Venue: Committee Room 2 Town Hall
Contact: J Bayley Democratic Services Officer
Apologies and named substitutes
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Joanne Beecham, Mark Shurmer and Jenny Wheeler. It was confirmed that Councillor Anthony Lovell was attending as a substitute for Councillor Beecham and Councillor Yvonne Smith was attending as a substitute for Councillor Shurmer.
Declarations of interest and of Party Whip
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests, and any Party Whip.
There were no declarations of interest nor of any party whip.
the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on Thursday 5th September 2019 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
To invite members of the public who have registered in advance of the meeting to speak to the Committee.
There was no public speaking on this occasion.
Members welcomed the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Worcestershire Health and Care Trust and the STP Communications and Engagement Lead to the meeting to discuss the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). During consideration of this matter the following points were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· In 2016 the NHS had been required to produce STP plans across the country. Locally, a decision had been taken for Herefordshire and Worcestershire to work together on an STP.
· The STP had provided an opportunity for different branches of the NHS to work together to address health issues in the local area.
· Increasingly the focus was on wrapping services around the needs of local communities rather than shaping services around the requirements of organisations.
· At a national level there was a movement towards an accountable care system. This had been interpreted by some as an attempt to privatise services but the real aim had been to enable the private sector to work better together in the delivery of care services.
· There was a lot of duplication in the NHS. The aim through working together was to identify duplication, streamline services and then use available resources to meet community needs.
· The Herefordshire and Worcestershire STP had progressed more quickly than some STPs in the country, partly because the organisational composition of the partnership working arrangements was less complex than in other locations.
· A key aim through work on the STP was to improve the performance of existing services. However, unfortunately in some cases services would not be available locally, including Tier 4 mental health beds, which meant that referrals had to be made out of the area.
· The NHS long-term plan had been published in 2019 and required further changes moving forward.
· There were some key objectives in the long-term plan, including to improve cancer services, improve mental health service outcomes, improve waiting times and to address issues, including waiting time at A&E. Many of these issues were a problem nationally, not just locally.
· Since the last Redditch Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting when an update had been provided on the STP, Worcestershire Healthwatch had undertaken a significant amount of consultation with hard to reach groups.
· There had been a number of messages consistently raised during this consultation process including the complexity of the NHS and social care system, the need for transport to be available to help people access services, the valuable work undertaken by carers and the need to provide support to them and problems accessing general practice.
· Consideration was being given to providing services in alternative formats to the traditional approach in order to meet the needs of patients. For example people who worked might appreciate a telephone conversation at an appointed time. In order to identify suitable alternatives the NHS needed to consult with the public about their needs and preferences.
· The local Neighbourhood Teams in Redditch were working to develop resilience within general practice.
· More support was being provided to eating disorder services and to mental ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
Officers advised that at the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 10th September 2019 the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations in respect of the disposal of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) asset from Green Road, Studley had been approved.
Members also considered the latest edition of the Executive Committee’s Work Programme which covered the period 1st November 2019 to 29th February 2020.
During consideration of the work programme Members noted that in some cases the titles of the items listed in the work programme did not necessarily clarify the purpose of the item. This made it difficult for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to determine whether an item would be suitable for pre-scrutiny. Members therefore requested that the Corporate Management Team (CMT) should consider the titles of items listed on the work programme and ensure that these were recorded in a way that would clarify the purpose of each item.
The Committee also briefly discussed the meaning of the term “key decision” and how this was reported in the Executive Work Programme. Officers explained that key decisions could only be taken by the Executive Committee and clarification was provided of the meaning of the term "key decision” with reference being made to information provided on the front cover of the work programme. However, it was confirmed that whilst a report might not require Members to make a key decision the proposals could have very important implications for the Council and Members might still wish to pre-scrutinise reports in those circumstances.
Members subsequently discussed the content of the Executive Committee’s Work Programme and agreed that, in addition to those items already on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme, the following items should be pre-scrutinised:
· Housing Strategy report.
· Review of the One Stop Shops.
· Voluntary and Community Sector Grants Programme 2020/21.
· Leisure and Cultural Services Strategy.
Officers confirmed that the quarterly financial monitoring reports would be considered by the Budget Scrutiny Working Group as and when available.
1) the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme be updated to include the items for pre-scrutiny detailed in the preamble above;
2) the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 10th September be noted; and
3) the content of the Executive Committee’s work programme for the period 1st November 2019 to 29th February 2020 be noted.
Officers advised that the items that had been identified for pre-scrutiny during the meeting would be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme. The majority of these items would need to be considered at the December meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, if all proceeded according to schedule. This would create a very lengthy agenda and Members were advised that it was therefore possible an extra meeting of the Committee would be required in December to enable Members to consider all of these items.
