Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments


Apologies were received from Councillor Liz Leffman (substituted by Councillor John Howson) and Councillor Liam Walker.



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


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2018 and to receive information arising from them.


The minutes of the meeting on 24 May 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.


Councillor Nick Carter apologised for not having a report from the ‘deep-dive’ on young carers but it had proven to be difficult to get all the relevant people together.  He assured the Committee that he will have a report for the 12 September meeting.



Petitions and Public Address


A request was received from Councillor Emma Turnbull to speak on Item 6 – Call-in of a decision by the Cabinet: Home to School Transport and Travel Policy.  It was agreed to receive her presentation at the start of that item.



For information: Equalities Action Plan pdf icon PDF 124 KB

The Equality Policy 2018-2022 and accompanying Action Plan 2018-2019 is presented to the Committee for information. Members of the Committee may find a number of the indicators to be of particular interest for this meeting, as the agenda includes discussions about work force development and diversity.


The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the action plan.



Additional documents:


The Chairman stated that the plan was included in the agenda for information purposes so that Members could keep it in mind when discussing all the issues that come before it.



Call-in of a decision by the Cabinet: Home to School Transport and Travel Policy pdf icon PDF 191 KB



Written notice has been given in accordance with the Council’s Scrutiny procedure rules requiring a decision of the Cabinet on 19 June 2018 to be called in for review by this Committee.


The following documents are attached:

(a) A report setting out the names of the Councillors who have required the Call In and the reasons given for the Call In.

(b) The report considered by the Cabinet.

(c) The extract of the minutes of the meeting where the decision was made.

(d) The recommendation to Cabinet from the Education Scrutiny Committee’s discussion of this item.

(e) Additional information provided in response to the Call In.



Additional documents:


Councillor John Howson stood aside as a Substitute Member of the Committee for this item in order to represent the Education Scrutiny Committee in the discussion.


Councillor Emma Turnbull stated that there was a gap between the text of the policy stated and the verbal assurances given at the Cabinet meeting by the Director for Children’s Services, in particular that no child would fail to have a post-16 placement at an appropriate school or college because of transport costs.  Councillor Turnbull said that the policy should not be about the nearest available school place but should be about the appropriate placement for a child’s needs.  Applying the same rules as for mainstream transport is not being fair to children with Special Education Needs. She also expressed concern about the financial burden some families would face as a result of the policy change and that parental choice has been taken away as families are obliged to accept the SEN school place allocated to them.


Councillor John Howson, Vice-Chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee outlined the reasons for the Call-in.  He stated that interpretations of the policy given by the relevant Director at the Cabinet discussion had not been available to the Education Scrutiny Committee when it discussed the policy.  Various funds were referred to as possible sources of funding for home to school transport but some were discretionary and limited or may be used already for respite care or after-school activities.  It was unclear what parents should do to access the various sources of funding.


Councillor Steve Harrod, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, stated that there had been poor communication on this highly contentious issue.  He had been originally against the proposals but on hearing the points made by the relevant officers he had changed his view.  The current policy had been interpreted generously but the Council could no longer afford that.  Some changes to the policy simply sought to state the rules more clearly.  Other changes were made to the way in which existing provision will be funded.  The costs of implementing the changes will be only marginal as most of the system is already in place.  He gave reassurances that no child would be left stranded as a result of the change in policy, but post-16 children would be able to apply for bursaries from their school or college to help their families meet the cost of transport.


A number of Members stated that they had been told by Headteachers that bursaries were being fully utilised already and if funds are drawn down for school transport then they will be diverted from other uses such as access to after-school clubs.  Concern was also expressed that, while £700 may seem a small amount to some, for many families it may be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”.


