Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Wednesday 15 November 2023, 10:00am - Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Webcasting

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board
Wednesday, 15th November 2023 at 10:00am 









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  1. Webcast Finished
Slide selection

Emma Hill - 0:00:06
commanding and welcome to this morning's Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will start with a webcast you notice this meeting may be filmed for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council's website. At the start of the meeting, the Chairman will confirm if all or part in the meeting is being filmed. You should be aware that the Council is a data controller under the Data Protection Act, data collected during this webcast will be retained in accordance with the Council's published policy
therefore, by entering the Chamber and using the public gallery, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and or training purposes. If members of the public do not wish to have their images captured, they should make themselves known to Democratic Services.
and we've no members of the public, thank you.

1 Apologies for Absence

Members officers, unfortunately, we've got some apologies this morning, so the agenda item 1 will now be to nominate the appointment of a chair for today's meeting, so could I please ask all Members that, at present, to nominate a Chair?
Emma Hill - 0:01:26
Councillor Graham, would you be happy to take chair, thank you, we'll just suspend the webcast for one minute.

1 Apologies for Absence

I welcome everybody to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board meeting.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:01:42
we've heard about the apologies for absence.
do I take the second
okay, okay.

2 Minutes of the previous meeting held on 13 September 2023 and 11 October 2023.

so, in addition to the apologies from Councillor Clark and Councillor
Emma Hill - 0:01:55
Bacon, we also have apologies from Councillor Petula and Councillor Baker Rodgers, thank you okay, second item is the minutes of the
Stand-in Chair . - 0:02:04
previous meeting held on the 13th of September 2023 and the 11th of October 2023.
if we consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
we have to do is ask if anybody has any questions about those.
and if not, then can we raise our hands to approve the in place?
thank you.
declarations of interest item 3 to receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda are there any declarations of interest?
thank you.

3 Declarations of Interest

questions from members of public and press, we don't have any.
exclusion of the press and public.

5 Exclusion of the Press and Public

don't think that's necessary today.
so that leaves us on to the substantive part of the meeting which is for discussion.

