Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Scrutiny-selected Performance Monitoring

Meeting: 07/12/2021 - Finance and Performance Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 29)

29 Integrated Performance Report Q2 pdf icon PDF 268 KB

At its meeting on 15 December Cabinet will consider the Integrated Performance Report Q2. Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager, will be available to present the report and answer questions.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having AGREED any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.


Additional documents:


Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager, presented to the Panel the Cabinet Integrated Performance Report Q2, detailing the Council’s position regarding finance, performance and risk.

Financially, the General Fund was forecast to show a favourable variance of £573k. Key changes included a £470k favourable variance for Housing Services following receipt of external grant funding. Car parking income was seen to be returning and expectations were that they would rise to budgeted figures by the end of the year. However, not all parking had recovered equally, with city centre parking improving at a much faster rate than park and ride income. The Council’s claim to recoup sales, fees and charges reduced due to Covid for Q1 of the year had been submitted, totalling £1.1m, the payment of which was being awaited. The claims were being made on the same basis as previously, claims which had been paid out in full indicating a good level of confidence that the money would be received.

The Housing Revenue Account was forecast to show a small adverse variance of £29k, a figure unchanged from Q1.

Spending on the Capital Programme indicated a spend of £146m over the year, with slippage of £28m occurring in the second quarter, with the East Oxford Community Centre (decanting current tenants), Bullingdon Community Centre (surveys) and affordable housing supply (in line with the changes to the Oxfordshire Growth Deal programme) and regeneration (non-purchase of properties) being the primary causes. There was a marginal overspend of £37k. The issue of low spend at the time of year relative to the budget was addressed; £20m of loans to OCHL would be made in large chunks rather than drip fed throughout the year. Likewise, purchases from the HRA of homes worth £35m and property purchases of up to £13m for regeneration would also happen in big steps. Furthermore, issues with the QL implementation meant that some capital spend was not showing up at present. As such, the expected spend of £146m was still sound, even if the pro rata spend was lagging. The Panel expressed disappointment at the slippage of the Go Ultra Low project, in light of the Council’s climate change aspiration.

Corporate performance indicators showed 11 out of 23 indicators as green, 3 red and no amber (the remainder either being annual targets or requiring a baseline to set a KPI). The three red indicators were: council spend on local SMEs; council spend on local SMEs (excluding OCHL and ODS); and the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough.  

Three risks were identified as being red: ensuring housing delivery and supply; economic growth; and the progress towards net zero. Overall, this presented an improved set of results on the previous quarter.

In response to the report presented the Panel raised a number of questions and comments, and sought clarifications over a variety of issues. Discussion was held over the proportion of the Council’s homelessness budget the £470k grant received covered; a welcome proportion, though the total spend by the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29

Meeting: 06/09/2021 - Finance and Performance Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 22)

22 Integrated Performance Report Q1 pdf icon PDF 260 KB

At its meeting on 15 September Cabinet will consider the Integrated Performance Report Q1. Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager, will be available to present the report and answer questions.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having AGREED any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.


Additional documents:


Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager presented to the Panel the Integrated Performance Report Q1, detailing the Council’s position concerning finances, performance and risk.

Financially, the General Fund was on budget. However, within this figure there were a number of income sources continuing to be impacted by Covid-19 which were being monitored closely. Car parking income in the first quarter was significantly down against budget, a budget already reduced by £1.4m for the year owing to expected Covid disruption to income. Community Centre, Town Hall and Licensing incomes were all broadly on track for their reduced budgets. A clearer picture of the performance of Property Rental income was anticipated by the Q2 report. Issues arising from the QL implementation meant it was not possible to provide an update on ODS performance.

Capital spending showed a slippage of approximately £9m. Some key projects which had shown slippage included the East Oxford Community Centre project, Osney Mead Infrastructure, City Cycle Schemes, and Motor Transport Vehicle Programme.

The HRA showed a very minor adverse variance against budget, though the broadly-stable figure did show some changes, with stage payments being paid to OCHL, and slippage to the overall housing delivery from OCHL roughly negating one another.

For performance, of the 24 corporate KPIs 13 were rated Green (on target); 5 were rated Amber (within a tolerance of target) and 1 was rated Red (outside of target), there were also 5 indicators that are unrated due to either no data being available or no comparable data from previous year to rate against.  The red risk related to the estimated number of people sleeping rough in the city, with 24 estimated to do so against a target of 17.

Concerning risk, two red corporate risks existed at the end of quarter one.  These relates to actions taken to ensure housing delivery and supply for the city of Oxford and to enable sufficient house building and investment; local, national or international factors adversely affecting the economic growth of the city and negative impacts of Climate Change. 

Councillor Amar Latif joined the meeting at this point.

