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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Potter and Cllr Brookfield.

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 83 KB

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

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the previous meeting be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

4.

Matters arising

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

5.

Draft Budget 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

[To review the comments of each Scrutiny Panel and provide further feedback to Cabinet – Comments from the Adult and Safer City Scrutiny Panel, Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Panel and the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel will be sent to follow as the Panels have not yet met.]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet Member for Resources presented a report seeking feedback from Scrutiny Board in relation to the Draft Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2017/18 that had been approved as the basis of consultation by Cabinet on 19 October 2016. Cllr Johnson confirmed that the public consultation was on going until 14 January 2017 and that there had been a good response so far with over 2000 online responses being received.

 

Cllr Johnson confirmed that the Council needed to achieve Budget Reduction and Income Generation amounting to £13.5 million and £10.0 million of Base Budget Revisions for 2017/18. Cllr Johnson stated that £10 million of savings had already been identified which left a remaining deficit of £13,539,000.

 

Members expressed concern that additional money needed to be found to fund social care and queried whether there was any additional information regarding whether this would need to be achieved by raising the Council Tax precept or whether money form the Better Care Fund might be made available sooner that preciously expected. Cllr Johnson stated that this was still an unknown but that the preference would be to bring forward money from the Better Care Fund. The Chair suggested that that once the final details had been received that there might be scope for a piece of joint working with the Health Scrutiny Panel and representatives from the CCG and Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

 

A question was raised in relation to items on page 11 of the first supplementary agenda regarding revisions to assumptions on pension auto-enrolment and further pension contributions. The Finance Director confirmed that the City Council was currently in a position where additional payments could be made to avoid significant interest costs. The Panel queried why other Councils were not doing this and the Cabinet Member stated that management of the pension fund was a matter for each individual authority and that the City of Wolverhampton Council was able to make the additional payments due to careful management of it’s savings.

 

The Board agreed that it was vital that the Council maintained a clear understanding of the situation regarding the Pension Fund. The Cabinet Member agreed and stated that the Council was currently doing an excellent job and that many issues had arisen due to staff taking redundancy and then their pensions and this not being balanced out by the contributions from the remaining reduced workforce. However the Council had budgeted for this and was now in a position where the aforementioned advance payments could be made.

 

Members requested that a presentation be provided to the Board at a future meeting in relation to the Pension Fund.

 

Members queried how the projected savings of £1,000,000 listed on page 16 of the first supplementary agenda in relation to the use of public health funding would be made. The Cabinet Member stated that this came from a strictly ring fenced budget but that the rules did allow for some adjustments to be made as long as the funding was used  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Complaints Procedures

[To receive a presentation from Steve Rice, Customer Engagement Manager in relation to:

       The Corporate Complaint Procedures

       The Social Care Complaint Procedures [adults and children] and Public Health.]

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation from the Council’s Customer Engagement Manager and Customer Engagement Officer in relation to the Corporate Complaint Procedures and the Social Care complaint procedures [adults and children] and Public Health.  Officers highlighted that there were some differences in relation to the procedures as those relating to Social Care were statutory rather than local.

 

Following the presentations a query was raised regarding where the Communications Team fitted into the process and at what stage they would be brought in should the Council find itself in a situation requiring careful management of a potentially damaging complaint. The Customer Engagement Manager stated that every situation was risk assessed to determine which process to take it down and to ascertain whether it could potentially leave the Council in a vulnerable situation. The Customer Engagement Manager stated that he would meet with the Communications Manager, Senior Managers and Ward Members if this was deemed appropriate following assessment of each individual case. There was still however concern from Members of the Board that this needed to be more specific and that Communications needed to be strategically placed within the complaints procedure. The Board agreed that details in relation to this be brought back to a future meeting.

 

The Board considered the timescales for responding to a complaint and expressed concern that the Council was not obliged to consider any complaint concerning any incident or decision that happened in excess of 12 months ago. The Customer Engagement Manager confirmed that the decision of whether or not to investigate a complaint outside of the 12 month window was at the discretion of Officers. The Board again voiced some concern regarding this especially as the discretion was with Officers who worked for the Council against which the complaint was being made. The Customer Engagement Manager stated that any decision taken in regard to this would have to be justifiable to the Local Government Ombudsman therefore all complaints were given due consideration. The Board considered that further information and scrutiny was required in relation to the process used to determine whether a complaint should be investigated outside of the 12 month window and at what stage cabinet and ward members were involved.

 

Resolved:

 

That a report be provided to a future meeting of the Scrutiny Board detailing the following areas in relation to the Complaints Procedures:

 

a)    Where and how Communications are involved in the process;

b)    Where and how cabinet and ward members are involved in the process;

c)    The protocol on the circumstances when a complaint would be investigated outside the twelve month cut off.

 

7.

Information Governance Performance Report Quarter Two pdf icon PDF 76 KB

[Anna Zollino-Biscotti, Information Governance Manager to present Quarter Two information governance performance report for information and comment.]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board consider a report on the performance of Information Governance for Quarter Two (July – September 2016).

 

The Board agreed that the achievements were generally outstanding, that training was now going in the right directions and that the teams involved be commended for their hard work.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That the report be noted and agreed.

 

8.

Scrutiny Review Update - Child Sexual Exploitation pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider a report updating Scrutiny Board on progress in implementing recommendations of the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Scrutiny Review completed during 2015/16.]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report was submitted to update Scrutiny Board on progress in implementing the recommendations of the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Scrutiny Review completed during 2015/16 and to bring to the attention of the Board the executive responses listed at Appendix 1.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People introduced the report and stated that she was pleased that the majority of the recommendations had been implemented or were in the process of being implemented.

 

The Head of Safeguarding stated that the majority of the outstanding recommendations related to obtaining information from partner organisations who she had re written to at the start of the month. It was also confirmed that CSE was now a standing agenda item on the Safeguarding Board and that care was taken to ensure that progress continued to be monitored. 

 

Members drew attention to recommendation 14 and it was stated that school governors were very important in relation to identifying CSE and that it was vital that they received the relevant training.  The Head of Safeguarding confirmed that more effort was being put into schools regarding this including a train the trainer exercise which would be rolled out by the CSE/Child protection lead in each school thus giving more responsibility to the school rather than the Council.

 

A query was also raised regarding recommendation 19 and whether the Council was taking any additional steps to reach community groups. The Head of Safeguarding confirmed that yes, the Council’s CSE Coordinator was looking at areas such as community engagement and learning and development.  It was also noted that the Council needed to ensure that all community groups were engaged including any recently established orthodox Eastern European groups.

 

Cllr Jaspal had chaired the Review Panel and she stated that one of the main concerns had been the relationship with outside bodies such as the Police and bringing the perpetrators to justice. The Chair of the Scrutiny Board thanked Cllr Jaspal for her hard work in relation to the review.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That progress made to implement recommendations from the scrutiny review of child exploitation which concluded in 2016 be noted.

 

2.         That the review be signed off..

9.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 81 KB

[To consider the Board’s work programme for future meetings.]

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Board considered a report updating it on the scrutiny work programme for 2016-17.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Scrutiny Board work programme 2016-17 be noted and agreed.

 

 


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