6 Annual Compliments and Complaints Report 2022-23

the maximum number 6 is the annual compliments and complaints report 2022 to 2023.
thank you, Chair introducing Sigi, I think I'd like to introduce the
Cllr Alam - 0:03:13
report and then Joe will do a short presentation.
in terms of the numbers of complaints made the through this year, we will see the highest in the last five years, this is very close to the number received in 20.
20, which was prior to COVID. It is apparent that that burden had impact on the complaint numbers. Comprehensive contribute very important to the Council and word children, helping us learn what we do and what how to improve things and how we deal with our customers. In that sense, Chair company is a good thing, allows us to respond to things that haven't gone right to check whether we have the right processes in place. To say sorry, when we should be apologising and then put things out which went wrong. They are important indicated to allow us to consider if we are providing a good quality of service to our residents and we are treating people in a fair and equitable manner. The report also includes information about compliments received by the Council, example in closed courts and provided by satisfied service users and customers. The report includes various measures for performance in different departments and how different departments are performing. We all try to improve the format of the report to make sure it is appropriate or provide this audience and it's inaccessible and we welcome any feedback from Asenby regarding the content and format of the report, we also have colleagues from across the service areas today, who can support the discussions and provide insight for some of the trends which have emerged in any report now like to hand over to Joe to provide more details regarding trends over the
Stand-in Chair . - 0:04:52
thanks, Councillor Lamb and manage her members, so I'm gonna go
Jo Brown - 0:04:53
through just as a summary presentation because you've got a very detailed report in the pack and I know that in previous years we've been quite clear in terms of the questions and obviously we've got a range of colleagues here today who can support answered some of those more detailed questions from a service point of view, so as I said, this is presentation somewhere it's just a few slides to give the submarine position on the complaints and compliments and this it's important to note this is for the year ending in March this year but that being said I will bring in some of our performance from the first six months of this year because I think it's quite important to show how we're doing.
so far this year
and before I kind of move on to the next slides I I also wanted to reflect on something that Councillor Lamb has just mentioned, which is that we have taken on board your feedback as a committee from previous years, so you will say hopefully more emphasis on themes coming out of the complaints and actually what we're doing so the actions that are being taken and the impact that that is starting to have on the complaints trends so as always if there are other things that you would like to see in future years going forward, then please do just say and can I just check you can hear me OK.
next slide please, so this
it is this slight sorry
is that better OK, thank you, so this slide really just talks through the key headlines in terms of the last five years, so if you look at the graph at the top of the page, they're moving from left to right across the bottom you've got the years going back to 2018 19, the red line is the complaints figures.
and you can see that there was a large decrease in 2020 21 with the numbers then increasing in the year that there is the focus of the report today.
the blue line is compliments and again we saw a slight decrease in 2020 21 but then increases again in terms of the numbers of compliments received into 22 23 and we actually received 791 compliments, I think, as Councillor Lamb alluded to the COVID pandemic did actually have the effect of reducing the contacts with the council both in terms of complaints and compliments, but we can see that numbers in 22 23 returned to slightly above the pre pandemic levels.
if we then just take a shorter period of time, so looking at the the year that this report relates to, which is 22 23 and the previous year to that 21 22, we'll do more of a comparison of those two years as we move through these slides, so in 22 23 we did as Councillor Lamb said, receive 280 more complaints than the previous year, which is an increase of 25%, and that was seen across the majority of our directorates. We also upheld more complaints, so that's where we agree with the complainant that something went wrong, and that was an increase on the previous year of 32% upheld compared to 24% in the previous year. In terms of the themes of how we actually categorise complaints, we received more complaints around quality of service, but then we saw a decrease in the numbers of complaints which were to do with the actions of our staff.
we also had slightly fewer complaints that were escalated to stage 2 and 3, which we can take a positive from, because it means that we are hopefully resolving things much earlier in the process we also, as I said, received more compliments during that period, which was an increase of 5% on compliments, so if we move on to the next slide please,
so this slide really just starts to show some of the trends across our directorates, and I did just want to point out that we've split our adults, housing and public health, that is one director under Ian who's here today, but actually adults and Housing have different regulatory frameworks that they operate in with regards to complaints so it was important to separate those out.
when we look at the last two years of complaints data, as I said that were there was an increase in the last year or in the majority of our services, the largest increase being in very general environment which saw a percentage increase on the previous year of 50% and then second, so that was housing services which increased by 21%, we had smaller increases in some of our other services so children and young peoples increased by 5% and adult care by sex. My own director has a very small number of complaints. We had one additional complaint in that year compared to the previous year but go against this trend. Finance and customer services actually decreased the complaint levels by 3% and public health reduced to 0. They again get very small numbers of complaints due to the nature of services provided. When we then start to look at the reasons for complaints in each director and I'm sure there will be questions for colleagues on this when we look first of all at the regional environment directorate
primarily, the numbers of complaints increased in in waste management services, and that actually equated to 51% of all complaints received in impulse directorate. Other things that we started to say where regulation and enforcement so complaints primarily related to a perceived lack of enforcement action, and then some of the other themes coming out of that directorate was around missed. Bin collections and complaints about bins not being returned back to the correct location. Lack of enforcement action in respect of Environmental Health Trees, compliance planning, decisions process and lack of planning enforcement action. The next largest increase was in Housing Services or side of a 21% increase that
within housing, it was the business and Commercial Services, part of Ian's area that saw the the the largest increase, and that was about the way the staff handled compliance or handled contacts with customers Housing property Services had an increase of 27% in comparison to the previous year of 2021 22.
and that service obviously deals with a lot of issues coming out in the winter months relating to boiler repairs, leak leaks from pipe work and so on, our repairs contractors also received more complaints in 22 23 or a slight increase there as well, and on when we move on to the the areas that have seen increases in complaints but are at a level I've also children's and young people's there was an increase there of 5%.
so significantly lower than the old Council increase of 25% and and the main areas here with disagreements with decisions made and the outcomes of assessments, delays or difficulties in communication and delays in preparing reports or assessments. Adult care had a similar level of increase at 6% largest change here, though it was a positive a direction so the complaints received by the integrated discharge teams, our hospital social work team they actually reduced their complaints from 10 down to 4, and I think that indicates perhaps a better focus on communication with families and patients or by that team.
the other areas within adults, contributing to that 6% increase in complaints saw small increases across the board. For example, the locality social work teams saw a small increase from 24 complaints to 28 complaints. However, that is an area that has been under significant pressure and I think it does show some of the efforts made by our staff in trying to resolve complaints as early as possible prevalent themes in adult social care or are taken primarily from the complaints that we upheld or at least partially upheld. The themes there were around delays in service being provided, action being taken or a lack of financial support or eligibility.
as I said, against the trend of of increasing compliance, finance and customer services overall saw a decrease in complaints of 3% customer services, actually increased by 26%, and that was a period in June 2022 when we had a high demand for service council tax actually decreased by 18% so obviously bringing that overall figure down and prevalent themes from that area in terms of the reasons for people complain, it was around inaccuracy of advice and information provided, call, wait times and administration hours excuse me in the council tax accounts
next slide. Please, so this this slide really shows how well we resolve complaints within the timescales that are required. So excuse me overall in 22 23 we did actually resolve complaints in a timely way, and that is in in, in the face of the fact that we had a higher number of complaints overall, so we managed to resolve a higher number of complaints within within the timescales needed, so still good performance in terms of resolving of complaints when they come in, but we would obviously want to see those excuse me. Numbers of complaints reduce the highest performance in terms of timeliness, finance and customer services. At 90%, 90% of their complaints were resolved within timescales. We did have a a large change in children's who saw a decrease in their turnaround time from 82% 64%. However, that can, in part, be put down to a large number over a very short period of time in Education, Health and Care Plan. Complaints that came in and in short period and that that performance has actually now improved in the current year, which is positive. Obviously the complaints team continuing to work with managers and teams across the council to make sure that we are resolving complaints when they come in in a timely way
can I please.
just to touch on on compliments, as I referred to earlier on, we have seen an increase in compliments as well, so from 752 received in the year 2021 22 to 791 compliments received 22 to 23. Some hairy areas have seen a significant increase in some have seen a decrease, and I think it's probably important to note that we don't necessarily capture them all and we are working on that so we do get confidence coming in that are then held within services and not recorded by Stuart and the team. The most significant increase in compliments is in our region and environment directorate, with a 27% increase, Finance and customer services have had 169% increase or a smaller number than than other areas, but still 169% increase. My own directorate has had a 30% increase in compliments, and there's been a small increase in housing services of 2%. Adult care and children's have both seen decreases in the numbers of compliments received, but I think it's still important that we continue to reflect the compliments, as well as the complaints in terms of our our staff working with residents.
CSI please.
so I did mention that I was going to bring Gain at the first six months data for this year because I think it's important to just reflect where we were and we're where we are now so far we've got a good six months' worth of data to to look back on so this slide provides information that isn't in your report, but obviously you'll have the the slides from today so we've received 598 complaints so far this year in the period April to September, which is a large decrease compared to the same period last year where we had 715
in terms of where those complaints are aimed towards our housing have received the most and regional environment, however, both of those areas have seen significant decreases as well.
the numbers of complaints have decreased in general across all of our directorates, and we've now seen it return to a or a five-year average rather than having this kind of blip, which is which is positive, there's been a decrease though in the number of complaints upheld so 23% of complaints upheld compared to 32% for the previous year and then 21 complaints have gone to stage 2 and 3, which is a slight increase on the previous year. So again we'd want to focus on the reasons for that and actually start to try and resolve those complaints as early as possible as we did in the previous year.
we've also had an increase in compliments on the same period in the previous year, which is which is positive.
so in terms of sorry, state next slide. Thank you next steps. The things that we are doing working with colleagues across the Council is trying to ensure that we improve services to meet the new requirements of the Ombudsman's complaint handling code. Obviously, I've anytime we get changes like this through regulations. It is a learning curve for staff as well and with what we don't want to say is, is things starting to slip in terms of timeliness, of response and trying to resolve as early as possible? We're continuing to try and capture, learning and make improvements, and hopefully you can see that woven through the reports. We're ensuring that we have the right resources and links in place to make sure we learn from others and Stuart sits on a various national groups to try and make sure we do that and that we're increase in staff engagement both with the compliments process, but also the complaints process really trying to make sure that we promote best practice in dealing with customer dissatisfaction and that that brings me to the end of the slides, but happy to take any questions, along with colleagues. They were here Chair. Thank you. Thank you Joe two words. We can do this really we can,
Stand-in Chair . - 0:18:45
we have representatives from each of the directorates here anyway.
