Venue: Council Chamber, Bury Town Hall
Contact: Chloe Ashworth Democratic Services
Apologies for absence are listed above.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any matters on the agenda and, if so, to formally declare that interest.
Councillor Peel declared an interest as he is a trustee of Citizen’s Advice.
The minutes from the meeting held on 08th February 2022 are attached for approval.
The following was raised, Page 9 of the minutes be changed to state Councillor Dean not Councillor Dene Vernon.
It was agreed:
1. The minutes of the meeting held on the 08th February 2022 be agreed as a correct record.
There were no matters arising.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A period of 30 minutes has been set aside for members of the public to ask questions on matters considered at the last meeting and set out in the minutes or on the agenda for tonight’s meeting.
There were no public questions.
MEMBER QUESTION TIME
A period of up to 15 minutes will be allocated for questions and supplementary questions from members of the Council who are not members of the committee. This period may be varied at the discretion of the chair.
There were no Member questions.
Report attached from Councillor Tahir Rafiq, Cabinet Member, Corporate Affairs and HR.
Councillor Rafiq, Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs and HR provided an overview of the Corporate Plan and outcomes for the year 2022-2023.
The 2022/23 Corporate Plan is the second joint plan to be agreed by the Council and CCG to describe our commitment to the delivery of the Let’s Do It! Strategy for Bury. This document summaries the progress made in 2021/22 and includes new priorities that have been agreed with Cabinet Members based on consultation with ward members, residents and other stakeholders.
Councillor Rafiq asked Overview and Scrutiny for their refection of the progress to date against the Council’s priorities, including delivery against the 3R’s for 2021/22.
The Committee sought assurances on the Council’s ability to deliver on all performance elements within the Plan. In response Councillor Rafiq confirmed he was confident all areas are being delivered on and robust monitoring of performance is taking place. Further questions regarding the Organisational Capacity to deliver on the Plan were asked. Councillor Rafiq, stated the six-month review following the LGA Peer Review will shortly be taking place and will provide the assurance of the Organisations ability to deliver.
A question on the Community Safety Plan and how we plan for this effectively was asked. In response Lynne Ridsdale, Deputy Chief Executive agreed that this will be investigated to see how it was represented in the previous year and there was no intention to be ambiguous or misleading.
The Committee asked how Elected Members will continue to be engaged with on the plan and performances. In response Councillor Rafiq advised that feedback through the Community Hubs, Elected Members directly and through Scrutiny Committee’s will be continued. In addition, Lynne Ridsdale confirmed that Priorities are now set for the year and Member engagement will continue to be sought through the quarterly delivery against the plan through the reporting of key performance indicators. On a day-to-day basis Members will be engaged on performance though portfolio meetings too.
Councillor Rafiq spoke of the key role the Performance and Finance Sub-Group Committee had in Scrutinising the detail of the Performance updates and keeping track of ‘spotlight’ areas of performance delivery.
Customer Care Standards and Digital Transformation was highlighted by a Member of the Committee as key and as an area of interest to the Committee to continue monitoring. The Committee were assured Customer Care Standards have been improved, work with officers has begun to take place to improve culture and behaviours along with the transformation plan looking at proving digital offers.
Questions about what practical behaviours will be necessary for driving culture changes. In response Lynne Ridsdale advised the detail is yet to be developed by an emerging piece of work but for a hypothetical example; the ‘L’ in the ‘Let’s Do It Strategy’ stands for Local and the behaviour may symbolise is decision making from a local basis; by not clustering in the Town Hall and working in the Communities when making decisions. The Corporate Plan provides a commitment to develop and refine a set ... view the full minutes text for item OSC.7
Reprot from Councillor Richard Gold, Cabinet Member for Communities is attached.
Councillor Gold, Cabinet Member for Communities provided an update on work relating to anti-poverty including the development of the Anti-poverty Strategy. Bury Council has significantly strengthened its focus on anti-poverty over the last 18 months. A more proactive and targeted approach has been taken to identifying and supporting households in need and financial crisis support was complemented with direct referrals for benefits assessment and help with financial management.
Councillor Peel commended the proactive approach taken to engage with people living in poverty who are not always engaged with the Council.
Following the Notice of Motion on Food Poverty the Committee sought assurance of the link between the Anti-Poverty Strategy and Food Strategy. Councillor Gold assured members that the Food Strategy is part of the Anti-Poverty Strategy.
Discussions took place regarding all the methods for engaging with residents through the Integrated Neighbourhood Hubs and the Revenue and Benefits Teams. The Committee were assured by Councillor Gold, Lynne Ridsdale, Deputy Chief Executive and Chris Woodhouse, Strategic Partnerships Manager that individuals are contacted and engaged with to support anti-poverty initiatives including the ‘cost of living fund’.
Councillor Vernon questioned the details of how the £150 Council Tax Rebate will be applied to Council Tax bills. In response Councillor Gold advised that the target demographic are individuals who are on Universal Credit/support or in a Sixtown Housing property. Those on direct debit payments for Council Tax can have the money processed into their account.
Councillor Bernstein asked which GM Authorities are not real living wage employers. In response Councillor Gold advised that Bury, Salford, Oldham, Manchester and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) are real living wage accredited employers. In addition, Bolton, Rochdale, Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and Wigan are not living wage accredited but all but Wigan are seeking accreditation.
It was agreed:
1. The final strategy will be available in the first quarter of the new municipal year.
2. That Councillor Gold, Lynne Ridsdale and Chris Wood house be thanked for their attendance and update report.
Any other business which by reason of special circumstances the Chair agrees may be considered as a matter of urgency.
Councillor Bernstein thanked all officers who have supported members with agenda items throughout the municipal year, thanks to Jacqui Dennis, Chloe Ashworth and Julie Gallagher in Democratic Services for their support throughout the year.
Councillor Bernstein wished to also note his thanks to all Cabinet Members who have helped make a good and effective scrutiny process for this municipal year and all Committee Members for their attendance throughout the year.