Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board
Monday, 1st June, 2020 3.00 pm

We advise to view meetings via the webcast if possible, rather than in person. Revised arrangements may apply.

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Zoom Committee Meeting with Public Access via YouTube. View directions

Contact: Lucy Fleming 

Link: Watch Live webcast

Items
No. Item

24.

Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the attendees. The meeting was conducted by Zoom video conference.

25.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

26.

Declarations of Interest

To note any declarations of interest from the Councillors.  They are asked to indicate the relevant agenda item, the nature of the interest and in particular whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.

 

Any declarations of interest made at the meeting which is not on the register of interests should be notified to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion.

 

Minutes:

No declarations were made. 

27.

Minutes of the previous meeting

To follow

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were not circulated but will be added to the agenda of the next meeting.

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the OSMB meeting held 24th April be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

 

28.

Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair

Minutes:

There was no Chair’s business.

29.

Public Forum

Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item

Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum. The

detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at

the back of this agenda (we recommend that you read this document if you

intend to submit Public Forum to this meeting).

Public Forum items should be emailed to democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk and

please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-

Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the

meeting. For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received at

the latest by 5pm on 26th May.

Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the

working day prior to the meeting. For this meeting this means that your

submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on 29th

May.

Minutes:

The following Public Forum business was received

Suzanne Audrey, Question 1:

Question : It is my understanding that the Audit Committee is responsible for oversight of the Council's accounts, financial performance and governance arrangements. I was, therefore, very concerned to learn that the Audit Committee on March 16 discussed the governance of council-owned Bristol Energy but members had not been told that a new managing director of the firm had been appointed that same day.

Why was this important fact about governance of Bristol Energy not provided for the Audit Committee?

Written Answer: The Council’s Audit Committee is responsible for oversight of the Council's accounts, financial performance and governance arrangements and as agreed with the Audit Committee the Committee would monitor the governance, risk management and financial controls of the Councils subsidiary companies by means of reports from the Group Audit & Risk Committee, the Annual Governance Statement and reports produced by the Councils Internal and External Auditors. It is understood that they can at any point request additional information should matters arise requiring further detail.

At the Audit Committee meeting on 16 March 2020 following exclusion of the press and public the Committee was provided with a verbal update by the External Auditors Grant Thornton on Bristol City Council’s Statement of Accounts in relation to Bristol Energy and a wider discussion ensued.

It is not the duty of the Council’s Audit Committee to carry out fnctions that properly belong to others, such as the company’s management or to undermine the responsibility of the Board, Auditors and Company own Audit & Risk Committee. 

The respective Company Board is responsible to direct the strategic & operational delivery of the company, which includes selecting, appointing, supporting and reviewing the performance of the Manging Director (subject to any reserved matters within the articles of association). In relation to the new appointment being made on the 16 March 2020,  the appropriate decision making process was followed and underway on the day in question and the relevant information will be incorporated in the scheduled and or requested reports to the Council’s own Audit Committee.

Supplementary: The questioner clarified that they were not suggesting that it was the Audit Committee function was to appoint or manage roles, but it was still unclear why they were not informed that this process was in place on the date in question.

Response: The Director for Finance responded that there was a clear process for shareholder decisions that did not involve the Audit Committee, so reporting to the Audit Committee would not have been standard practice.

 

Suzanne Audrey, Question 2:

Question: With reference to Q1, the failure to give the Audit Committee this important piece of advice seems to undermine the role of the Committee.

What measures are in place to ensure that the Audit Committee are provided with the information they need to do their job properly?

Answer: The Council’s Audit Committee is not being given advice in relation to strategic & operational company matters, but will be provided with an assurance report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Annual Business Report pdf icon PDF 389 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Annual Business Report was circulated. OSMB members agreed the recommendations as set out below (although Councillor Negus was not in support and asked that this be recorded).

RESOLVED: That;

The Membership of the Board for 2020/2021 be noted; and

The dates and times of meetings for 2020/2021 be approved; and

The Scrutiny Terms of Reference be noted; and

 The Mayoral Question Time arrangements preceding meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board (OSMB) be noted; and

 The Call In Sub-Committee be established.

 

31.

Current Scrutiny Arrangements

An update will be provided at the meeting.

