Background
Background

Agenda and minutes

Venue: This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location

Contact: Clive Willoughby  Tel: 01946 598328

Items
No. Item

OSC119

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies received.

 

OSC120

Declarations of Interests in Agenda Items:

 

To receive declarations by Members and/ or co-optees of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting).

 

Members are advised however, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other interests.

 

Members are reminded that they may not, by law, participate or vote in any discussion in a meeting on a matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

 

Members are advised that they should leave the room during consideration of any items of business in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests made.

 

OSC121

2020/21 Finance Report - Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Minutes:

The Section 151 Officer and Director of Financial Resources requested via the Chair to have this item moved up the agenda due to time constraints. The Director gave the members an overview of the 2020/21 Finance Report for Quarter 1.

 

Councillor Ged McGrath asked the Director to explain the reason as to why some figures in the net expenditure line were not showing as variances. The Director explained that where a change is not forecast on the budgeted figure it is expected to be on the budget, which is why there is no variance, as Copeland Borough Council (CBC) are expected to hit the budget. Councillor McGrath also asked where CBC are with the Recycling costings for the year. The Director informed the Committee that CBC are overspent on Refuge and Recycling that reflects the period where there were additional costs during the first three months of the financial year where there addition vehicles and a spread of workers to adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines. So spending was a lot higher at the beginning of the year than was expected which was reflected throughout. Recycling rates are higher which we do receive income from but that’s offset by the cost of recycling activity. As a final question, Councillor McGrath asked whether Green Waste is a cost to the Council or is something that pays for itself. Unfortunately, the Director did not have this information to hand, only knowing that while there is a cost to put the Green Waste service on there is some money received from it. The Director will provide that information to Councillor McGrath following the meeting.

 

Councillor Sam Pollen asked about the General Reserve Fund and the Bigger Picture, such as the net budget that has been topped up by emergency government funding which the Councillor wonders if the Director believes to be enough. Councillor Pollen also wonders if the current Budget is enough for CBC to be able to deliver the statutory services and asks the Director to provide some further comments and clarification the revenue support grant. The Director notes that there is some concern with the general reserve level and it will be a key factor in setting next year’s budget, whether CBC are still at the current level or higher or lower, CBC are in the same position as a lot of local authorities and a lot depends on what happens between now and the start of the next financial year. Taking into account the current climate, the Director believes that CBC have been quite prudent and not overly ambitious in forecasting income and will continue talking with MHCLG and the position that each local authority are currently in. The Director explained that the current emergency funding, while leaving CBC below the minimum level, will have to be considered in future budgets to bring the level back up and that there may be possible future funding. More information will hopefully be available in the second Budget Monitoring report. In terms of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC121

OSC122

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Pollen noted that the Nuclear Position Statements have not been included as an agenda item, as the minutes of the previous meeting had stated that they would be. The Chair commented that this issue would be brought up later in the agenda under Item 11, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.

 

Councillor McGrath made a comment to commend the minute taker on the quality of the minutes.

 

The Scrutiny Officer drew the attention of the Committee to page four point C, where the Committee had expressed their interest in asking the Section 151 Officer and Director of Financial Resources about the possibility of having more of an input into reviewing the Draft Budget. But no further comment was provided by the Committee.

Councillor Hailes asked regarding an update on the Beacon, as mentioned in the minutes, but the topic was deferred until later in the meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That,

 

a)     The minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2020 be signed by the Chair as a correct record, with a unanimous vote for.

b)     The Scrutiny Officer follow up with the portfolio holder to provide an update to Councillor Pollen regarding the meeting with Sellafield.

c)     The Nuclear Position Statements be an agenda item at the next meeting.

 

OSC123

Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Pollen noted that the Nuclear Position Statements have not been included as an agenda item, as the minutes of the previous meeting had stated that they would be. The Chair commented that this issue would be brought up later in the agenda under Item 11, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.

 

Councillor McGrath made a comment to commend the minute taker on the quality of the minutes.

 

The Scrutiny Officer drew the attention of the Committee to page four point C, where the Committee had expressed their interest in asking the Section 151 Officer and Director of Financial Resources about the possibility of having more of an input into reviewing the Draft Budget. But no further comment was provided by the Committee.

