Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday, 24th November, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: County Offices Kendal

Contact: Lorraine Davis  Email: lorraine.davis@cumbria.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

33.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mr M Hawkins and Mrs V Tarbitt.

 

34.

MEMBERSHIP

To report any changes to the membership of the Board.

 

Minutes:

There were no changes to the Board’s membership to note.

 

35.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises

 

1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority

 

(a)     Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and

 

(b)     Which has not been fully discharged.

 

4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 

 

5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 

 

6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)

 

(a)     The landlord is the authority; and

 

(b)     The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.

 

7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where

 

(a)     That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the authority; and

 

(b)     Either –

 

(i)        The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or

 

(ii)          If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.

 

Note

 

A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest at meeting.

 

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 during consideration of any item on the agenda.

 

37.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 9 September 2021 (copy enclosed).

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,that the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2021 be agreed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

 

Further to Minute 20, the Chair notified members that information on the cost of sickness absence was being prepared and would be circulated shortly.

 

38.

CALL-IN ITEMS

For members to be informed of any call-in items received by the County Council and to consider whether any further action needs to be taken by the Board.

 

Minutes:

Members noted that the Board had considered a valid Call In on the decision of Cabinet on 23 September in respect of the Potential Claim for Judicial Review against the decision of the Secretary of State in respect of Local Government Reorganisation.  The Board had agreed to refer the matter back to Cabinet on the grounds of cost.  Cabinet had considered the Board’s referral on 14 October and agreed that the original decision would still stand.

 

It was agreed that the minutes from the Call In meeting would be circulated with the next agenda of the Board.

 

39.

Locality Services - Review of Progress pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services introduced the report which updated members on Locality Services from a customer perspective and highlighted the timeliness of the report in relation to the work of the Locality Task and Finish Group and Local Government Reform (LGR).  The Assistant Director – Customer and Community Services gave a presentation that outlined the changes in locality services since 2018, delivery of the Customer Strategy, focussed on key developments, and outlined opportunities for service delivery in the future.

 

The Assistant Director informed Board members on the key developments that had taken place since the last update.  Services including the Highways Hotline, Single Point of Access (SPAs) teams and Waste had been transferred to the Service Centre and members noted the reshaping of the Library and Archive Services in 2020/21.  It was reported that changes in these services included  workforce development and culture change, modernisation, providing a focal point for face to face customer contact and digitisation and improvement in customer experience.  Members were informed of a 5 year business plan that had been developed for the Registration Service focussing on customer need and resulting in a significant increase in income.

 

The Assistant Director continued by outlining the transfer of the Single Point of Access (SPA) teams and the introduction of the application of Netcall telephoney system in summer/autumn 2021.  Members noted there had been a significant performance improvement in both customer experience and staff satisfaction.

 

Members noted the work of the Area Teams in their communities supporting the response to recovery to the pandemic and adverse weather events.

 

To conclude, the Assistant Director highlighted the key achievements for the Customer Strategy and opportunities for the future of the Service.

 

In answer to a member’s question on the number of calls received by the SPA teams, the Assistant Director said that the service received 60,000 to 70,000 calls a year, drew a comparison on the length of the calls to those received by the Highways Hotline and agreed to provide further information on this to members.  Another member questioned what percentage of abandoned calls were related to District Council services.

 

A member drew attention to the increasing use of digital services by customers in the older age range.  The Assistant Director highlighted the work that had taken place to support customers in development of digital skills and library staff being in a position to offer support for this.  In discussion of the HIAMS system, the member drew attention to the inability of the system to process complex issues and the unhelpfulness of using postcodes in rural areas.  The Assistant Director acknowledged more work needed to be done to improve the system.  The Executive Director informed members that engagement with Parish and Town Councils formed part of the locality and LGR work going forward.  The scheduling of Eden Local Committees was discussed briefly. 

 

A member raised the ability of staff to provide proper understanding for customers, not to rely solely on service digitalisation and drew attention  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Fluoridation of Water Supplies - Task and Finish Group Draft Report pdf icon PDF 267 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report requesting approval of the draft report from the Fluoridation of Water Supplies Task and Finish Group.  Members of the Task and Finish Group had been asked to investigate the risks and benefits of water fluoridation.  The draft Task and Finish Group’s report was attached as Appendix 1 and provided a summary of evidence gathered and the Group’s findings and recommendations.

 

The Chair of the Task and Finish Group presented the report, firstly thanking the members, witnesses and officers for their involvement in the process.  Members were informed that two witness sessions to hear a range of evidence and views on water fluoridation had taken place and a wide array of issues had been investigated including the legal status of water fluoridation.  The Group had been assured that fluoridation was not classified as a medicine under UK legislation.  The conclusions, findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group were listed in the draft report prepared for submission to Cabinet. 

 

A member who had served on the Task and Finish Group spoke in support of the recommendations.  A different member expressed the view that fluoridation was medicine and raised concerns on the recommendation that said consideration should be given to extending water fluoridation.  Ethics, public health interventions and studies on potential health implications were raised. 

 

The Chair advised members that the West Cumbria scheme explored wasn’t anew scheme but a continuation of the existing one.  The Group had considered the ethics carefully, reiterated that the Group was content with the legal status of fluoridation and had not found convincing evidence of harms to general health but instead improvements in oral health in combination with other methods.  The Group had recognised that science on wider health risks was constantly changing and therefore one of the recommendations to Cabinet was that the wider health implications of fluoridation be kept under review. 

 

The Chair further advised that the recommendations had been future proofed pending the outcome of Local Government Reform and the outcome of the White Paper: Integration and Innovation which proposed that decisions relating to water fluoridation revert from local authorities to the Secretary of State. 

