Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday 23 March 2022 11.00 a.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham, South Yorkshire S60 2TH. View directions

Contact: Caroline Webb, Senior Governance Adviser Tel: 01709 822765 email:  caroline.webb@rotherham.gov.uk  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To consider the minutes of the previous meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board held on 9 February 2022 and to approve them as a true and correct record of the proceedings.

Minutes:

Resolved: - That the Minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board held on 9 February 2022 be approved as a true record.

2.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

3.

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.

Minutes:

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

4.

Exclusion of Members of the Public and the Press

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

Minutes:

There were no items that required the exclusion of the press or public.

5.

Covid Recovery Fund pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Cabinet Portfolio: - Leader

 

Strategic Directorate: Finance and Customer Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report that was submitted for pre-decision scrutiny ahead of the Cabinet Meeting to be held on 28 March 2022. The Cabinet agreed on 19 July 2021, to earmark £2m for a Covid Recovery Fund from the underspend position, with authority delegated to the Cabinet for its use. The Budget and Council Tax Report 2022/23, approved at Council on 2 March 2022, set out the first use of the Covid Recovery Fund, allocating £371k of the fund towards three one-off revenue budget investments for 2022/23, these were:

 

·       Women’s Euro 2022

·       Additional Customer Call Handling

·       Customer and Digital Developments

 

The report set out further proposals for use of the Covid Recovery Fund across the following areas:

 

·       £500k Cash grant scheme to provide support for households with the rising cost of energy bills.

·       £300k additional funding to top up the Councils Discretionary Housing Payments fund. £100k to support cultural recovery events and opportunities that will enable people to reconnect.

·       £50k to facilitate the administration of these proposals.

 

The remaining funding of £679k was to be retained within the Covid Recovery Fund so that further support could be targeted at issues that arise as the course of the borough’s recovery from Covid continued.

 

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Chris Read, introduced the item. It was recognised that many residents faced acute financial pressures which had emerged post-pandemic, including rising inflation and energy prices. It was outlined that £500k would be set aside to help those most in need, identifying that approximately 2000 households would be eligible for a one-off payment of £250 to assist with energy bills. Financial advice would also sit alongside this scheme, and it was anticipated that most of those eligible for payment would already be working with advice services.

 

A further £300k had been allocated to Discretionary Housing Payments, which provided financial support to those household in private or social housing who required assistance to pay their rent. It was anticipated that more people may face increasing financial difficulties in rented accommodation and the additional funds gave further resilience to address issues as they arose.

 

An additional top-up of £100k had been allocated to support events, recognising the importance of encouraging people to socialise and interact in their communities post-pandemic. It was reported anecdotally that levels of participation had fallen, particularly for older people. There were concerns that lower levels of engagement may mean that more vulnerable people were isolated with consequent impacts on health and well-being. The additional funds gave greater capacity to support future events and community engagement, including those organised to celebrate the forthcoming Jubilee.

 

The remaining £679k  would be held to support any future covid-recovery issues and would be subject to on-going monitoring to ensure a flexible response should further cost of living pressures arise.

 

In respect of assistance with energy costs, it was asked if support would be rolled out during winter months when energy use and bills would be greater. It was outlined that the criteria would focus  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Social Value Annual Report pdf icon PDF 757 KB

Cabinet Portfolio: Leader

 

Strategic Directorate: Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report that was submitted for pre-decision scrutiny ahead of the Cabinet Meeting to be held on 28 March 2022.  This was the second annual report to be submitted since adoption of the Social Value Policy in 2019.

 

The aim of the Social Value Policy was to maximise the local impact of the Council’s spend:

·       Raising the living standards of Rotherham residents and commitment to working towards the Living Wage Foundation Living Wage.

·       Increasing the proportion of the Council’s expenditure which went to local businesses and providers.

·       Building social value into all council contracts and maximise the impact gained from every pound spent, through the introduction of a rigorous system for assessing and measuring social value.

·       Commit to the principle of co-designing services wherever possible.

 

The report outlined that the Council had either achieved or made progress against the commitments agreed in February 2021. These included: 

·       The Social Value Commissioning Toolkit was in the final stages of development and about to be rolled out.

·       Accreditation as a “Living Wage Employer” was awarded in September.

·       Anchor networks development was underway with key partners building on the commitments from the partnership Social Value Charter.

·       The Council was positively engaged in the development of social value policy and practice in the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA).

·       A workshop was held to explore further community wealth building opportunities.

·       An event has been held to engage with suppliers. This provided real examples of good practice in social value. The event will be repeated on an annual basis.

 

The Leader of the Council introduced the report with contributions from the Chief Executive and officers. It was outlined that this was the second full year of the commitment with significant progress being made. It was noted that the benefits of this policy may take some time to be realised as changes may occur over the course of contracts. The Leader put on record the achievement of “real living wage” accreditation and noted that over 3000 people in Rotherham had directly benefited from this status.