Councillor Harrod, Lucy Butler, Clare Rowntree and Neil Darlington responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         Currently if a child’s Education Health and Care Plan specifies a school, the Council will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40/18


Adult Social Care Workforce pdf icon PDF 440 KB



The County Council has been working closely with Health partners and providers to improve recruitment and retention of the adult social care workforce in Oxfordshire. This paper provides an overview of the impact of this work and the unique challenges faced by Oxfordshire for the Committee to scrutinise progress in this area.


Request from HOSC:

“The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) requests that the Performance Scrutiny Committee examines in detail the new model of Wellbeing teams being piloted by the County Council as part of its scrutiny of the adult social care workforce. In particular, when reviewing system-wide action in response to the outcome of a recent CQC inspection, HOSC raised concern with the Director for Adult Services about the use of paid volunteers as part of these teams, the rigour of oversight and accountability, and the sustainability of this model.”


The Performance Scrutiny Committee is RECOMMENDED to scrutinise the progress made with providers to improve recruitment and retention of the adult social care workforce in Oxfordshire.




Councillor John Howson resumed his place as a Substitute Member of the Committee.


Kate Terroni, Director for Adult Services, introduced representatives of two providers of adult care services: Chris Ingram, Chief Executive of Style Acre and member of the Board of Directors of the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers and Helen Sanderson, Chief Executive of Helen Sanderson Associates.  They gave a presentation on the current workforce issues.


Housing was identified as the biggest problem for recruitment with Oxford being the most expensive area outside London.  Care providers find it difficult to compete, with the retail sector now paying higher rates.  The uncertainty around Brexit has led to a drop off in new applicants from EU states though it is not expected that current staff will leave.


Despite the pressures, feedback from those receiving care is largely positive.  The latest recruitment campaign has been very successful.  Measures are being taken to make care jobs more attractive providing better development opportunities, eliminating split shifts and improving team support.


The three presenters responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         Regarding the diversity of new recruits, 20% of the first Wellbeing Team are Black or Minority Ethnic (BME).  20% of applications were from men with two waiting for posts.

·         Attracting men is a challenge and they can have an important part to play as a role model.

·         All volunteers are DBS checked and Chris Ingram stated that he has had no safeguarding issues with any volunteers.  Many report that it has enriched their lives.

·         There have been meetings with OxLEP on the affordable housing issue and there are proposals in the new Growth Deal.  Kate Terroni said that she would be happy to come back to the Committee on this issue.

·         It would help if social care had a recognisable brand similar to the NHS.

·         An analysis of the employment market is currently being undertaken to determine options.  It is expected that recommendations will be made in the autumn to be implemented from April 2019.


Members suggested that local councillors could be a useful resource for care providers given their local knowledge.


The Chairman thanked the Director and the guests for the presentation which very clearly explained the challenges and how they are being tackled.



Oxfordshire County Council Corporate Plan 2018-2021 and Outcomes Framework pdf icon PDF 132 KB



The Corporate Plan sets out the County Council’s overarching strategy for the period 2018-2021. It states our updated vision for ‘thriving communities’ in Oxfordshire and describes the council’s main priorities and the specific actions that will be taken in the period to March 2019.


This document builds on a short, public-facing document (the 'prospectus') which was published in October 2017 and summarised the council's vision and priorities. The Corporate Plan 2018- 2021 expands on the messages in the prospectus, drawing together our vision, values and the key areas of focus for the coming year.


The Outcomes Framework shows the key indicators and measures by which we will routinely assess and report on progress towards ambitions set out in the Corporate Plan.


The intended audience for the Plan is Councillors, staff, partners, inspectors and residents with a specific interest.


The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:


a)            consider the Corporate Plan, ahead of its presentation for agreement by Council on 10 July; and


b)           provide any comments on the Outcomes Framework to strengthen its use in corporate performance reporting.



Additional documents:


Ben Threadgold presented the report and circulated a printed copy of the final version to go to Council.  He thanked the working groups for their input and drew the Committee’s attention in particular to the summary of outcomes on page 105 of the agenda.  Many of the indicators are broader than the County Council.  These will provide an evidence base against which RAG ratings can be provided.


