Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments


Apologies were received from Councillor Tony Ilott.



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


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 21 September 2017 and 5 October 2017 and to receive information arising from them.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meetings held on 21 September 2017 and 5 October 2017 were approved and signed as correct records.



Service and Resource Planning 2018/19 - 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 107 KB



The report of the Chief Finance Officer forms part of a series relating to the Service and Resource Planning process.


This report outlines new pressures and savings for 2018/19 and the medium term, the key announcements of the Autumn Statement; and the approach to the capital programme for 2018/19 to 2021/22. 


The Performance Scrutiny Committee is invited to consider and comment on the revenue improvements and investments plus pressures and savings proposals; and the proposed capital portfolio areas.


Comments from the Committee will be fed through to Cabinet for their consideration in proposing a budget and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) on 23 January 2018. Council will meet to agree the budget and MTFP on 13 February 2018.


Schedule for discussions on this item


10.10 – Introduction to Service and Resource Planning 2018/19 – 2021/22 (Lorna Baxter / Peter Clark)

10.30 – People

·         Children, Education and Families (Lucy Butler)

·         Adult Social Care (Kate Terroni)

·         Public Health (Jonathan McWilliam)

11.45 – Resources (Peter Clark)

12.05 – Communities (Bev Hindle)

12.40 – Capital approach (Lorna)


Additional documents:


Mr Clark introduced the discussion and paid tribute to officers who had overseen the savings made by the council over the last few years.  With the current transformation programme there is still work to do to improve services.


Ms Baxter gave a presentation on Service and Resource Planning and drew particular attention to a slide with a visual representation of the risks associated with the budget which showed a downside risk of +£7m and an upside risk of -£2m.


Officers responded to Members’ questions as follows:

·         The figure of £15m in savings referred to under Critical Element for Delivery 3 is the Council’s own figure for the funding gap that needs to be bridged by the transformation programme.

·         The inflation increases for contracts are based on the September Retail Price Index each year.  Pay inflation is dependent on a number of factors and inflation is never included for general spending.

·         While there are many variables, such as government funding decisions, officers are generally confident that the Medium Term Plan funding figures will be broadly accurate at the latter end of the plan.


Children’s Services

Ms Butler identified Looked After Children and SEN Transport as the two main pressures in her area.  The lack of availability of welfare beds is an issue across the whole South East of England and could be tackled by taking a regional approach to take more control of the issue.


Ms Butler drew attention to the importance of reducing demand and reported that early assessments were up 100% and referrals to MASH were down 20%.  Also, the proportion of referrals that resulted in no further action dropped from 59% to 30%.  An increase of just 10% in the numbers of children reconnected with families would give a saving of £1.2m.


Further points were addressed in response to Members’ questions:

·         The savings in SEN Transport would be achieved by aligning council policy with best practice in other Local Authorities.  The policy takes into account the greater distances involved in rural areas.

·         Personal budgets are agreed by sitting down with families and offering them the choice.

·         It is difficult to predict future trends in the field of disability as new medical conditions become recognised and inflation in medical technology exceeds general inflation.

·         The saving proposed in placements is based on an achievable target of one referral less each week – currently there are 6 or 7.

·         The number of children with mental health issues being placed outside the county has been picked up as something to minimise by developing new resources with schools.

·         The council needs to get more robust in dealing with commissioning from big organisations and also needs to be more direct with our partners.


Adult services

Ms Terroni summarised the pressures and savings in her directorate.  She noted that the Better Care Fund income may have conditions attached.  It is proposed to invest in a social care team to support people with learning disabilities who are in long term placements out of county to move  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49/17


Scrutiny of financial performance



A short presentation followed by a discussion about the Committee’s role in scrutinising the Council’s financial performance and how it aligns with other aspects of business management and performance information.


The Committee is invited to consider how this can be improved for the year ahead.



Mr Dyson opened a discussion about the role of the Committee in monitoring the budget throughout the year and how financial and business management reporting can be aligned.


Members made a number of suggestions:

·         They need to be able to see if savings are being made during the year.

·         It would be useful to include headcounts and demand growth.

·         Dashboards and other graphical displays of information are useful to identify areas to seek more detailed information.

·         A separate section on income generation would be helpful.

·         Where there is a problem, there should be a description of what is being done to tackle it.


Mr Dyson stated that he will bring a suggested approach to the January meeting for comment with a view to commencing from the March meeting.