Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Christine Rothwell  Tel. 01302 735682

Items
No. Item

22.

Declarations of Interest, if any.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

 

23.

Minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee held on Thursday, 6th December, 2018 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 6th December, 2018, were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

24.

Public Statements.

[A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up to 5 members of the public on matters within the Committee’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be considered or contribute towards the future development of the Committee’s work programme].

 

Minutes:

There were no public statements made at the meeting.

 

25.

2018-2019 Quarter 3 Finance and Performance Improvement Report & ‘Delivering for Doncaster’ Booklet pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Minutes:

Debbie Hogg Director of Corporate Resources introduced the report informing the Committee it represented a positive position for the Council as it forecast a balanced budget and the majority of Performance Indicators were on target. There had been improvements over the quarter in home building and an increase in wage rates however, significant challenges remained in terms of reducing absenteeism and improving attainment of schoolchildren. Where the Council was responsible for delivering services this generally worked well. Key challenges remained in delivering a number of complex services with key partners and in meeting the 2020/21 budget gap.

 

Connected Council

 

The Committee considered issues relating to Corporate Resources and the Connected Council theme.

 

Further information was sought on local authority spend with local businesses through procurement processes and asked if there was benchmarking information to assess our performance. The Committee was informed this measure took account of consumable spend which excluded spend such as staffing. Whilst there was no local benchmark the ambition was to spend as much locally as possible and this target would be subject to further review.

 

Members asked if there were plans to increase unallocated reserves. Debbie Hogg acknowledged the importance of reserves for unforeseen expenditure but also to support transition in the delivery of services. Notwithstanding the significant budget challenges, consideration would be given to increasing the level of reserves.

 

Concern was raised that Universal Credit would affect Collection Rates. It was reported that the Council was working with the Department for Works and Pensions and the Money Advice Service to support people in managing their finances, and to mitigate against a reduction in the collection of Council Tax.

 

In reviewing measures to reduce the number of agency staff, it was noted that 20% of agency staff had been with the Council over 6 months and 15% over a year. Clarity was sought on how this was being managed and whether agency staff working for the Council for over 12 months would be eligible for employment rights.

 

Debbie Hogg noted the concerns and explained the Council was actively seeking to reduce these figures. Over the last quarter the number of assignments of agency staff had reduced. The increase in spend from the last quarter had been due to the submission of late invoices that related to Quarter 2.

 

Damian Allen acknowledged the need for agency staff within social care and to support the Adults transformation programme. The numbers had been reducing with agency staff now accounting for 8-10% of staff in this area. This figure compared favourably with other local authorities. A number of long-term agency staff contracts in AHWB would be terminating at the end of the financial year and future interim staff would be limited to 3 months wherever possible. This was considered appropriate for the nature of work undertaken.

 

Members noted the downward trend in relation to sickness absence  but raised concern that only 36% of sickness triggers were actioned  on time. The Committee was informed that addressing sickness absence could be complex  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

SLHD Performance & Delivery Update: 2018/19 Quarter Three (Q3) pdf icon PDF 392 KB

Minutes:

Steve Waddington, Director of Housing services St Leger Homes Doncaster (SLHD) summarised key areas of performance identifying the continuing challenges resulting from the impact of welfare Reform and the collection of rent. Payment of rent was a particular challenge for tenants in the lead up to Christmas.

 

A key challenge moving forward was SLHD’s ability to collect rent from 3000 tenants on Universal Credit who had their housing benefit paid to them directly.

 

Members discussed the number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation and it was acknowledged that this was used where it was deemed necessary. Often this was a short-term measure for individuals fleeing domestic violence or for personal safety. Reference was made to the number of children that were in bed and breakfast accommodation.

 

Members were informed that bed and breakfast was a temporary measure often a last resort to meet the short term housing needs of individuals or families. The minimum stay in bed and breakfast could be one night however; this could be significantly longer particularly if housing needs could not be met for example, if they were awaiting accommodation with special adaptations or specific accessibility arrangements. The Council has contracts with hotel providers to keep costs to a minimum level.

 

Members sought clarity on the properties eligible for consideration under the right to buy scheme including types of properties that were exempt and the point at which right to buy would not include the building costs.

 

Members who were not on the Committee commented on the valued service provided by SLHD in dealing with housing matters and particularly in working with communities.

 

The Chair thanked Steve Waddington for his attendance.

 

RESOLVED That the Committee’s comments in respect of the progress of SLHD performance outcomes and the contribution SLHD makes to supporting DMBC strategic priorities be received and noted.

 

27.

OSMC Workplan Update February 2019 pdf icon PDF 340 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andrew Sercombe, Governance and Member Services Manager presented the Overview and Scrutiny work plan for Members consideration.

 

RESOLVED that:-

 

            1)        The updated work programme be received and noted;

 

            2)        The forward Plan be received and noted;

 

            3)        The correspondence attached at Appendix C be received and noted; and

 

            4)        Robert Ellis (UNISON) replace Tom Fent (UNISON) as the workforce representative on the Community and Environment Panel with immediate effect.