Agenda and minutes

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel
Monday, 21st January, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: Conference Room A, Cumbria House, Botchergate, Carlisle. CA1 1RD

Contact: Lynn Harker  Email: lynn.harker@cumbria.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

34.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Ms J Cooke, Mr J Mallinson and Ms L Vance.

 

35.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

 

Minutes:

Mr J Lynch declared a personal interest as he was in receipt of a pension from Cumbria Constabulary.

 

36.

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the Agenda.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,    that the press and public be not excluded from the meeting for any items of business on this occasion.

 

37.

Public Participation

To receive any items of public participation.

 

(Questions and petitions must be received in writing by Lynn Harker, Senior Democratic Services Officer at least seven working days before the date of the Panel meeting).

 

Minutes:

There were no items of public participation to be considered at this meeting.

 

38.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meetings of the Panel held on 15 October 2018 (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED,    that the minutes of the meetings held on 15 October 2018 be confirmed as correct records and signed by the Chair.

 

39.

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cumbria Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub?Committee held on 28 November 2018 (copy enclosed).

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Cumbria Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub?Committee held on 28 November 2018 were noted.

 

40.

Revenue Budget Monitoring - Quarter 2

40a

Constabulary Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 447 KB

To consider a report from Cumbria Constabulary (copy enclosed).

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report from Cumbria Constabulary which gave details of the Revenue Budget Monitoring for 2018/19. 

 

Members were informed that the current forecast of net expenditure amounted to £117.952m compared to a revised budget of £117.203m.  It was explained that the variance amounted to a forecast overspend of £0.749m (0.64%) and was made up of a forecast overspend on expenditure budgets of £0.971m (0.79%) and over recovery on income of £0.222m (3.83%).  The Panel noted that the forecast overspend had increased by £0.347m compared to the forecast overspend reported as at the end of June 2018 of £0.402m.  It was explained that the budget had been adjusted to reflect the agreed drawdown of the budget support reserve and the injury pension reserve.

 

The Panel was informed that £369k of the forecast overspend related to a forecast increase in the number of individuals required to be retired under the pension regulations increasing from 3 to 8.  It was explained that the Constabulary met the capital ill health charge of two times annual salary (approx. £80k per retirement) and the budget provision included funding for three ill health retirements per year.

 

Members discussed the number of officers who retired due to ill?health and questioned whether there was any pattern in the increased number.  It was explained this was due to a variety of reasons, highlighting they were not all stress?related but included injury or illness?related.  It was emphasised to the Panel that the Force had a very strong well?being strategy which included mandatory screening for officers involved in high stress environments.

 

The Panel noted that the Constabulary was continuing to look for ways in which the overspend could be managed during the remainder of the financial year.  It was explained that in the event that there was an overspend at the year end, it was proposed that the underspend on the capital budget in relation to business analytics (as reported at quarter 1) was transferred to the revenue support budget and was in turn used to fund the remaining deficit.

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

40b

Commissioner Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 363 KB

To receive a report from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (copy enclosed).

 

Minutes:

The Panel received a report from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner regarding the Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19.

 

Members were informed that the current forecast of net expenditure amounted to £99.418m compared to a revised budget of £98.627m.  It was explained that the variance amounted to a forecast overspend of £791k (0.80%) and was made up of a forecast overspend of £749k (0.64%) in respect of Constabulary budget and a forecast overspend of £42k (0.23%) on budgets managed by the Commissioner.

 

The Panel noted that the forecast underspend on the Commissioner’s own budget arose principally as a result of underspends on staff in the office of the PCC (£33k), office supplies & services (£4k) and internal and external audit costs (£8k).

 

It was explained that in respect of other budgets managed by the Commissioner the forecast overspend arose as a result of increased premises costs (£104k), of which the main variances were repair and maintenance (£23k), utilities (£81k), employee insurance premiums (£18k) and Grants (£9k) which were being offset by forecast, additional interest income from investments (£45k).

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

41.

Police and Crime Commissioner Precept Proposals

41a

Cumbria Constabulary: 2018 HMICFRS Value for Money Profiles Analysis pdf icon PDF 400 KB

Report attached.

Minutes:

Members received a report regarding the Cumbria Constabulary: 2018 HMICFRS Value for Money Profiles Analysis.

 

The Panel was informed the profiles compared the forces within Cumbria’s Most Similar Group (MSG) which were Lincolnshire, Norfolk and North Wales.  It was noted the aim of the profiles was to compare performance and the costs of achieving that performance.

 

It was highlighted to members that the VFM Profiles in themselves had limitations and that they required more detailed investigation before they could be safely used as a basis for decision?making.  It was explained that in particular the profiles focussed on costs per head of population, which tended to show Cumbria as relatively expensive across all services due to its low resident population.  It was emphasised to members that the impact of increased population due to tourism was not taken into account.  In addition, caution also needed to be exercised in ensuring that costs and categorisations gave a true comparison on a like for like basis.

