Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview Select Committee
Friday, 25 January 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Ross Pike or Joss Butler 

Items
No. Item

1/19

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

    To report any apologies for absence and substitutions

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Keith Witham, Ayesha Azad and Chris Botten. There were no substitutions.

     

    Zully Grant Duff, Chairman of the Health, Integration and Commissioning Select Committee also gave her apologies.

2/19

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 13 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

3/19

Declarations of Interest

     

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or

    as soon as possible thereafter:

     

    i.       any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or;

     

    ii.      other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

     

    ·        Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest;

     

    ·        as well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner); and

     

    ·        Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    There were no declarations of interest received.

4/19

Questions & Petitions

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

    1.     The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (21 January 2019).

     

    2.     The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (18 January 2019).

     

    3.     The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Minutes:

    There were no questions or petitions received.

5/19

Revenue & Capital Budget 2019/20 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

    This item comes in two parts: Part A ‘Transformation Proposals – Delivering Better Services For Residents’ and Part B ‘Revenue & Capital Budget 2019/20 and Key Financial Strategies to 2023/24’. The reports will be published in a supplementary agenda on 21 January 2019 following publication of the Cabinet agenda.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Mel Few, Cabinet Member for Finance

    Joanna Killian, Chief Executive

    Leigh Whitehouse, Executive Director of Finance

    Michael Coughlin, Executive Director for Customers, Transformation and Digital

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Chairman informed the Committee that Part B, ‘Revenue & Capital Budget 2019/20 and Key Financial Strategies to 2023/24’ would be considered before Part A, ‘Transformation Proposals – Delivering Better Services For Residents’.

     

    2.     The Chief Finance Officer provided an introductory statement where he outlined the council’s current financial position. It was stated that its financial position compared to other local authorities was considerably weaker and that a trend was forming to use its resources, including reserves, to balance the budget. Members received a presentation which highlighted key information around the Cabinet report on its proposals which would be recommended to County Council on 5 February 2019. Members noted that there was a particular focus on adults and children’s service as there had been significant work through the transformation targeting improvements on practice and the delivery of outcomes to people. The Committee further noted details around the new Cabinet position of Cabinet Member for Finance where it was explained that the portfolio would be leading on the overall budget strategy and delivery against the financial plan. The presentation is attached to these minutes as annex 1.

     

    3.     When discussing the recent meetings of the Committee’s Budget Sub-Group, the Chief Finance Officer addressed Member’s concerns that the Executive Directors seemed to lack optimism that they would meet the targets outlined in each service budget envelope. He stated that it was important to be realistic and to not lose sight that the council’s financial situation was delicate, and that there was huge amount of work required. He further stated that some savings were considered to be high risk so it was sensible not to be too optimistic.

     

    4.     The Committee discussed the £10m contingency available to mitigate any savings shortfalls and felt this may be insufficient given the level of transformation required and the unknown factors or re-emerging risks. The Chief Executive said that she felt assured that it was a deliverable budget but highlighted that there was considerable risk as services needed to adapt. The Cabinet Member for Finance stressed the importance of frequently analysing activity measures at the earliest occasion to have a better understanding on arising challenges. The Cabinet Member also highlighted the need for budget holders to understand the responsibility and ownership they have over their respective budgets.

     

    5.     The Committee noted the rising costs from external foster caring agencies and out of county placements. Members advised that officers look at best practice of other local authorities to identify solutions and share lessons learnt. 

     

    6.     The Committee sought information on plans to address costs around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and transitioning of young adults. The Cabinet Member for Finance provided detail on an all-age learning project that focused on transitioning young adults from care in the Children’s Service into Adult Social Care. He stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/19

6/19

Treasury Management Strategy Statement pdf icon PDF 67 KB

    Purpose of the Report:

     

    This report sets out the Council’s treasury management strategy for 2019/20, as required to ensure compliance with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Code of Practice for Treasury Management. This Committee is asked to scrutinise the strategy prior to approval by the Audit & Governance Committee.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman agreed to consider item 7 before item 6

     

     

    Witnesses:

    Kevin Kilburn, Deputy Chief Finance Officer

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Committee noted that the relevant training to consider the Treasury Management Strategy would not be conducted prior to consideration of the item.

