Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford
Contact: Tina Gould
Declarations of Interest
No interests were declared.
Report of the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance
This Quarterly Integrated Performance Report provides an overview of Staffordshire County Council’s progress, performance and financial position in delivering against the Strategic Plan and Delivery Plan.
At the end of Quarter 1, the overall assessment on the council’s performance and financial position is Amber. The latest revenue forecast outturn shows an overspend of £3.2m (0.6%), compared to the balanced position at the time of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The pressures relate to an increase in medical assessment costs (£0.1m), increase in costs of new Care Home placements (£2.2m) and pressures due to additional Looked After Children (LAC) (£2.3m). There is a risk this overspend will increase if planned savings around workforce transformation cannot be delivered.
A Member noted that in the report it stated that the Cabinet had approved the use £2.160 million of contingency funds to support Children’s services and asked how much was left? The response was that there was approximately £1.5 million remaining. Further to this, the report also stated that there was risk of further overspends and did we have any idea how much this would be, and how would this be managed? The Portfolio holder responded to say that plans were in place to understand the increase in numbers. Further work will continue to stabilise and reduce the figures.
The Committee asked why the transformation programme was still been implemented when it was proposed 14 months ago. The response was that they were progressing with the plans and significant work has taken place and the new structure had been through the change forum and would be implemented shortly. It would be a very long and complicated process to implement the changed structures as changes had to be agreed and consulted on with unions and staff. The new way of working has been piloted in Tamworth and had received a favourable response from Ofsted in their resent inspection. The next phase for the roll out was East Staffordshire.
There was a short term staffing capacity issues as figures of LAC have increase nationally and the whole region is facing the same recruitment problem when it came to social workers. The work around prevention was key.
A Member commented that of the estimated 17,000 new jobs to be created by 2024, they would like to see them being filled by Staffordshire people, and asked if we were sure the education programme was fit to ensure that Staffordshire people have the best chance of getting these jobs. In response, it was thought that over the last 5 years the County had been very successful at securing and developing investment in higher education. Examples of this were; Keele University expanding and Cannock Chase reopening in September and courses designed to fit future needs.
The Committee asked a question about, it 90% of invoices were being paid within 30 days, what was the monetary worth and of the remaining 10%. Also if debt levels were £10 million, we do eventually get paid and what is the write off ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Joint Report of Leader of the Council and the Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing
The Strategic Plan 2018-2022 Connected Staffordshire outlined the Counties vision which is ‘To create a connected Staffordshire, where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy’.
As a result of this vision the plan outlined the three priority outcomes which we will keep at the heart of what we do, and how we aim to achieve them. Our three priority outcomes are that the people of Staffordshire will:
1. be able to access more good jobs and feel the benefits of economic growth;
2. be healthier and more independent;
3. feel safer, happier and more supported in and by their community.
To deliver this vision, the County Council has five priorities:
1. Create the right conditions for economic growth across the whole of Staffordshire that produces more, better paid jobs for residents;
2. Support the construction of more housing to meet the growing needs of our families and people young and old;
3. Improve Education and Skills provision in our schools, colleges and universities so that more people gain the training and qualifications they need to succeed;
4. A joined up approach to Health, Care and Wellness that encourages people to take responsibility for their own health and plan for their future, so that we can support those who really need it; and
5. Ensure Children and Families have a network of support to help manage their own problems and stay safe and well.
The delivery of the Strategic Plan was supported by a number of enablers; specifically that we will work with and through our networks of public, private, and community organisations to achieve or ambitions.
To deliver this, the County Council has undertaken a range of lobbying and influencing activity based on these priority outcomes as part of the delivery of the strategic plan. This activity includes regular meetings with the Members of Parliament from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Looked After Children, and the issues relating to adult social care, are discussed so that these can be taken up with the relevant ministers and governmental departments. The Council are also in regular correspondence with government ministers including the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and have worked with all MPs to reinforce this correspondence and to press our case with Government.
In the short-term, our ‘3 Asks’ from Government are:
1. A business rates pilot
2. Additional funding for adult social care through the Better Care Fund
3. Greater flexibility on setting the council tax
The Government was opening up invitations to the next round of business rate pilots for 2019/2010 and Staffordshire has been actively encouraged by the Minister to apply for a pilot in the next round. As part of the lobbying and influencing activity undertaken by the County Council, opportunity was taken by the Leader and Chief Executive and other members and officers to connect with senior politicians and civil servants as well as a range of other opinion formers to make the case for Staffordshire and for the sector ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
The Committee considered a report of the Scrutiny Manager outlining the Committees work programme.
The meeting scheduled for the 3 September had been changed from a call-in meeting to a normal meeting with the following items of business to discuss:
· The All Party Member Group on Improvement, final report
· Scrutiny Outcomes Report - January – June 2018
The 2 October meeting, Corporate Complaints Annual Report 2017/2018 item may be moved to the November meeting which will leave the October date free for any call-in items.
RESOLVED That the report be received.