 

Councillor Hailes asked regarding an update on the Beacon, as mentioned in the minutes, but the topic was deferred until later in the meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That,

 

a)     The minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2020 be signed by the Chair as a correct record, with a unanimous vote for.

b)     The Scrutiny Officer follow up with the portfolio holder to provide an update to Councillor Pollen regarding the meeting with Sellafield.

c)     The Nuclear Position Statements be an agenda item at the next meeting.

 

OSC124

Update from Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee

Minutes:

The Chair commented that the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee has not met since March and that the next meeting will be held on 5th October 2020. Feedback will be provided at the next Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) meeting in November. The Chair confirmed that this Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee meeting would be a virtual meeting.

 

OSC125

Update from the Single Table Trade Union Group (STTUG) representative

Minutes:

Councillor Pollen attended the September STTUG meeting. Voluntary Redundancy was discussed, the process was started on 17th August 2020 and was closed on the meeting date of 11th September 2020. There are currently 22 applications, there have been positive consultation and discussion with the Unions and that continues. The decisions on the voluntary redundancies should be decided in the following weeks. The Director of Corporate Services and Commercial Strategy gave the group a brief update of the community services review, there is a new manager in place, and CBC are looking to for improvements. There has been a review of the cleaning teams, there are currently 18 currently employed on our street cleaning teams. There has been a lot of consultation with the crew who have been involved at all stages, and they are looking at introducing different ways of working as there had been concerns raised by the Unions that staff weren’t getting enough time off and Annual Leave. The Chief Executive ensured the group that, while they are expecting staff to be flexible, annual leave will be taken and it is important for staff to take time out and rest.

 

There was a brief update on the bereavement services team, that while small and in the early stages, are looking to improve the services and the support in the work that they deliver on behalf of Copeland. The HR Manager gave a brief Health and Safety update, keen to comply with all government regulations regarding Covid-19. A video was produced to help start begin working again in the Market Hall in a Covid-Safe environment with as much information and support as possible. Staff will be returning gradually and there is a phased return approach to face-to-face meetings with individuals by introducing an appointment only approach. Various training sessions such as first aid are still ongoing. A Moresby updated was given, noting that staff are able to go back to work should they feel safe.

 

Devolution update from the Chief Executive, the White Paper is expected in October, if no proposals are submitted then it is likely to delay any process until 2023 before there is any significant change in Local Government in Cumbria. It is a concern for staff, as it is their jobs at stake, the Chief Executive is ensuring that staff are provided will all information available and that they are transparent. No concerns from the Unions.

 

If councillors have any concerns or issues that they would like raised, please email Councillor Pollen.

 

[Due to technical issues, there was a 15 minute break, while the issue was being resolved.]

 

Councillor Wilson asked whether Councillor Pollen had any information as to the working arrangement for CBC staff in Millom. Councillor Pollen informed the Committee, that while he hadn’t any information personally, but that it was an issue that should be discussed. Councillor Pollen will mention the point at the next meeting and provide an update at the next meeting.

 

RESOLVED: – That,

 

a)     Councillor Wilson  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC125

OSC126

Housing

Minutes:

There were no housing updates available, following on from the in-depth presentation at the previous meeting which enabled members to ask multiple questions, therefore this standing agenda item will be rolled over onto the next meeting.

 

OSC127

Corporate Performance Report for Quarter 1 of 2020-2021 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Performance and Risk Management Officer presented their report to the committee.

 

The Chair commends and thanks staff for all their hard work during such difficult circumstances which is highlighted in the report.

Councillor Pollen notes that the number of affordable homes built is a concern for all members. Councillor Pollen reiterates the Chairs comments regarding officers and staff and their response throughout the pandemic, also noting that there is a lot of work that has been done that hasn’t been communicated.

 

Councillor McGrath questioned the data on recycling and kerbside collection; that while the collection and tonnage is up, the recycling rate has dropped from 44% to 38%, is this indicative to the fact that we have just collected less Green Waste. The Officer responded that, although there has been an impact because Green Waste was not collected as often, the difference will also be due to the fact that the kerbside recycling scheme was launched last year pushing the rates to be exceptionally high at that point, there is some natural fall away that is to be expected.

 

The Chair also noted that there was an increase in the rate of Domestic Violence. The Officer highlighted that the statistics are from the Police and are noted in the report just for reference and as a matter of interest. Through CBC Social Inclusion programme and Housing CBC do have an officer in place who can provide support and direction to anyone who comes forward.

