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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham.

Contact: James McLaughlin, Head of Democratic Services  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Minutes of previous meetings pdf icon PDF 139 KB


To consider minutes of previous meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board and approve them as a true and correct record of the proceedings.

Additional documents:


Resolved:-  That the minutes of the previous meetings held on 27th March, 2nd, 10th and 24th April, 2019 be approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Declarations of Interest


To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest to report.


Questions from Members of the Public and the Press


To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


There were no questions from members of the public or the press.


Exclusion of the Press and Public


To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


Agenda Item 11 contains exempt information. Therefore, the Chair may propose:-


That under Section 100(A) 4 of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of such Act indicated, as now amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.


None of the items required the exclusion of the press or public from the meeting.


Safer Rotherham Partnership Annual Report pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Waste, Roads and Community Safety

Strategic Directorate:           Regeneration and Environment


Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the presentation of the Safer Rotherham Partnership Annual Report to Scrutiny by Councillor Hoddinott, Cabinet Member.


This statutory partnership had a number of key partners who worked together to try and bring about lasting change for some of the key issues being faced.


Each area was led by a different partner with strong links with other strategic boards to ensure closer working. 


One of the priorities this year was around protecting vulnerable children with focus around children being criminally exploited and work had taken place with a sub-group of the Local Safeguarding Children's Board led by the Police, who were unable to attend today’s meeting to share information.


A second priority was around vulnerable adults and in particular criminal exploitation, including issues such as modern slavery.  Good work had taken place around mental health and the Council was leading on work to build confident and cohesive communities.


One of the more established priorities was around anti-social behaviour, counter extremism, hate crime and community tensions. 


Another priority to highlight was the partnership working on domestic abuse and the work to improve processes and procedures between the partners so victims received a better experience.  Areas of development also included female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based abuse alongside stalking and harassment.


A final priority to highlight, again led by the Police, was around serious and organised crime.  This was the first year this was being looked at as to how partners could work with the Police to disrupt and bring justice for some of these activities.


Partners were contributing to this work and in addition a small amount of funding was provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner which helped to plug the gaps and do some awareness raising alongside the other projects.


The Board welcomed the report, the good practice taking place and its easy to read format.


A number of questions were raised about information sharing on prolific offenders and the use of criminal behaviour orders.  The Board were advised that with the improved structures and partnership working with the Police and the multi-agency meetings taking place, some of the more acute and repeat problems were being highlighted across South Yorkshire. However, further information was awaited on the changes to the Probation Service and how these may impact on local arrangements.


The Board also welcomed the number of positive completions of the perpetrator programme and asked if there were incentives to remain engaged.  It further heard that the South Yorkshire wide project worked closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner and local authorities. The programme was  offered to some as part of sentencing arrangements in liaison with the Probation Service. However, the intention of the scheme was for it to be offered as a preventative programme to change behaviour prior to offending.


The Board welcomed the comments on the Domestic Abuse Strategy which demonstrated the good work undertaken in partnership. Reference was made that work to counter extremism in schools would be considered by the Improving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Council Plan Quarter 4 (January to March 2019) and 2018-2019 Annual Performance Report pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Corporate Services and Finance

Strategic Directorate:           Assistant Chief Executive


Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by Councillor Read, Leader of the Council, which set out the headline priorities, outcomes and measures demonstrating delivery of the vision.


This fourth quarter report indicated that 58% of the total number of measures had been met when compared to the 44% met this time last year.  This was the highest percentage of performance measures that the Council had hit for a number of years and represented a significant improvement in performance over previous quarters, as only 47%, 45% and 42% of measures hit their targets in quarters one, two and three respectively. The priority area with the highest proportion of targets met was Priority 4 (extending opportunity, prosperity and planning for the future) where 75% of measures were marked as on target.


The Leader set out in detail the direction of travel which was positive for 32 (51%) of the measures calculated in this quarter. This was a deterioration compared to the 58% figure for last quarter and suggests that, although there had been an increase in the number of targets marked as “hit”, there were an increasing number of measures where performance was stable or worsening.