we could add a question by directorate or we could just take questions as they come, so really it's just which way people would like to work.
I'm happy just to take questions yeah yeah, OK, we'll do that, I know
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 0:19:02
that's OK, OK, anybody, I'd like to ask any questions before we say
Stand-in Chair . - 0:19:05
that, can I just say that this is an apolitical meeting.
please be respectful with your questioning and recommendations to the officers, thank you.
questions booth.
Councillor Cooksey, thank you, thank you for the report I mentioned
Cllr Wendy Cooksey - 0:19:24
that there'd been an increase in complaints about the behaviour and attitude of the staff.
and later on he said that one of the
aims going forward is to look at best practice when responding to customer complaints, but I'm just wondering if how to?
the sort of deal and handle the public if that's included in any training for staff initially and induction programmes, obviously people interpret things differently, so what one person seizes somebody been in poly, for example at the least and roared at the worst somebody else might not, but I just wondered if that's something that you you tackle it, sort of at the start of somebody being employed, thank you.
thanks Councillor Cook saying a really good question, so we have a
Stand-in Chair . - 0:20:13
Jo Brown - 0:20:14
range of e-learning modules that all staff go through and I think we adapt those for our frontline workers as well, I think the work that we're doing around our customer experience I think will start to improve this journey as well and make sure that we've got clearer standards for staff to adhere to now, obviously if there are issues in areas they are tackled really promptly.
but obviously the there. There is certainly a perception, and that's coming through in the complaints that people aren't maybe handling contacts in the way that we would want them to, and so we were drilling into the detail, and I'm sure Stuart will come in in terms of specifics around what we're doing from a complaints' point of view, to try and make sure that that people understand that can that the the information you get through from a complaint is just as valuable as as from a compliment, or you know a pat on the back, so we really do want to make sure that we're doing that, so there's a whole range of things that we do in terms of staff, training and development from the get-go, and you know as service level as well as more corporate late, but I'll pause and say, if still wants to come in Stuart sorry, Judith
Stand-in Chair . - 0:21:19
and first yeah, thank you, Chair just wanted to add some specifics so
Mrs Judith Badger - 0:21:25
in many of the kind of high customer contact areas there is specific training, so customer services staff have trained in council tax resident bends, staff have training and obviously they're the bulk of the very much customer contacts so they have direct training.
what I am in discussion with Ian about is one of the areas of his service that has had some complaints
and I think it's the housing income team.
and it's not saying it's huge but
we've kind of connected that we've got council tax collection does so, taking money off, people doesn't get a lot of complaints, and yet there are proportionately more in the housing income team which is doing a very similar thing, albeit the customers might be a different cohort and we're gonna work with them to see if we can do some mutual learning around how we assist that team to try and understand why they get more complaints than we do given it's very similar work, so we do target specifically on service at service level where we pick up those issues. From the other point I was going to say with customer experience, but obviously Joe got that thing shows
Stand-in Chair . - 0:22:47
yeah just just want to add that we
Mr Stuart Purcell - 0:22:49
I've been personally doing quite a lot of training this year for lack of SPÖ, training for staff being run and are running a training course for all the adults and Housing staff, going from the nearly everybody in that in that director also did a specific session for everybody in customer services as well in the contact centre going from, I think the whole concert centre provided like a little bespoke pill session on and,
could complaint handling and dealing with dissatisfied customers and sorry yeah and I'll I'll continue that in the May meeting, or do we try, we're trying to get in front of everybody really in continued kindness? You know the message around good complaint handling, but also we're gaining way be satisfied customers so they don't turn into formal complaints
Stand-in Chair . - 0:23:37
Councillor Hussain, please, thank you, Chair, thank you for the
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 0:23:41
report. It was interesting because I I felt I felt a difference in this report in some of the key messages and a real emphasis. I think we spoke a lot about when I first joined us NB, about capturing that wider compliments and you know not. Everybody is unhappy with the USA who are deserts. There is lots of good stuff happening and having a more fairer picture of the Council, so I'm glad that's kind of coming through in a in a in a confident way. I think I think we know that I'm very down the line when I see something I'm not, I don't think is good enough, but I'm equally
when we do do things well, that we shouldn't be lack confidence in talking about it, because I'm glad that was coming through a lot more, a couple of things. One is a general observation throughout the report and I don't know if it's a question, but you might want to comment on it. Is we always referenced the pre pandemic, like we assume that the pre pandemic complaints, where desirable level, so we always got a pandemic, it was there so so it's become like this new mantra, not just here at the here, but O'Connor everywhere I go
so for me is is that our benchmark pre pandemic and?
as I felt, particularly when you presented the more recent figures, actually we are trying to establish a new way and I'll pick up an example of that in a second, I will establish in a different way about how we're responding to local people and their concerns and the things that are not quite working for them, so for me is about the trend also has shifted a little bit in terms of the types of complaints, so I think I was referring back to pre pandemic because if you want to focus on that one first and I have got another,
thanks Councillor Hussain, and I think I think you right. I think we
Stand-in Chair . - 0:25:25
Jo Brown - 0:25:27
do emphasised the the pandemic periods and the difference it made across a whole range of things, not just compliance. I think it's important to note the impact it did have, but I think you're absolutely right, things have changed so significantly across a whole range of things, not least how we how we work together. You know using technology now some of the shifts that we've seen in people's expectations and behaviors, and so I think it would be really interesting to see this time next year where we're at and what the trends are and then start, I think you right, I think there is there, is it's timely to kind of look at a new baseline and a new set of trends, and then maybe do a comparison of of the years post pandemic, with the years pre pandemic, to say actually how have things significantly shifted? So I think I think it was right to point it out last year and this year that we did have that got a difference in the numbers of contacts we had around complaints and compliments, but it's not sort of being used in a way that I think is inappropriate at all. I think it's just about acknowledging it and then looking at the trends going forwards
Stand-in Chair . - 0:26:37
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 0:26:39
one example that I want to show, which shows for me a shifting cow in culture in a positive way, and some people might see this as a negative one, and I personally don't, which is the area around how many complaints were upheld, because I just felt when I read that the 32% it just showed a majority and it showed that we're listening, because sometimes people really do have valid concerns and it makes such a difference, and as Councillors we sometimes pick up the more extreme. There's no doubt about that, we know it's not always the bread and butter stuff is, it makes a difference when the person you want to talk to and say Look, and we're really not happy, but then they agree with you after investigating and looking into it. So for me is that swear like a lot of hope is for how we deal and how we respond and build relationships with local people. So I know some people may see that as a negative that they were upheld, but actually that's a communication for the directorate.
we've upheld it, this is what it means for the surveys, these are the areas and there might be some patterns happening, in particular services at a frontline or maybe at management level, and actually it becomes a learning element for training and development. So I just want to say that I thought that was a positive, that we upheld more complaints than we did previously. The final question for now I want to talk about is quality because obviously that's come up as the theme of the highest level. The types of complaint
I can see that some of them are quite majority with them around housing.
I'm trying to think my notes, Felsted output.
think about quality is that we're doing it, we're just doing it poorly, you know that's simply, so the point is we're doing it in the first place, so that's like a major thing if we're doing it, so if we're doing it poorly as it, we're doing it poorly because some of the directors were else trying to find out where that was the highest. It was obvious from the report it looked like. Potentially it could be our commissioned services and having a lot of dealings with the burial
dignity contract of late and realising that we, we don't performance, manage quality at the level we should do so, people complain to us for years and years, and we we just assume our commission service is given as accurate representation of how they're delivering it, so learning from that.
how does if this is relating to commissioned services more than what we are doing in how services, how does that translate into the contractual performance and quality performance within those contracts, are we picking this up and doing something about it?
students from taking one year on.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:29:30
Mr Stuart Purcell - 0:29:33
I will provide some information on this, so in terms of this report.
the repairs contractors are part of those other contractual services aren't part of the, so there are numbers for other contracts or service, so the big disk dignity contract, complaints around dignity services are dealt with by dignity themselves for their own complaints procedure but picked up through contract management manager or management arrangements as other large contracts such as leisure contracts,
but within this unit within Housing Services, the repairs contractors are part of it and we work with repairs contractors like that just another kind of councillor service and they follow our complaints procedures of all the numbers are in there, it's important because.
I don't want to say I pointless the negative way, but they do get a lot of complaints and therefore we need to know about it, and then it can is is more of a direct kind of input into our contract monitoring.
thank you.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:30:32
OK, thank you, Chair, I think it's.
Ian Spicer - 0:30:35
worth acknowledging that you know, whilst a poor experience with the council is clearly not where we want to be on everyone to have a positive experience, it doesn't all it's not. We also need to recognise it's not always that easy for people to make complaints, so when they do really important we treat them because I know they're experiencing some services, some people find it harder than others, not because of the process, but because it's not something they naturally want to do so, anything that's the they do. That's about an attitude or behaviour from a staff member is clearly the first thing that
shouldn't be, there shouldn't be any issues about that whatsoever delays in standard of responses, and things like that are clearly disappointing and not where we want to be, and we're striving to you know to improve that all the time, but I think it's also worth knowing that the the sheer volume of interactions that take place amongst,
housing services, social care, et cetera, tens of thousands of interactions.
so it's relatively complaints make up a relatively small amount, but that doesn't minimise the fact that those people have felt we've not had a responsive experience, some of the things we've done around the attitude and behaviour I've listened to some of those calls where there's been complaints so we've taken direct action not just about the things around training but actually within the service itself and of course you only maybe need one or two people that aren't responding to two individuals to residents to where we would want and expect them to to create.
a number of complaints are certainly I feel that we're now, we're now dealing with that and have dealt with that.
I think what's really important going forward for us is that we now have a new regulatory framework for both housing and adult social care, so you've got the Care, Quality Commission.
and you've got the housing regulator and within that what's gonna be really important is seeing where we're going, indeed to demonstrate how we compare on around complaints, et cetera right across the board, right across the country and across that that regulation, so that will bring a new focus and a new regime that we need to respond to.
thank you, John.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:32:58
thanks just just wanted to come back on counselling. It seems comment
Jo Brown - 0:33:01
if that's OK on the upheld complaints, because I think it's a really important point to note. Obviously we are doing a lot more to try and resolve complaints as early as possible in the process and more informally, where, where possible, because that brings about a speedier resolution than getting stuck into a process. So I think the fact that you are you're absolutely by the fact that we are upholding more of our formal complaints means that it's because we believe we do agree with those customers that there is an issue and and hopefully that's reflected in the fact we've tried to resolve as early as possible and more informally where people are maybe dissatisfied, but it doesn't necessarily escalate to a formal complaint, so I I also take it as a positive that we are upheld in more
thank you, Councillor Lyons, please, yes, there is a similar to the
Stand-in Chair . - 0:33:48
Cllr Ken J. Wyatt - 0:33:50
