Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Strategy and Resources)
Monday, 12th October, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Zoom

Contact: Rob Clayton (0113 37 88790)  Email: robert.clayton@leeds.gov.uk

Link: to View Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

40.

Nomination of Chair

Minutes:

The Principal Scrutiny Adviser informed Members that the Chair of the Board, Cllr Harland had sent her apologies as she was unwell. Therefore, he was seeking nomination to the Chair.

 

Cllr Hayden was nominated to the Chair with the agreement of all Board Members.

 

RESOLVED – That Cllr Hayden be formally elected to the Chair.

Chairs Opening Comments

The Chair thanked her Board Members for their support, and welcomed all to the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board meeting.

41.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals against refusal of inspection of documents.

42.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

  No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

There were no exempt items.

43.

Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no late items of business.

44.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

45.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Harland.

46.

Minutes - 7 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To confirm as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 7th September 2020 be approved as a correct record.

47.

Matters arising

Minutes:

In relation to minute 34 Matters arising – In relation to an item from a previous meeting in regard to Welcome to Yorkshire. It was noted that since the last meeting there had been more information in relation to a grant not being approved from Wakefield City Council. Members were concerned that there seemed to have been conflicting information and were seeking to ensure that full clarity would be given to the Board at its meeting in November including a full budget position and finances.

 

Also under Minute 34 Matters arising - Cllr Harland as Chair of Scrutiny Board, Strategy and Resources and Cllr Hayden as Chair of Scrutiny Board, Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles, had sent a joint letter to the Secretary of State in relation to long term funding of social care. It was agreed that the letter should be provided as part of the minutes to the November meeting. It was noted that no reply had been received.

48.

Capital Programme Review, Revenue Budget Update 2021/22 and Budget Savings Proposals pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting details of two reports that were considered by the Executive Board at its meeting on 24 September 2020. These were the Capital Programme Review and Revenue Budget Update and Savings Proposals for 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services provided Board Members with an update on the budget position for 2021/22 and consider both the Revenue Budget Update and Savings Proposals and Capital Programme Review reports approved by Executive Board on 24 September 2020.

 

In attendance for this item were:

·  Cllr James Lewis – Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Resources;

·  Victoria Bradshaw – Chief Officer Financial Services;

·  Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing;

·  Cluny Macpherson – Chief Officer Culture and Sport

 

Members were informed of the following points;

  • At its July meeting the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board considered the initial impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s budget position both in terms of the current year and the projected impact on financial year 2021/22. Since that time Executive Board considered a further budget update and savings proposals for 2021/22 at its meeting on 24 September 2020;
  • The budget gap for 2020/21 stands at £118.8m of which £59.7m is due to pressures identified prior to the impact of COVID-19 with the balance of £59.1m resulting from the ongoing financial impact of COVID-19;
  • £32.3m had been identified through the Financial Challenge Programme of which £24.2m related to Business as Usual and £8.2m related to Service Review measures. In respect of the Board’s remit the Resources and Housing Directorate (in which the majority of the services covered by the Board’s remit sit) had identified £5.01m of Business as Usual savings and £6.33m that related to service reviews that would require further consultation;
  • The Scrutiny Board’s working group held a meeting on 25th September 2020, the outcomes of this meeting and a further planned working group on 19th November will inform the council’s decision-making in relation to the Budget for 2021/22. Comments and recommendations made by the Scrutiny Board (Strategy and Resources) during this consultation process will be captured within a composite report from Scrutiny to be submitted as part of the Provisional Budget report to the Executive Board in December.
  • It was noted that in addition to the savings proposals considered by Executive Board in September more savings proposals would be brought to the Executive Board meetings in October and November. There was a need to save around £80m for 2021-2022. The Directorate would be looking at areas such as asset disposal and back office savings. This would require delivering services differently and would also see a reduction in staff. It was noted that there had been interest in the Early Leavers Scheme which had seen about 1,000 people indicating that they would wish to go. Consideration of ELI submissions is currently ongoing and it was thought that staff reductions in this Directorate could be delivered through voluntary means. Although, there was the potential that in some service areas this may not be possible. Discussions with Trade Unions were currently ongoing;
  • The last Medium Term Financial Strategy had been agreed in July 2019, it had been recognised that there were dwindling resources. There had been a reset on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Scrutiny Inquiry into the reduction of energy consumption in Council buildings – formal response to recommendations pdf icon PDF 423 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting the formal response to the recommendations arising from the Scrutiny Board’s Inquiry into energy consumption in Council buildings.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services presented a formal response to the recommendations arising from last year’s Scrutiny Inquiry into the reduction of energy consumption in Council buildings, this was set out at Appendix 1.