An outline summary was provided of all the targets and a snapshot of the current progress against the thirteen delivery outcomes which underpinned the Council’s priorities and the seventy headline performance measures that Directorates had identified to demonstrate progress in achieving the outcomes.  Reference was also made to the performance status broken down by priority with Priority 1 having seven on target, two satisfactory and six off target; Priority 2 having six on target, none satisfactory and three off target; Priority 3 seven on target, two satisfactory and seven off target; Priority 4 six on target, one satisfactory and one off target and Priority 5 eight on target, two satisfactory and one off target (these were all set out in detail as part of the report).


There were a number of measures that did not have information available due to these being annual, termly or six monthly.


The Board asked the Cabinet Member and lead officer for each priority to comment further drawing any attention to specific areas.


Priority 1:-


Jon Stonehouse, Strategic Director, expressed cautious optimism at the progress with looked after children numbers which appeared to be plateauing in their reduction and were in line with budget expectations.  The trend was also positive around child in need and child protection numbers and demand indicators.


The Board sought clarification on the number of looked after children and the projections and whether this was done by linear extrapolation from the trend or if the numbers were first estimates.


The Directorate had tried to illustrate the projected position as comprehensively as possible based on a range of variables, including population size and demographics.


A further question was asked by the Board as to why a funding commitment was required from secondary schools to support the appointment of three lead practitioners for English, Maths and Science.


Again  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Financial Outturn 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Corporate Services and Finance

Strategic Directorate:           Finance and Customer Services


Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report which outlined the final revenue and capital outturn position for 2018/19.


The final outturn position was a balanced budget which required £3.2m less use of corporate reserves than planned for.  The original budget proposed a planned use of corporate reserves of £5.2m as part of a budget contingency of £10.0m.  Additional funding received in year, use of earmarked grants and balances and flexible use of capital receipts has resulted in a reduced call on the planned reserves leaving a balance of £3.2m available to support the budget in later years. 


A summary of the outturn position for each Directorate was detailed in the report, together with the actions and measures taken to deliver a balanced budget.  The Council continues to face demand pressures, in particular in respect of social care.  The Council has provided additional budget for social care over the next two financial years, but the outlook is still challenging.


The Council’s General Fund minimum balance had been increased from £11.269 to £16.812m, as a result of the planned use and profiling of reserves balances as set out in the Council’s Reserves Strategy reported in the Budget and Council Tax Report 2019/20.  The reserve was held to protect the Council against unforeseen events and realisation of contingent liabilities. 


The Board sought clarification on the reserves, what this was dependent upon and if this was sustainable.


The Strategic Director for Finance and Customer Services pointed out that confirmed the actions to address the budget overspend were mainly from one off opportunities.  However,  as a result of some of the work taking place had meant that reserves were not required and these have subsequently been profiled into the financial plan going forward.  In terms of sustainability the service were confident and comfortable with the outturn achievements given the scale of the challenges.  The Council could certainly not sustain the high level of overspends in the future.


The Chair of the Audit Committee confirmed that the annual accounts had been presented to the Audit Committee in draft format and no material issues had been identified.  These would in turn be submitted to the District Auditor and be open for public comment.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the revenue outturn position for 2018/19 be noted. 


(2)  That the transfer of the £1.4m HRA underspend to the HRA reserve be noted.


(3)  That the carry forward of the combined schools balance of £3.369m in accordance with the Department for Education regulations be noted.


(4)  That the reserves position set out in section 2.33 be noted.


(5)  That the capital outturn and funding position as set out in sections 2.41-2.69 be noted.


May Financial Monitoring Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Corporate Services and Finance

Strategic Directorate:           Finance and Customer Services

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member, which set out the financial position as at the end of May 2019 and was based on actual costs and income for the first two months of 2019/20 and forecast for the remainder of the financial year. 


This was the first monitoring report of the financial year and would continue to be reported to the Cabinet on a regular basis.  As at May, 2019, the Council had a forecasted year-end overspend of £4.5m on the General Fund.


The Strategic Director for Finance and Customer Services pointed out it would be premature take any drastic measures, but the right actions were taking place in service areas.


Budgets were realigned for Children’s Services and whilst there were still pressures with looked after children numbers, the numbers were on track for what had been planned for within the budget.  The main issue was the cost of particular placements, but work was underway to address this along with the concerns about the High Needs Block within the Dedicated schools Grant.