point relating to picked up by time, but I mean clearly you know a lot of services are delivered by third parties and I'm not sort of saying I'm not making any point that generally that's worse or better. I'm just just stating the fact, and on page 48 you know, we look at the look at the housing complaints and you know there does seem to be some messages coming through you're about about quality, about that goal back, so you know that re repeat, repeat visits, which I know are not desirable and or then Oxford like. Therefore,
whilst by the service just wondering what lessons are sort of coming through also about when, when you look at the you know the the total percentage of
what we said were staff attitude, issues, staffing or our how many, and which is that as break broken down into the third-party interactions, you know it's not just ours, and obviously we haven't mentioned dignity, tree services as workers is is the third priority and sometimes the housing because as as as is yet another Sorbie goes into its affairs as further subbed out because of the the work that's involved, so you know you know you're dealing with like a sort of fourth party than I care.
issue, sometimes with the results of some of the rule in relation to repairs, and things like that,
that's that point of view, but the other one is.
or one which has been like being captured by by introductions from from councils, for example, not necessarily you know, some of the surgery system, but by such people are contacting councils and councillors.
sending other complaints or might not be a complaint, might be a request for about services, and they might not, you know, look at a service requested, are always going to be complaints, obviously I think you've got this will likely still sometimes to say Well other complained about they just say Can I get up and cut out some help with this?
she was.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:35:46
Mr Stuart Purcell - 0:35:50
yeah, I, I would agree in terms of repairs, contracts or complaints is a lot of why kind of terms low hanging fruit in terms of learning, and you know from complaints so such as complaints around kind of staff attitude, but you get a lot of and this trust cuts all complaints. We do get all up for complaints about communication in these kind of repairs. You know tenants will complain because we haven't told them what we're doing, you know, I'll put operatives, will not be able to complete repair for whatever reason, and then they'll not tell the tenants and then tenants have to ring up and find out, and it creates compliance with those sort of things that I personally don't want to see you now going through the formal complaints room, you know a bit of better communication, so repairs contractors do or do address those through what they call toolbox talks. So there's a lot of feedback
all through those they do take them seriously, we do work with their customer services teams directly and they tell us that they do kind of do, or that's that feedback, but yeah, you do get a lot of what you know relatively straightforward complaints that if we address tweets some of the customer service within those contractors it would reduce the number of complaints,
in terms of Councillor interactions, obviously I had is now kind of direct information in the airport.
I've got you know, a lot of direct experienced Councillors, can you now we're raised formal complaints, that's that's not, that's not a problem, you know there is that interaction a lot of time, you know people raising issues through directly itself through your surgeries and people making a formal complaint, they are very similar issues. Aren't they it's just about getting from A to B, isn't it you know with those customers
whether they use Councillor surgery, you know process or whether use formal complaint, but that's not to say that you can't kind of blend the two Councillors sometimes ask for things to be investigated as a formal complaint rather than just going through the normal surgery system, so that's first not a problem OK, thank you very more questions or comments, yes, please concise.
thank you Chair.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:37:55
Cllr Robert Elliott - 0:37:58
in a recent towns conference, nearly Welsh Dalian mention was made of the training for housing officers, which has already been referred to.
the I asked at the Tower if I could attend one of these sessions as gone up as in my ward, we have the highest number of council tenants and therefore sometimes are at the sharp end of complaints, so it would be good to see how the training is Buttercross and possibly also forming into my colleague Councillor Alan to reply to complex that will receive I did have an affirmative response at the time but no invitation received do you think I might be getting one?
Stand-in Chair . - 0:38:38
if that's something that would be useful to councils, I'm sure we can
Jo Brown - 0:38:42
to run a session to demonstrate what training or officers have and allow you to kind of almost go through it, yes, I was more than happy for that to happen if that's OK with Stuart as well.
OK, thank you, Councillor Booth, please, thank you very much, Chair
Stand-in Chair . - 0:38:55
with more upheld.
Cllr Simon Ball - 0:38:58
complaints Green, so you know, I'm I'm I'm gonna look into the financial kind of way of doing things, so what the financial cost to more upheld complaints in terms of time undertaken investigating the complaints, and also how much compensation is paid out due to having all these complaints upheld?
Stand-in Chair . - 0:39:22
I don't have those figures to hand, but I would be more than happy to share that back with you.
Jo Brown - 0:39:25
in 2000 recommended yeah, OK, Councillor Cooksey, please, yeah, thank
Stand-in Chair . - 0:39:32
Cllr Wendy Cooksey - 0:39:36
you, it's a question about the equalities monitoring, I note that there's a trend that's the rising number of women complainants.
so I just wondered if we had any information on that, why we think that is, it is quite significant, I think, particularly in terms of regeneration and environment and housing.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:39:58
I'll let Stewart come in on the specifics of that, but just justice I
Jo Brown - 0:40:01
one of the things that we are looking at because we've been very conscious of the
equality impact monitoring is we want to do a piece of work to make sure that we are accessible from a complaints point of view to all sections of the community and that we are actively encouraging people from all sections of the community to use that process in the appropriate way. So a piece of work we want to do is to understand are there. Patterns are the reasons why why certain sections might not be
utilising the process where needed, so so, just to give you some assurance on that, but I'll let Stuart come in on the the increase on of women complaining.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:40:40
so there's been a small increase, as is gonna work with the you know
Mr Stuart Purcell - 0:40:42
to understand these figures in in in in a bit more detail, the there's always been a higher since we started the equalities monitoring back in 2021, there's a it's always been the case where there's been this higher number of female complainants compared to male complainants.
exactly why I can't say I can speculate is based is driven by the types of complaints received and driven by those services who received the highest number of complaints, obviously housing and irony services, so if you get a lot, housing complaints, you will get a lot of.
a female tenants complaining, you know, making those complaints so the kind of numbers driven.
by the numbers of complex receive that we get per directorate or more in housing more in irony.
thank you, Councillor, I assume, please or sorry you wanna come back,
Stand-in Chair . - 0:41:43
Cllr Wendy Cooksey - 0:41:44
I just got another quick question, but I'll come enough to count from, is this Councillor Hussain, please.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:41:50
I was just going to pick up on two small, but one is about.
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 0:41:52
when when he asked the public, like what does the Council do for you just just a random question, the number one thing, they'll say, they pick up my bins, so whether we like it or not, it's become the baseline of council, so if he says that it could get any been picked up because of the universality of it,
is fundamental like when it goes wrong, it becomes very serious, very quickly.
I think we underestimate how much, if we really understand sometimes when that goes wrong, because I think people are more likely to complain, because when the bin gets miss it, it quickly can go horrible for people in their garden. So I think that's the reason why people are locked promptly on it about complaining, and I just feel that if you should, we try something different because it has been consistently high and they, I'm sure it's high for every council due to the universal, like the universal nature of picking up people's bins is a, we maybe tried different strategies about actually, how do we get to this because we know if we lift this issue and our response to those issues that people complaining about, and usually it's about a missed bin
I think it will add so much value on trust and relationship with within the borough.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:43:11
yeah yeah, thank you are correct, Councillor Hussain, Miss bins are
Paul Woodcock - 0:43:15
the highest in my directorate, there was a particular spike in this year, especially around the summer we like a lot of other councils and in the private sector are experiencing staffing challenges after COVID drivers for HT VS were a particular commodity and so if you look back over the trends on the quarter, it was the summer of that year in 2022 that that saw a substantial increase we got on top of that with recruited well.
we've put trading in, we've got operatives that have been training as drivers and so on and so forth, so we're obviously monitoring those complaints and missed bins on a quarterly basis, you know that has improved since that spike in that summer as well as then looking at other improvements such as what you say in terms of how can we,
how can we get to that position in terms of it may be operatives, noting when?
when a bin is not outside a resident's house, for example, and so on and so forth, so but that is predominantly the reason why there's a higher number in that particular year and we've tracked that back and we knew at the time it was a particular challenge we had to suspend the garden waste service for a short period if you recall so again that's a paid for service then that that adds them to increase in numbers of complaints and issues with the with the general public investment.
thank you.
Councillor Cooley, please, it's just a quick question, we were given
Stand-in Chair . - 0:44:46
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 0:44:47
Stand-in Chair . - 0:44:47
Cllr Wendy Cooksey - 0:44:48
the most recent figures for stage 3, but I noticed in the report under 2.7 on page 4, page 22 of the pack we weren't given them for 22 23.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:45:05
it was taken out with.
Joe Murray Council, because, like Cucksey, could you give us the
Jo Brown - 0:45:24
reference point again place, thank you, page 22 of the pack and page 4
Stand-in Chair . - 0:45:29
Cllr Wendy Cooksey - 0:45:30
of the sort of report, the begin the beginning of the report and its 2.7.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:45:40
John, yes, our apologies, Councillor Cooksey, we don't have the the
Jo Brown - 0:45:54
figures in front of us if that's OK, we'll include that in the in the update apologies for the deliver.
Councillor Townsley, please.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:46:03
thank you. It's just touching upon that, I think, shows the bench and
Cllr Adam Tinsley - 0:46:07
in a good communication are that mitigates future complaints? I'm going to direct it towards region environment, given the example where I think we should really be looking to improve. So you know there's later on the street, so you go on the the website, you fill out a literary report where it is the then you just get a reference number saying if it isn't acted upon, you have to chase it up with the Council. Now. Obviously, if there's a delay due to staffing issues and in an ideal world, good customer service should be that the Council are updating, the customer said there's a delay staffing issue, or would you know it might be done the week after? But you know if that's an area, I think and it's not just for literally, could be cutting hedges trees where I think the regular updates would mitigate further complaints but also using that same e-mail chain. It's also a good opportunity to get positive feedback, because at the end of it, you could say, right yeah, I tell you I did you think we did, but we're not captured in that data and we're not updating people yeah, so it is it is that something we're going to be implementing pretty soon, and then a second point still be region, unfortunately, just about bins and our work might be seen to cut for a lot of the missed bin collections on a on a Friday, I think so do you think repeated missed bin collections on the same day would obviously get quite a lot of the residents frustrated and make them more likely to complain?
all please.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:47:36
I'll take the last one first in terms of if if, if there's areas of
Paul Woodcock - 0:47:39
repeated missed bins and on particular days happy to receive that, we need that intelligence, that information to them look at what's happening in terms of that, so more than happy to get that information as part of improvement in terms of the I'll call it the frontline Streetscene services,
we are looking at those areas, there is a lot of different systems in place that the service operate and then it's how that intertwines and works with of the website and the customer contact centre, so again there is a programme of works there, we've been trialling that on the litter bins for example and in terms of that and a new system that will get them reviewed and assessed and then there's then scoped to potentially look at that for other areas in terms of that customer journey as you rightly point out.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:48:34
rise to anything else while a number of recommendations, thank you for the questions and thank you for your answers, officers.
as members of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board were asked to note the annual complaints and compliments report for 2022 23.
we provided comments on further improvements, I imagine you need to make those recommendations now please.
so there are a number comments that came through during that,
Emma Hill - 0:48:59
questioning that we will summarise as part of the minute, but specifically raised relating to continue training of staff and factoring in lessons learnt from complaints, the poverty of trend and direction of travel of compliments that members felt it was good to see within the report.

