Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of Interest, if any.


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes from the Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee held on the 12th September and 3rd October 2019 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12th September and 3rd October, 2019 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


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].



There were no public statements.


2019-20 Quarter 2 Finance and Performance Improvement Report & ‘Delivering for Doncaster’ Booklet pdf icon PDF 875 KB

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Debbie Hogg summarised the headline issues within the report as follows:


Financial position – The budget was projecting a £2m underspend at Quarter 2. However, the flooding emergency, which occurred during November, was not reflected in the report. The costs involved in responding to the emergency were likely to have an impact on the overall financial position and the Council’s performance.


Caring – positive signs were seen in respect of less reliance on residential care and an increase number of residents using direct payments.


Working –The target for processing Major Planning Applications was positive. Collection of non-domestic rates was still slightly below target but was improving.


Learning – whilst a number of targets in respect of attainment were off track, the results from the 2019 exams would be included within the next quarter outturn and would show a more accurate and positive outturn.


Connected Council – Time taken to process applications for Council Tax Support had improved from last quarter. Further work was taking place with the Department for Work and Pensions to improve this further. The average days lost per employee through sickness was currently off track against the corporate target.


Overall Performance and Financial outturn projections were positive at the end of quarter 2.


Members were invited to ask questions and the following issues raised:




Members asked if improvements in the Delayed Transfer of Care would have a negative impact on other service areas. Phil Holmes explained that ensuring patients were out of hospital and living at home was positive. However, if it led to individual’s being discharged before they were ready or the necessary support or equipment was not available at home this target was not an effective measure. The Council worked closely with health colleagues to ensure the transition from hospital to home was efficient and effective.


Members asked for more details around the help given to veterans. Phil Holmes agreed to forward a written response to Members.   


In reference to direct payments used to pay for a personal assistant, Members asked if those taking the payment had to tell the Council how it was being used. It was explained that this information was currently not available through the Care First system. It was recognised that moving forward more support needed to be given to clients wishing to employ personal assistants.


Members asked about the time taken for completion of assessments which was currently 49.6 days against a target of 42 days. Phil Holmes reported that this figure varied for different groups. In particular, assessments took longer for those with more complex needs and disabilities. Further work would need to be undertaken to analyse the wait times both geographically and by need. This would ensure a greater understanding of the necessary actions to improve performance in this area.


Members asked about the key financial pressures in adult social care and where areas of most and least progress would be made. Members were informed that greater use of assistive technology to keep people in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Performance Challenge of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust: Quarter 2, 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 351 KB


The Chair welcomed Alan Adams Interim Chief Executive, James Thomas and Rob Moore to the meeting.


Members asked what strategies were in place to encourage school attendance of children in care. Members were informed that processes were in place to ensure those responsible for children in care understood the value of education and attendance, whether this was children placed in foster care or those in a residential setting. Arrangements were built in to the commissioning process to ensure regular attendance and reduced absenteeism of children in care.


The Committee enquired whether there were any specific challenges around children in care accessing placements in schools. Members were informed that for children in care there were sometimes additional factors that needed to be considered to ensure the placement was appropriate in meeting their needs. Whilst children were generally supported to remain in their current school, alternative placements would need to be sought where this was not in the best interest of the child. The virtual school advocates on behalf of children in care and each child has a personal education plan with attendance being monitored and reviewed regularly. The Committee sought assurance that children in care were placed in schools quickly. It was reported that there were frameworks and expectations in place but more work needed to be undertaken with partners to improve this further.


Members asked about the provision in place for those children in care who were moving back to live with their families. It was reported that the Trust ensured there was effective support mechanisms in place and the children were moving on to a nurturing environment with a strengthened partnership offer to support the transition.


Members asked what the impact would be on the delivery of services to children as the Trust sought to make £3m savings over the next 3 years. It was reported that the DCST had begun to achieve its savings earlier as detailed in the Medium Term Financial Strategy to lessen the impact and allow for better planning.


It was reported that the improved changes to services would also bring about savings and efficiencies. Two of the key pressures on the service were the high cost of placements and the increased costs and complex needs of children accessing the service. Improvements to bring more children in care back into the Borough and creating more residential homes in the borough were included in the Future Placements Strategy.  In achieving savings, any action had to be right for the child and meet their care requirements. The Future Placement strategy scheduled for Cabinet on 17th December proposed the building of a number of 2-bedroomed accommodation units for children in care. This was a more effective and efficient solution than allocating places outside of the Borough.


In terms of foster care provision, there was encouragement to use the Trust’s foster carers, which were up to a third less than the cost of external foster care, this also kept children closer to home and their friends and families.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


St Leger Homes of Doncaster Ltd (SLHD) Performance & Delivery Update: 2019/20 Quarter Two (Q2) pdf icon PDF 268 KB


The Committee asked what action was being taken to mitigate Void Rent Loss. It was reported there were a number of actions taking place including close monitoring and arranging multiple viewings on these dwellings. It was reported that this target had reduced from previous years but an additional 100 properties had been taken on which had led to an increased workload.


Members enquired about the target around the average number of days to re-let standard properties, which was above target at 23.83 calendar days. It was reported there was an expectation this would be back on track in the future. The recent flooding emergency would however, have an impact on future performance as a number of properties had been held back and not re-let as they were allocated to families affected by the flooding emergency.


The Committee asked what strategies were in place to help tenants budget, manage their finances and pay their rent on time. Members were informed that there was an expectation that arrears would increase due to tenants moving to Universal Credit and choosing not to pay SLHD directly. Members were informed that tenants are assessed to determine what support is needed to assist them in managing their finances and paying their rent on time.


Members asked about the actions to reduce homelessness. Members also asked about SLHD involvement in the Social Isolation and Loneliness Alliance, it was reported that information would be provided to the Committee outside the meeting in respect of this.


Members asked about the implication for tenants when repairs were not completed on the first visit. It was reported that urgent repairs such as boiler and heating issues were generally repaired within 24 hours. Wherever staff had the equipment available, they would repair first time. Where there was a repair requiring a specific part or a replacement window, which needed to be measured and ordered, this would require a second visit. In the case of broken windows, staff would look to secure the property until the replacement was made available.


The Committee thanked Julie Crooks for her attendance.


RESOLVED that members of Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee note the progress of SLHD performance outcomes and the contribution SLHD makes to the Council’s strategic priorities.




Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan and the Council's Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 558 KB

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Members considered the Overview and Scrutiny work plan. Councillor Robinson provided a summary of work undertaken by the Adults Health and Social Care Committee and referred to a meeting with South Yorkshire Ambulance Service and informed Members of the expansion made to the ambulance station located at Clay Lane West. This included a complete refurbishment remodelling the existing ambulance station to a new hub design comprising operational staff changing rooms and refreshment areas as well as management offices, training and meeting rooms and expansion of garage and repair facilities.


Councillor Houlbrook provided an update on the work undertaken by the Communities and Environment Panel. Members were informed that a number of agenda items scheduled for the 18th November including an update on the work of the Internal Drainage Boards had been deferred as staff were involved in the flooding emergency. These issues would be picked up in the New Year.


Members also considered the Forward Plan and were informed to contact officers initially if they had any queries in respect of forthcoming decisions.


RESOLVED that Members received and noted the Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan update.