Agenda item

The draft Corporate Strategy 2017-2022, Business Plan 2017/18 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/18-2021/22

To receive a presentation

Minutes:

As requested by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board (OSMB) each Scrutiny Commission had been provided with an overview of the business efficiency savings – the ongoing proposed savings to be made within each directorate that do not form part of the consultation process.

One hour of the meeting had been allocated to the budget item but it was acknowledged that Members could still have further questions.  Members would be canvassed about a requirement for an informal briefing in January 2017.  (Action – JVH / KB)

John Readman, Strategic Director and Service Directors for the People Directorate delivered a presentation (appendix x to the minutes), with the second part focused on early help and children’s centres, community meals, and community links.

The Chair requested that future presentation include figures, rather than percentages (Action – all Officers).

During the discussion the following points were highlighted:

  • Projection of figures, i.e. projected growth of children’s figures are based on figures from Office for national statistics and local data such as school places – live birth data is adjusted to local situations.

Members requested the National living wage report (previously presented the Human Resources Scrutiny Commission). (Action – Karen Blong).

  • The Educational Services Grant has been significantly reduced but the national funding formula to replace this has not yet been put in place.  This will result in a significant funding challenge for school. The Learning City Partnership, the Bristol local framework, is committed to joint working and avoiding fragmentation, regardless of the direction of national legislation.   The Commission Members welcomed this.

 

  • The Commission were updated on work looking into third party spend and how the Council is trying to get better value for money form contract spend.  (Going to business change scrutiny and is a cross Council initiative)

a.         Early Help Presentation – Michelle Farmer/ Paul Jacobs

  • Options for Children’s Centres would be explored; this could include retaining the same number of centres providing children care but a smaller number of these being Children’s Centres.
  • The use of Council buildings could be considered - Schools, libraries etc.  It was hoped to retain local deliver using a more efficient approach. 
  • Health visitors could be included in multi-agency assessments to increase health deliver in Children’s centres.  The service would be better for children and families if seamless multi agency assessments were available – work continued towards joint assessments or accepting each other’s.
  • Cllr Keen referenced a ‘family centre’ in Hillfields Ward that covers a wide area.  The centre could be used as a case study as an alternative approach.  Little Hayes was also example of an alternative model that worked well.  
  • Members were asked to feed in concerns about Special Educational Needs (SEN) and behaviour support via the consultation.
  • The Commission discussed the definition of “Family Support” and opportunities to connect the existing work force across the city (e.g. family support workers in special schools).  Officers were already actively looking for opportunities to combine into Children’s Centres.  Members agreed it would be more effective to move away from the preconception of a “building”, focussing more on access to professionals and expertise, sharing information and professional meeting places.
  • BCC hoped to continue to provide universal and targeted offers.

 

b.         Community meals service – Michele Farmer

Proposals were presented to the committee (presentation available from Democratic Services – democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk).

As part of the discussion the following was noted:

  • Members noted that drivers received welfare training and monitored vulnerable people.  The Commission requested information on how many drivers currently pick up on issues.  (Action – Michele Farmer).
  • Officers highlighted that vulnerable clients were provided with other types of support and would be monitored via other channels.
  • Members re-iterated their strong commitment to this underrepresented group and the potential threat of any loss of service.  A detailed financial analysis, plus a full and proper consultation would be required with all the current service users ahead of any changes.
  • MF referenced the commissioning model which should mitigate against the issues and concerns raised.

c.         Community Links & Drop in –Mike Hennessey

Appended proposals were presented to committee. Legal advice was pending on when consultation can begin as well as equalities impact assessment but officers confirmed it would be going to consultation.

  • Members were concerned that people with learning difficulties and carers had already been through so much in last few years. It was feared that suggestions around moving people with learning difficulties away from centres could leave people isolated.
  • The Commission felt that it was wrong to move away from dedicated care for people with learning difficulties as they get older.
  • Ideas around outside organisations that could run these centres instead were discussed.  Officer confirmed there was a lot of interest in the market last time this was floated, including charities and other providers – but it has not been tested recently. 
  • It was noted that great care should be taken over the equalities aspect and the different cultural needs for people in the central area of Bristol.  Members highlighted the specialist staff in these areas.
  • Further questions would be collated and written answers provided as part of the frequently asked question.  (Action – KB). 

 

d.         Savings Tracker Summary – Michael Pilcher

Business Efficiency Saving for Scrutiny Commissions People as referred from OSM – appended.

Members agreed to receive the Business Efficiency Savings for the People Commission via email (copies available from Democratic Services –democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk), due to time constraints.

 

Supporting documents: