Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday, 2nd September, 2020 11.00 a.m.

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Governance Unit  The webcast can be viewed at http://www.rotherham.public-i.tv

Items
No. Item

198.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

 

To consider the minutes of the previous meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board held on 15 July 2020 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 15 July 2020 be approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.

199.

Declarations of Interest

 

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

Minutes:

Councillor R Elliott declared a personal interest in agenda item 7, Children’s Placement Provision, as he was a foster carer.

200.

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.

201.

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.

Minutes:

There were no items requiring the exclusion of the press and public.

202.

Response to recommendations from the Sickness Absence Workshop pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Cabinet Portfolio: Corporate Services and Finance

Strategic Directorate: Assistant Chief Executive

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Finance and the Assistant Director – Human Resources and Organisational Development attended the meeting to present a report that provided a progress report on the recommendations made in February 2020 by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board in response to the Board’s concerns relating to the underperforming sickness absence measure in the Council Plan.

 

The Cabinet provided a progress report on the three recommendations that had been made.

 

1.    That consideration be given to developing guidance for managers around enhanced emotional support for employees during a restructure, given the links to absence through stress and anxiety.

 

The Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Finance advised that a Rotherham Leader Wellbeing Guide had been developed for managers in response to the recommendation. It was noted that the guide included information and guidance for managers on identifying the early signs and symptoms of mental distress, the appropriate support mechanisms that were available and on how to promote the Five Ways to Well-Being within their teams. The report stated that the Five Ways to Well-Being were: Be Active, Connect, Give, Keep learning and Take Notice, and advised that managers were being encouraged to promote these actions within their teams in order to help maintain good mental health for staff.

 

2.    That data be disaggregated regarding absence through anxiety, stress and depression, as these should be recorded as discrete issues and to have a better understanding of sickness absence.

 

The Cabinet Member advised that the HR and Payroll system was able to break down the broad anxiety, stress and depression category into work related and personal stress, work relates stress, non-work-related stress and depression anxiety. The full year break down of sickness for 2019/20 was detailed in the officer’s report. It was noted that the most frequent reasons for sickness absence were: Other Musculo/Skeletal (20%), Genito Urinary/Gynaecological (14%), Infection/Virus (11%) and Depression/Anxiety (9%).

 

3.    That follow up work be undertaken to ensure managers proactively support staff and manage workloads across teams to prevent any potential knock on effect in terms of sickness absence as a result of staff assuming additional work to cover for an initial long-term sickness absentee.

 

The Cabinet Member advised that the Council’s Performance Development Review (PDR) process had been updated with managers advised to start conversations by focusing on the well-being of the individual employee rather than going straight into discussions regarding their performance.  It was noted that the PDR process provided a good opportunity for managers to find out if team members were facing any particular challenges and if there were any specific actions required in order to support them. The report stated that the HR Consultancy Team continued to provide advice, guidance and support to managers in relation to long-term sickness absence.

 

Members noted concern about the amount of sickness absence attributed to anxiety and depression and asked whether comparisons on this issue had been made against levels of absence for this reason at other authorities. The Assistant Director – Human  ...  view the full minutes text for item 202.

203.

Children's Placement Projections pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Cabinet Portfolio: Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working

Strategic Directorate: Children and Young People’s Services

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working and the Interim Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services attended the meeting to present a report that provided an update on the Children and Young People Services (CYPS) Directorate placements spend and the development of further developments of in-house placements of Looked After Children.

 

In introducing the report, the Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working stated it was the Council’s ambition to reduce the number of Looked After Children in the care of the authority to as low a number that could be managed safely as possible.

 

It was noted that order to set a robust budget for 2019/20 and 2020/21 a review of the CYPS spend had taken place to identify estimated reductions in costs that could be expected to be achieved over and above delivery of existing budget savings. It was further noted that a major element in the reduced budget estimates had been with regard to the placement projections of Looked After Children in the Borough that reflected a transfer in the number of high cost to lower cost placements combined with a reduction the numbers of Looked After Children from 651 to 600 by March 2020 and a further reduction to 541 by March 202. The report stated that at the end of the 2019/20 financial year Looked After Children placements had reduced from 647 on 1 April 2019 to 595 on 31 March 2020, however the placement spend was £5.4m over budget due to the placement mix with significantly higher number of children in “high cost” residential  and independent fostering placements.

