Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre

Contact: Earl Piggott Smith  01902 551251 email: earl.piggott-smith@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from the following:

 

Councillor Rupinderjit Kaur

Councillor Sandra Samuels

James Barlow

 

Apologies had been submitted previously by Cllr Sohail Khan but were not recorded.

 

The panel agreed to note the apologies.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest recorded.

3.

Minutes of previous meetings (25.9.18) pdf icon PDF 96 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Matters arising

Minutes:

Agenda Item 7 Overview of the Adult Education Offer and Outcomes for residents

 

Cllr Sohail Khan reported back from a visit to the Adult Education Service. The visit included a meeting with staff and students. Cllr Khan commented that the visit was very positive, and he had learnt a great deal and encouraged by the response from students about the importance work being done to improve skills and knowledge. Cllr Khan met with staff who outlined the current curriculum education offer for adults and the future development of the City Learning Quarter. Cllr Khan encouraged others to attend.

5.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Plan 2016-20 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

[Ashley Bertie ,Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner,to present report]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ashley Bertie, Assistant Policy Crime Commissioner, APCC thanked for panel for the invitation to attend the panel meeting. The APCC introduced Mary Jacobs, Partnerships and Engagement Officer, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

The APCC outlined the role and responsibilities of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the relationship with Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. The PCC responsibility covers seven local authorities’ regions.

 

The APCC explained that the priorities of the PCC are detailed in the Police and Crime Plan 2016-2020, against which he is held to account by the public and representatives of the Police and Crime Panel.

 

The APCC commented on the low level of re-offending across the region and reduction in recorded crime rate. The APCC commented that an important success of the work done by PCC was fewer people entering the criminal justice, as a result of focusing on reducing violent crime and street gangs.

 

The APCC commented on work done to increase confidence by the public in the police and also managing the challenge presented by the loss of 2000 police officers and delivering budget savings of £125 million. The APPC commented on the areas of increased demand on the police to deal with complex issues ranging from child sexual exploitation to female genital mutilation, which has presented a number of challenges.

 

The APCC commented on the impact of reduced spending by other public sector bodies which has reduced services which in the past would have supported many of the groups that the service is having to care for with limited resources.

 

The Chair invited members of the panel to question the APPC on the performance of PCC. The panel queried what changes had been made in the list of priority areas detailed in the Police and Crime Panel, and also if any new priorities had emerged since it was produced. The APCC commented on the increase in reports of hate crime, domestic violence as new emerging issue that the police are dealing with. The APCC explained that the PCC is not involved in any decisions about policing operational matters but is working with the Chief Constable who will be held to account by the PCC to achieve them. The changing nature of drug misuse has had a major impact on policing resources and the view of the PCC was that the ‘war on drugs’ had failed.

 

The APCC accepted that the police are not giving the public the right level of service based on the complaints about response times reported on the non-emergency numbers. The APPC accepted that the police service do not always get it right in terms of responding promptly to calls from the public, but they are working hard to improve the situation.

 

The APCC commented on issue of vehicle crime and the work being done to reduce the number of illegal ‘chop shops” where car parts are sold abroad  from cars stolen in the region. The APPC added that 600 illegal ‘chop shops’ involved in this crime had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019-2020 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

[James Barlow, Finance Business Partner, to present report]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Alison Shannon, Chief Accountant, introduced the draft budget and medium-term financial strategy report and then explained that panel comments on the proposals would be included in the report to Scrutiny Board and Cabinet as part of the consultation process. The Chief Accountant also invited the panel to comment on the budget consultation process itself and changes they would like to see in how the information was presented in the future.

 

The Chief Accountant explained that an update on the previously reported projected budget challenge of £19.5 million was published in October 2018 which led to a revised budget deficit of £6 million for 2019-2020. The panel were advised that the reduction was achieved because of work done to identify budget efficiencies, budget reduction and income generation opportunities.

 

The Chief Accountant reported that the report does not provide specific detail on budget efficiency proposals as they do not impact on the provision of services to the public. There were no budget reduction and income generation proposals relating directly to the remit of the panel.

 

The panel queried the number of people who attended the public consultation events arranged to get views on the budget proposals. The Chief Accountant noted that there was a good response to the online consultation but figures relating to public meetings were low, the consultation was still ongoing and final figures could be provided at a later date.

 

The panel were advised that the budget consultation events were promoted using social media, leaflets, the Express and Star and posters near the venues. The event was also promoted on the Council website where the public are also invited to complete an online response form to share their views on the consultation process. This consultation is still ongoing and receives a greater response. The information will be used when reviewing the consultation process.

 

The panel discussed the effectiveness of the methods used to promote public budget consultation events and suggested further consideration is given to the needs of specific groups and how best to engage them and support their participation. The Chief Accountant accepted that the numbers of people attending budget consultation has traditionally been low. However, the response from the public to the online consultation has been much greater compared to public events.

 

The panel questioned the use on online consultation methods and emails to engage with members of the public and considered that it was not suitable for some residents.

 

The panel queried the lack of detail in the report about the budget efficiency

proposals where no formal public consultation is required on the basis that they have no impact on service provision. The Chief Accountant advised the panel that some of the savings relate to the release of vacant posts which are no longer considered

necessary due to changes in how services are delivered, draw down of one-off grants and efficiencies across non-salary budgets. The Director of Adult Services gave an example of a change in working arrangements at Duke Street which had no effect on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Adults and Safer City Scrutiny - Draft Work Programme pdf icon PDF 58 KB

[Earl Piggott-Smith, Scrutiny Officer, to present report]

Minutes:

Earl Piggott- Smith, Scrutiny Officer, presented the report. Panel members were encouraged to submit topics for inclusion on the draft work programme.

 

Resolved:

            The panel agreed to note the report.

 

 

 

 

The meeting closed at 20:00