Items for Pre-Decision Scrutiny

considering looking at a new baseline in 2023 24, reporting, pre and post pandemic information is gonna be provided on the financial costs and compensation relating to complaints, handling current consideration for some member training relating to complaints handling, and then also providing information relating to the stage 2 figures for 22 23.
everybody up your vote, thank you OK.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:49:45
or you have to show your hands to accept, as I said, thank you, OK, whilst I stand here, you're free to leave or you're free to stay, it's up to you for removal.

7 Review and Update of the Medium Term Financial Strategy

the next item Item number 7 is the overview and update of the medium term financial strategy is on pages 73 to 90 of the pack.
we have to consider a report from the Strategic Director of Finance and customer services, which sets out a review and update of the Council's medium term financial strategy through to 25 and 26.
I invite Councillor Lyons to introduce that. Please thank you Chair. This report sets out a view or an update of the Council's medium term
Cllr Alam - 0:50:35
financial strategy. Empty Fs will be revised further in advance of Councillor budget, setting meeting February 2024 to take account of the local government settlement when issued along with budget policy proposals on levels of Council Tax and fees, charges and budget savings or investments. The position may change. Should the government announced changes to funding of local authority or inflation? Assumptions changed significantly from current assumptions is due to be a budget announcement as part of Autumn Statement on 22nd and November. So after the publication of this report and is such an impact of the government announcement has not been factored into this update. The current
the FSS forecast identified. The Council is able to provide a balanced budget for 24 and 25 but faces a significant financial challenge in setting the budget. A year after the key challenge, there is significant uncertainty about how the government finance settlement will look like, and the only the earlier listen wanting a single financial settlement nationally or local authority. Financial environment presents a very challenging position, with a number of local authorities declaring section 1 1 4 notices stating they cannot to create a balanced budget. In addition, they are growing number of local authorities who have publicly stated they are brink of declaration of section 1 1 4 noticed, this affects challenges of trust the UK are facing, but while all the council is facing some challenges, but we are in which robust position in many councils across the UK, we will continue to monitor the financial spend Adult one-and-a-quarter Judith for further comments. Thank you
Stand-in Chair . - 0:52:25
thank you, Chair and Rob in a minute it's gonna take through or a
Mrs Judith Badger - 0:52:27
presentation that'll explain a little bit more of the detail and hopefully enable questions to be asked about the make-up of the empty efface.
not really going to say anything new to what Councillor Lamb has said, other than just to kind of re-emphasise that this is very much a technical update at a point in time, so this is not anything to do with political decisions on things it's based on the MCFs as approved by Council last March and then updated for various things that have changed like assumptions around inflation etc the fact that we got the pay and will pay award announced recently and that has impacted on things quite substantially as well, so it is very much
a technical update, I think Members of Scrutiny last year found it useful at this point in time because, as that moves us through the budget process, it enables members then to focus later on in the process over the choices that can be made, as opposed to getting caught up in technicalities that actually you don't really have any influence or control over.
it is a position that when we go to Cabinet next week, we are only a few days away from the autumn statement, which will inevitably change things, I would expect it, it will change things, hopefully for the better the Autumn Statement isn't a settlement though that doesn't tell us how much money we're gonna get from government, it gives us the indications, those indications are usually pretty good.
what it does is it we will then review our assumptions based on those indications, so it could change things, but that's not the same as the settlement which actually tells us the amount of money from government.
the settlement.
we don't have a date for the provisional settlement, she usually it will be December.
often it stated as likely to be around mid-December, but quite frequently it's been very late December, I think on one or one year it was the last day of work before Christmas which gives us plenty of challenges as as I'm sure you can imagine and that provisional settlement again isn't the final one, the final one comes in January, so there can always be some changes in between and one of the things that happened last year as we were setting the budget was that even at the point of Members approving the budget, there were certain elements of that settlement that were unknown, public health grant information usually comes in very late, and we have to plan for any adjustments that we might need to make.
so lots of uncertainty, it is the last year of a spending review period, governments generally do a three-year spending review, which again gives you forward in indications, so whatever government we have next year, we'll be doing reviewing their medium term position and then,
at some point we will get a new spending review period which will give us the indication going forward, and I think the importance of that is that we have limited our projections in the MCFs to only go as far as 2025 26 because of that the detail behind it and there's huge amounts of detail behind all of this we tries to simplify it for members the detail behind it you know we can project forever in our modelling.
but it it can only be very broad indications because we don't know about that future spending spending review, so with that Rob will take you through the presentation, again, is it's nothing that's not in the report, but hopefully can just explain it a little bit more and remind members, starting from when we set the budget back in March to where we are today and then flag up the key risks that are still within our budget and that we're working hard to try and fine tune our estimates around so thank you Chair,
thank you Rob.
Stand-in Chair . - 0:57:04
Rob Mahon - 0:57:06
thank you Chair, so the first slide, I'll talk around, will just reaffirm and remind Members where we were for the current year, budget 23 24 and the empty FS position.
in the decisions that were made as part of that at 23.24, a budget setting process.
to the first of those just to remind ourselves, is the savings proposals, the new savings proposals that we agreed for 23 24 and 24 25, there were a mix of temporary and should a temporary and permanent savings.
the original plan was for 4 point, Frimley pounds are temporary, short term savings to be delivered in 23 24, rising through to 4.7 million pounds for 24 25, but ultimately only 3.3 million pounds of those were permanent, only 3.3 million pounds of those would continue into 25 26 insecurity effectively.
so at that point it's worthwhile saying that for point 3 million pounds to be delivered in the current financial year, the Council is making good progress on delivery of that 90% of that is is green, marked for delivery and is the financial management part will cover of go into cabinet we've already got frequently million pounds is delivered so we are progressing well in terms of that new savings proposals.
the budget also agreed the increase in fees and charges so historically we've we've mirrored fees and charges alongside inflation typically in the past or in recent history, that's been around 2%, increase year on year in fees and charges the last financial year with inflation at the time of setting the budget hovered around 10 11% we agreed as part of the budget process to increase fees and charges by 6% for 23 24.
council tax increases again is the key decision made as part of the budget process made by Council, the proposal agreed was to increase council tax by 4%, which we could have come as sorry by 3%, we could've gone as high as 5% per the Local Council Tax rules and regulations which would have been a mix of.
3% on basic Council Tax, 2.9% on basic Council Tax and 2% of the adult social care precept, the Council agreed to keep the council tax increase at 3%, which was what was already assumed in the council's budget, and empty offers.
that position with new savings proposals increases in fees and charges and holding Council Tax at 3% enabled us to not use any further reserves within the budget setting process for 23 24 in the MT FSS update and ultimately left us with the net budget position it can sit at the bottom of that slide, which was a balanced budget position for 23 24, a balanced budget position for 24 25 and a residual budget gap of 1.7 million for 25 26.
as Judith alluded to earlier, that residual gap is a challenge that we will have to meet, moving forward at the time of setting that budget position, but not something we were too concerned about, given that 25 26 is a year of a spending review, so quite a degree of uncertainty between now and then about what the no local authority funding environment would look like when we get to 25 26 excitement.
so just a quick graphic and they'd just get outlines and illustrates that position, so the blue bars for 23 24 and 24 25 is surely a balanced position, there was no net gap in those financial years and then in 25 26 we had at 1.00.7000000 pounds projected funding gap as I say Nutkins not overly concerned about that at the time of setting the budget for 23 24.
so an update and a refresher of where we are in the current financial year, so September's financial monitoring, the parties going through to Cabinet this month reports the 4.2 million pounds overall overspend, which is made up of 9.2 milligrams of pressures across the directorate but reduced a 4.2 because at the time of setting the budget we built in a budget contingency,
because we knew there were some key pressures across service areas that we wanted to tackle and that we need potentially into budget contingency to help us with that pressure during the course of 23 24 and as I say, that was clearly outlined in the Council's report to the Council when approving the budget so the key pressures that hitting the Council's financial position this financial year children, young people's placement and adult social care albeit adult social care pressures, have been mitigated by in-year government grants around.
it's a part in discharge from NHS hospitals, which is a party that quite a degree of the pressures be seen in adults, home-school transport pressures.
we just put across the regeneration environment or provide actual vehicles and fleet and transport.
children, young people or services will pick up the lack of transport costs. This is one of our key pressures moving forward, and something that will there's a lot of internal work going on at present, to look at the challenge, which is rising demand and numbers, rising cost of transport because of fuel prices, et cetera, so the council is looking into me, but a rounded recover upon linked home-school transport.
we've got pressures with a long-term recovery from COVID-19 in income generation, we're in an environment, they're not huge pressures in the grand scheme of things that is one of the smaller pressures within the budget, but it is one of the existing pressures predominate are hitting, however in country parks in terms of income recovery.
and there will be inflationary pressures on on food prices and children's placements, I tell them to slightly separately, so food prices has been one of the inflation areas it hasn't started to come down, you may have seen in today's update that inflation has actually dropped again.
food price has been an area where it stayed high is kept high, where it risen above the the the overall inflation rate and it stayed high, so that's impacting the cost of our schools catering service quite significantly with a pressure focused over a million pounds this financial year.
and then, in terms of children's and young people's services, inflation is impacting the cost of market placements as, as nationally, people's pay levels are going up, that naturally means the cost of placements, particularly external placements arising with that, and along with that we've had an uplift in fostering allowances following governments not the government's regulatory uplift on fostering allowances by 12.4%.
significantly higher than what it's been in previous years, which would be more akin to standard inflation levels of 2%, we're seeing increased pressures in homelessness, which again are covered in the budget monitoring report, again linked to increased demand.
and increased property costs within regeneration environment, which is couldn't get the back if inflation, although we did a lot of work again in the service to reduce the impact of property costs, because we've got a a approved saving plan which is linked to reduction of the council's estate, so obviously the West buildings that we have a West property costs we've got for repairs and maintenance and that's progressing pretty well.
it's like it.
so as we start to look ahead to 23 24, we started to consider and.
the the increased pressures that we've got moving forwards and any opportunity we might have to look at to mitigate some of those pressures, so Judith alluded to earlier, some of the grants and confirmed at the time of setting the budgets and the public health grant is confirmed around a month after we have to legally set the council's budget.
