Agenda and minutes

Corporate Review Committee - Thursday 4th June 2020 10.00 am


Contact: Mandy Pattinson 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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Agenda Item 4 - Johnny McMahon declared that he had previously been a Chairman of a Clinical Commissioning Group.



Minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2020 pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2020, be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Covid 19 - Health Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 791 KB

Verbal report of the Director at Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainabilty and Transformation Partnership.


1.    Presentation

2.    Questions asked by Members in advance of the meeting.

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The Chairman thanked NHS partners and officers for attending the meeting and explained that they had been asked to attend Corporate Review Committee rather than the Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee as the issues to be considered at the meeting cut across all public services.  Detailed scrutiny of the NHS remained with the Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee and todays debate would inform their future work programmes.


The Director of the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) informed the Committee that the work undertaken over the previous few weeks to bring Health and Social Care services closer together had been unprecedented.  Services remained in a level 4 mayor incident category but there was also a need to look forward.  It was recognised that some of the decisions that had been made would have an effect on the future health of the communities and that resuming services, with Covid-19 still in the community would be a challenge. 


The Chairman reminded the Committee that a number of questions had been asked by Committee members in advance of the meeting.  Responses received in advance had been published online with the agenda and would not be asked again during the meeting. 


Information on the implications of some of the decisions made during the first few weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, particularly relating to the cancellation of operations such as heart surgery, cancer treatments and the reduced primary care referrals was requested.  The Committee was informed that getting to the position where the full extent of the crisis and fully understand the impact on long term health of the population was a long way off.  The national campaign to only go to hospital if it was a real emergency had worked very well, but it was now time to get people back into hospitals in a planned and safe way.  Delayed elements of care in order to cope with the Covid-19demand would inevitable change mortality rates. On some days during the start of the crisis Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments had received less than half the normal number of patients.  UHDB during the worst of the crisis had received 46 cancer referrals compared to a normal of approximately 800 per week.


All acknowledged that switching off services was much easier than turning them back on.  There was now a need to redesign some of the services to keep what had worked well e.g. Digital appointments.  There was ongoing work to keep patients safe including testing temperature on arrival at A&E, keeping left in corridors, segregating car parks for patients and staff etc.  Both UHNM and UHDB were prioritising the operations and waiting lists and resuming patients attending for elective surgery/treatments.


The wellbeing of staff in all NHS settings was a priority and work was taking place to ensure that counselling and support was available where and whenever needed on an ongoing basis.  The impact of Covid-19 would change as time went on and it was felt there would be a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Covid-19 - Financial scrutiny pdf icon PDF 344 KB

The Cabinet Member for Finance will give a verbal update at the meeting.  Attached is the Cabinet report of the 20 May 2020 for background information. 


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The Cabinet Member for Finance explained that there had been an initial £ 37.8m Government funding for general Covid-19 support and an Infection Control Fund grant of £9.9m specifically for care providers.  Further funding was expected to support development and implementation of Local Outbreak Control Plans, but details were not yet known. 


There had been a loss of income of approximately £4m from closed car parks, loss of enterprise centre rents etc.  Also, savings from service transformation or budget savings would not be possible this year and it was felt that this increased the financial pressure by approximately £14m.


The Committee was informed that short term the Council would manage, however, later in the year the Collection for Business rates would be reduced and this may affect the 2021/22 budget.  The total cost to the Council was anticipated to be in the region of £50m.  Work was ongoing to assess the longer term impact.


Key concerns were expressed as: increased demand in adult social care and children’s services; support for local businesses; economic regeneration; the delivery of transformation and cost reduction savings; and a shortfall in Business rates.


More detail was anticipated in July and this would be fed into the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) development process.


A question was asked on the additional cost of PPE and that if only 4% of that which was needed had come from national sources and the Council were procuring locally to ensure an available supply, did this mean that we were paying twice?  In response, it was felt that this was not the case but there had been a need to respond and ensure safety.  Inevitably, there would be lessons learnt but it was too early at this stage.  In due course this would be looked at.


The County Council did have reserves and borrowing capacity but there would be a need to consult with the public on how they felt the crisis should be paid for.


It was explained that Procedure rules had been suspended in certain circumstance in order to deal with the crisis.  It was confirmed that there was due diligence on the issuing of grant and processes had not been relaxed.  There would be a review after the event to ensure that any lessons were learnt. 


Planning was taking place for local outbreaks/spikes which were predicted in June and possibly winter due to relaxing of lockdown rules.  The Council needed to evaluate and learn from any lessons quickly so that it was ready for any future demands, for example adequate stock of PPE for a 3/5-month period.


Following a question on the Care Act easement process, the Committee was informed that the Council had now reverted to their normal Care Act compliant processes.  Work was on going to complete Care Act compliant assessments for those people who and received a shortened Covid-19 assessment.  There remained a possibility that the Council may have to revert to reintroducing Care Act assessments if demand increased or staff sickness increased.


RESOLVED:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 392 KB

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The next meeting was scheduled for 3 July and then 30 July.  Members felt that the committee should continue to scrutinise the overall Covid-19 response with more financial information available in July.


All of the Select Committees had now resumed and would look at areas which were specifically within their remit.


Other items of business raised were; the Gender and Equality report previously requested by the committee and the quarter four performance report.


RESOLVED:  That the Chairman and Vice Chairman(s) agree the items for the next meeting of the Committee dependent on availability of reports and priority.