Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 9 January 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Rooms 1&2 - County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND. View directions

Contact: Colm Ó Caomhánaigh, Tel 07393 001096  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments


Apologies were received from Councillor Mike Fox-Davies.



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


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 236 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2019 and to receive information arising from them.


The minutes of the meeting on 13 November 2019 were approved and signed.


Regarding 62/19, Councillor Glynis Phillips asked if the Council Leader has raised the issue of information sharing at the Health and Wellbeing Board and with the County Councils Network.  The Council Leader confirmed that he had.



Corporate Plan and Service and Resource Planning 2020/21 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 99 KB



Report by the Director of Finance.


This report provides Councillors with information the Cabinet’s proposed budget for 20/21, Medium Term Financial Plan to 2023/24 and Capital Programme to 2029/30 ahead of consideration by Cabinet on 21 January and Council in February 2020.


The report is divided into three main sections which are outlined below:


1)    Annex 1 - Corporate Plan and Outcomes Framework

2)    Annex 2 – Revenue Capital

3)    Annex 3 – Capital and Investment Strategy and Capital Programme


The Committee is RECOMMENDED to consider and comment on the

a)            Corporate Plan

b)           Revenue investments and pressures plus, income and savings proposals;

c)            Review of Charges for 2020/21;

d)           Capital & Investment Strategy incorporating the Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2020/21; and

e)            proposed capital programme changes for 2020/21 to 2029/30.


Additional documents:


Lorna Baxter gave a presentation with a brief overview of Service and Resource Planning.  Because the period for public consultation only closes after the Cabinet meeting and there is still information outstanding relating to the budget, the Council Leader and Director for Finance will need to be mandated to make any changes that emerge.  The date for publication of amendments to the Cabinet’s budget by opposition and other groups has been extended to Friday 7 February 2020.


Councillor Liz Leffman asked on behalf of Councillor Emily Smith if all motions passed by Council have been taken on board.  Lorna Baxter responded that the Directors ensure that they are picked up.



Simon Furlong highlighted some of the proposals:


·         Any changes to fees have been benchmarked against what other authorities charge.

·         The increase in demand around planning applications needs to be met especially in relation to the natural environment aspects.

·         A survey of our trees has identified that increased work will be needed over the next three years.

·         S106 monies will be invested in a new software system to enable the Council to respond to planning consultations in a timely way.

·         There is the potential to generate income from the Travel Planning Team’s modelling for local planning and for developers on the travel impact ofdevelopments which is a chargeable service.

·         LED replacement has not met the targets and so there will be a delay in the savings.  A new procurement process is underway to minimise the impact.

·         Increased charges at recycling centres apply only to non-residential waste.

·         The costs of implementing the Permit Scheme for highways works are lower than predicted resulting in savings on previous estimated cost of the scheme.

·         Two new vegetation clearing gangs will work on programmes developed with local member input.

·         Four minor works gangs, currently revenue-funded will be reallocated to the Skanska contract and funded from the capital programme.

·         The savings on SEN Transport come from a change in the operating model and will be delivered by the transport team.

·         There has been a recalculation of the cost of firefighter pensions with an impact in Year 2.


Officers responded to issues raised by Members as follows:

·         There is no specific budget for new trees, just for maintenance.  The Council works with the District and City Councils as well as developers.

·         The review of the system on planning consultations will include the provision of councillor information.

·         The Strategic planning team is working with two bus companies on a bus strategy including connectivity.

·         The Council is working towards having a cycle network across the county.

·         Street lighting upgrading will ensure where appropriate it is coordinated with footpath renewal plans.  The figures on LED installation can be circulated.

·         Air quality is not specifically a climate action issue but is being dealt with by the same team.

·         The administration costs of the Permit Scheme are significant but less than originally thought.  It’s not just about money though, the scheme gives the Council control over road works.  There will be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4/20


SEND Inspection Final Report pdf icon PDF 208 KB



Report by the Director for Children’s Services


The Final SEND Re-visit report was published by Ofsted on the 23rd December 2019, following the revisit on the 15th - 17th October 2019.  The findings of the report detail the outcome, which advised that the Local Area had made significant progress in three out of five areas of significant weakness, which were highlighted in the Ofsted SEND Inspection held in September 2017.


The Committee is RECOMMENDED to note the outcome of the SEND Local Area Re-Visit report, published on 23 December 2019.


Additional documents:


Lucy Butler introduced the SEND Final Local Area revisit report.  Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission visited Oxfordshire in 2017 and issued a  written statement of action against the Local Area (Oxfordshire County council and the Clinical Commissioning Group)


Ofsted revisited the Local Area in October 2019 to monitor progress against the 5 areas of significant weakness identified in the previous report.  They found that sufficient progress had been made on three of the five areas identified.  The two areas requiring further improvement were:


·         The quality and rigour of self-evaluation and monitoring and the limited effect it has had on driving and securing improvement.

·         The quality of EHC Plans.


Jayne Howarth added that the Council is committed to improving both areas but engaging more closely with young people and families was a high priority.


Officers responded to Members questions as follows:

·         Staff are encouraged to use more accessible language in communicating with parents but the issues are often very complex.

·         No formal further visit by Ofsted/CQC will be undertaken as DfE have only commissioned one revisit for each Local Authority when given a Written Statement of Action.  A new round of inspections is being considered by Ofsted, starting in 2021, however due to the number of authorities who have been given a statement of action, this might be delayed.

·         Headteachers were very involved and advised inspectors that they were now really being challenged on exclusions.  The Council is held accountable for exclusions across the county but does not control most of the schools involved, as they are now Academies.

·         Inspectors also met with parents. Parents expressed concerns over the lack of involvement in strategic decisions and this is being addressed with a number of focus group sessions being arranged.   

·         It is expected that the new Family Safeguarding model will address some of the problems faced by parents.

·         HOSC looked at CAMHS at its November meeting and asked for a further report for its February meeting.


The Chairman thanked officers for the report and for the progress made.  She agreed with the report’s finding that many parents remain unclear about who is accountable for different aspects of SEND provision.  She also said that early psychological intervention was needed.


RESOLVED: to note the outcome of the SEND Local Area Re-Visit report, published on 23 December 2019.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 484 KB



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



The Chairman invited Members to email her with any suggestions for the work programme.