     

    2.     The Deputy Chief Finance Officer reported to Members that on 11 December 2018 it was agreed at County Council that responsibility for approving the Annual Treasury Management Strategy Statement would be delegated to the Audit and Governance Committee and that scrutiny would be provided by the Corporate Overview Select Committee. The Audit and Governance Committee would be considering the statement at its meeting on 7 February 2019.

     

    3.     When discussing the council’s dependency on internal borrowing as outlined in the report, the Deputy Chief Finance Officer informed Members that interest rates were not expected to rise significantly in the next year and the statement had been formed to reflect this. 

     

    4.     The Committee discussed concerns relating to the council’s preparedness for any unexpected developments following the country’s exit of the European Union. Offices stated that, if there was a development which caused interest rates top reduce quickly, the council was in a position to borrow money at very short notice.

     

    5.     When discussing the approval of the statement in previous years, Members noted that the Audit and Governance Committee previously had concerns relating to the structure of counter parties within the statement. following further amendments, the Audit and Governance Committee confirmed that it was satisfied.

     

    6.     The Deputy Chief Finance Officer confirmed to the Committee that he was comfortable with the current strategy but recognised that going forward the capital programme could change. It was noted that, for the foreseeable future,  the council would continue to borrow externally very minimally.

     

    7.     The Committee requested appropriate training prior to any further scrutiny of the Treasury Management Strategy Statement.

     

    RESOLVED: 

     

    Treasury management training from the council’s advisors for the Committee is arranged as soon as possible.

     

7/19

Scrutiny of Orbis Partnership: IT & Digital pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    Purpose of the Report:

     

    To assist the Committee in considering the IT and Digital function within the Orbis partnership, in respect of value for money and the ability to support transformative change.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Scott, Chief Information Officer

    Mark Edridge, Head of Strategy and Engagement (Surrey)

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Chairman informed the Committee that this item was the first of a selection of items relating to the Orbis Partnership that would be considered by the Select Committee going forward.

     

    2.     Members discussed the services major role in the council’s transformational programme where it was stated that the digital work stream was being used as an enabler of other projects. Work was ongoing to investigate how new technology capabilities could be used to support new service design and better meet the needs of residents.

     

    3.     The Chief Information Officer informed the Committee that the Orbis partnership had allowed the IT & Digital service to draw on expertise of other local authorities. Following further discussion, the Chief Information Officer stated that he believed that the service’s outcomes would have been more expensive and time consuming without the resource of the Orbis Partnership.

     

    4.     Although part of Orbis, Members noted that the Chief Information Officer, as budget holder for the service, was expected to follow the same financial practises as other Surrey County Council budget holders.

     

    5.     Officers informed Members that the IT & Digital budget had been developed through the business case development programme as part of the transformation programme. During this development, officers considered different ways IT & Digital could support other services business outcomes. The Committee noted details of the Agile Workforce programme which aimed to provide the resource to allow other services to work in improved and efficient ways.  

     

    6.     Members noted that the IT & Digital service reported to the Customer, Digital and Transformation directorate.

     

    7.     Follow discussion, the Committee agreed to create a questionnaire to be circulated to heads of services in order to obtain feedback on their level of satisfaction with the IT & Digital Service. It was felt that this would be a beneficial way of highlighting potential areas of improvement and aid further scrutiny if required. It was agreed that the results of the questionnaire would be considered at a future meeting.

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Committee:

     

    a.     Notes the IT & Digital’s value for money and the savings it has made in the last three years

     

    b.     Recognises the contributions from the Orbis partnership in terms IT of expertise and the service improvements that have been realised as a result

     

    c.      Recommends that Democratic Services draft a simple survey to follow up with Council Directorates on the service they receive from IT & Digital including questions such as ‘do they get what they get the equipment they need on a timely basis.

     

8/19

Recommendations Tracker and Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 114 KB

9/19

Date of the Next Meeting