Agenda, decisions and minutes

Q2 Performance - Virtual Meeting (At present, members of the public are not able to attend), Corporate Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 17th November, 2020 1.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Ann Holmes 

Items
No. Item

The Chair extended a welcome to all those present and for the purpose of the recording asked everyone to introduce themselves.

1.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.

Minutes:

No declaration of interest was received.

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 393 KB

To present the minutes of the previous meetings of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee held on the following dates –

 

·         14 October, 2020 (Call-in)

·         20 October, 2020

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meetings of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee held on 14 October, 2020 (Call-in) and 20 October, 2020 were presented and were confirmed as a correct record.

3.

Annual Delivery Document (Improvement Plan) 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To present the report of the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation.

 

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Profession (HR) and Transformation incorporating the Annual Delivery Document for the 18 month period from October, 2020 to March, 2022 was presented for the Committee’s consideration and scrutiny.

 

The Annual Delivery Document focuses on the work which the Authority will undertake to accomplish aspirations set in the County Council Plan 2017-22.

The Portfolio Member for Council Business introduced the report and highlighted the extended 18 month timeframe which the Document covers and referred to the challenge of drafting the document in the climate of uncertainty which the Covid-19 pandemic has created. The objective in crafting the Plan which will be reviewed as circumstances evolve and change was to be ambitious but realistic acknowledging through the inclusion of four themed recovery programmes the far reaching impact which the Covid-19 emergency has had on the Council, the Island’s inhabitants, society and economy. Those four programmes will focus on economic recovery, destination recovery, social and community recovery and organisational recovery.

 

The Head of Profession (HR) and Transformation agreed that it was important that the programme of work which the Delivery Document encapsulates as well as being aspirational should also be achievable irrespective of the current pandemic. The background to implementing the Document lies within the service business plans which attest to the deliverability of the measures. The longer than usual timeframe is in recognition of the current situation and affords time and opportunity to come out of the crisis and take the Plan forwards.

 

The Chair referred to the key scrutiny questions the first of which was about the limitations which potential financial pressures and lack of resources might place on the Council’s ability to deliver the proposed Plan given that it will be necessary to continue dealing with the pandemic. He invited the Portfolio Member for Finance to give his perspective on the financial position going forwards.

 

Councillor Robin Williams, Portfolio Member for Finance confirmed that the Executive would be provided with an update on the 2020/21 Quarter 2 revenue and capital budget position at its 30 November meeting. The data currently indicates that the revenue budget is underspent and in normal circumstances this would be welcomed. However given the prevailing uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic crisis and the speed with which the situation can change, decisions need to be taken with caution and the Council will need to take stock after the financial year has run its course when it will be better able to assess the financial position and plan on that basis. At present, Welsh Government continues to provide financial support to local authorities.

 

The Head of Function (Resources)/Section 151 Officer advised that although the financial data appears promising at this point in time, there remains considerable uncertainty as to how the next three months will unfold. It is anticipated that greater clarity will be obtained with the announcement by Welsh Government of the provisional local government settlement for 2021/22 in December and the availability of Quarter 3 results for the 2020/21  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Monitoring Performance: Corporate Scorecard Quarter 2 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 772 KB

To present the report of the Head of Profession (Human Resources) and Transformation.

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Profession (HR) and Transformation incorporating the Corporate Scorecard for Quarter 2 2020/21 was presented for the Committee’s consideration and scrutiny.

 

The Portfolio Member for Council Business introduced the report and clarified that the quarterly reports for Q4 2019/20 and Q1 2020/21 were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic where it was agreed to cancel their publication and discussion with the relevant committees. Dealing with the pandemic has been a significant challenge for the Council – not only in maintaining key frontline services and conducting normal business where possible, but also in ensuring that health and safety arrangements are in place to protect the Authority’s staff whilst providing services. The Council has had to respond to and adapt swiftly to changing circumstances. However, it is encouraging to note that the majority (88%) of the indicators monitored are continuing to perform well against targets (Green or Yellow RAG) with attendance at work (2.66 days lost to absence per FTE in the period against a target of 4.48 days) and indictors under the digital service shift representing highlights for the reporting period.

 

Points made and questions raised by the Committee were responded to as follows –

 

           With regard to the importance of resilience and the well-being of staff in continuing to maintain good performance, the Head of Profession (HR) and Transformation agreed that the Council’s success in responding to the crisis is due in large part to the co-operation and adaptability of its workforce. The Council has in turn sought to communicate, engage with and provide support to its staff in respect of their wellbeing and remote working needs which is attested to by the positive response to the Interim Staff Survey on Home Working circulated earlier in the pandemic. Stress levels are also monitored as part of monitoring attendance at work and it is encouraging to note that there has been no increase in staff stress levels compared to the equivalent quarter for the previous year. Managing stress is important with staff being encouraged to take regular breaks reinforced in the Chief-Executive’s weekly messages and supported by service managers. It is recognised that dealing with the pandemic over the course of many months can lead to fatigue especially as the winter months approach.

           With regard to home working possibly being a factor in the improved attendance at work levels, the Head of Profession (HR) and Transformation explained that the onset of the pandemic saw the workforce coming together and committing as a team to respond to the emergency. An analysis of the data in comparison with last year and the reasons for sickness absence shows that while the range of illnesses remains the same, occurrences have reduced but remembering also that Quarter 2 coincided with a period of fine  weather which is linked to better health regardless of whether staff are at home or  in the office. The winter months traditionally represent the most challenging period for attendance at work and it is anticipated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Finance Scrutiny Panel Progress Report

To receive a verbal update.

Minutes:

Councillor Dafydd Roberts, Chair of the Finance Scrutiny Panel updated the Committee verbally on the latest meetings of the Panel as follows –

 

     Provided a recap of the Panel’s discussions from its meeting on 3 September which were reported fully to the Corporate Scrutiny Committee’s 14 September, 2020 meeting.

 

     Outlined the main topics of discussion from the Panel’s meeting held on 13 November as noted below - 

 

      The progress of expenditure on the 2020/21 capital budget noting an underspend of £16m on the programme at Quarter 1 where schemes have been delayed due largely to the pandemic

      The performance of the revenue budget at Quarter 1 with particular scrutiny of variances in individual service budgets and the reasons behind underspends/ overspends at this point.

      The resumption of service reviews in preparation for the budget setting process.

      The prospects for the 2021/22 budget noting that the provisional local government settlement is due to be announced on 22 December, 2020.

 

It was resolved to note the update provided and to thank the Chair of the Finance Scrutiny Panel for the information.

6.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 642 KB

To present the report of the Scrutiny Manager.

Minutes:

The Committee’s forward work programme was presented for consideration. The Chair highlighted the scheduling of two extraordinary meetings on 10 and 17 December, 2020 to consider the Schools’ Modernisation Programme in the Llangefni area.

 

It was resolved –

 

              To agree the current version of the forward work programme for 2020/21.

              To note the progress thus far in implementing the forward work programme.