Members complimented the plan and the in-house design of the document.  It was agreed that it should be primarily accessed on-line.  Libraries could print off copies if members of the public wanted hardcopies.


The Chairman thanked officers for taking on board the comments of the Committee from the previous scrutiny of the plan.



Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services pdf icon PDF 149 KB


The Home Office have commissioned Her Majesties Inspectorate for Constabulary to complete inspections of all English Fire and Rescue Services. This is the first inspection regime of this type for over a decade so the methodology, approach and judgement criteria are all being developed and tested now.


Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are preparing for inspection between October and December 2018. This report outlines the process for inspection and the risks associated for the Committee to note and consider future reporting requirements.


The Committee is RECOMMENDED to:


a)            note the content of the report, and


b)           identify future reporting requirements.




Rob MacDougall, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, introduced the report.  The new inspection regime is the first for over a decade.  The inspectorate will award ratings similar to OFSTED for schools.  The report identifies associated risks.  For example, if the service received anything lower than a ‘Good’ rating it could threaten non-core fire service activity.  It is expected that the Oxfordshire inspection will be between October and December 2018.


Rob MacDougall responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         There have been three pilot inspections so far to help develop the methodology.

·         The service has had a lot of engagement with the inspectorate to ensure that they understand differences in fire and rescue services, for example between urban and rural areas.

·         It is hard to quantify how much of the service’s work is now in non-core services because it has become so integrated in the work of the County Council.

·         The inspection will focus on fire and rescue responsibilities under current legislation.  Non-core activities will only be examined in the context of ensuring that they do not interfere with core services.


The Chairman asked if the self-assessment, which will form part of the inspection, could be shared with the Committee when it is available.



Highways customer satisfaction pdf icon PDF 351 KB



The County Council is currently receiving a high level of correspondence regarding dissatisfaction about the condition of Oxfordshire’s roads.  In addition, a recent general customer satisfaction survey indicates that this may also be playing a part in how the public perceive the County Council as a whole.


This report has three main sections to help identify potential areas of focus for discussion and future investigation.


·         Section 1 - Explanation regarding the life of a road and the cost of upkeep

·         Section 2 - The Council’s sphere of influence

·         Section 3 - Oxfordshire Together work with communities around highways.


The Committee is recommended to use the information in this report to identify areas of focus or concern for potential further investigation at a future committee meeting, or through a focussed deep dive, in respect of Customer Satisfaction with the condition of Oxfordshire’s roads.



A video was played to the meeting in which Owen Jenkins, Director for Infrastructure Delivery, gave a presentation on the life of a road and the cost of upkeep.


Steve Smith, Service Manager Network Asset Management and Paul Fermer, Service Manager Major Infrastructure Delivery responded to Members’ questions as follows:


·         Officers would welcome a ‘deep dive’ on this issue and Members can also input into the latest plans and will have an input with regard to the Growth Deal funds.

·         Environmental enforcement can be quite complex and officers are exploring possible technological solutions.

·         Most potholes are related to road openings by utility companies.  The Council conducts audits on their resurfacing work.

·         Even if the white lines denoting a recorded pothole have washed away, the record will still be in the system.

·         They are enabling Skanska to deal with other potholes adjacent to known potholes and two additional work gangs are being introduced for reactive work.

·         Utility companies are fined if they go over the agreed time on road openings.

·         The Council liaises with Highways England in agreeing diversion routes from major roads such as the A34.  They need to be suitable for HGVs so sometimes the diversions can be quite long and some people may take shorter alternatives.


It was agreed that Councillor Jenny Hannaby will lead a ‘deep dive’ with a view to reporting to the Committee at its November meeting and Councillor Liam Walker will be invited to participate. 




Committee work programme pdf icon PDF 241 KB



To agree the committee’s work programme for future meetings based on key priorities and discussion in the meeting.