Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Usk with Remote Attendance

Contact: Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

2.

Public Open Forum.

Minutes:

No members of the public were present.

 

3.

Scrutiny of the Revenue and Capital Outturn reports for 2020-2021. pdf icon PDF 705 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tyrone Stokes presented the report and answered the members’ questions with Jonathan Davies.

Challenge:

Is there any particular reason for the increase in looked-after children?

It’s not just pertaining to Monmouthshire, or even Wales: the significant increase is throughout the UK. For Monmouthshire, there only needs to be a couple of large families who come in for there to be a large increase e.g. one with 6 siblings and one with 7, which came in since 19/20. Within the directorate, we look to boost our in-house provision i.e. increase and develop our own foster carers so that we can give the best start to our looked-after children. But, unfortunately, sometimes the best care is out-of-county or residential care. With that, the cost then goes up. The average unit cost for a looked after child is £50k; it’s slightly less if they go into foster care, but if they go into residential it could be £3-400k. Many years ago the numbers were smaller but since then court activities have increased, and the judiciary system is now quite vocal in how they feel children’s lives should be lived, which has had an effect on our numbers.

What’s happened to the time limits regarding the expenditure of capital at the Crick Road site?

We gave a full update at Month 9 regarding Crick Road and the timescales, which was followed by a press release. Crick Road is a partnership scheme with the intermediate care fund, managed and hosted by our health colleagues through Aneurin Bevan. In terms of timescales, we are managing that. We have engaged fully with Welsh Government, and have their support. They realise that the pandemic has had a significant effect on the construction industry. We have therefore been given permission to manage that scheme, and the time envelope has been moved on. So there’s no risk relating to the time limit and that funding.

How much do we have in earmarked reserves, how much in free reserves, and in the revenue surplus?

Reserves are outlined in Section 3 of the report. We made specific replenishment of earmarked reserves of just over £4m at the end of the year. The reserves representing the council fund have remained untouched, which carries forward as just under £9m on the local authority side and nearly £3.5m on the schools side. When Cabinet received the reserves update in the autumn, we identified that Monmouthshire was at the lower end of reserves balances, compared to other Welsh authorities, in terms of reserve cover compared to revenue budget. We appreciated that we needed to bolster reserves if possible, looking ahead to various challenges e.g. social care and pandemic recovery.

So, there’s about £4m in earmarked and £9m in general reserves? How do we compare in relation to the percentage that we are supposed to have of capital vs. revenue?

The increase of £4m is on top of the £6m we already had in earmarked reserves, taking the total up to £10.6m. On the council fund side,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Adults Select Committee Forward Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 484 KB

Minutes:

The Gypsy and Travellers workshop is being arranged; it will likely take place in the early autumn. Some of the areas raised this morning should be fleshed out in the next meeting, covering Performance Reporting.

 

5.

Council and Cabinet Forward Work Plan. pdf icon PDF 168 KB

6.

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting. pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Minutes:

The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record (proposed by Councillor Harris and seconded by Councillor Woodhouse).

 

7.

Next Meeting: Tuesday 27th July 2021 at 10.00am.