, within Directorates and cross cutting, that are likely to be of most interest, and highest priority, to members of the public, and that should therefore be reflected in the outcomes and measures that will demonstrate progress towards the Council’s vision and priorities.

 

Minutes:

Mr Dyson asked Members to suggest to the County Leadership Team (CLT) areas of high priority and/or high public interest that they would like to see in the coming year’s corporate performance measures.

 

The following were suggested:

o   Air quality, potentially covering factors including ‘green’ vehicle technology, traffic management/restrictions

o   Value for money – demonstrating the improvements we have made to services as a result of listening to residents

o   Highways – quality, rate of deterioration and repair, including transparency of any constraints or relevant standards

o   Education – 16-18 year-old education, engagement in further education, links with skills agenda and OxLEP priorities, apprenticeships

o   Education – sufficiency/effectiveness of school nurses, particularly with regard to mental health

o   Education – sufficiency of places, construction of new schools, transport to schools

o   Giving children a good start – clear indication of how our services join up in schools – more than just absence and exclusion – how we’re doing in early years settings should be given greater visibility

o   Residents’ engagement with OCC – quality of/satisfaction with the customer interface – measure the effectiveness of “the front door”

o   Older adults – whole-picture view of how our services impact on the quality and independence of life in later years – could include e.g. bus services, social care, links with district councils’ provision of care places – enable focus on blockages, reablement

o   Transport – how transport supports jobs and economic growth – both about better/effective/efficient transport (not increasing carbon footprints) and about encouraging jobs in all locations (loss of workplaces in small towns through change of use)

 

The Chairman also asked officers to consider how best to tap into the local knowledge of councillors.

 

16/18

Update on the Council's Fit For the Future Transformation Programme pdf icon PDF 1 MB

10.45

 

The next stage of the county council’s Fit for the Future transformation programme is now underway. The programme will ensure that in the future the council will be sustainable, resilient and can achieve better outcomes for our residents as well as addressing our financial challenges.

The work that was carried out last summer and developed over the autumn showed how staff, right across the council, were collectively spending their time. It demonstrated that relatively low proportions of effort were focused on front line service delivery and that our support processes and systems need improving.

In response we have now started an intensive programme of work to address these issues and design in detail how we will work in the future. With the help of PwC, we are focusing on investment in new ways of working and better use of digital technology to reduce costs further and improve customer service.

This will ensure we both meet residents’ needs and can work more effectively and efficiently internally with the intention of achieving savings of between £33m-£58m per year, enabling political choices to be made about investment in services.

 

The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:

a)            note the content of this report;

b)           comment on any issues relating to the transformation programme and its impact on the Council’s current and future performance;

c)            provide a steer on whether the Committee would like to receive regular updates on this work, focusing on any particular issues such as

·         the evidence that the programme is focused on the right issues for the council;

·         that there are effective arrangements in place to monitor performance throughout the current and future phases of work;

·         that effective performance monitoring is being designed into the new operating model;

·         and, subject to decisions about implementation, that there are effective mechanisms in place to ensure delivery of tangible benefits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman and Members expressed their sympathies with Ms Maggie Scott, Assistant Chief Executive, on the tragic loss of her son in a road accident.

 

Ms Dimmock-Smith and Mr Pykett of PwC invited questions from Members about the update report and responded as follows:

 

·         The projected savings are based on improving processes, use of technology and savings successfully made in comparable local authorities but they are estimates.

·         A range of possible savings are included because they will depend on the ambition of the final programme.

·         There will have to be an overall reduction in numbers of staff anyway.  It is hoped that it can be dealt with through the current turnover of staff rather than by redundancy but some sections may need more staff and others less.

·         In the area of social care, it is expected that more activity in the preventative area will reduce demand in the long term.

·         The programme involves cultural change aimed at becoming a more innovative and creative organisation.

·         They have not looked at the asset base in this programme.  There are problems with different interpretations of legislation but there are probably opportunities for income generation.

·         This process is looking at functions first and then will consider the physical presence required.

·         The current phase of work will include looking at the capacity of partners and providers.  While it can be more difficult to attract volunteers in a situation of near full employment, more can be done to encourage and facilitate those in employment to volunteer.

·         There is no councillor on the programme’s Working Group but Councillor Lindsay-Gale oversees the process as Cabinet Member for Transformation and the Political Group Leaders get regular briefings.

·         The changes will help if there is a decision to form a unitary council.  PwC are also working with Dorset which has recently been approved to restructure.

·         The operating model being developed will provide more detail and then the implementation plan will be very detailed.  It is anticipated that savings would only be seen from year 2 onwards.

·         The approach to customer assessment may include self-assessment but this would be underpinned by a consistent framework for all assessments.

 

It was agreed to bring another update report to the Committee for the July meeting.

17/18

The Council's Response to the Liquidation of Carillion pdf icon PDF 130 KB

11.25

 

Carillion was Oxfordshire County Council’s strategic property maintenance, investment and facilities partner. On 15 January 2018, companies in the Carillion group structure began to go into liquidation. This triggered an immediate business continuity response by the council, to guarantee continuity of delivery of key services and to ensure that schools and other council functions could continue to operate.

 

Following a negotiation with representatives of the official recievers, it was agreed that a previously agreed termination of the contract would be brought forward to be effective from 1 February, 2018. All elements of the service are now being managed directly by the Council.

 

The Performance Scrutiny Committee have requested a report on measures taken by the Council in response to the liquidation of Carillion and future plans for the service.