 

In attendance for this item were:

·  Cllr James Lewis – Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Resources

·  Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  Polly Cook – Chief Officer, Sustainable Energy and Air Quality

·  Mark Mills – Head of Asset Management

 

The Board had undertaken an Inquiry during October and November 2019 in accordance with the agreed terms of reference. A report summarising the conclusions and recommendations of the Scrutiny Board was then agreed on 18th November 2019, this was appended to the submitted report.

 

Members were advised of the following:

·  Recommendation 1- The Council is now able to separate out data for its electrical consumption in all our buildings. Data is also collected for the electrical charging points. Investment in more electrical heating  would require monitoring to assess any impact, and this would be on a site by site basis;

·  Recommendation 2 –The Council currently has 700 operational buildings with 200 of these classed as key operational buildings. The Council has a wide range of buildings some of which are heritage buildings. It was recognised that some of the historic buildings may not have scope to be used in the future. Asset Management Strategy is currently being updated and a report will be presented to Executive Board later in the year;

·  Recommendation 3 – The Asset Management Strategy will consider the carbon footprint, asset reduction, spread of buildings and how they are used. The Strategy would also consider how we are currently working with more people working from home and also travel demands. It was noted that services may be required to work differently and this would be through digital means in the future;

·  Recommendation 4 –To look at the carbon footprint comparing people working from home, compared to their commute into work. The standard Housing Database was used to see how energy usage changes for someone working from home between 9 hours and 16 hours a day. It was recognised that some people may not put their heating on whilst at home which would make savings better, but the calculations had been based on someone heating their home for 16 hours. The staff travel survey had been used to look at where people travelled into work from, including distance and mode of transport. It was noted that even in winter there would be a 1kg saving per day of CO2 and in summer 1.72kg of savings. It was concluded that heating the home more often was better than the travel emissions that would have been caused by regular commuting. It was also realised that there are different factors which could affect this and in the current situation there may be more than one person working from home therefore, sharing carbon and saving on two lots of commute;

Recommendation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Scrutiny review of the management and financial implications of void properties in Council ownership - recommendation tracking update pdf icon PDF 474 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting the progress made in responding to the recommendations arising from the Scrutiny Board’s 2018/19 inquiry into Void Properties.

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services set out the progress made in responding to the recommendations arising from the previous Scrutiny review of the management and financial implications of void properties in Council ownership.

 

In attendance for this item were:

·  Cllr James Lewis – Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Resources

·  Neil Evans – Director of Resources and Housing

·  Mark Mills – Head of Asset Management

 

The Board decided to consider the management and financial implications of void properties in Council ownership. A working group meeting, took place on 29th October 2018. A formal Statement setting out the Scrutiny Board’s conclusions and recommendations was then agreed in February 2019. In July 2019, the Scrutiny Board received a formal response to the recommendations arising from this review.

 

The Scrutiny recommendation tracking system allows the Scrutiny Board to consider the position status of its recommendations in terms of their on-going relevance and the progress made in implementing the recommendations based on a standard set of criteria. This standard set of criteria was presented in the form of a flow chart at Appendix 1.

 

Details of progress against each recommendation were set out within the table at Appendix 2.

 

Member’s discussions included:

·  Establishment of Asset Management Plans to aid future estate planning;

·  Service reviews to assess service and building changes;

·  Reduction of period between properties becoming vacant and being put on the market;

·  Strategic Development Group process to consider marketing and disposal of vacant properties;

·  Ward Member engagement in discussions around void properties especially those that are locally sensitive.

 

RESOLVED – To accept Recommendations 1 and 2 as met and that the Board would continue to monitor Recommendation 3.

 

51.

Work Schedule 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2020/21 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services requested Members consideration on the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the municipal year 2020/21.

 

The Principal Scrutiny Adviser informed the Board that the meeting would look to address the additional details that Board Members had requested on Welcome to Yorkshire including an audit analysis and concerns in regard to the decisions making process. It was suggested that a witness be invited to the meeting.

 

The November meeting would also consider:

  • A report on ways of working and the impact on staff; and
  • A report on Council Tax and Business Rates Recovery.

 

Members were advised of a working group to discuss the budget in November. A date would be confirmed for this as quickly as possible

 

 

RESOLVED – To note the content of the report.

52.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Monday, 16 November 2020 at 10.30 am (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 10.00 am)

Minutes:

The date and time of the next meeting of Scrutiny Board (Strategy and Resources) will be Monday, 16 November 2020 at 10.30 am (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 10.00 am).

 

The meeting concluded at 12:08