Rotherham’s deficit in the High Needs Block was greater than some Councils, but a recovery plan had been submitted to the Department for Education.


In terms of adult care the pressure was predominantly around the demand for services, demographics etc. Work again was underway around all the different mechanisms and a new operating model had been adopted to properly and safely address the pressures.


There was an underspend already in year around Treasury Management, but the Finance Directorate were cautious in those projections as it was dependent upon interest rates and other  market factors around borrowing and investment.  The situation may well improve further, but the position on treasury management could support the Budget if it was required to.


Discussion ensued on the extent to which projected overspends have delayed implementation of restructuring or the cost-saving measures expected and it was pointed out that in Adult Social Care there was a significant restructure underway with a new target operating model.  One of the other pressures was round assessment packages and the reassessment of people's needs and levels of support.  There had been some delays due to external factors, but it was anticipated this would soon be back on track.


As previous reported resources in Children's Services had been diverted, but the service had confidence in a number of initiatives that were either ongoing or ready to commence by the end of the year.


In response to the Board’s concerns about the Council having enough money to fulfil its obligations, the Strategic Director confirmed a number of controls would again need to be implemented with restrictions on spending and there was the fall-back position of reserves and contingency within the budget that were not used in the current year which may be available for future years.


Actions initiated were starting to deliver the right outcomes both in service and financially so the Council was on track on what it needed to do.


Resolved:-  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Children and Young People's Services - High Needs Block Update and Recovery Plan pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Children’s Services and Neighbourhood Working

Strategic Directorate:           Children and Young People’s Services


Consideration was given to the report presented by Jon Stonehouse, Strategic Director for Children and Young People’s Services, which set out the position in terms of high needs provision and presented proposals for the High Needs Recovery Plan.


The Board were advised that Rotherham faced considerable pressure in continuing to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).  There were increasing numbers of pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and in-borough special school provision was currently over-subscribed. 


Wherever possible children and young people should have their needs met in their chosen mainstream setting, educated alongside their peers within their local community.  However, for children with more complex needs specialist settings were sometimes more appropriate.  Whether they were educated in mainstream schools or through specialist provision, these children and young people have a right to have their educational needs delivered. Funding for specialist education provision was provided from the High Needs Budget – part of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).


Rotherham was a relatively low funded authority and had seen significant pressures on the High Needs Block for many years. The High Needs Budget allocation had increased year on year but, partly due to Rotherham’s low funding baseline compared to neighbouring boroughs and nationally, the budget uplifts have not been sufficient to match the acceleration in demand and increase in the cost of provision.


This situation was not exclusive to Rotherham and a nationwide issue.  Nevertheless the situation in Rotherham was of such a scale that the Department for Education required the Authority to submit a recovery plan.


Rotherham did not have enough of provision and, therefore, relied on other types of provision out of the borough so creating additional provision in Rotherham was at the heart of the Recovery Plan.


Cabinet were asked a few months ago to approve a period of consultation with the multi-academy trusts and schools to ask them to bring forward proposals around growing provision in the borough.  Those proposals would considered by Cabinet in September.  The response had been impressive and closer working would result.  The Council was also grateful to parents and carers who were also supportive of this work.


The report also detailed the activities within the recovery proposals, the capital spend to support the work and where additional provision could be created in terms of places for children young people.   An update would be provided once a response had been received from the Department for Education.


The Board acknowledged that it was early days in the recovery plan process and steps had been outlined to reduce the deficit. It was outlined that Improving Lives Select Commission would monitor the development of the SEND sufficiency strategy as part of its work programme previously


It was recognised that this was a national issue and once the autumn term spending review had been received it may be possible transfer some money from the Schools Block into the High Needs Block to alleviate some of the pressures.


Scrutiny had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Forge Island Update pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Jobs and the Local Economy

Strategic Directorate:           Regeneration and Environment

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by Tim O’Connell, which provided an update on progress toward delivery of the Forge Island regeneration scheme.


Of particular note were the two key milestones in that the legal agreement had been signed setting out pre-conditions that have to be completed before development could take place.  This also included the responsibilities of the partners to deliver those pre-conditions, the timetable for those conditions to be delivered and the legally binding date by which that must be agreed.


The agreement also set out the parameters for the Council to take an overriding lease of the whole scheme.