and unfortunately, the inflation on public health grant didn't match national September CPI inflation which most of the government funding streams do it was held at 3%, so the uplift from public health grant wasn't as expected which created a pressure for us pay what assumptions were we're working on which were higher than we'd assumed in the budget and the currently agreed offer is closer to 5 to 6% average uplift.
if I wanted to see why policed pressures from the government uplift on fostering allowances and food prices and home-school transport, as I've alluded to in previous slide, the key pressures that we faced on the in-year position.
and that will need to consider a move far within our budget and MCFs planning.
however, there are some opportunities and areas of improvement that will help with the Council's position, moving forwards. So whilst inflation is a challenge, we we've cut prices, some of our major contracts that ha that are inflationary linked didn't see as big of a budget increase because inflation has started to come down. So whilst we muddled at a higher rate based on where inflation was, as we've got into the financial year, inflation has been coming down slower than as planned, but ultimately not a significant pressure from this contract uplift as we anticipated business rates, so the collection of business rates is satisfied with the budget setting process. But one of the returns that we have to do then, and they are one form again, the dates for this financial year, but after the setting of the council's budget, and that's because the 23 24 was a revaluation year, so it's a whole review of the valuations valves for all the businesses across the UK in that information wasn't available and completed as a process until after the budget setting process. Our current assumptions are that the the the outcome of that is positive for the Council and will have additional business rates to play into the budget moving forward to meet some of the pressures that we've got and that we face.
a treasury management strategy continues to generate savings and additional income.
as we reported through Cabinet in the outturn report, we did really well in 20 to 23 and treasury management and we are doing really well in the current financial year, so I just explained that now a bit more detail, so the Council took out when rates were incredibly lung, we took out Peter Wilby public Works Loans Board borrowing 227 millimetre across three separate loan arrangements when the rates were really low 2 to secure funding against our capital funding requirement.
so that meant we took in 230 227 million pounds of borrowing and since that position the rates dramatically increased interest rates dramatically increased and ultimately we've been we've had cash in the bank for our day-to-day borrowing purposes which has meant that instead of needed to go out and borrow in a high interest market, we've actually be convinced that we now have to invest in a high interest market so those resources that aren't needed on day to day function it will have to be invested to generate return for the Council a positive return that will help support the current budget pressures in the current financial year.
that's not a situation that will continue forever because eventually, those cash balances from the Treasury mental processes will effectively dwindle down and the Council will then need to borrow again.
and obviously our approach, our strategies to minimise the risk of that need to borrow and in with the rates coming down now again, that puts in a more positive position as we move forward on treasury.
eligibility was a real challenge and risk in 22 23, as we all felt not only in the council budgets, but in our personal budgets at home and energy bills right or rose dramatically, it was an additional 3 million pounds pressure on the Council's budgets for 22 23 so insert in the 23 25 budgets would put a significant,
amount of budget to one side within Corporate Finance for the future potential impact of energy bills, because at that point in time at setting the budget, energy bills were still rising, what we've seen in 23 24, helpfully as eligible, is now coming down and, thankfully for our residents rather than that's playing out in people's homes budgets which is good,
that means we're able to utilise some of those savings from the energy bills to support the wider pressures that the councils face as we move forward and then, as we always do as part of our detailed MCFs review, we'll look at the corporate provisions in any new burdens funding that the Council might have received during the cost of the financial year and how we met them how to utilise that to support the budget and MCFs position new burdens funding, I'm not sure if Members are aware of new burdens, funding is
slugs of funding that government will give out as apart no request for projects so, for example, last financial year the Council ran the council tax rebate scheme, where all authorities were paid 150 pounds between bands A today, because that's a huge additional request government provide or an amount with funding to support the activity so that councils can deliver it.
the result of that that those current pressures and mitigations, as reflected in the the report that you've got, it is reflected on this graph effectively where we think we are is would be able to achieve a balanced budget position for 23 24, with the savings recovery funds that are going play and those opportunities and what we will discuss him. 24 25 will actually have a small surplus of 619 k against the it on the blue paragraph because the Bulgarian Margo's French reflect it as a funding gap, but you can see at the bottom of the table in the figures a non-lethal Asterix, come into at the bottom that we've got the 16 19 k surplus and then for 25 26 will go to 6 million pounds budget gap, so that's made up of a free things, free, key things really. We originally had at 1.00 point, similarly found budget gap. As I said on the first slide, we've got home-school transport pressures that we'd covered with budget contingency, in part for 23 24 and 25 25, but not for 25 26, and we would hope we would have to have. We would have a recovery plan that would resolve those issues, so what we've played in now is 25 26 obstacle transplant pressure of 3 million pounds and then school catering services or the impact of food prices is at the minute. There's no indication that food prices are going to come down significantly
whilst there has been a bit of a stagnating in food prices, they are still significantly above where there were 12 to 18 months ago.
it says that 1.5 billion pound pressure built into 25 26 in relation to in relation to schools catering.
so then just bring it back to their part southern or no November, empty fares update reflects those figures, reflects those budgets and opportunities, are budget pressures and opportunities, but crucially at this stage in time is a technical update to Cabinet.
it deals with what we know around inflation, energy paywalled positions, but crucially can't deal with what we don't know, so ultimately we don't know what 24 25 paywalled will look like, we don't know what government plans look like in terms of the autumn statement which would be later this month, the provisional settlement which is due to followed through is generally late in December.
are and whether the Council will come out of those two processes with an improved position or a worsening position.
we do have indications around what the council, tax and business rates assumptions.
are in so, for example, in terms of Council Tax last year, government released the principles for what the register and what the increase could be for 24 25 on council tax, which is a potential default point 9 9%, but at the minute,
we don't have that decision employee that's meant as part of the budget setting process for 25 25, so the council tax assumptions in the MCFs and an ongoing 3% uplift, and this is how business rates assumptions are based on inflationary uplift on CPI based on September CPI and where we think our business rates rateable values will pay for 24 25 which applies in some of that increase.
following the revaluation process that I referred to earlier and then the refresh and fees and charges as alluded to in last year's budget, setting process has been held at 5%, but again, that's part of the decision-making process as we move through the budget and MCFs process,
another last slide just covers of some key dates for information in reality, so 22nd in November were expecting the autumn statement.
as Judith alluded to is more policy statement, so it's more broad aims, broad updates around how, when the PR for and the provisional finance settlement, how that will look, so there might be indications of new funding streams, but it won't go as specific as setting out what each local authority will get from that new funding stream the provisional settlement we expect to be late December.
it has been as late as Christmas Eve in the past and then we'll turn that around with the financial settlement in early January, ultimately working towards Cabinet.
us NB, sorry, HNB Cabinet and ultimately Council, on the 28th of February, where we'd be looking to to finalise the budget and council tax plan for 23 24 in any of those member decision processes that are the non-technical MCFs adjustments which are around investments.
use of his sorry investments, use of reserves and any requirement for new savings proposals
the 24 25 sorry.
OK, thank you, Rob 4 and Judith for such a clear summary of such a
Stand-in Chair . - 1:14:24
complex strategy, happy to take questions now from members.
Councillor Tinsley, please, yeah, thank you for the report, it's just
Cllr Adam Tinsley - 1:14:35
a quick one, I just wondered, was there any pressures from the recent dreadful flooding in the Rotherham areas that affected the budget anyway?
Stand-in Chair . - 1:14:47
Rob Mahon - 1:14:49
so effectively the booze there'll be shot pressures on the council's budget in relation to the division of staff, So sorry, wonderful, it's happened, the council activates its recovery plan and its emergency processes, and so staff are basically diverted away from day-to-day activity, so that's the key pressure that Councillor Miller faces, there will be some smaller costs in terms of additional sandbags, et cetera, but nothing significant that would cause it a big pressure for the in-year monitoring position of the budget in MCFs.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:15:25
Councillor Hussain, please, thank you, thank you, I think that's
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 1:15:29
probably the most detail you ever gone into, that's obviously useful to have that level of breakdown.
I'm just sorry, I'm just finding my questions.
I suppose one general observation I want to make, because you put it in the report as well.
this particular report covers a period of 14 years of austerity and cuts, because literally the only thing I've read for 14 years is cuts after cuts after cuts and we've seen the dire impact of of having a culture that is cutting public services, whether what we have witnessed in the last couple of years of the cost of living crisis inflation all the things you've talked about.
it doesn't surprise me that there's been an increase of section 1 1 4 notices. For those you know, that's essentially Council has not been able to cover their expenses and therefore essentially they're going to default. I don't quite know what happens when they go into default, but I know it's not good for local people, so I think first of all just to say that thank you to yourselves because I know that we've always we might not always agree, as as local politician, where exactly the money should always go, but the point is we we, we have a Budget that works and we are buoyant financially and the fact that we are OK, we're not thriving letters separately, but we we, we are being prudent, and I think that's always been reflected in the reports that I've seen for many years. I was particularly scared of the last two years and knowing what was happening with the cost of living, and I wasn't sure how it was going to end, but I think we manoeuvred the best we could throw through that difficulty, and I'm not saying the difficulty has gone is just that I think what approach we took was right. I do know there's been a significant impact with their pay award. I mean, obviously I'm very happy and supportive of the pay award, but I do appreciate that has had a an additional complication because we do not envisage it being that high.
sorry, that's just a general observation that we were doing well in in line with what's happening across the rest of the country, the issue I have is an as concerns, but it's always been the same concerns it is, how do we get the cuts down because on page 79,
I remember when we set this budget.
this particular table. On week we reloaded, I had to look up, what that term was, because I remember we, we, somebody said it, and so we reloaded the cuts, so there would be end of that financial period, so we set the cuts, so it is table 1 on page 79 because they've not been met in year, 1 already, so we've not met that target. Are you confident that directorates which are mentioned there that they're gonna be achievable, and that's even before we get into the new table and the cuts which have been reported on
Judith Atkins,
Stand-in Chair . - 1:18:40
Mrs Judith Badger - 1:18:43
thank you Chair, I'll let Rob talk a little bit more about where we are with.
some of the specifics, if I don't, cover it sufficiently.
the children's savings around placements have always been a challenge and, as as members are aware,
and I think what's important to say with that is that, whilst we've had to refocus and remodel some of those figures over the years.
you know, and that's a journey we are still on the the work to deliver those cost reductions is is underway, is being carried out, the service are doing the right things, what we struggle with, sometimes as if there is a legitimate increase in demand you can't not care for our children and the placements costs and fostering and allowances.