 

Members were informed that the high level analysis only covered areas of service where Cumbria had been identified as an outlier compared with its peer group.  It was explained that an outlier was defined as being in the top or bottom 10% and where the effect of the difference was greater than £1 per head of population.

 

The 2018 profiles showed that the areas identified as being significantly above all forces or MSG average cost were broadly the same this year as they had been in previous years and this had consistently been the case across the period since value for money profiles were first introduced.

 

The general points regarding VFM profiles was brought to the Committee’s attention explaining that Cumbria’s geography, topography and socio-economic environment were unique and there were fixed costs associated with this regardless of other comparisons.  It was explained that population was the main determinant used in the profiles for assessing value for money highlighting this significantly disadvantaged Cumbria. 

 

The Panel were informed that the sparsity of the population, the rural nature of the county and the isolated geographic location of the county in England, resulted in higher costs to deliver police services compared to other forces and, limited opportunities for cost effective collaborations with other forces for specialist operational services or private companies to provide services.  Members noted that as a result, Cumbria Constabulary required more people and more equipment to deliver a police service to a small population distributed over a large area.

 

It was explained to members that all of the above resulted in additional fixed costs irrespective of how and by whom police services were provided and regardless of policy or strategy decisions made by senior management.

 

The Panel raised their concerns regarding VFM profiles highlighting that comparisons with other forces were difficult and it was felt this could emanate into misleading information.  Officers acknowledged that the value of the exercise had decreased and over time it was felt a deep dive into certain areas would be more beneficial.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41a

41b

Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Forecast pdf icon PDF 879 KB

(enclosed).

Minutes:

Members considered a report by the Cumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner which provided a detailed analysis of the figures contained within the revenue budget for 2019/20 and the Medium Term Financial Forecast (MTFF) to 2022/23. 

 

The report also provided a more detailed analysis of the budgets for 2019/20 together with comparative information from the 2018/19 approved budget. 

 

Members were provided with additional information in respect of the more unusual aspects of the budget and explanations where the budgets had changed significantly between the years with a summary of the overall revenue budget and MTFF position.

 

A discussion took place regarding any anticipated costs associated with the increase in training and conference which reflected increased demands for operational training, investment in strengths?based coaching and costs associated with the implementation of the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF).  Members noted that the PEQF was mandatory in accordance with national standards and would require all police officer recruits to either have a degree or join the Force as an apprentice from January 2020.

 

The Panel raised their concerns regarding direct entry for inspectors and superintendents.  Members were assured that all candidates received rigorous training and support to help them acclimatise to the role.  It was also explained that training would also involve a great amount of interaction with teams within the Force to gain an understanding of the nuances of the post.  It was emphasised that a large amount of training, mentoring and shadowing was undertaken to ensure the individual was fit for purpose when they took over the role.  Members highlighted the importance of promoting better understanding of direct entry to the public and this was acknowledged by officers.

 

The Panel considered the Premises Related Expenditure Budget 2019/20.  Officers confirmed that the costs associated with Hall Brow, Workington were due to the existing PFI and those regarding Phoenix Way, Barrow were regarding routine maintenance of the building.  During the course of discussion members queried whether there were solar panels in the new Police Station at Phoenix Way, Barrow and it was agreed this would be investigated with a written response made to the Panel.

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

41c

Draft Capital Programme 2019/20 and Beyond pdf icon PDF 953 KB

(enclosed).

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner which provided information on the proposed capital programme for 2019/20 and beyond, both in terms of capital expenditure projections and the financing available to fund such expenditure.  It was explained that the capital programme was developed in consultation with the Constabulary who were the primary user of the capital assets under the ownership of the Commissioner.

 

Members were informed of the three main recurring elements to the Commissioner’s capital programme namely Fleet, Estate and ICT schemes.  The Panel drew attention to the costs associated with ICT schemes and in particular printing costs.  It was explained that such costs had reduced significantly with the introduction of multi?functional printers and paperless internal meetings.  The Panel highlighted the importance of the management of contracts.

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

41d

Precept Consultation Responses

To receive a verbal update.

Minutes:

The Panel received an update on the Precept Consultation responses and noted the methodology used noting that the on?line survey had been the most popular.  Members were informed that to?date there had been 2,115 responses received which was significantly more than the previous year.

41e

Precept Proposal and Medium Term Budget 2019/20 to 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 973 KB

(enclosed).

 

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner which provided an overview of the medium term financial outlook.  The report included the proposal for the precept that the Commissioner was presenting to the Panel for their views as part of his budget setting process.

 

Members noted that the precept proposal for 2019/20 was for an increase in precept of 10.29% which was an increase of £23.94 per annum for a band D property and took the total police element of the precept at band D to £256.68.  Officers emphasised their reluctance in the proposed increase but highlighted its necessity to ensure a sustainable Force.

 

The Panel was informed that the net budget requirement comprising expenditure by the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Constabulary for 2019/20 was £103.881m.  It was explained that this was the total net expenditure funded externally by income from the Home Office Police Grant and Council Tax and represented a real terms increase of income of 5.33% compared to 2018/19.

