Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

17.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies were received

18.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

The following declarations were made for item 8 Grant Allocations - monitoring report (minute 24)

 

Cllr Pegg – Trustee of Rose Hill and Donnington Advice Centre

Cllr Tidball- Trustee of South Oxford Community Association

Cllr Gant – Trustee of Ark T centre

Cllr Taylor – Board Member of Agnes Smith Advice Centre

 

19.

Work Plan and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 170 KB

 

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee operates within a work plan which has been set for the 2016/17 council year.  This plan will be reviewed at every meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Committee and take account of any changes to the latest Forward Plan (which outlines decisions to be taken by the City Executive Board or Council).

Why is it on the agenda?

The Committee is asked to review and note its work plan for the 2016/17 council year. 

 

This is an opportunity for the Chair of the Finance Panel to update the Committee on the Finance Panel meeting held on 30 June 2016.

 

The Committee is also asked to select which Forward Plan items they wish to pre-scrutinise based on the following criteria:

     Is the issue controversial / of significant public interest?

     Is it an area of high expenditure?

     Is it an essential service / corporate priority?

     Can Scrutiny influence and add value?

 

A maximum of three items for pre-scrutiny will normally apply.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair presented the report

 

Work Plan

The report on education attainment is now expected in October as it is still with Brookes University.

 

The Committee review and noted the change in its work plan for the 2016/17 council year. 

 

 

Standing Panels

Cllr Simmons announced he was continuing as Chair of the Finance Panel and outlined the Panel’s last meeting. The Panel had  agreed their work plan, which included looking at the financial aspects of  Brexit, divestment,  a review of the housing company for Oxford, and the budget with a focus on council tax exemptions

 

The Panel also scrutinised the budget monitoring report which was seen after CEB and received a report back on the credit union services.  Recommendations from this item will come to the Scrutiny Committee for approval to go to CEB.

 

 

Forward Plan

The Committee wishes to pre-scrutinise five CEB reports from the Forward Plan in September:

·         Waterways Public Spaces Protection Order,

·         Sustainable energy action plan,

·         Transfer station for recycled materials,

·         Tree Management policy and

·         Annual Monitoring Report (AMR).

 

The Committee heard that the Waterways decision has slipped to October but this workload was considered too much for one meeting and so the Finance Panel will pre-scrutinise the Waste Transfer Station decision

 

 

20.

Report back on recommendations pdf icon PDF 80 KB

 

Background Information

Scrutiny is empowered to make recommendations to Council decision makers, who are obliged to respond in writing.

Why is it on the agenda?

This item allows Committee to see the results of recommendations since the last meeting.  Since the last meeting the following items have resulted in recommendations to the City Executive Board:

·         Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report 2015/16

·         Apprentices (short report)

Who has been invited to comment?

Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair presented the report on recommendations. He mentioned the appendices report (which is attached to the agenda) and the minute from the Board encouraging the review of language schools accommodation.

21.

Devolution plans for Oxfordshire pdf icon PDF 84 KB

 

Background Information

At its last meeting the Committee prioritised a review of devolution plans for Oxfordshire and tasked the Chair and Vice-Chair with scoping this piece of review work.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Committee to:

1.    Receive a verbal update on devolution proposals from the Assistant Chief Executive and ask questions;

2.    Agree the scope of a devolution review;

3.    Appoint members to a Devolution Review Group;

4.    Appoint a Chair of the Devolution Review Group.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Caroline Green, Assistant Chief Executive

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Assistant Chief Executive outlined the background to devolution. In February PWC was appointed to do an independent analysis of unitary government options for Oxfordshire.  There is a member’s presentation on the report on Monday 11 July.  She said the vision of the report would focus on which areas could be done better under unitary authorities.  The proposal does not assume bigger is better but whether it’s possible to get a better balance to reflect the needs of the city vs needs of market towns with the flexibility to make all of the authorities work together on some things.

 

Brexit and the resignation of the Prime Minister has caused some uncertainty to the timeframe of the project as there is concern about ministerial and governmental capacity to engage in the process.

 

The PWC report will discuss:

 

1. different options and whether they will deliver better outcomes for people

2. how integrated services with  produce better outcomes

3. membership, accountability, staffing

4. Preventing increased risk to the vulnerable

5. Testing the scope and capacity to make change

 

The Chair asked why the report had been delayed when it was supposed to have been completed by 30 June.  The delay was due to data analysis and report collation taking longer than anticipated.

 

Cllr Hayes asked if there was a level of confidence for devolution to continue. The Assistant Chief Executive replied that devolution was still on the government’s agenda however the capacity to do it is uncertain.

 

Cllr Pegg asked since Oxfordshire County Council’s plan had not been published, why they are already lobbying/ advertising it and can we do anything about it?

The Assistant Chief Executive explained that the City’s public engagement hasn’t begun yet and we wanted to provide evidence based approach rather than a PR one.

