The Commission considered a report of the Chief Executive which presented the draft Annual Delivery Report and Performance Compendium for 2020 and also set out the Council’s performance so far this year, taking account of the impacts of Covid-19. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.
Arising from discussion and questions asked, the following points were made:
The Commission welcomed the broader approach
taken to the Annual Delivery Report with the inclusion of wider information on
comparative funding, service pressures and risks, as well as wider performance
data in the Compendium.
A member questioned current reliance on EU
funding, namely the European Social Fund, which underpinned delivery in a
number of areas including skills and inclusion work. It was noted that it was not yet clear how
these areas would be carried forward and what funding streams might be
introduced by the Government post-Brexit.
Reference was made to the Government’s proposed new national Shared
Prosperity Fund and a member requested that further information on this be
shared once this became available.
It was noted with concern that the Government’s
Fair Funding Review had been delayed and that the County Council therefore
continued to be the lowest funded county authority in the country. Members highlighted that the Council and
Leicestershire residents suffered a wide and unfair funding gap compared to
other authorities particularly, but not just, the London Boroughs. Despite its low funding position, however,
Members welcomed the achievement of the Council noting that its performance
when compared against its statistical neighbours remained high. Members thanked staff that had continued to
deliver services to such a high standard even during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Commission welcomed the work being
undertaken to provide more average speed cameras across the County but agreed
that the Treasury should continue to be pressed to enable local authorities to
keep the proceeds arising from such cameras to support road safety
The importance of tackling obesity was
highlighted, particularly in children, and it was agreed this was a much
broader issue than just a physical activity offer. The role played by schools was emphasised.
A Member highlighted that homelessness provision
seemed to be focused in Loughborough and suggested that consideration should be
given to improving provision in the south of the County.
It was questioned whether the comparative data
showed two tier or unitary authorities to be performing better. Members noted that the performance data for
unitary counties needed to be carefully interpreted, due to the impact of
demographic factors on outcomes, as a number of unitary counties were achieving
higher performance than their demographic levels would suggest. The Commission said it would welcome clarity
on the latest position with regard to the submission of unitary proposals for
Leicestershire, once the Government’s position was made clear.
The need for continued transformation was noted
and the importance of projects such as the recent Adult Social Care Target
Operating Model. The support given by
the Transformation Unit in enabling change across the Authority was welcomed,
though concern was expressed about the additional use of consultants and
whether this offered value for money. It was agreed that this would be
something that required close monitoring.
However, Members noted that the Adults and Communities Overview and
Scrutiny Committee had recently received a detailed report on the outcomes
delivered by the TOM and that that Committee had been pleased to see the
outcomes and cost reductions delivered by the project which far outweighed the
cost of appointing consultants to support this.
Members sought further information on the
criteria used by the County Council when considering applications for a
business recovery grant which the County Council had introduced to support
local businesses affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and sought assurance that
this had been primarily allocated to businesses that were not receiving help
from other sources.
(x) The importance of country parks and green spaces was highlighted, something that had been particularly evident during the pandemic. Whilst investment in such parks was important and benefited residents beyond the area where they were located, it was suggested that work should continue to ensure facilities in other areas were also considered, particularly those which might have less access to current facilities.
the comments now made be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration at its
meeting on 20th November 2020.
(b) That details of the County Council’s criteria for considering recovery business grant applications be provided to Commission members and assurance sought that such funds were primarily allocated to businesses which were not received support from other sources.