The second milestone was around the appointment of a contractor to deliver the flood defence infrastructure.  Tenders have been received and were now being finalised.  It was expected that a contractor would be appointed by the end of July.


The Council would need to work together with Muse Developments and the working relationship was positive to deliver the best elements of the scheme for Rotherham.


Resolved:-  That the progress towards delivery of the Forge Island Scheme be noted.


Urgent Business


To determine any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


The Chair referred to the special meeting regarding the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s consultation on the Integrated Risk Management Plan and sought authorisation to write on behalf of the Board regarding the recommendations that were agreed in the meeting.


Resolved:-  That the Chair be authorised to write to South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service informing them of the recommendations made at the special meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board on 10th July, 2019.


Cabinet Response to Scrutiny Review Modern Methods of Construction pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Housing

Strategic Directorate:           Adult Care, Housing and Public Health

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the report presented by Tom Bell, Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, which detailed how the Improving Places Select Commission conducted a review of modern methods of construction (MMC), which was reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board (OSMB) on 12th December, 2018.


The report detailed the recommendations following the scrutiny review and it was, therefore, noted that the Housing Service was undertaking a pilot to deliver homes built using modern methods of construction and had fully participated in the Improving Places review.


The scrutiny review made five recommendations which were accepted by Cabinet and these were set out in detail as part of an appendix to the report.


In considering the recommendations it was pointed that in terms of Recommendation 1 the service were securing final details to enter into a contract with the supplier to deliver eight bungalows in Rawmarsh and a further four bungalows at East Herringthorpe, subject to planning permission.


It was anticipated the scheme would be delivered early in the New Year and the evaluation process started once complete to consider quality, customer experience, cost, maintenance costs etc.  This in turn would help with lessons learnt going forward in terms of delivering future schemes.


The second recommendation was for further work on how pods could support housing needs at various locations around the Borough.  This recommendation was deferred as further work was required in relation to single person's accommodation and options and how tenancies could be sustained going forward.


The third recommendation was around a pilot programme of delivering five homes for family housing.  This was again deferred.  This was due to the Council considering options around a pilot of single person’s accommodation and to build on the success of the bungalow scheme.


The fourth recommendation was to develop options around various energy packages for modern methods of construction.  Whilst this had been rejected, a piece of work was being developed to look at the introduction of solar panels and energy efficiency measures to all affordable housing stock, rather than just of focusing on modern methods of construction developments.


The evaluation process of modern  method schemes would then help to determine what the whole running costs were for the homes and whether or not it was suitable to be put in solar panels on those schemes.


The fifth recommendation was in terms of looking at the whole costs for individual properties.  This was again accepted. Costs would be broken down in relation to the individual built properties for review and analysis as part of but the evaluation work going forward.


The Board asked if the Council was considering other options including green credentials and eco-efficient initiatives and were advised that this was being looked at for properties being built in Rotherham and Sheffield City Region as a whole.


A new strategy was being developed and it was hoped there would be resources to test new approaches in respect of renewable energy sources to reduce cost and improve reliability.  Whilst new technologies  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Youth Cabinet/Young People's Issues


To receive an update on the activities of the Youth Cabinet and other Young People’s Issues.


The Chair advised there had been no Youth Cabinet or Young People’s issues raised.  However, it was noted that a meeting of Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet was taking place today to finalise recommendations from its Children's Commissioner Takeover Challenge and the final draft report would be submitted to the meeting in September, 2019.


Forward Plan of Key Decisions - July to October 2019 pdf icon PDF 137 KB


To review and identify items for pre-decision scrutiny from the Forward Plan of Key Decisions covering the period from 1 July to 31 October 2019


The Chair referred to the Forward Plan of Key Decisions circulated with the agenda papers.


He asked that Members consider the detail and should there be a request for specific reports to be considered at the next meeting of the Board in September, that this be referred to the Chair or Vice-Chair as soon as possible.


Resolved:-  That the Forward Plan of Key Decisions be received and the contents noted.


Date and time of next meeting


The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will take place on Wednesday 11 September 2019 commencing at 11.00 a.m. in Rotherham Town Hall.


Resolved:-  That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board be held on Wednesday, 11th September, 2019 commencing at 11.00 a.m. in Rotherham Town Hall.