 

Cllr Pegg asked whether the other authorities are happy with the suggested merges. The Assistant Chief Executive said that PWC was going to look at all 4 options within the county. District councils have an open mind whether 4 or 3 authorities are formed.

 

Cllr Coulter questioned why there was no mention of a directly elected mayor, as DCLG has suggested only large changes would be considered if they included a mayor.

 

The Assistant Chief Executive agreed that previous deals had required the inclusion of a mayor and that the proposal would have to be clear on the issue – which was yet to be addressed.

 

Cllr Coulter said that the DCLG felt the ideal size of a unitary authority to be 325,000 residents which is much bigger than what we are proposing in Oxford.

 

The Assistant Chief Executive agreed that the traditional view of the civil service was a unitary of between 300-600,000 people. The County has over 600,000 but we need to consider population growth. We are considering a unitary authority over many authorities which is a different model to previous suggestions.

 

Scrutiny review  - 

 

Cllr Simmons felt the Review Group’s brief needed to be narrowed to focus on the real  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Fusion Lifestyle – Performance Report 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 366 KB

 

 

Background Information

Fusion Lifestyle is the Council’s leisure partner.  The Committee has requested an annual report on Fusion Lifestyle contract performance.  Last year the Committee agreed that future performance reports would take the form of a performance dashboard.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Committee to scrutinise Fusion Lifestyle contract performance.  The Committee is asked to note the report and provide feedback.  This discussion can also help to inform the following item.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks & Sport;

·         Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services;

·         Lucy Cherry, Leisure & Performance Manager.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Item 6 (Minute 22) and Item 7 (minute 23) were taken together.

 

Cllr Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sport introduced the reports and said that they contained some very positive headlines, such as a 71% increase in visits to leisure centres since the contract commenced and the expected achievement of a zero subsidy per user in 2017/18. 

 

The Head of Community Services added that in 2008 the Council was spending £2M per year on subsidising visits to leisure centres and next year this would reduce to zero.

 

Cllr Fry raised concerns about how quickly minor maintenance requests and IT failures were dealt with and questioned whether these issues were considered in performance assessments.  The Head of Community Services said that Fusion used a variety of assessments including mystery visits and customer journey mapping.  He could not excuse failures to fix minor maintenance issues but was not aware of any continuous problems, and such issues should be seen in the context of a vast increase in usage over recent years.

 

In response to a question about tracking the numbers of individuals visiting leisure centres rather than the total number of visits, Cllr Smith explained that there were lots of casual users.  She wanted these users to buy into the loyalty schemes and these needed to be promoted more.

 

Cllr Fry asked what user involvement there was on the Leisure Partnership Board and commented that a user representative had been unable to attend recent meetings because they had taken place in the daytime on a week day.  The Board meets quarterly and its minutes are published on the Council website.  The membership included two elected members as well as customer representatives including older and younger people.  The Committee suggest that the Council should look to strengthen user representation on the Board to provide useful consumer opinion on matters before the Board, and if necessary, the meeting times should be changed to facilitate this.

 

The Committee noted that Ferry Leisure Centre had a user group in place and suggest that the Council should encourage the formation of user groups at leisure centres that don’t already have them, targeting regular customers if possible.  The Committee commented that each user group could have a representative on the Leisure Partnership Board, which would help to strengthen user representation.

 

The Committee queried annual reductions in swimming visits by people under the age of 17 (from 48,400 in 2014/15 to 45,200 in 2015/16) and by people over the age of 60 (from 33,000 to 22,600) and asked what the explanations were.  Work is taking place nationally to address a decline in swimming and officers wanted to address the reductions by attracting new swimmers, particularly amongst older people.  The Committee noted that the Service Plan included a target to deliver a 3% year-on-year increase in over 60 swimming.  The Committee suggest that, given the 32% drop in over 60 swimming in 2015/16, Fusion should be challenged to deliver a higher increase in 2016/17.

 

Cllr Tidball asked whether  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Fusion Lifestyle's 2016/ 2017 Annual Service Plan pdf icon PDF 121 KB

 

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.

Why is it on the agenda?

The City Executive Board will be asked to endorse the Fusion Lifestyle Annual Service Plan for 2016/17 at its meeting on 14 July 2016.  This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks & Sport;

·         Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services;

·         Lucy Cherry, Leisure & Performance Manager.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Item 6 (minute 22) and item 7 (minute 23) were taken together.

Discussion of this item can be found in minute 22

 

24.

Grant Allocations - monitoring report pdf icon PDF 128 KB

 

 

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.

Why is it on the agenda?

The City Executive Board on 14 July 2016 will be asked to:

1.    Note the results of the grant monitoring, the positive impact the community and voluntary sector is making in the City.

2.    Recommend we work with partners to understand the issues facing the Community and Voluntary Sector in greater depth so we are better able to target our support where it is most needed and will have the greatest impact.