 

The Performance Scrutiny Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the contents of this report, and request an update on the implementation of new arrangements in autumn, 2018.

Minutes:

Ms Bailey invited questions on her report and responded as follows:

 

·         While the Council anticipated problems with Carillion and had already agreed to terminate some contracts, the difficulties have been worse than expected.  It has been difficult to get the information the Council requires to take back responsibility for many functions.

·         It will take until May to complete the baseline information needed.

·         Tasks have been prioritised with those involving health and safety and statutory obligations in Category 1 and issues such as snagging and defects in Category 2.

·         Some school academies contracted through the Council which subcontracted to Carillion and the Council is responsible for those but not for academies who contracted directly with Carillion.

·         The majority of staff who have been transferred to the Council are in the catering and cleaning areas.  However, there are others in valuations, programme management, architects, surveyors etc.

·         Most of the supply chain is in Oxfordshire and has been retained by the Council.

·         The financial implications are still being worked out but now that Council has control of the estate again it may be possible to bring forward some proposals which can help offset the financial losses incurred.

·         The Council will learn lessons from the experience which will be taken into account in any future business appraisals.

 

The Chairman and Members thanked Ms Bailey and her staff for all their hard work in dealing with the crisis.

 

 

18/18

OxLEP: activities and governance pdf icon PDF 781 KB

11.55

 

A presentation and discussion about how the LEP is supporting innovation and driving increased productivity through its activity, and how the LEP is responding to the Mary Ney report on more robust governance and transparency of LEPs.  The presentation and report are attached.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Tipple gave a presentation summarising OxLEP’s activities and its response to the Mary Rey report on governance and transparency of LEPs.  He responded to Members’ questions as follows:

 

·         In PwC’s ‘Good Growth for Cities’ Oxford is second only to London.

·         Support is available to all SMEs which includes mentoring and financial planning.

·         They reach all parts of the county with workshops delivered in localities.

·         The growth deal with central government is a good start but is still a long way short of what is needed to develop infrastructure.  OxLEP will continue to seek other sources of funding.

·         The diversity of the Board will improve in the coming months with two women taking up positions.

·         The Skills Board predates OxLEP and has brought the Council, colleges and businesses together.  It is now reporting as a sub-group to the main Oxlep Board.

·         OxLEP draws in capital investment for skills infrastructure such as the £38m secured for STEM Skills Centres under City Deal and LGF programmes which were only available through LEP led programmes.

·         Programmes are already being developed in relation to degree level apprenticeship programmes – some already exist through Brookes University for example in Nursing and Motor sport.

·         Our Growth Hub supports SMEs with start-up grants, business planning, workshops, signposting to services such as technology transfers and finance and procurement opportunities for example.

·         OxLEP has fully implemented the Mary Ney review recommendations, this includes specific policies on whistleblowing and conflict of interest.  A link to their 2018/19 Assurance Framework will be sent to Members.

·         22 local authority staff were seconded to OxLEP in March 2016 and this reflects the increased income shown in the accounts and has led to the increase in income and expenditure in its Annual Report.

·         OxLEP works closely with Cherwell District Council and Bicester Vision and has a board member on the OxLEP Board – Phil Shadbolt.

 

The Chairman thanked Mr Tipple for his presentation and it was agreed to  scrutinise the work of the partnership annually.

19/18

The Council's role in shaping places

12.35

 

The Growth Deal has secured £215m of central government funding to deliver new housing and infrastructure across Oxfordshire. As part of this a commitment has been made to develop a Joint Spatial Plan. The challenge for the County Council is to ensure that through its role in infrastructure planning and public health we support place-shaping that promotes healthier lifestyles, a good quality of life and encourages social cohesion.

 

Through a discussion with officers the Committee is RECOMMENDED to consider:

-       How the Council can fulfil its commitment to delivering growth whilst managing demand for services

-       Opportunities for greater join-up between infrastructure, housing and health to support healthy and cohesive communities.

Minutes:

Mr Simon Hunt, Chair of Cyclox, made a short presentation which critiqued the current council performance on provisions for safe cycling facilities, called for more auditing of performance and offered the group’s expertise at an early stage of planning. 

 

Ms Halliwell gave a presentation on the Council’s role in planning and shaping places.  Officers gave the following responses to questions from Members’:

 

·         The Council has looked at the travel implications of the 30,000 new homes nearby in Buckinghamshire.  The Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP) provides a clear framework for talking to neighbouring authorities.

·         LTP4 is under review and locality meetings will be updated on that.

·         There is a long list of infrastructure requirements which will be ranked according to their importance nationally, countywide and in relation to the growth corridor.

·         The Active Healthy Travel Strategy is a useful tool in encouraging developers to provide for walking and cycling.  Funding may become available through the Growth Deal.

·         Evidence is needed to back proposals in S106 negotiations.  Provision for cycling is often most easily justified on a productivity argument.

·         The two tier council system can make it difficult to implement County Council strategies in planning.  Public health issues are addressed in the Council’s single responses.

 

Following concern over the fragmented nature of the existing cycling infrastructure it was agreed that a strategic review is needed in LTP4.  It was agreed to discuss LTP4 at a future meeting.

 

20/18

Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 246 KB

13.15

 

Discussion of the Committee’s Work Programme for the next year.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered its work programme for the rest of 2018.  It was agreed

·         to liaise with the Director of Property and Investment on a further update on the Carillion issue;

·         to get a further update on the transformation programme in July; and

·         to discuss highways issues at the July meeting.