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Contact: Constitutional Services
Apologies For Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor A. Hussain.
Urgent business, if any, introduced by the Chair
There were no items of urgent business received.
Declarations of Interest
To Receive Declarations of Interest in any Contract or matter to be discussed at the meeting.
Councillors McClaren and Surjan each declared a non-registable interest in agenda item 14, insofar as they had both been appointed by the Council to serve as directors for the Oldham Economic Development Association but advised the meeting that this Association had yet to meet.
Public Question Time
To receive Questions from the Public, in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
There were no public questions for this meeting of the Scrutiny Board to consider.
The Minutes of the Governance, Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board held on 5th October 2023 are attached for approval.
That the minutes of the Governance, Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board held 5th October 2023 approved as a correct record.
Report covers the quarter two period 2023/24 (July – September 2024)
The Scrutiny Board received a report on Revenue Monitor and Capital Investment Programme 2023/24. The report provides the Governance, Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board the opportunity to review the second budget monitoring report for the financial year 2023/24. It is therefore able to consider the key information relating to the forecast revenue budget position and the financial position of the capital programme at 30th September 2023 (Quarter 2), together with the revised capital programme covering the period 2023/24 to 2027/28.
The report presents the current forecast revenue outturn position for 2023/24 at Quarter 2 together with the forecast outturn for the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Collection Fund. The report also outlines the most up to date capital spending forecasts for 2023/24 to 2027/28 for approved schemes. As this financial monitoring report reflects the financial position at Quarter 2, it can be regarded as an indicator of the likely year end position if continued corrective action is not successfully pursued. Every effort will be made to reduce the forecast variance by the year end to mitigate any potential impact on the 2024/25 budget. If expenditure cannot be controlled in year and there is a consequent increased budget reduction requirement for 2024/25, it is likely that further reserves will have to be used to balance the budget and this will have an impact on the financial resilience of the Council.
In terms of the Revenue Position, the forecast outturn position for 2023/24 was a projected deficit variance of £14.588m after allowing for approved and pending transfers to and from reserves. Unlike 2022/23, when £12.000m of corporate resources were held to offset costs arising from the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget for 2023/24 has been prepared so that anticipated COVID legacy costs are consolidated within the mainstream budgets of Children’s Social Care and Community Health and Adult Social Care.
It is of concern that the overall financial position has worsened between quarters 1 and 2. In view of the projected adverse variance, it is important to ensure that measures are taken to address the overspending, namely; management actions across all service areas to review and challenge planned expenditure and to maximise income, processes to monitor the recruitment of staff to vacant posts and significant items of expenditure and ensuring non-essential expenditure is minimised.
Information on the Quarter 2 position of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Collection Fund is also outlined in the report. The 2022/23 DSG outturn was a cumulative surplus of £0.899m; the first time that a surplus has been reported since 2016/17, representing the achievement of a major financial milestone for the Council. Future projections continue to improve with forecast surpluses of £3.193m and £4.025m in 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively. Action will continue to be taken with the aim of mitigating cost pressures and delivering and maintaining the surplus position. There are currently no significant issues of concern in relation to the HRA.
The Collection Fund is forecasting ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Report to follow
The Scrutiny Board received a report on Corporate Performance. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of corporate performance against agreed service business plan measures for the Quarter 2 period (July – September 2023/24). The current reporting format has been developed as an interim solution, with a view to bringing more mature performance reporting online once the BIPS Programme and Digital Services Foundation Project have been completed.
The reports had previously been presented to an earlier meeting of this Scrutiny Board where Members noted that suggestions had been taken on board on how to improve them and make them more accessible.
The reports gave a highlight of performance in each service with a Red, Amber and Green indicator. The Scrutiny Board queried underperformance in customer services. Officers explained that this was already being addressed and new software was developed and due to be implemented in January which would allow residents to access council tax services directly online. Council Tax queries account for a third of the calls received so the new software is expected to reduce the number of incoming calls, and consequently reduce the call waiting times which is the area of concern.