that have been necessary and required clearly, because cost impacts and where we struggle a little bit, is how do you differentiate the activity that the service are carrying out, that brings the cost down with the other things, then the effectively come leftfield that bring the cost back up and it can look like they're not doing what there should be, we're satisfied that they are doing what they should be and some of the plans around
trying to promote in-house, fostering and and and are children's homes all will address some of those cost issues, so what I can't promises the timing of everything we do our best to estimate, but things do come in but we are confident that that work that started many years ago is being carried out.
and we do seem to be bucking the trend compared with other authorities, not that that necessarily helps our bottom line.
in Regeneron environment, a substantial amount in Rob can pick up the the rest of the specifics in their work around bringing the costs, our operational buildings savings.
and there's a huge amount of work being underway around moving forward on some of the buildings that we need to dispose of to avoid the running costs, which is basically what a lot of that is, and we are confident that that will be delivered.
I think we will have achieved the financial value of saving in this financial year, but when we get into next year it will all be effectively in the bag, so we're confident about that and then the customer and digital savings.
whilst reported in here as still to be delivered, we have a pulse gone, but we've been doing a lot of work.
with region on that, and we, we will be able to report that, as as has achieved as well, so I don't know whether there is anything else within those that is worthy, I've mentioned.
just to say.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:21:53
particularly the operational buildings, one, we've got such a focus on
Rob Mahon - 1:21:55
it that we will deliver the saving the plans are there to deliver the saving, but we won't stop and our savings, I will continue the programme going forward so it might be we can deliver more than what is actually planned within the budget empty offers.
thank you more questions, Councillor Ball, please.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:22:12
thank you, you probably might not want to talk about about lending
Cllr Simon Ball - 1:22:17
money to to other places where we we do talk about austerity, quite a lot currently over the last 13 years.
but I have a look at what we were lending were basically a bank, so I, like I'll take the last five we've lent Goldman Sachs, 5 million pounds Handelsbanken 3 million pounds Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, 10 million pounds Goldman Sachs again, 5 Wirral again 10
Wakefield Council, 6 million pounds the list goes on and on I think it's very important that we get this out on your empty efface and to say Look, this is how much money we're making of the taxpayers' money off of Rotherham because it's astounding yeah I mean Birmingham council but we prevent them 10 million pounds.
so I am just conscious by the fact that when we do this, but people don't aren't aware of rather than investing where the money is being invested and how much to get him back.
OK Rob.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:23:18
Rob Mahon - 1:23:20
so yeah, thank you for your question, I think the the the key things just in shaping the question that.
we not lending to these authorities, well, it is investments, we're not lending to those banks and institutions or the local authorities where we are investing, which is perfectly reasonable Treasury Management Strategy processes, and this information is presented as part of the Treasury Management Strategy which goes through Audit Committee and and it's all routed through the Audit Committee approach.
that the Council's approach to investments and borrowing is set out in the Treasury Strategy, which is also appended to the Council's budget and council tax report, as our approach to who we will lend to and who we want them to what rates and terms we use is all set out in the Treasury Strategy and then reported in a mid-year report and outturn report to the Audit Committee in terms of the impact of those decisions.
that's covered of in in the the financial monitoring and ultimately in the outcome of Part 2.
cabinet at the end of the financial Cabinet and Council at the end of the financial year that we want to seek to put in a financial monitoring PA, a specific list of all the individual authorities will lend to, but I can assure you that as customer practice across our local authorities,
Councillor ballpoint yeah, that the work is not a dig, it expects to
Stand-in Chair . - 1:24:35
Cllr Simon Ball - 1:24:36
bring about open and honest about the taxpayers' money, and I have to find it out in and are obviously asking you and you are very good at coming back but if I ask the person on the strengths at right where we're we're lending Goldman Sachs, 10 million pounds of your money, what they're gonna go what a
you know, I mean it just needs a bit more open and honest about where our money is coming to and how much money we were getting back, in fact if, if that can be taken on board.
could you just?
Stand-in Chair . - 1:25:06
Mrs Judith Badger - 1:25:08
yeah yeah, so I thank you I I I understand the point and I suppose from our perspective, as officers, we in terms of the budget process and the reporting and the empty efface we try to keep that very kind of.
factual and measured, I suppose, in terms of just stay in the figures and I do I do understand what you're saying, but I think for us it would be difficult and we can will have a conversation about it as to whether there should be more information provided on where we invest et cetera.
so I will certainly take that on board and have a conversation, but I suppose we're not strong at blowing our own trumpet and we would not want to start to bring other institutions into our limelight, I think so from our perspective it's very much his highly controlled business, very big numbers but the strategy dictates so that we can't do dangerous things.
and there is the impact of it that goes into our budget, and that's what we report, so I do understand the point you're making and we will have a conversation about whether we should or could be more open in terms of setting out where, but I think those investments change as well, so you know and we have short term borrowing long-term borrowing short term investments, long term investments, so on any day of the week it could be a different list but that will certainly take it away, but I think,
promoting the good work is has its place, but in terms of the budget setting Andrew financial reporting, we'd like to try and keep it just to the facts of the impact into the budget, thank you, Judith no questions.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:27:15
Councillor Councillor Bruce, and then Councillor Massey,
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 1:27:19
yeah, it's just keeping on the investments, are these at risk
Stand-in Chair . - 1:27:21
Cllr Adam Tinsley - 1:27:22
investment or the guaranteed returns?
the guaranteed returns, the predominantly with a lot of our local
Stand-in Chair . - 1:27:29
Rob Mahon - 1:27:30
authorities, which guarantee to repose back and AAA rated banks, are investment institutions like Goldman Sachs.
yeah, so no, we were talking about a council's earlier filling what
Stand-in Chair . - 1:27:42
Cllr Adam Tinsley - 1:27:42
was out section, whatever 1 1 9, so it would that still be unaffected if that was the case we had investment.
would still be in that it would still be.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:27:53
Rob Mahon - 1:27:54
guaranteed return, clearly we wouldn't want to be embroiled in a difficult reputational risk, so we will take active steps to try and ensure that we're not making transactions with local authorities who are finding themselves into difficulty, but ultimately the Liberton of investment would still be guaranteed.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:28:17
Councillor Hussain, I was just gonna have follow on just I think the
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 1:28:19
idea of where we invest with these reports are there's a lot of information and they?
I do just said this is representative of a technical position on the numbers, it's not necessarily the story under the numbers, which is always hard, because sometimes we won't ask the the story, don't we, he?
and it is always hard to navigate that in in this particular agenda item. My view is is, as a recommendation is if, if Members wanting to understand how we invest, essentially how we prudent all of us who are all good councils, do we sometimes less locally in our green spaces and offer by certain assets that bring us money in? Sometimes we do huge thing. Sometimes, as already a s are listed by my colleague, we invest in other institutions, so I think maybe that doesn't necessarily for me belong in this me in as part of this agenda. However, maybe if that's what elected members want is having a separate session on that, maybe as a seminar or something, because if this is a knowledge gap, that members are not aware that this is what we do and is one way that we make money to keep us prudent
it was just to offer that suggestion.
the only other point I wanted to make on the report is about the equalities impact assessment it just to let you just update you that it wasn't completed accurately.
where you answer all the knows that I have to go to the page sorry because.
we're not gonna so on page.
86 at the bottom, you have to give an explanation if you answered no to all the questions I just wanted us to point that out, and the other point I want to make about that and I do always focus on the equalities because we have a plan to move up in the LGA framework of equalities, is that if the directorate doesn't complete something, it is up to us on the policy side to pick that up? So I think it's about understanding those roles, one is directors come to us present report if something's not quite right, actually what's the other part of the council that should pick up that inaccuracy? Thank you, Andrew
Judith P.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:30:32
if, if I can just respond on, certainly the equality impact will have
Mrs Judith Badger - 1:30:36
a look at that, so thank you for raising it. In terms of Treasury Management, we do carry out training for the Audit Committee, given the Treasury goes through the Audit Committee, but there is no reason at all why that couldn't be wider for all members, so we'd be absolutely happy to take that on board should that I think we have a process for getting requests around training coming through, but we can pick that at that point no, but certainly we'd be happy to do that in terms of
what all this money floating around does and why it where it comes into this is that the Treasury Management Strategy and approach lead to a position with the treasury management budget in terms of
whether that gives us more or less money to spend in the end.
in if we are, if we perform really well and that helps the budget position, that therefore flows into the budget into the financial monitoring and into the budget and MCFs setting that, so when you see that current 6 million gaps showing for 25 26 on our bay on on on our current information that assumes a certain position on treasury management so that is built in there members then make their decisions and are and at that point in time we would need on those figures we would need to be saving money and have cuts and savings within the budget for that year.
we're not making decisions at this point in time around that that would be part of the MCFs formal budgets set in, but because that year is so unknown, equally we wouldn't want to make savings that it turns out we don't need.
had that shown, equally, there's a small current surplus showing in next year that was on the slide that was asterisk.
again, that's because we've got treasury management, along with all our other assumptions are built in, so any decisions were around what the council has to has therefore available to invest or needs to save, go through that budget-setting process, taking account of what we're doing in treasury management.
treasury management moneys can't be set aside to be separately determined, they are all part of managing the Council's cash flows and are, like everything else, played into the budget to give that overall position, so decision-making is within the budget process and not outside of it just for clarity.
Councillor Wyatt, please, please, when are you having this discussion
Stand-in Chair . - 1:33:36
Cllr Ken J. Wyatt - 1:33:39
about Treasury Management? I want to be helpful if you really could set up a section to explain to members. We're interested about what you know what Treasury monuments about, why why it's done, how it's done, how investments are made and the benefits that that brings back to the to the Council budget is because it is it is hidden away, isn't it like I mean it is we've done very skilfully, and obviously the rates vary in all the time with different the different different bodies sods. You know just generally why why and how treasury management don't might be helpful for get a bit more depth to it.
thank you, Councillor was anything else.
OK, thank you.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:34:16
couple of recommendations of the NTS's update be noted by Members, and that Cabinet note the potential requirement to use reserves in order to balance the Council's outturn position for 2023 2024 and the recommendations Emma, please, so the additional recommendation is to
Emma Hill - 1:34:38
provided members this year and to look at investments in the Treasury Management Strategy approved.
yeah, OK, show of hands.
thank you.

