Agenda and minutes

Corporate Review Committee
Friday, 2nd November, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford

Contact: Nick Pountney 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2018 pdf icon PDF 122 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 October 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Integrated Performance Report - Quarter 2, 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Additional documents:


The report was a Quarterly Integrated Performance Report providing an overview of Staffordshire County Council’s progress, performance and financial position in delivering against our Strategic Plan and Delivery Plan.


At the end of Quarter 2, the overall assessment on the council’s performance and financial position was reported as being Amber.  Areas of risk were in Adult Social Care and support for Staffordshire’s most vulnerable children, together with organisational challenges in terms of the capacity to deliver both in 2018/19 and future years. Further details were included in the report and its appendices.


The latest revenue forecast outturn showed a forecast underspend of £1.578m (0.3%), a better position than at Quarter 1, where there was a forecast overspend of £3.210m (0.6%). At Quarter 1, it was agreed that £2.160m of contingency would be used to support Children’s Services, reducing their forecast overspend. This reduced the centrally held contingency from £3.5m to £1.340m.


In terms of the longer term financial position, the Medium Term Financial Strategy paper that was presented at Cabinet in September 2018 outlined the plans to bridge the £35m funding shortfall and deliver a legally balanced budget in 2019/20, while still delivering the County Council’s Strategic Plan. One-off resources would be required to balance the budget in 2019/20 and some of these will come from any underspend achieved in 2018/19.


The Leader of the Council presented the report and reminded Members that the Council had received a share of the additional £240m (£3.5m for Staffordshire) for Adult Social Care to help to relieve pressures on the NHS such as supporting people in their homes.  The report was published before the government budget.  The longer term funding of social care still needs to be addressed. 


As at September 2018, the Economic Growth Programme had created/safeguarded just under 7,000 jobs and delivered 301 houses.  Completed development sites were providing over £9m in business rates.  Given the financial pressures faced by the council this financial return was becoming increasingly important.


The Cabinet Member for Finance, informed the Committee that the report was a positive update compared to quarter one.  The year-end underspend was predicted to be £1.6m however there was concern that circumstances can change quickly, and we needed to continue to limit non-essential spend.  The Council would also continue to lobby government for the additional funding needed to provide social care. 


A Member asked a question on the pressures created by looked after children.  It was estimated that costs would remain the same but as numbers fluctuated and cost increased, did this mean that we had underestimated and is this the reason for the overspend.  In response, the Cabinet Member informed the Committee that numbers had stabilised at 3.5% and there was some underspend as we were trying to recruit more staff, and this was proving difficult. 


A question was asked on the impact of issues around social care such as a reduction of community services use of £1.2m what is behind that and there are talks about pushing down the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.


Customer Feedback and Complaints Service – Annual Report 2017-2018 Corporate Services pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Additional documents:



The report provided information about corporate complaints activity during the twelve months between April 2017 and March 2018.  The report contained information about the nature of complaints received together with responses provided and their handling by the Council.  It is important that the Local Authority uses the evidence available from Complaints and Representations to inform service improvements.


The report also provided information about how complaint investigations are used to identify specific themes, where service improvement can then be addressed and highlights where the County Council is providing quality services to customers which may be identified from compliments received. This was in line with the Strategic Plan, to use Customer Insight to develop high quality services which meet customer needs.


The Committee asked why there had been a sharp rise in the number of complaints in the last year.  Officers responded that when services change there is often an increase in the number of complaints.  Regarding the 28% increase in social care which is specific to the couple’s financial reassessment and the change in home care service provider.


Is there any evidence that we are learning lessons from the complaints?  In response, the committee were informed that the report did set out how lessons had been learnt and that the Local Government Ombudsman monitored this activity to ensure that things do change a s a result.


It was noted that Stafford town seemed to have the highest number of complaints.  Officers responded that there always seems to be higher numbers from Stafford residents.


A Member of the Committee asked how many of the complaints were taken on board by the leadership e.g. the planning of road works.  In response, the complaints seem to be physical things that people can see such as grit bins or the placement of media boxes etc, and we have learned to communicate and prevent complaints.


RESOLVED:  That the Committee notes the Corporate Annual Report of the Customer Feedback and Complaints Service, of 2017/18.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 443 KB



The Committee considered the work programme.  A Councillor raised the issue of the question Highways department introducing a policy on HGV’s and no wait on all A roads.  It was requested that this was brought to the Committee for consideration.  The Scrutiny Manager believed this would fall under the remit of the Prosperous Select Committee.  The Scrutiny Manager agreed to discuss this with officers and report back


RESOLVED: That the report be received.