 

Some Working Groups will be established to consider pertinent issues, which will report back to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board

 

·       Finance Task Group – further details to be confirmed. The Chair of this Group will also comment on the two financial reports that will be taken at the Cabinet meeting on the 2nd June (papers will be available on Friday 22nd May) :these can be found here

·       People Scrutiny Working Group - further details to be confirmed

·       Health Scrutiny Working Group - further details to be confirmed

 

Other Working Groups will be confirmed in due course.

 

The Scrutiny Chairs will make further recommendations for scrutiny going forward in August.

Minutes:

The OSMB lead Members have been meeting regularly and agreed to pause a full Scrutiny Commission work programme, to be revisited in Autumn, while proposing the creation of Working Groups to consider pertinent issues. Scrutiny Chairs provided a summary of the working positions, as set out below;

·                  A Budget Working Group has been agreed, to be chaired by Cllr Clarke. Two finance reports were scheduled to be received at the Cabinet meeting the following day. These were  in regard to the Council’s current financial position and projected impact of Covid19.  The available figures were  based on modelling and a number of assumptions made. BCC and other core cities have presumed there will be two quarters of low/minimal income, followed by two of gradual recovery.

·                  With regards to the People Scrutiny Working Group:, Members were advised that the Lead Members had identified safeguarding  as a particular concern, and children’s charities had also raised flags on this. There was concern that the risk of Child Sexual Abuse and FGM could  increase. .   A brief document on the working group would be circulated shortly, and would set out how practitioners were able to support children and families, how lockdown had affected their ability to protect children, and how harm within the home had changed. Further details would  be developed in conjunction with the Lead Members.  OSMB Members agreed to this working group.

·                  For a Health Scrutiny Working Group, Members were advised  it was difficult to prioritise topics due to the number of relevant issues relating to the pandemic. Three  areas of focus identified included 1) testing and tracing, 2) delays to treatments, and 3) the changes to the GP service and environment. There were also a number of areas to link with the Joint Health Over and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC), including:

-                  how GPs, pharmacists and dentists had  been affected

-                  financial services for care providers

-                  how the NHS 111 service had coped

The Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Communities, Equalities and Public Health stated that a rapid review had just been conducted on how Covid was disproportionately affecting the BAME communities, and requested that this was also looked at in the Health working group. This was agreed.

·                  Within the Communities Scrutiny Commission (CSC) the process for establishing topics was ongoing. Two initial ideas were  around 1) how the local volunteer networks had organised, and if there was learning for community activity going forward, and 2) the effectiveness of the waste strategy and management. The Chair of the CSC emphasised his preference for a return to formal Scrutiny Commission meetings as soon as possible.

RESOLVED; that the updates on the Scrutiny Task Groups be noted and that work continue as set out.

32.

Exclusion of Press and Public

That under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

The Public and press were excluded from the meeting for the following item of business under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.

Any Members or Officers with questions or comments regarding items 11-15 can direct these to the Chair to be addressed in a future meeting.

RESOLVED: That a statement on behalf of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board be referred to the Cabinet meeting on 2nd June

33.

Bristol Energy Company - Exempt Item

This report will follow after the publication of Cabinet papers on the 22nd May.

Minutes:

This item is Exempt.

34.

Covid-19 Response (Information Item) pdf icon PDF 186 KB

Report to follow.

Members to contact the Chair and Head of Democratic Engagement if there are any points they’d like further information on after the meeting.

 

Minutes:

This item was received for information only. Members were provided with the opportunity to contact the Chair and Head of Democratic Engagement if there were any points they’d like further information on after the meeting.

35.

Mayor's Forward Plan - Standing Item pdf icon PDF 192 KB

Minutes:

This item was received for information only.

36.

Performance Report: Quarter 4 (Information Item) pdf icon PDF 565 KB

Questions to be brought to the following OSMB meeting

 

 

 

Minutes:

This item was received for information only. Any questions regarding this item to be brought to the next OSMB meeting.

 

37.

Corporate Risk Report: Quarter 3 (Information Item) pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Questions to be brought to the following OSMB meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item was received for information only. Any questions regarding this item to be brought to the next OSMB meeting.

38.

WECA Forward Plan - Standing Item (For Information) pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Minutes:

This item was received for information only.