That the Board noted and endorsed the submitted report.
To consider the minutes of the meeting of the GMCA Scrutiny Committee held on 22nd November 2023
The Scrutiny Board received and considered the minutes of the meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Scrutiny Committee held on 22nd November 2023.
Resolved: That the minutes be noted.
Report to follow
The Scrutiny Board considered its Work Programme for 2023/24.
Resolved: That the Governance, Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Board’s work programme 2023/24, be noted.
To consider the Key Decision Document
The Board considered the Key Decision Document, which records key decisions that the authority is due to take.
Resolved: That the Key Decision Document be noted.
Rule 13 and 14
To consider any rule 13 or 14 decisions taken since the previous meeting.
The Chair reported that there was nothing to report under this heading.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following two items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.
That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they contain exempt information under paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and it would not, on balance, be in the public interest to disclose the reports.
Partnerships Risk Update
Report of Director of Finance
The Scrutiny Board considered a report of the Director of Finance which linked in with previous reports submitted to previous Scrutiny Committees and the Audit Committee, over several financial years, which had highlighted the potential risks to the Council from poor supervision of companies/ partnerships of which it has ownership and how governance oversight, had failed to identify this risk resulting in significant financial loss. The Scrutiny Board was asked to note the potential risks to the Council from the partnerships in which it has an interest for its consideration.
The submitted report has identified those partnerships in which the Council had an interest and then used a traffic light system to rank the risk to the Council (green, amber and red) as at 30th November 2023. These partnerships and the current assessment of risk had been split into seven categories:
a. 100% Council Owned Companies.
b. Companies in which the Council has an Equity Stake.
c. Special Purpose Vehicles.
d. Council Initiatives
e. The Green Agenda
f. Local Government Association
g. Residual Commitments
The latest version of Partnership Risk Dashboard was attached at the Appendix to the report.
A member of the Scrutiny Board noted that there had been no Board meetings, thus far in 2023/24 of the Oldham Economic Development Association (OEDA) and queried whether the OEDA was able to approve shares. The Assistant Director of Finance undertook to address the issue raised.
1. That the Board notes the report
2. The undertaking of the Assistant Director of Finance, above, be noted.
3. That a further update reports, in this regard, be presented to future meetings of the Scrutiny Board.
MioCare Group – Annual Update on Financial Performance
To consider the MIOCARE Annual Financial Report
The Board received an update from the Managing Director of MioCare Group, detailing the financial performance of MioCare Group. A similar update report had previously been presented in June 2022. The 2022/23 performance was delivered in line with budget. The report also provided a strategic context for the current and future operating environment and the various considerations for the 2023/24 budget.
MioCare Group had been established in 2013 and was made up of three wholly owned Council companies, Oldham Care and Support (OCS), MioCare Services Ltd (MSL) and the parent company MioCare Group CIC Limited (MG). MioCare Group has its own Board of Management, comprising of four elected members, three independent Non-Executive Directors and the Managing Director. All Board members are also registered Directors with Companies House.
Oldham Council pays an annual management fee to OCS to provide and deliver a range of services on its behalf. MSL essentially operates competitively in the market more akin to an independent care provider. MioCare’s total income from Oldham Council represents approximately 21% on the Adult Social Care budget.
To be sustainable, MioCare Group has taken a strategic social business approach including the divestment of some services, growing services, winning a substantial contract, setting up a commercial enterprise and other measures to control costs. In the main MioCare’s trading position has been positive, with small surpluses generating a small reserve.
The Scrutiny Board questioned the Employee Offer section of the report and how the organisation were managing their workforce. The MioCare Group stated that although they struggle to recruit and retain staff in the Trading division, the current number of vacant positions is actually half of the national average. Staff satisfaction surveys presented positive results with over 90% of participating employees agreed that they feel empowered to support service users and that they believe their role allows them to make a difference.
1. That the Board notes the update report and commends the work done by the MioCare Group.
2. That a further update report be presented to the Scrutiny Board in approximately 12 months.