 

RESOLVED: – That, with a unanimous vote for, the Committee note key progress and performance against the strategic ambitions.

 

[Councillor Sam Pollen had to leave the meeting at this point]

 

OSC128

Task and Finish Group Updates pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer noted the task and finish groups on page 47 of the agenda pack, the officer also informed members that they had received a larger than normal response from councillors wishing to be involved with the task and finish groups. Initial meetings for the groups will be organised within the next month and the first meetings will be to scope out the meetings to determine the outcomes and, for the Recycling Review, it will also be to determine the new chair since Councillor Andy Pratt has joined the Executive and is no longer able to participate.

If any councillor had any other questions regarding task and finish groups, they could contact the Scrutiny Officer.

The deadline date for asking to join the task and finish groups was clarified in an email sent out to all councillors.

 

Councillor Pollen asked for clarification as to the start dates of the groups, the Scrutiny Officer confirmed that there is no date set yet. Emails will be sent to clarify the end date for joining a group and then individual groups will be informed of the start date of the group.

 

Councillor Pollen also commented on the number of those wanting to be involved with the task and finish groups and commends both the Scrutiny Officer and the IT arrangements which have enabled councillors to become more heavily involved.

 

Councillor Eileen Weir commented regarding the councillor on the Executive. The Scrutiny Officer clarified that when the Recycling Review task and finish group was first established, Councillor Pratt was a part of OSC and was made the chair of the task and finish group. Following the recent reshuffle of the Executive, he is no longer able to be the chair of the task and finish group, so a new chair must be chosen at the first meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

a)     The Scrutiny Officer will email all councillors to inform them of the cut-off date for requesting to join a task and finish group.

b)     The Scrutiny Officer will email each task and finish group to set up the date of the first meeting.

 

OSC129

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Minutes:

The Scrutiny Officer noted that the work programme has not changed significantly since the last meeting, apart from the addition of seven agenda items on the last page that OSC would like to see going forward. The Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) have been emailed to inform them that OSC would like to see the reports, and CLT will be informing the Scrutiny Officer when those reports come online. As soon as the reports are available, they will passed to the OSC.

 

An issue which is on the work programme that needs to be addressed, which was mentioned during Item 3, Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 September 2020, is the Nuclear Position Statements which the Chair will address. The Chair notes that OSC have been looking at this item, as requested by Councillor Meteer, and note that it is a duplication of work. The Statements are included within reports that have been to the Executive, the Chair believed that it would be a better use of time for those interested to view those reports, rather than have the Statements be brought to OSC as an agenda item. Councillor Weir voiced her agreement with the Chair.

 

Councillor Meteer believed that it would appear that the Strategic Nuclear and Energy Board (SNEB) had been snubbed, that two members of the Executive sit on SNEB and then the Executive make amendments, that OSC should be getting the ‘Overview’ aspect. Cllr Meteer suggested that possibly Full Council should be making the decision rather than the Executive and that there would appear to be a disconnect in Executive making an amendment and then not passing the report back to SNEB, leading to a need for more Overview being necessary.

 

The Democratic Services Manager asked for clarity for what is being requested, as SNEB are an advisory board and not a decision making body. The Nuclear Position Statements were senr to the Executive in March and have not been presented since, so it is publically available for anyone to see, with the next version being sent to the Executive in March next year. So, if the Committee would like to see the updated Statements before they go to the Executive next year, then that could be requested. Councillor Meteer noted that the most recent Statement is from July that was noted at the last Full Council meeting where there were additions. The Democratic Services Manager clarified that there was a decision in relation to the GDF and not an amendment to the Nuclear Position Statements. The Statement from March fed into that decision and was not a revision of the Nuclear Position Statements.

The Chair noted that councillors used to receive regular updates from the nuclear team that have not been held due to the pandemic. These could be an option to start again, and be considered, so Officer can keep Members regularly updated.

 

Councillor Meteer believed that anything that comes under ‘Nuclear’ should come as part of the Nuclear Position Statements and that councillors  ...  view the full minutes text for item OSC129

OSC130

Date and Time of Next Meeting:

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 26th November 2020 at 2pm via virtual meeting.

 

 

Original text