 

Members were informed that the precept proposal aimed to mitigate the impact of real term reductions in government funding.  It was explained the Home Office had increased formula grant funding to Cumbria by £1.23m and also provided a specific Pensions Grant of £1.17m in 2019/20.  It was noted, however, the additional grants had the effect of largely offsetting increased police officer pension costs, which had been imposed from 2019/20.  The Government grant funding, therefore, made no allowance for the effect of pay and price inflation on the cost of providing policing services.

 

The Panel was informed that from 2017/18 the Government’s public sector pay cap of 1% was removed.  It was noted that the pay award for officers in 2018 was 2%, however, this was lower than the 3% recommended by the Police Remuneration Review Body and was now subject of a judicial review.  It was explained that against this background the 2019/20 budget and MTFF were based on an assumption of pay increases of 3% from 2019.  Members were informed that in addition, general inflation had consistently exceeded 2% over the last year and may increase further in the short term, as a result of the effect of uncertainty over Brexit on the value of sterling.  It was highlighted that every effort was made to manage budgets including the Constabulary’s Star Chamber process, which zero bases non staff expenditure, and detailed assessment of vacant posts prior to granting approval to recruit.  However, after implementing those measures for several years the ability to fully offset the inflationary pressures without impacting on services was limited.

 

Members noted that the significant proportion of expenditure within the 2019/20 budget provided for the costs of policing within Cumbria.  It was explained that the current budget aimed to provide the Chief Constable with an expenditure budget of £129.692m which would provide for 1,165 police officers.  Members noted that this represented an increase of 20 police officers compared to 2018/19, and 95 PCSOs, which represents maintenance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41e

42.

Draft Precept Proposals (Cumbria County Council) pdf icon PDF 417 KB

To consider a report by the Assistant Director Finance (Cumbria County Council) (copy enclosed).

 

Minutes:

Members considered a report by the Assistant Director – Finance (Cumbria County Council) regarding the Draft Precept Proposals (2019/20).  The information accompanied the report from the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner which set out the proposed budget and precept for 2019/20 and explained the Panel’s options for decision?making.

 

The Panel was asked to review the proposed precept and decide whether to, support the precept without qualification or comment, support the precept and make recommendations or veto the proposed precept.

 

It was MOVED by Mr K Hamilton and SECONDED by Mr G Sunderland that the precept of 10.29% be supported without qualification.  Following a unanimous vote in favour of the motion, it was

 

RESOLVED,  that the precept of 10.29% be supported without qualification.

 

43.

Compliments and Complaints pdf icon PDF 422 KB

To consider a report from the Monitoring Officer (Cumbria County Council) (copy enclosed).

 

Minutes:

The Panel received a report from the Monitoring Officer (Cumbria County Council) which advised members of any complaints received in accordance with the Panel’s Complaints Procedure.  The report outlined, where appropriate, what, if any, action had been taken in respect of the complaints.

 

Members noted that, as previously recommended, the Cumbria Police and Crime Panel Complaints Sub?Committee had been convened on 28 November 2018 to consider two of the ongoing four complaints for which resolutions had not been agreed.  The Panel noted that the Sub?Committee had resolved to take no further action as there was no resolution of the complaint that was within the Sub?Committee’s powers (referred to at minute 39).

 

The Panel were informed that with respect to the third ongoing complaint at the time of the previous report, the Commissioner provided a response to a complaint that had been refined through correspondence with the Deputy Monitoring Officer.  It was explained that having received this response with further comments from the Deputy Monitoring Officer, the complainant decided to withdraw the complaint. 

 

It was explained to members that the final ongoing complaints matter was framed as a complaint but did not actually detail any failing on behalf of the Commissioner.  Members noted that a query was raised as to what, if anything, the complaint against the Commissioner was but no response had been received.  Accordingly, the initial correspondence would not be treated as having been a complaint and no further action would be taken.

 

During the course of discussion it was agreed to change the title of future reports to read ‘Update on Complaints’.

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

 

44.

Panel Update Report pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider the Panel Briefing from the Senior Manager – Policy and Scrutiny (Cumbria County Council) (copy enclosed/Appendix 2 to follow).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a Panel Update report which provided information on:-

 

·                Key issues and developments that had occurred since the last meeting of the Panel on 15 October 2018 including:-

 

o    Progress on actions agreed at the October Panel meeting

o    National policy developments

o    The Panel’s work programme.

 

During the course of discussion it was confirmed that information regarding forthcoming meetings and dates was referring to the Public Accountability Conference.

 

Members discussed the Serious and Organised Crime Strategy highlighting the county lines and thanked officers for the work they had undertaken.

 

The Panel thanked the officers of the Police and Crime Commissioner for a productive and positive work planning meeting highlighting the benefits of good partnership working.

 

RESOLVED,  that the report be noted.

 

45.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Panel will be held on Monday 25 March 2019 at 10.30 am in the Council Chamber, County Offices, Kendal, LA9 4RQ

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Panel would be held on Monday 25 March 2019 at 10.30 am in County Offices, Kendal, LA9 4RQ.