Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Shirley Hudspeth 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P Brightmore, B Kenny and J Williamson.


Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, Including Party Whip Declarations

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary or and / or any other relevant interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda no later than when the item is reached.


Members are reminded that they should also declare whether they are subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered at this meeting and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.


No declarations of interest were received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 June 2015 as a correct record. (Attached)




That the Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 23 June 2015 be confirmed as a correct record.


Notice of Motion - 44 Councillors pdf icon PDF 46 KB

At the meeting of the Council held on 20 October 2014 (Minute No. 57 refers), the attached Notice of Motion proposed by Councillor Jeff Green and seconded by Councillor Leah Fraser was referred by the Mayor to this Committee for consideration.


In accordance with Standing Order 7 (6), Councillors Fraser and Green have been invited to attend the meeting in order for them to be given an opportunity to explain the Motion.


The Committee considered the following Notice of Motion referred to it by the Council at its meeting on 20 October 2014 (Minute No. 57 refers).  It had been proposed by Councillor J Green and secondedby Councillor L Fraser that:


‘Council notes the recent decision taken by Knowsley Council to begin consulting its residents over reducing the number of Councillors from 63 to 45.


This Council believes that instead of presenting the public with petty, vindictive, rehashed and previously rejected budget options including:


·  pulling the plug on school crossing patrols

·  introducing car parking charges at Wirral’s Country Parks

·  not filling grit bins

·  removing Council Tax over 70s discount

·  closing public conveniences

·  increasing fees and charges for football pitches, allotments, bowling greens, burials and cremations


The Leader of the Council should be consulting the public over reducing the number of Councillors.


In the absence of the Leader of the Council’s willingness to act Council requests the Boundary Commission for England commence an inquiry into the number of Councillors, and the electoral cycle, in Wirral, on the Council's wish to reduce the number of councillors to 44.


Council therefore instructs the Chief Executive to invite the Boundary Commission for England to meet with representatives of all parties represented on the Council and agree a timetable for the inquiry.’


The Chair set out the way in which she intended to deal with this item of business.  As Councillor J Green was not in attendance at the meeting she invited Councillor L Fraser to address the Committee and set out the reasons for the Motion. The matter would then be open for debate, Councillor L Fraser would be given two minutes to respond to what was said and following that the Committee would reach its conclusions.


Councillor L Fraser informed that, in the light of the diminishing size of the Council’s work force, following the cost-cutting departure of more than 2,000 staff consideration should be given to consulting residents of the Borough on reducing the total number of Wirral Councillors.  She proposed that the Boundary Commission be requested to assess Wirral’s requirements with a view to cutting the number of Councillors from 66 to 44.  Councillor L Fraser proposed that as the Council’s middle managers’ pay had reduced by 10% Councillors should make cuts as well.  She proposed that at a time when employees were being asked to do more for less and go the extra mile, the number of Councillors should be reduced and elections should be held every four years.


Councillor L Fraser informed that the Local Government Association had a view which it had reached this year, that the public wanted each Councillor to represent a distinct area.  This enabled them to be held to account.  She was aware that some Councillors took on some additional duties as a matter of choice but she did not consider that should be a mitigating factor.  Reducing 66 Councillors down to 44 meant there would be two to represent each ward. 


Councillor L Fraser  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision

To receive a presentation and an oral update.


The Committee received a presentation by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources on the Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision.


The Strategic Director highlighted that the Council Plan had now been agreed with partners and local agencies and was now called the Wirral Plan. The priorities in taking the Council forward covered the three areas of People, Business and Environment and he went through the timetable to progress the implementation of the Delivery Plan.


The Committee gave consideration to the initial scrutiny of the Plan; future work programmes and the next steps. Phase one, initial scrutiny and Phase two (the compilation of future work programmes) would be dealt with by the Committee. The Committee would be responsible for agreeing a consistent process for Phase 1 scrutiny and considering prioritisation and areas of potential overlap between the other Policy and Performance Committees.


It was noted that the Cabinet would receive feedback on the Plan at its meeting in February 2016 following three Workshops being held for all non- Executive Members to participate in. In depth scrutiny would be carried out at these Workshops which it was hoped could be held on the dates set aside for the other three Policy and Performance Committees (the Chair would agree the dates for these in consultation with Committee Chairs and Group Spokespersons) and a consolidation report would be prepared for a meeting of this Committee in November 2015.


The Strategic Director informed the Committee that there would be wide ranging scrutiny and Members would be requested to look at the key priorities that would emerge over the coming weeks.  Also, the Chancellor would deliver his Autumn Statement in November and the Committee would look at how that fitted in with the Council’s financial situation.




(1)  the way forward in respect of the scrutiny work required on the Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision described by the Chair and Strategic Director for Transformation and Resources as set out above be agreed; and


(2)  a hard copy of the Strategic Director’s presentation be sent to all Members of the Council who are also Members of the Policy and Performance Committees.