 

After being put to the vote (10 members for, 1 against and 1 abstention) it was

 

RESOLVED,that the draft report from the Task and Finish Group, together with appendices 2 – 8 and two further addendums that were circulated after the release of the papers, be approved for submission to Cabinet.

 

41.

SCRUTINY PERFORMANCE WORKING GROUP UPDATE pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair presented the minutes of the last meeting of the Scrutiny Performance Working Group that had been held on 6 October 2021 and considered the Quarter 1 Corporate Performance monitoring report for 2021/22 and raised issues for follow up in relation to residential care, staff absence levels and costs in relation to externally provided workers.  Members noted that the Group would meet in January to consider the 2021/22 Quarter 2 Corporate Performance monitoring report.

 

RESOLVED, that the report be noted.

 

42.

SCRUTINY CHAIRS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To receive updates from the Chair of each of the following:-

 

            Cumbria LEP Scrutiny                                                  Mr W Wearing

            Scrutiny Panel - Communities and Place                  Mr S Collins

            Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee                    Ms C McCarron-Holmes

            Scrutiny Panel - Adults                                                 Mr M Wilson

            Scrutiny Panel - Children and Young People           Mrs V Tarbitt

            Cumbria Police and Crime Panel                               Mr M Johnson

           

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board received an update on the work of the Scrutiny Advisory Boards, Panels and Committees from each of the Chairs.

 

(1)  Cumbria LEP Scrutiny Committee

 

Board members were informed that the LEP Scrutiny Committee had met on 9 September 2021 and had received updates from the Chief Executive of the LEP on the economic impact of COVID 19, the end of the EU transition period on Cumbria’s economy and businesses and labour skills and supply.  The LEP Scrutiny Committee had been assured that the LEP was providing appropriate support for businesses, addressing the impact that had been caused by national and global factors over the last 18 months.

 

The Chair had attended the LEP AGM on 24 September and had updated those present on scrutiny activity undertaken by the LEP Scrutiny Committee regarding the LEP throughout 2020/21.

 

It was noted that the next meeting of the LEP Scrutiny Committee would take place in March 2022.

 

(2)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Communities and Place

 

Members were advised that the Advisory Board had met in September 2021 and looked at the Bus Service Improvement Plan, Cumbria and Fire Service Inspection Outcomes and Improvement, the waste policy and strategy and the Independent Planning review.

 

(3)  Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee

 

A report from the Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee updated members of the specific items considered at the meeting held on 4 October.  These included impact of COVID 19 pandemic, implications of the Health and Care Bill for Cumbria, Stroke Services in South Cumbria, Dentistry Services in West Cumbria, Ambulance provision in Alston and the Rowanwood Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit at Carleton Clinic, Carlisle.

 

The next meeting was scheduled to take place on 7 December and items currently planned for consideration were listed in the update report.

 

(4)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Adults

 

Members were informed that the Board at their last meeting had considered the Adult Social Care Strategic position, the draft Adults Social Care Vision and Strategy and Safeguarding Adults at risk from abuse and neglect.

 

Members noted the next meeting was scheduled to take place in January 2022 and a planning meeting with the Executive Director – People, key officers and the Chair and Vice Chair had been arranged to consider items for the aenda for the Advisory Board meeting.

 

(5)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People

 

The Chair’s report included an update from the meeting of the Advisory Board’s meeting that took place on 21 September.  The Advisory Board had received reports and presentations on 16-24 Homelessness Pathway, the Children and Young People’s Plan, School and Education Vision and the Ofsted Children’s Social Care update.

 

The next meeting, scheduled for 10 December, would receive updates on Implementation of the Early Help Strategy, progress on tackling child exploitation and progress on the SEND Written Statement of Action.

 

(6)  Cumbria Police and Crime Panel

 

A report was received from the Chair of the Panel advising members that the focus of the Panel’s meeting had been on the Police  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

SCRUTINY MANAGEMENT BOARD UPDATE REPORT AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To receive a report from the Senior Manager – Policy and Scrutiny (copy enclosed).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report that provided the Board with an update on issues and developments that had occurred since their meeting in September.  The appendices to the report also provided Board Members with the Scrutiny Work Programme and the current Forward Plan of Key Decisions.

 

Members were asked to delegate sign off to the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board two reports due to be presented to Cabinet in January 2022 – the report of the Local Government Reform Task and Finish Group and the Scrutiny feedback to Cabinet’s Strategic Planning proposals.

 

In discussion of the Forward Plan, a member asked for every school to be included in the Bikeability Contract 2022 – 2026.  It was agreed that the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People look at this.

 

RESOLVED,that

 

(1)  the range of activity in the report be noted;

 

(2)  the delegation of the sign off of the report from the Local Government Reform Task and Finish Group, following consultation with Board Members, to the Board’s Chair and Vice Chair prior to its presentation to Cabinet in January, be agreed;

 

(3)  the delegation of the sign off of the Scrutiny feedback to Cabinet’s Strategic Planning proposals, following consultation with Board Members, to the Board’s Chair and Vice Chair prior to the close of the Council’s consultation period and its presentation to Cabinet in January, be agreed;

 

(4)  the work programme presented in Appendix 1 be agreed;

 

(5)  the Forward Plan of Key Decisions be noted.

 

44.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To note that the next meeting of the Board will take place on 1 March 2022 at 10.00 am at Cumbria House, Carlisle.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next of the Board would take place on 1 March 2022 at 10.00 am at Cumbria House, Carlisle.