Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Monday, 25th January, 2021 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Lucy Fleming 

Link: Watch Live Webcast

Items
No. Item

72.

Welcome, Introductions and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the attendees. The meeting was conducted via video conference.

 

73.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Brain and Whittle.

 

74.

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.

 

75.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 30th November 2020 were approved as a correct record.

 

RESOLVED; That the minutes of 30th November 2020 be approved as a correct record.

 

76.

Chair's Business

To note any announcements from the Chair

Minutes:

The representatives of Bristol companies were welcomed. The aim of the meeting was to consider the Company Business Plans of Goram Homes, Bristol Waste Company and Bristol Holdings. Part of the discussion was anticipated to be commercially sensitive and therefore confidential but the Chair aimed to keep as much of the meeting public as possible with confidential questions to be addressed during the exempt session.

The Chair recommended that Members review the Grant Thornton report in regard to recommendations made around governance. The Chair proposed holding discussions with the Head of Legal Services and the Director for Legal and Democratic Services regarding how the Grant Thornton report should be progressed, to be reported back to the OSMB leads. This was agreed.

 

RESOLVED; That the Chair of OSMB hold discussions with Officers to consider the most appropriate method of Scrutiny for the Grant Thornton report, to be reported to the OSMB leads.

 

77.

Public Forum pdf icon PDF 153 KB

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.  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 in this office at the latest by 5 pm on Tuesday 19th January.

 

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 Friday 22nd January.

 

Register to Speak - If you would like to attend the meeting to speak to your statement or ask your questions, your intention to attend must be received no later than 2 clear working days in advance. For this meeting this means that your intention to attend must be received in this office at the latest by 5pm on Wednesday 20th January.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Public Forum questions and statements were published prior to the meeting and can be viewed here.

Suzanne Audrey asked a Public Forum question and received a written response from the Shareholder Liaison Manager.

The Shareholder Liaison Manager clarified that the answer was drafted based on a number of the recommendations contained within the Grant Thornton report, particularly around the improvement of transparency around decisions.

Suzanne Audrey asked as a supplementary question how confident OSMB Members felt in the Scrutiny of items held in exempt session. The Chair elaborated that Members are only able to Scrutinise the items they were aware of, but that the written answer provided gave some recognition that work was taking place to make improvements.

David Redgewell provided a Public Forum Statement on the Scrutiny of WECA. This was noted by the commission and directed to Councillor Cheney as a representative of Cabinet.

 

RESOLVED; That the Public Forum be noted.

 

78.

Covid-19 Update (For Information)

The aim is to publish a COVID-19 Bristol statistics update twice a week; updated reports are available on the COVID-19 data section on the Council website, see link below:

Bristol City Council COVID-19 data

  

 

The most up-to-date report before the meeting to follow.

 

Minutes:

The Covid-19 statistics were noted, with thanks extended to staff who continued to work under difficult circumstances

79.

Bristol Holding Group Business Plans 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Appendix A will be available when the Cabinet Reports for 26th January 2021 are published on 18th January.

 

The Annual Report and Financial Statements for Bristol Holding Limited are included as Appendix B to this report.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Bristol Holdings Co.

The Executive Chair of Bristol Holdings Co. provided an overview of Bristol Holdings and the company business plans. Inroads had been made into the objectives that were outlined the previous year, but the national effect of Covid-19 had naturally had an impact. Further detail on this was contained within the papers.

A significant part of the previous year was spent supporting the consultancy around and sale of Bristol Energy, as well as some other unplanned challenges. The 2020/21 year was referred to as the ‘transition’ year, while the 2021/22 business plan focused on growth. Key elements included a focus on supporting the governance review, developing the risk management framework, and to keep close to the final elements of the Bristol Energy 2020 sale and liquidation.

The planned growth was contained in the subsidiaries and Bristol Holdings aimed to work closely with the individual companies. It was important for growth that further business should be brought in to the holding group model.

The business plan contained within the papers was a ‘snapshot in time’. The risks as listed were primarily around the loss of income from Bristol Energy, and the impact on confidence in the operating model.

Members were invited to ask questions.

Members noted that Bristol Holdings stated that they were pleased with the good work achieved around scrutiny and oversight, and asked the Executive Chair to elaborate. While the Executive Chair stated the Chief Executive of Bristol City Council would be in a better position to comment on performance, he agreed that the work conducted was of a good quality. The Chief Executive confirmed that Bristol Holdings had performed well in challenging times, particularly around the sale of Bristol Energy.

Members stated they found it difficult to fully understand the role of Bristol Holdings and the interface with Bristol City Council. This was recognised by Officers and had been discussed with the Board. Communication and clarity on this was a priority for the future.

Member asked around the timescale for the governance review recommended by the Grant Thornton report. Recommendations from this were to be combined with input from shareholders, with an aim to be in place no later than October 2021.

The risk around exploring growth and finding cost efficiencies at the same time was noted. An open understanding of where the risk lay would be required. Officers confirmed it would be important not to separate reduction of cost from growth. Prioritising transparency would also bring challenges, as outlined in the Grant Thornton report, and there was a rigorous process in place to ensure that only commercially sensitive information was protected.

The Chief Executive and Chair of OSMB reiterated their support of the work of Bristol Holdings which had relieved pressures on Officers and brought added value.

Members noted that Recommendation 11 of the Grant Thornton report was around training, and suggested that Members would benefit from a greater understanding of the various arrangements. It was suggested that briefings would be beneficial once governance was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.

80.

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(s) of business on the grounds that it (they) involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.

81.

Bristol Waste Company Business Plan (Exempt)

Minutes:

This item was exempt from the public domain.

 

82.

Mayor's Forward Plan - Standing Item pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Minutes:

Item removed from agenda.

 

83.

Minutes from the WECA Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Standing Item (For Information) pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Minutes:

Item removed from agenda.

 

84.

WECA Committee and WECA Joint Committee Forward Plan - Standing Item (For Information) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

Item removed from agenda.

 

85.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To note the work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Item removed from agenda.