During consideration of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme the Chair proposed that the Committee should consider the subject of the Council’s Concessionary Rents Policy at the meeting due to take place on 7th November. Members were advised that the report in respect of Concessionary Rents that had been due to be considered by the Executive Committee on 29th October would not now be considered until December. Whilst the report that had been published in the agenda for the 29th October meeting remained in the public domain this report had been withdrawn. There was a possibility that the contents of the report would change by December and the proposals could differ from those in the document that had already been published. Therefore it would not be appropriate for the report already the public domain to be discussed at this stage. A verbal update or short written statement could, however, potentially be provided.
Members discussed the subject of the Concessionary Rents report in some depth. On the one hand concerns were raised that by discussing the report in November rather than December the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be debating an item at a time when Members did not have access to the full facts of the matter. On the other hand Members noted that the Concessionary Rents Policy was a subject of significant interest to the public and recent local press coverage indicated that there were concerns in the community about potential forthcoming changes. Therefore, it was suggested that the Overview ad Scrutiny Committee should debate the matter in order to address an issue of concern to the local community.
On being put to the vote it was agreed that the item should be considered at the 7th November meeting of the Committee.
1) the subject of the Concessionary Rents Policy should be considered at the meeting of the Committee due to take place on 7th November 2019; and
2) the content of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme be noted.
Task Groups, Short Sharp Reviews and Working Groups - Update Reports
a) Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Wheeler
b) Parking Enforcement Task Group – Chair, Councillor Mark Shurmer
c) Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Andrew Fry
d) Suicide Prevention Scrutiny Task Group – Chair, Councillor Debbie Chance
The following updates were provided in respect of the work of a number of Task Groups and Working Groups:
a) Budget Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Jenny Wheeler
In Councillor Wheeler’s absence Officers advised that the latest meeting of the Budget Scrutiny Working Group had taken place on 14th October 2019. During this meeting Members had interviewed the Head of Environmental Services and Head of Business Transformation and Organisational Development about the work of the Commercialism Programme Board, progress at the authority with delivering commercial services and the role of Black Radley. The group had also considered the Section 24 Notice and the implications of this for the Council’s financial position moving forward.
Updates had been provided to the group in respect of the new Enterprise finance system at a number of meetings. Members had welcomed news that the roll out of this system was progressing well.
Members were advised that the group had agreed some recommendations at their latest meeting. These would be reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 7th November 2019.
b) Parking Enforcement Scrutiny Task Group – Chair, Councillor Mark Shurmer
In Councillor Shurmer’s absence Officers explained that Members of the group were in the process of shadowing one of the Civil Enforcement Officers in order to observe the service in action and to find out about the challenges facing staff. At the following meeting of the group Members were hoping to interview a representative of Worcestershire County Council, though this meeting had not yet been confirmed.
The group had circulated a survey for the consideration of other Members. This had been designed to provide all Members with an opportunity to contribute evidence in respect of the parking enforcement issues that were reported to them by local residents. Members were thanked for completing copies of this survey, the feedback from which was due to be considered at the following meeting of the group.
c) Performance Scrutiny Working Group – Chair, Councillor Andrew Fry
Councillor Fry reported that at the latest meeting of the group Members had interviewed the Chief Executive and Head of Economic Development for North Worcestershire about work in respect of the strategic purpose ‘help me run a successful business’.
Each member of the group had opted to take a lead on monitoring the measures for a strategic purpose. They provided an update on the information that they had gathered at every meeting. Any recommendations arising from their work would be reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in due course.
d) Suicide Prevention Task Group – Chair, Councillor Debbie Chance
Councillor Chance informed the Committee that the group had interviewed a representative of Worcestershire County Council and of a local community group which helped people experiencing mental ill health. Members were aiming to hold further meetings in December with a view to reporting the group’s recommendations early in the new year.
the update reports be noted.
a) West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Council representative, Councillor Chalk; and
b) Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) – Council representative, Councillor Chalk.
Members thanked Councillor Michael Chalk for providing written updates in respect of the latest meetings of both the Worcestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The following additional updates were provided in relation to these Committees:
a) WMCA Overview and Scrutiny Committee
During the latest meeting of the Committee the subject of homelessness had been debated. The Committee had been advised about Housing First initiatives in the region and Councillor Chalk had learned that there was a pilot Housing First project in Redditch. Officers explained that this pilot was at an early stage and was resource intensive but the Council was learning many very valuable lessons.
b) Worcestershire HOSC
During the latest meeting of the Worcestershire HOSC Members had interviewed the Chief Executive of WAHT. The Committee had welcomed news that the trust was out of special measures and had been informed that 50 nurses had been employed from India. Unfortunately there still, however, remained over 200 nursing vacancies at the trust.
the updates be noted.