 

The contribution of the Rotherham Together Partnership to this agenda was ongoing but progress had been hampered by the pandemic. The Leader drew attention to positive developments with the MCA with regards to procurement and business grants which supported social value principles and net zero commitments.

 

The Chief Executive and Leader noted the contribution of the Head of Procurement to this agenda and her work with both local and national partners in developing the Council’s approach, including the Social Value Portal.

 

Since the last annual report, commitment has been secured from local businesses, taking the principles of social value into their organisations. Consideration has been given to how the Council commissions its services and contractual arrangements. Work was also underway the MCA across the sub-region to ensure that a joint approach underpinned commissioning and procurement activities. Work has been undertaken to identify community wealth opportunities to identify with business where there were gaps in types of organisations, products or services.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Digital Strategy - progress report pdf icon PDF 358 KB

To update members of progress on the delivery of the Digital Strategy, which was approved by Cabinet on 15th February 2021.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance introduced the item.  Consideration was given to a report providing an update on the progress on the delivery of the Digital Strategy. The strategy was considered by this committee prior to its approval by Cabinet in February 2021.

 

The report detailed progress against four main strands of the strategy which were as follows:

 

·       Digital Collaboration;

·       Digital Customer Services;

·       Digital Borough;

·       Digital Workforce.

 

It was noted that the effect of and continued response to the pandemic had impacted on what had achieved. Despite these pressures, the report outlined areas of delivery which included:

 

a)    Full upgrade of the ‘People’s Network’ which had seen the installation of new public access computers in all libraries.

b)    Establishment of a digital inclusion programme, working alongside the voluntary and community sector and other partners, including Health.

c)    Development of telephony automation to better direct calls made to the general enquiries number.

d)    Facilitated the commercial investment and delivery of full fibre connectivity across the Rotherham district over the next two years.

e)    Extension of Microsoft Teams to support collaborative working with external partners, other local authorities and suppliers.

f)      An agreed installation programme of ‘hybrid meeting’ technology across the Council’s accommodation portfolio.

g)    A complete upgrade to the Council’s servers and databases to ensure they were secure, compliant and remain fully supported. It was noted that the Council had been awarded PSN accreditation.

Reference was made to the “People’s Network” and how residents could access services particularly if there was no library in their immediate vicinity. The Assistant Director of Customer, Information and Digital Services outlined the work that was taking place to extend digital inclusion across neighbourhoods, including those areas not covered by libraries and with communities who may have higher levels of digital exclusion. The programme aimed to better understand what digital inclusion ‘looked like’ in Rotherham, the reasons why people experienced digital exclusion and tailor services accordingly to meet identified gaps. The Head of Digital Services highlighted that work was underway with Housing Services to connect Neighbourhood Centres and ensure wider coverage, details of which would be circulated to members of this committee.

 

Clarification was sought on what progress had been made to ensure that disabled people were not excluded digitally. The digital inclusion programme would look specifically at the needs of certain resident groups, including disabled people. The outcomes of the research and consultation with groups and residents would be fed into the strategy and inform future actions.

 

Further details were sought of how hybrid meeting would be rolled out and if elected members could participate remotely (for example if they could not attend meetings due to illness). The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that the technology for hybrid meetings was to be rolled out. However, clarification was given that elected members could only participate in decision making meetings by attending in person. It was clarified that external agencies would be able to participate in Council meetings through hybrid technology as their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 400 KB

To consider the Board’s Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Board considered its work programme and items for future prioritisation.

 

Resolved: - That the Work Programme be approved.

9.

Work in Progress - Select Commissions

To receive updates from the Chairs of the Select Commission on work undertaken and planned for the future.

 

Minutes:

The Chair of Improving Places Select Commission and Vice-Chair of Improving Lives Select Commission provided an update of the work of their commissions.

 

Resolved: -

 

That the updates be noted.

10.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 March 2022 - 31 May 2022 pdf icon PDF 388 KB

To review and identify items for pre-decision scrutiny from the Forward Plan of Key Decisions covering the period from 1 March 2022 to 31 May 2022

Minutes:

The Board considered the Forward Plan of Key Decisions 1 March 2022 to 31 May 2022.

 

Resolved: -

 

1)    That the Forward Plan be noted.

 

2)    That the Annual Housing Development Report 2022-23 and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy be considered for pre-decision scrutiny at the meeting of 20 April 2022.

11.

Call-in Issues

To consider any issues referred for call-in from recent Cabinet meetings.

Minutes:

There were no call-in issues.

12.

Urgent Business

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

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

13.

Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on 20 April 2022 at 11.00am at Rotherham Town Hall.

Minutes:

Resolved: - That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held at 11am on Wednesday 20 April 2022 at Rotherham Town Hall.