Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 15th November 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: The Court Room at The Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE

Contact: Tracy Tiff, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

18.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 15 September 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 15 September 2021 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

20.

Chair's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chair.

Minutes:

The Chair made the following announcements:

 

1.    Handouts had been circulated to all Members outlining a number of potential items for scrutiny activity and inclusion in the Work Programme 2021-2022 and requested that Members with a keen interest in a particular topic add their name to the relevant place on the list, and hand this in at the end of the meeting.

 

2.    The Chair advised that she had recently attended a conference hosted by Localis on Commercialisation in Local Government and provided the Committee with a definition of commercialisation, and requested that Members submit ideas on the subject of commercialisation in order to assist in the formulation of a future Commercialisation Strategy for the Council.

21.

Urgent Business

The Chair to advise whether they have agreed to any items of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

22.

School Budgets pdf icon PDF 352 KB

The Committee to receive a presentation on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from the Strategic Finance Business Partner on School Budgets and the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

 

The presentation outlined the four block funding model for the Dedicated Schools Grant, consisting of the Schools Block, High Needs Block, Early Years Block and the Central Schools Services Block (CCSB). The Strategic Finance Business Partner explained that each block covered different elements of education funding, with the total Dedicated Schools Grant received by the Local Authority being largely based on census data for West Northamptonshire.

 

Regarding the Dedicated Schools Grant 2021/22 budget and forecast outturn, the Strategic Finance Business Partner explained that an overspend of £2.4m was currently forecast, though an overall deficit was not predicted as the PFI reserve on the Wooldale Scheme was greater than the forecast £2.4m overspend.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding to how deficits could occur in school budgets, the Strategic Finance Business Partner explained that deficits could be linked to a wide range of factors including but not limited to performance issues, staffing issues, poor financial management and falling pupil numbers.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the presentation be noted.

 

(2)  That it be requested that Councillor Azizur Rahman and Councillor Walter Tarasiewicz attend all meetings of the Schools Forum as observers on behalf of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

23.

Draft Budget 2022-23

The Committee to receive a verbal update on the Budget Setting Process for 2022-23.

Minutes:

The Committee received a verbal update from the Executive Director – Finance (Section 151 Officer) on the budget setting process for 2022-23.

 

The Executive Director – Finance explained that the exact details of the budget were still in the process of being formulated, however a Star Chambers process had been instigated amongst Heads of Service in order to examine service budgets and determine where efficiency savings could be made.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding the potential implications of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021 on the budget setting process 2022-23, the Executive Director – Finance advised that a piece of work was ongoing in order to interpret the implications of the Spending Review however more would be known once the details of the provisional settlement from central Government were received, which was expected to be in mid to late December 2021.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the verbal update be noted.

 

 

24.

Carried Motions on Notice - Predecessor Councils pdf icon PDF 585 KB

The Committee to consider the carried motions from predecessor councils relevant to its remit, provide comment and consider whether to add further details to its Work Programme 2021/2022.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Deputy Democratic Services Manager submitted a report which set out the details of the carried motions on notice from the predecessor Councils of the West Northamptonshire area for the previous six years.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Ian McCord and seconded by Councillor Ken Pritchard that the Committee take no further action on all matters concerning carried motions on notice from predecessor Councils of the West Northamptonshire area. The vote was lost, and the motion subsequently fell.

 

The Chair therefore suggested that having given due consideration, the carried motions relevant to the remit of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee be noted.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That, having given due consideration, the carried motions relevant to the remit of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee be noted.

 

25.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The following item contains exempt information as defined in the following paragraph of Part 1, Schedule 12A of Local Government Act 1972.

 

Paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Members are reminded that whilst the following item(s) have been marked as exempt, it is for the meeting to decide whether or not to consider each of them in private or in public. In making the decision, members should balance the interests of individuals or the Council itself in having access to the information. In considering their discretion members should also be mindful of the advice of Council Officers.

 

Should Members decide not to make a decision in public, they are recommended to resolve as follows:

 

“That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraph 3 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

 

Minutes:

Resolved

 

(1)  That under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that, if the public and press were present, it would be likely that exempt information falling under the provisions of Schedule 12A, Part I, Paragraph 3 would be disclosed to them, and that in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

26.

Transformation Projects

The Committee to receive an exempt presentation on Transformation Projects, the definition of Transformation Projects, total spending, and savings.

Minutes:

Exempt presentation from the Director of Transformation.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  As set out in the exempt minutes. 

27.

Readmittance of the Press and Public

Minutes:

Resolved

 

(1)  That the Press and Public be readmitted to the meeting.

28.

Review of Committee Work Programme 2021/2022 pdf icon PDF 611 KB

The Committee to confirm its Work Programme 2021/2022 for presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating Group for approval.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Deputy Democratic Services Manager which outlined proposed items for the Committee to consider for inclusion within its Work Programme 2021-2022 in light of the Work Programming Event held on 14 October 2021.

 

Following a discussion amongst Members surrounding proposed additional items for inclusion within the Work Programme, the Committee agreed to set up Task and Finish Groups over the coming months to examine the following topics:

 

-       Asset Value

-       Expenses Policy

-       Treasury Management

-       Highways Contracts

 

At the request of Members, the Committee also agreed to receive a briefing at a future meeting regarding social value and value for money within contracts.

 

Resolved

 

(1)  That the updated Work Programme 2021-2022 be presented to the Coordinating Overview and Scrutiny Group for approval at its meeting on 30 November 2021.