8 Crisis Support 2024 - 2027

Stand-in Chair . - 1:34:49
OK so next item, or do we need a comfort break, anybody want to come forward by which we move straight on crack on goodwill, okay, crisis support, I've an item number 8 is to consider the report of the Assistant Assistant Chief Executive outlining the proposals to develop a more sustainable crisis support system, it's tell me for somebody to consider this, given the interest in this area of work Katya voted to present, please thanks to recent years and we've seen the combined
Jo Brown - 1:35:22
impact of the COVID pandemic but also the rising cost of living crisis in the borough, so the provision of crisis support for some of our most vulnerable residents has been really really important.
the current arrangements that we have in place at the moment are delivered through a partnership agreement between the Council, Fasher Voluntary action Rotherham and Lazar credit union, and this is an arrangement that commenced in April 2020 following an exercise in late 2019 and is due to conclude at the end of March next year, and it is important to note that the Council funded element is part of a wider system of crisis support, including some of our partners. The Council funded element sorry, the Council funded part of this, has three elements, the first aid, those crisis loans I mentioned provided by Leys, a credit union interest-free loans and they provide for things like electrical goods, furnishings and other urgent cost of living items.
the second part of the Council funded elements is the cost of warehousing and distribution of crisis food, so not the food itself and it's important to point out it's about getting the food to the places that then distribute it to residents and I know this is a question that's come up a few times and that's currently provided by Boshier and they get hold of industry surplus and get that to local food banks across Rotherham which we help with the costs of the food being provided or free of charge.
the third element of the council funded support is partnership, networking and coordination, and what that essentially means is how we bring partners together in a more coordinated way across the area or how we understand the data on the crisis, food demand and provision, and that's something that's undertaken by Voluntary action Rotherham,
important to know, or as I alluded to at the beginning, since this model was agreed in October 2019 and then implemented in April, the following year the level of demand for crisis food has increased significantly, and I'll just give you a few figures just to kind of put that in context. The level of demand during COVID Sawers distribute nearly 20,000 crisis, food parcels and that demand has remained high as we've moved from COVID and coming out the other side of that into a cost of living crisis with 13,000 additional parcels being needed during the cost of living.
last year, that's actually three times the amount of crisis food parcels that we distributed or help to distribute during 2018 19 we've been using as you as you'll be aware, from some of our financial monitoring reports and another reports that have come through utilising some of the funding that's been made available such as household support fund to actually supplement,
the the the food provision that has been challenges getting hold of of certain food and making sure that that is available to to food banks.
so, given the levels of demand being increased and still still being higher than they were pre, COVID and the challenges you know are facing food industry more generally in terms of inflationary increases, it's really important that we have a more sustainable model for going forward and that includes trying to help people themselves move away from crisis provision into something that is more sustainable and I know a lot of Members in the room are really interested in in this element.
so we've been working with partner organisations since April or earlier this year to develop this new model and what that might look like of crisis, food provision and that connects with that wider support that I've already mentioned, including social supermarkets that have received separate funding to help them become more sustainable and because they don't always provide crisis food provision so we're trying to make the different parts of the jigsaw come together. The aim of, as I've said, of developing the new model is to move people away from that crisis, support towards more independence and and resilience, and we've now got a new model that has been co-designed with voluntary sector partners and with with the council as well. We've held member seminars on this and so on and try and got input that way.
so the new crisis support model that's detailed in the paper works on a 40 years of provision which I won't go through, but you can say it at section 2.5 point 6 the model continues to work on on the basis that industry surplus food will be provided and that we help with the costs of getting that to where it needs to be. However, the range of food is something that we've really focused on, looking at extending it away from just the ambient food, but also including fresh and frozen food, to obviously dependent on what food banks in the area can take and are able to to to utilise, but that in itself just broaden in that kind of range of foodstuffs means it's it becomes a more sustainable model in and of itself.
there's also a new approach to referrals into food banks, so partners across the sector working together are better using or a new piece of technology that that will enable them to do that and and streamline in that kind of referrals process and part about helping people avoid repeat crisis, the provision of crisis loans, we're not suggesting any significant changes to that that has worked well over the last, I think 10 years or so so that's working well doesn't need to be changed so that that will remain, as is the proposed grant allocations over a three-year period from 1st of April next year.
through to the end of 2027, and if my recommended right, there set out a recommendation, 1.
and then subject to the agreement of this, this set of recommendations at Cabinet next week, the next stage of the process is to invite beds from organisations to work in partnership with us around the actual implementation of the model, so we've done a co-design exercise but our councillor standing orders requires that because we have one,
you know a significant amount of of money available that we need to make sure that it's open to beds for agreement to be reached and then put into place from the 1st of April 2024, that's it, from me, gherkins, questions.
do you have any questions from Members questions?
Stand-in Chair . - 1:41:48
carefully issue.
thank you Chair
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 1:41:54
thank you for that for the report. First of all, I really welcome this work that we're doing. We've we've been investing in it for for a number of years now since 2018 19. Correct me if I'm wrong, so I'm just glad that we're able to continue it and I do appreciate sometimes when you read this report you realise very quickly that the bulk of the investment is very much about this setting up the infrastructure so as if I remember rightly at the time, people are already doing this, but it was haphazard like a bit, what's happening here and a bit there all very disjointed and not necessarily also get into the people that really needed it. So the idea was to build up a infrastructure support that was better caught and coordinated across the borough which essentially what this budget represents. So I am not against that, but it's something I think when you read it first, you think all we give you a food parcel, which we're quite not doing that.
I don't think in lessons what we're doing we're providing very crucial support to make that happen, essentially
this took first questionnaires, it's a clarification.
one is that initially the government had a welfare provision which was abolished around 2013.
I know I'm aware that then we developed a fund.
I don't think it is our personal, whether it was under national funding is at the household support fund, I do not quite understand where this money was coming from, so it's somewhere in the report, it did mention the household support fund, but it wasn't clear whether this entire budget was coming from that, so if I could have I have another question as well but if I could get a clarification on that.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:43:35
thank you, so your schedule, you say you you, you broke up, going back
Steve Eling - 1:43:37
to the welfare reform at 20.12, abolish most of what was, then the discretionary social fund and placed a responsibility, shall we say, we've some or powers we have some money to local authorities but what they're called local welfare provision, so the basis of what we're talking about are in crisis support to die, dates back to the and that's when the crisis loans started and the support for food banks and,
and the infrastructure to to get food to to food banks, and we had a section 31 grant for two years from governments to support that after that 2 year period. The section 31 grant disappeared and it was said that the that the funding had been moved into formula funding, but there was now evidence as to how much there ever was then, so the Council established its own budget from our general fund from 2015 to support local welfare provision. That's what we're looking at a year, so it's not external funding. This is council general fund. What we have done during COVID. We did receive some external government funding to enable us to support food provision during the Covid periods and or and that went into the model that we'd already got, we didn't have to establish anything new to handle that and then in the last two years because of the increased demand for food and the reduction in the supply of industry surplus food, we have a we've added gaps and we've enabled the model to work by the purchase of food to fill that gap and that's been funded through household support fund but obviously that's time-limited funding that may not even be household support for next year so,
it use of the external funding is not part of a sustainable model, the sustainable model has got to be able to work within our General Fund allocation to crisis support, that's what's being proposed here.
thank you. That's really useful, like background, and they also
Stand-in Chair . - 1:46:02
Cllr Taiba Yasseen - 1:46:03
demonstrate that government negated its responsibility to local people, and what we've done is essentially developed since 2018, a more prudent plan to pick up those kind of dire impact on what we've already talked about in the last financial from agenda item. The second question I have and it was, I don't necessarily agree with how we divided in the how we've for the parcels, for the parcel structural element and the crisis loans. So you given a couple of tables so the tables that can assure demand. So for 2018 19 loans were at 466 and currently for this current year it was around 350, whereas parcels in 2018 19 were over 4,000 and currently there are over 12,000. So when I looked at the breakdown of the budget, we were still putting more money into the crisis long, yet the demand for the crisis loan actually wasn't there. At the same level.
I did then look into because I have some friends in other councils there's like I want to know, like do we do things differently, what I realised that our current crisis loans are between 40 to 120 pounds and whereas Barnsley as an example there is is up to 500 pounds so I was just trying to understand. Are we not getting the same request on our crisis loan because it's the such maybe low amounts, and I always know we think this stuff is easy, but to make an application for that lawman is still paperwork and whether or not it's worthy of maybe the paperwork that needs doing through
the credit union for such a Loma is that why there's there's there's a lot lower demand, so it's trying to understand why decisions were made in terms of the divisions of the pot.
OK so.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:48:00
Steve Eling - 1:48:02
the the reason for the disparity of services because of what it costs to administer crisis loans because the crisis loans function is is a regulated function, it can only be undertaken by a registered organisation, and that's why we use the credit union Lazarus provided they saw all the way through whether or not there's another organisation financial institution that would provide rather I'm not sure with high street banks don't do loans within the sort of crisis loans range.
we've set this figure as being something that makes that sort of crisis need, it's actually up to 250 pounds, so the general general loans are, as you say, the within that scope, but there is provision, but when it comes to sort of white goods and household appliances et cetera for for for a larger loan that that figure could challenge that's not really dependent upon how much is allocated within the within the grant because the grant cost is primarily around the cost of administering.
the the grants process about receiving and reviewing the applications, ensuring the that all other regulatory requirements are met, that the that the repayments are made, et cetera, so that that's what the driving forces behind this, the the scope, to reduce, that that cost I think is is is quite minimal in fact that the amounts that's been allocated has remained the same since 2015 to be honest and obviously costs will have gone up in in in the meantime.
there are some other councils that are involved in in in levels, but they're not necessarily on the same basis that we're providing per year, I think Barnsley's loans are funded through household support funds, so if that fund disappears those loans may well disappear as well whereas we've got to sustainable crisis loans model that saying the test of time it works, and you know, and we envisage that it would continue to work into the future, hopefully it gets people into using a financial institution as well and it helps people to avoid loan sharks high cost lending et cetera, so when you when you look at the full package that people get some budgeting advice as well as the as as the crisis low, and I think that the it's a pretty good package that would stand comparison with anything anywhere else
you know just one very minor point to add to that as well, and I
Stand-in Chair . - 1:50:50
Fiona Boden - 1:50:51
totally agree with everything Steve said that Councillor saying one thing that is difficult to quantify, but I think also worth bearing in mind within that aspect, is obviously the funding landscape would be in and out, particularly over. The last 18 months, has been quite different, and I'm conscious that and Michelle Rubin Judith could talk about this at a lot more length and myself about some of the different range of grant funding and provision be provided through the cost of living for residents across the borough and and whilst it's difficult, we obviously can't draw lines between. Therefore, they didn't apply for this now, but obviously that support has been there for people as well for some of the things that they might otherwise have a price for a crisis loan for. So, as I say, I can't draw a dry directly, but I think it's worth bearing that in mind as well. When we particularly look at those demand figures in the most recent year
thank you, can I ask what consideration has been given to provide baby
Stand-in Chair . - 1:51:37
banks and community fridges in this plan?
Steve Eling - 1:51:47
it in terms of food or the maybe very good clothes and supplies for babies clothing, yeah, now couch so maybe from yeah, there are old, and that there are organisations in Rotherham that are providing community fridges and though they fit within that Fortier model, some of them will be receiving food from the info, the infrastructure that we that we that we support there are organisations that are that are involved in providing clothes as well. They're not strictly part of the of the food marble, but a number of the organisations that provide crisis food are also making, or the crisis provision which, which can include sort of food and one on other products, is as well as what we're specifically supporting within the the crisis, support Service Level Agreement. But there's actually that there's actually a list that's used by a referral organisations that advises around all of the different aspects of support that's available to people and which organisations provide that that support so within a broader model that sort of support is there for people and is that support available across the borough within normal
well, yes, I mean it, the there are organisations that can add that cover different geographies, but I mean, if you look at at the at the food module, for instance, then yes, we there are organised local organisations, voluntary organisations from sort of Kiveton Park Dinnington Maltby through the town centre Eastwood et cetera up to Swinton Bath Court and ward you know so good good geographic spread across the borough.
thank you.
Councillor Mowat,
yeah, I mean, I mean, you make him a good point about the the baby box
Stand-in Chair . - 1:53:42
Cllr Ken J. Wyatt - 1:53:44
office you know, we seem to operate in in a number of areas and in different models, buy your kids, clothes and equipment.
it is, and things like that may be expensive and sometimes only used for a short short time, but I mean this there's so much going on as well that we'd always know what wouldn't be captured in this report, your things like your volunteer groups like uniform accidents that all uniformed banks I mean one of the things we'd be looking at with the
the reorganisation of the household waste recycling centres is actually recovering things the from there that's clearly still got a lot of life in, rather than just going into a going to escape, is actually recovering that and bring it back into communities and that this work is work going on in in that I hope that does development
and safe, perfectly good things that can get any other use for people rather than rather than be, justice destroyed, are going to work. You know going to escape, thank you, so anything us, Councillor Tinsley
Stand-in Chair . - 1:54:48
yeah, it was just a point. The initial Equality screening assessments
Cllr Adam Tinsley - 1:54:53
are duplicate for this one of the medium term financial strategy on the report. So it's missing
Sagan. The the initial equality screening report, for this is a duplicate. If you look in the report, so it's a duplicate from the medium term financial strategy, thanks to Adam will correct that in the minute, thank you anything else.
Stand-in Chair . - 1:55:17
there are recommendations here that the Cabinet have to agree to the future provision of crisis support.

For Information/Monitoring:-

a 60,000 for crisis loans, 34,000 for infrastructure and transport to enable crisis to enable supply of crisis through to food banks, 10,000 for supporting coordination of the food in crisis partnership collection on the dissemination of data and provision of a referrals process secondly, that bids be invited from organisations to work in partnership with the Council to finalise the implementation details and deliver the provision outlined at recommendation 1 and thirdly, to delegate authority to the Assistant Chief Executive in consultation with the Cabinet Member for social inclusion.
to enter into a service level agreement with partner organisations to provide crisis support for the years 2024 25 2026 27.
and recommendations OK.
there were a number of comments made by Members, but no further recommendations to thank you.

9 Work Programme

Emma Hill - 1:56:26
Stand-in Chair . - 1:56:31
so do we agree with us and we have a show of hands, thank you, OK, so, moving on for information and monitoring the works programme, do we have anything signers Emma, thank you Chair, so in terms of the programme that you've got withering attacks today at our next meetings
Emma Hill - 1:56:45
on the 13th of December we've yet to determine the items for pre-decision, we'll be taking the six-month update on social value and there will also be a six-month update on the USS NB activity and review progress.
for that meeting, in terms of review activity to be scheduled, we've just spoke about the children's uniforms and how expensive that can make the children's takeover challenge will be looking at that as part of their Youth Cabinet takeover challenge late January or early February.
thank you a work in progress, do we have any updates from me, so a commission?

10 Work in Progress - Select Commissions

Stand-in Chair . - 1:57:24
ITEM 11 Forward Plan of Key decisions

11 Forward Plan of Key Decisions - 1 November 2023 - 31 January 2024

the Dynamo further filed plans within the packs again today, just a
Emma Hill - 1:57:38
couple of changes to note from what was published, the House to House collections policy has now been moved to December Cabinet, and the new neglect strategy is being deferred I suggested earlier, we just need to identify decisions for pre-decision scrutiny for December.

12 Call-in Issues

OK to consider any issues referred for call information cabinet
Stand-in Chair . - 1:57:59
meetings, there are also any okay, urgent business, is there any urgent business?

13 Urgent Business

14 Date and time of next meeting

so finally, date and time of next meeting, as Emma says, the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will be held on the 13th December 2023 10 am in this room, OK, thank you for your time officers and members.