Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Usk with Remote Attendance

Contact: Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The committee agreed to record any declarations of interest as and when appropriate in discussing the reports.

2.

Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 705 KB

Scrutiny of the Revenue and Capital Outturn reports for 2020-2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Manager for Social Care and Health introduced the report, drawing member’s attention to relevant sections within the report relating to Children’s Services. The officer advised that the situation in respect of reserves had improved significantly, given the receipt of a Welsh Government grant for covid costs and also due to savings arising from staff working from home and several staff vacancies. He also advised that budgeted savings have been achieved, whilst pressures in Children’s Services relating to Looked After Children remain. The increased pay award had also had an impact on the budgetary situation. He explained the multi-agency placement team in Children’s Services (MIST) and advised that this service had achieved the savings anticipated. There is still an overspend primarily due to the Looked After Children associated costs.

 

The Finance manager for Children and Young People introduced her part of the report, taking members through relevant sections, explaining the elements relating to central budgets. Overspends are relating largely to children needing specialist provision. She highlighted the position relating to school balances and gave explanation for deficits. 

 

The chair thanked officers for their comprehensive presentation of the report and invited questions from the committee, as follows:

 

Member Challenge: 

 

Councillor Martyn Groucutt declared a personal but non-prejudicial interest as a Governor of King Henry Comprehensive and advised that he was a Governor at Llantilio Pertholey Primary.

 

           I’m pleased to see the assistance that has been given by Welsh Government to assist the Council during the pandemic. I would like to see a longer term funding stream, because I recognise the impacts on schools in terms of budgeting. I’m relieved to see that we are not trying to find things to spend grant monies on but I do think it could be better planned.

 

I understand your concerns and whilst the money is welcome, it can be used to better effect if its use can be planned.

 

           My question is in relation to page 32 of the report and the table which demonstrates an improvement in some schools in comparison with others. Are schools in surplus as a result of receiving grants?  Please could you offer an explanation.

 

I think it’s helpful to recognise that there are schools with structural deficits at the start of the year, Chepstow being an example. Chepstow had a recovery plan in place and was making progress, however a restructure was delayed for a year due to covid, and that means that even with grant monies, it’s position is not where it would have wanted to be, were it able to continue its journey on its recovery plan.   This is the same for other schools, who may or not have been able to have continued with their recovery plans. The grants were prescribed by Welsh Governments primarily considering the size of the school and this is something we were not able to affect.

 

Councillor Maureen Powell declared a personal but non-prejudicial interest as a Governor of King Henry Comprehensive before asking;

 

           I  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 943 KB

Report on the performance against the 5 goals

Minutes:

Members were advised that this report had been brought to the select committee to enable members to consider the Council’s progress in meeting its five priority goals as set out in the five-year Corporate Plan. The officer explained the structure of the report and explained how the actions relate to the goals and specifically the focus would be on the areas that fall within the committee’s remit, Appendix 2 providing a progress update.

 

 

The officer explained that the pandemic had led to some delays on projects and some work having been paused temporarily, as the Council focussed its attention on delivering key services in challenging times. The council has a Coronavirus Strategy which was adopted by the cabinet and has ensured that activities have been focussed and coordinated.  The council has needed to respond to the pandemic and put in place initiatives to support people and some of these significant activities are:

 

           The advancement in digital and blended learning to ensure children could access learning during schools closures

           Family Support meetings in outdoor settings

           Remote Friday Friendlies ~ a Monmouthshire Youth Council Engage 2 Change Initiative to enable young people to meet and talk

           The shift project ~ supported 100 young people face to face and digitally who had poor mental health and well-being

           Outdoor open access play sessions during Easter holidays for 1100 children and young people

           Mon life activity hubs at the 4 leisure centres which accommodated 4200 young people

           Summer play scheme held at 3 sites across the county to provide additional support for children with disabilities

 

Ordinarily the report would include national performance indicators which would enable us to draw comparisons with other councils, however, the pandemic has led to insufficient information being collected to be able to benchmark to analyse performance, although we have gathered what data is available and provided and explanation. The report on progress against the five goals will be presented to Council in October.

 

The chair thanked the Performance and Improvement Officer for the presentation and invited questions from members.

 

Member Challenge:

 

           My comment is in relation to action points in the report, particularly the Home to School Transport and Safe Routes to School ~ I believe these are the same and should be amalgamated.

 

I agree and this is something that we can take forward, given that we are in the final year of this Corporate Plan.

 

           The report refers to reviewing and developing leadership structures across schools such as Kymin and Llandogo and as I believe that as we move forward, we need to look at amalgamation of leadership structures in terms of management, but also in terms of governing bodies, the example being Abergavenny and the proposals for the new “through school”, to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

 

Thanks for the question and your comment which is a fair one. There are several schools where we have partnership leadership arrangements and I think this is a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

To confirm the date and time of the next meeting as 9th September 2021