One of the key topics explored by the Panel concerned car parking. Whilst income was clearly impaired by Covid, longer-term policy and trends towards car reduction would also have a negative impact. It was recognised that the Council was responsible for multiple types of car parking, catering to shoppers, commuters and people engaging in recreation, and those visiting the city-centre and those parking in the outskirts. This meant there would be a base income, on the basis that not all would be impacted equally by Covid and policy trends. All types of parking were anticipated to bounce back in Y2 of the Medium Term Financial Plan, but thereafter policy decisions such as the removal of Oxpens car park would be expected to weigh on income levels.  It was requested that a more fleshed-out response about the price elasticity for different types of car parks be provided to the Panel at a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22

Meeting: 02/08/2021 - Finance and Performance Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 13)

13 Social Value in Procurement pdf icon PDF 526 KB

Annette Osborne, Procurement Manager, will be present to provide an update report on the Council’s implementation of Social Value in Procurement and to brief on the potential impacts of the ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ Green Book.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having agreed any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.

NB This report is to follow.



Annette Osborne, Procurement Manager, presented an update report on the Council’s activities relating to social value in procurement, including possible changes from central government.

Scrutiny had previously recommended that an event with neighbouring councils, the private sector and providers of support infrastructure to take place. This meeting had not taken place. Primarily the cause was Covid, but in addition there are a lot of national events which are hosted, making a local event less necessary.

Scrutiny’s second previous recommendation was that the Council benchmark itself against other similar councils. This had been undertaken, although owing to differences in record keeping by councils from whom data had been sought, only four or the eleven chosen as suitable comparators were usable as such: Croydon, Stoke, Southampton and Birmingham. Oxford outperformed or equalled those comparators, with 62.5% being spent locally, well above central government’s target of 33%.

Although the Procurement Manager had only been technically in post since December 2020, a lot had been achieved to develop social value through the Council’s procurement. The constitution had been amended, making it easier for the voluntary sector and cooperatives to deliver goods and services. A ‘one quote’ mechanism for work up to £10,000 had been implemented, and organisations which had tended not to engage with the procurement portal – SMEs and the voluntary sector – had been given greater opportunity to bid for work outside it. Within the Council’s procurement templates the weighting of social value issues had been increased from 5% to 10%. The treatment of the Living Wage had been extended to include the national Living Wage, thereby helping companies who did not employ people within Oxford. Council staff had been appraising the usefulness of the national social value calculator of Themes, Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) and multiple meetings had been held locally with other councils to explore finessing it to create a locally-focused OxTOMs calculator instead. It was suggested to the Panel that rather than putting effort into Scrutiny’s previous recommendation of an event, a better suggestion would be to work with other local institutions – the universities and hospital trusts, for example – to standardise social value approaches. This would have the benefit of giving greater clarity to local businesses.

The Panel was updated on the government’s proposals about Transforming Public Procurement. The proposals included much which was worthwhile, but making the necessary changes to implement them would be resource-intensive. Simplification of regulations would be of benefit for all, but there were fears that moving focus from identifying the most economically advantageous tender to the most advantageous tender could lead to gold plating. Being able to check whether suppliers of the Council were paying their subcontractors in a timely manner would be very welcome.

The Panel was also presented with a digest of the likely impacts of the government’s Procurement Policy Statement. It was unclear for the Council when it would need to implement the new rules in the Statement, the lack of certainty arising from whether spending through OCHL  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13

Meeting: 08/07/2021 - Finance and Performance Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 6)

6 Scrutiny-selected Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 134 KB

The Panel is asked to consider a report on how it wishes to discharge its performance monitoring function at future meetings. The Panel is recommended to:

1)    AGREE to have Performance Monitoring as a standing item on the agenda, where written questions or invitations to relevant officers to attend the next meeting can be agreed, and previous written responses considered.

2)    AGREE fifteen to twenty-five KPIs for consideration throughout the civic year.


Additional documents:


The report was introduced by Tom Hudson, Scrutiny Officer. In setting up the Finance and Performance Panel the Scrutiny Committee had included within the Panel’s remit responsibility for performance monitoring. Historically, the Panel had considered Cabinet papers of the Integrated Performance Report, but had also identified a suite of its own indicators to consider on a regular basis. The Panel was asked to make a change to previous performance monitoring, which had been undertaken by one officer trying to respond in-depth questions on areas beyond their own service. It was AGREED by the Panel that performance monitoring would be a standing item on the agenda, but that it would not be presented by an officer. Instead, the Panel would at that point agree questions to relevant officers for written responses, or invite the relevant officers to talk at the following meeting.

Concerning which measures to track, the Panel AGREED that the most time efficient way to agree measures would be for Panel members to send their list of up to 25 measures to the Scrutiny Officer by e mail, and for a composite list to be created from the responses.

A modification was requested to the performance monitoring report template, with previous years’ performance included (where available). Further, it was AGREED by the Panel that it was important that they understood the basis by which the targets were set, and that this process be explained to them by a relevant officer at the next meeting.