 

This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Christine Simm, Board Member for Culture & Communities;

·         Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services;

·         Julia Tomkins, Grants and External Funding Officer.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Christine Simm, Board Member for Culture and Communities presented the report and outlined the positive impact the council grants were able to make during this time of austerity, despite there being less money to spend there was an increasing need in the City. The leverage of Council grant funding enables organisations to apply for money from elsewhere.

 

Cllr Hayes asked whether allocations could be conditional on recipients achieving match funding from other sources.  Cllr Simms said that while this was taken into consideration, it should not be a requirement as the Council did not want to create barriers to small organisations seeking to access funding.

 

The Committee noted that the Council needed to achieve the best possible value for money from its grants programme.  The amount of additional funding leveraged in and the number of beneficiaries were useful indications in this respect.  The Committee noted that some types of interventions that benefit relatively few individuals, such as homelessness prevention, could deliver more social value than, for example, inclusive arts and culture schemes that benefit many more individuals.  The Committee suggest that it would be useful to measure and monitor the social value impacts of grant allocations, perhaps at category level, in addition to leveraged funding and the numbers of beneficiaries.

 

Cllr Simmons asked how grant allocations were tied into service delivery and noted that he would like to see more research to inform how the Council could best focus resources (e.g. across homelessness grants and Discretionary Housing Payments).  Cllr Simm said that the grant allocations were in line with the Council’s strategic aims and that the Council’s approach to advice commissioning, which was part of the Council’s cross-cutting Financial Inclusion Strategy, was a good example of joined up thinking.  Cllr Simmons suggested that consideration should be given to how the Council could do more of that and what the mechanism for doing so would be.

 

The Committee AGREED the following recommendations to CEB

 

1 – That consideration is given to how to quantify the social value achieved from the different grant programmes for community and voluntary organisations and to the inclusion of a measure of social value in future grant monitoring reports.

 

2. That consideration is given to whether and how the Council could better integrate its grant programmes for community and voluntary organisations with related aspects of service delivery, with a view to focusing resources as effectively as possible.

 

25.

Report of the Equality and Diversity Review Group pdf icon PDF 1 MB

 

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee commissioned the Equality & Diversity Review Group to consider issues of equality and diversity in the Council workforce and in particular:

·         What barriers are faced by under-represented groups in recruitment and career progression at the City Council;

·         How does the Council prevent and address discrimination, including specifically discrimination against LGBT employees.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to review and comment on the report of the Equality & Diversity Review Group before it is submitted to the City Executive Board.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Tom Hayes, Chair of the Equality & Diversity Review Group.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Hayes, Chair of the Equality & Diversity Review Group presented the report.  He thanked his fellow panel members and the Scrutiny Officer for the work done.

 

Cllr Wilkinson asked whether having officers who spoke a second language on call (recommendations 7-9) was desirable by Human Resources (HR). The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that the report had been reviewed and signed off by HR officers.

 

The Committee discussed the merit of removing gender titles altogether (recommendation 20) from job applications. However after a vote it was resolved to leave recommendation 20 unchanged.

 

The Committee agreed the following amendments to the report:

 

Rec 1: That the suggested accessibility audits should be broadened out to include employment practices and processes as well as premises as it was important to have ‘three dimensional thinking’ about accessibility;

Recs 7-9: That these suggestions would need to be subject to advice on how the ability to speak a second language should be defined.

Rec 21: That the words “if this would be supported by the Trade Unions” be removed.

 

The Committee resolved to APPROVE the report for CEB as amended.

26.

Apprentices report pdf icon PDF 131 KB

 

 

Background Information

At its last meeting the Committee considered a report on apprentices and agreed a number of recommendations to put to the City Executive Board (CEB). One recommendation was submitted to CEB on 16 June 2016 as a decision on that recommendation would affect the outcome of a recruitment campaign. The remainder of the recommendations have not yet been submitted and are set out in the attached report.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to approve the Scrutiny report on apprentices before it is submitted to the City Executive Board on 14 July 2016.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Andrew Brown, Scrutiny Officer.

 

 

 

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer presented the report.

 

Cllr Simmons asked why recommendation 2 only extended the age group to 24. The Scrutiny Officer explained that at these ages young people can be classified as being not in education or training (NEET).  – The Committee asked that it included older aged people as well.

 

The Committee resolved to APPROVE the report as amended.

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Minutes from 07 June 2016.

 

Recommendation: That the minutes of the meeting held on 07 June 2016 be APPROVED as a true and accurate record.

 

Minutes:

The Committee resolved to APPROVE the minutes of the meeting held on 23 June 2014 as a true and accurate record.

 

28.

Dates of future meetings

Meetings are scheduled as followed:

 

Scrutiny Committee

 

 

5 September 2016

7 November 2016

6 October 2016

6 December 2016

 

All meetings start at 6.00 pm.

 

Standing Panels

Housing Standing Panel – 7 July 2016

Finance Standing Panel – 30 June 2016 & 8 September 2016

 

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted that its next meeting would be on 5 September 2016