 

It was noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had had a negative impact on the allocated budget and the planned reductions of Looked After Children across different placement types, with more children than anticipated being placed in more costly provision and for these placements to last for a longer period of time that would be usually the case. It was noted also that the pandemic had also led to an increase in the number of children in emergency placements. Members were also advised that while still increasing the projected number of new in-house foster carers had not increased at the levels predicted at the start of the year due to restrictions related to the pandemic.

 

Members asked for information regarding the backlog of cases in the Family Courts and how this was impacting on the number of Looked After Children. The Interim Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services noted that currently there were 30 children waiting in the court system, noting that this was an incredibly high number. The Interim Strategic Director advised that while new court dates were being added the backlog of cases could take up to four months to be cleared.

 

Members welcomed the invest to save activity that had been taking place such as the increased recruitment of in-house foster carers but asked that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 203.

204.

Adult Care: Budget Forecast and Savings Update pdf icon PDF 139 KB

 

Cabinet Portfolio: Adult Social Care and Health

Strategic Directorate: Adult Care, Housing and Public Health

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health and the Strategic Director of Adult Care, Housing and Public Health attended the meeting to present a report that provided an update on the forecast budget position for Adult Care, the Housing General Fund and Public Health.

 

The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health in introducing the report advised that prior to the pandemic that the Adult Care, Housing General Fund and Public Health budgets had been on track and that all of the overspend in the budget had been caused by the extra spending that had been needed in response to the pandemic. The Cabinet Member noted that due to the constantly evolving situation regarding the pandemic that it was not currently possible to predict a final budget position.

 

The Strategic Director advised that overall the Directorate was forecast to have an overspend of £8.4m on general fund services after taking account of the additional one-off budget support of £4.65m for 2020/21. It was noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had created a negative cost impact of £8.4m on the Adult Care budget, with £6.3m of the overspend being caused by the need for additional expenditure in areas such as new packages of care; financial support for the independent care sector and the provision of personal protective equipment.  The Strategic Director further advised that the pandemic had delayed the work required to deliver £2.1m of identified savings in the Directorate as due to the pandemic staff resources had been diverted to support work related to the pandemic and away from planned transformational activity. It was also noted that anticipated additional income had also reduced as the implementation of social distancing measures had prevented some of the tasks required from taking place.

 

The Strategic Director advised that the delay in the delivery of savings beyond 2020/21 was currently being assessed along with potential mitigating actions and noted that any change to the expected saving profile would be addressed in the Council’s Budget reports. The report noted that the Neighbourhood Services’ (Housing) and Public Health budgets were both forecast to be delivered on target for the year. The report included tables that provided financial information on the Revenue Monitoring 2020/21 position as at May 2020, a summary of budget variances and the savings delivery forecast.

 

The Strategic Director noted that preparations for winter, changes to government guidelines regarding reassessments, longer timescales required to conduct reassessments for care packages virtually rather than in person and the  changes to government guidelines on hospital discharges all presented challenges logistically but also with regard to adding further pressures to the budget.

 

Members noted that the budget pressures in Adult Care had been created by the extra spending that had been required due to the pandemic and that prior to this that the Adult Care budget had been in a positive position.

 

Members asked if there would be any further funding from the Government for local authorities to mitigate the extra costs that had been incurred  ...  view the full minutes text for item 204.

205.

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 Chairs of the Improving Lives, Improving Places and Health Select Commissions provided an update on the work of the Select Commissions.

206.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 August - 31 October pdf icon PDF 244 KB

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the Cabinet Forward Plan for the period 1 September to 30 November 2020.

 

Resolved: -

 

1.    That the Forward Plan be noted.

 

2.    That the following reports be considered at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board on 16 September 2020:

         

·       Annual Housing Development Report

·       The Year Ahead

·       Advice Review and Advice Services Service Level Agreement

·       Town Centre Public Spaces Protection Order, and a Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order

·       Voluntary Sector Infrastructure.

207.

Call-in Issues

 

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

Minutes:

There were no call-in issues.

208.

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 of business.

209.

Date and time of next meeting

 

The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on Wednesday 16 September at 11am as a Microsoft Teams meeting.

Minutes:

Resolved: -

 

That the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held at 11am on Wednesday 16 September 2020 as Microsoft Teams meeting.