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 of behaviours and the monitoring of this would be done through the Scrutiny Committee and the Performance and Finance Sub-Group.
A member of the Committee stated there is an improvement in sickness levels; but questioned how staff are monitored for being well enough to work. The last Performance and Sub-group demonstrated that short term sickness absence has improved and there has been a change in profile as people have been able to continue going when not feeling too well; in addition, there are set questions to check someone’s wellness. Councillor Rafiq added that there is an update to I Trent systems which will monitor sickness absence, the reasons, and the return-to-work processes in place.
Questions on departmental slippage took place; in response Lynne Ridsdale confirmed that the Finance Department is responsible for reporting the activity on delivery of savings, but the accountability lies with the relevant Executive Director of the Department.
A member of the Committee highlighted a point made within the report regarding the ‘Councils fragile financial position’ and referenced the reports that provided assurances on savings at the Budget Scrutiny Committee. In response Councillor Rafiq confirmed that savings previously outlined can be met. In addition, Lynne Ridsdale advised that we do plan to meet all budget savings this year and the Medium-Term Financial Strategy is clear that the long-term position is high risk for Bury.
Questions were asked regarding the statement on ‘Decarbonisation of social housing, if a bid is successful’. In response Councillor Rafiq advised he would ask the relevant Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a response regarding the following points:
1. What bid is this?
2. Is this point connected with the 8.5 million decarbonisation money we received for the 14 public buildings that was due 2021/22.
3. Did we receive the 8.5 million and is it being spent on the decarbonisation of our public buildings.
It was proposed by Councillor Bernstein, Committee continues to manage performance reports in the same way in the next year and that the Performance and Finance and Sub-Group continue in the new municipal year. This recommendation was amended; It was put forward that a member of the current Overview and Scrutiny Committee put’s forward to the new Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the first meeting in the municipal year the model of the sub-group and to vote on if the sub-group should continue.
It was agreed:
1. The Committee is happy with the report and indicators outlined.
2. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee put forward a recommendation to the next meeting of the Committee that a vote on the continuation of the Performance and Finance Sub-group take place.