2015/16 Quarter 1 Corporate Plan Performance Management Report pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Transformation and Resources.

Additional documents:


A report by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources set out the Council’s Quarter 1 (April to June) performance against the delivery of the 2015/16 Corporate Plan as agreed at Council on 8 December 2014. The report was attached as Appendix 1 and detailed progress made against a suite of agreed key performance indicators.


The Committee noted that whilst the Corporate Plan 2015/16 had been superseded by the Wirral Council Plan: 2020 Vision, it still formed the basis of the in-year performance management framework. The Committee also noted that a new Performance Management Framework would be developed for the Council Plan once the associated delivery plan had been finalised.


Members then asked officers a number of questions and it was noted in particular that:


·  The percentage of performance appraisals completed by September 2015 was lower than expected.  However, by Quarter 2 it was expected that there would be a significant improvement.

·  GP Practices were self-employed contractors who the Council commissioned to deliver the Health Check Service.  If they did not do this they did not get paid.  It was a constant battle to encourage Practices to promote the Services.  The clinical case for Health Checks was not accepted by everyone.

·  A number of Performance Indicators were the subject of Scrutiny Task and Finish Work. This was a good sign that the Policy and Performance Committees were picking up areas of service that needed looking at in more depth. The Member Training Steering Group would be considering a request to provide Members with training on Performance Indicators.




That the content of the report be noted.


Financial Monitoring Out-Turn 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 23 KB

Report of the Acting Section 151 Officer.

Additional documents:


A report by the Acting Section 151 Officer set out the Financial Monitoring Out-Turn for 2014/15 as reported to the Cabinet on 13 July 2015.  This was to provide the Committee with an opportunity to scrutinise the 2014/15 financial performance and highlight any areas for further clarification.


Attached to the report were:


·  The Cabinet Report - 13July 2015 – Financial Monitoring Out-Turn

·  Appendix 1 - Revenue Out Turn

·  Appendix 2 - Capital Out Turn

·  Appendix 3 - Collection Summary


The Acting Section 151 Officer reported that the Accounts for 2014/15 had been published that afternoon and the revenue outturn was underspent £0.5m, an improvement on the £0.8m overspend that had been projected at Month 10.  The capital spend was £32.5m and this compared to a predicted spend at Month 10 of £39.5m.


The Committee considered Appendix 3 to the report and noted that the Council Tax Collection rate had increased from 95.4% in 2013/14 to 95.5% in 2014/15.  The Business Rates Collection Rate had increased from 96.9% in 2013/14 to 98.2% in 2014/15.  Also, the level of Sundry Debt arrears had increased from £23.5m at 31 March 2014 to £30.9m at 31 March 2015.  The figures included £14m of invoices that had been raised in the final week of the financial year.  The Committee noted that by 30 April 2015 the arrears had been comparable with April 2014.


The Appendix also included details of further write-offs totalling £0.47m of which £0.42m related to Adult Social Services.  The Committee was told that these would be charged against the provision for bad debts and reflect the on-going programme to review outstanding debts.


A Member questioned the writing-off of debts and the Acting Section 151 Officer informed that where there was no possibility of collecting a debt it was written off.  He agreed to write to all Members of the Committee setting out the reasons why debts could not be collected.




That the contents of the report and its Appendices be noted.


2014/15 Revenue/Capital Monitoring Progress Reports pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Report of the Acting Section 151 Officer.

Additional documents:


A report by the Acting Section 151 Officer provided the Committee with the Quarter 1 Revenue and Capital Financial Monitoring details, as report to the Cabinet on 27 July 2015. This allowed the Committee to scrutinise progress against the 2014/15 revenue and capital budgets and highlight any areas for further clarification.


Appended to the report were:


·  Cabinet Report 27/07/15 Revenue Monitoring 2015/16 Quarter 1.

·  Cabinet Report 27/07/15 Capital Monitoring 2015/16 Quarter 1.




That the contents of the report and its Appendices be noted.


Policy Inform Briefing Papers - September 2015 pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Transformation and Resources.

Additional documents:


A report by the Strategic Director – Transformation and Resources provided the Committee with the September Policy Inform Briefing Papers which included an overview of ongoing and recent national legislation, potential implications for the Council and emerging policies.


Appended to the Strategic Director’s report were:


·  Appendix 1 – Policy Inform: Families and Wellbeing.

·  Appendix 2 – Policy Inform: Regeneration and Environment.

·  Appendix 3 – Policy Inform: Transformation and Resources.




That the contents of the report and its Appendices be noted.


Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 30 KB

Report of the Chair of the Committee.

Additional documents:


A report by the Chair of the Committee set out the Scrutiny Work Programme. The report included the Committee’s Work Programme (Appendix 1).  It also included the Work Programmes of the other three Policy and Performance Committees (Appendix 2 – 4). This was to enable the Committee to undertake its Constitutional role


  ‘To determine the overall Work Programme of the Policy and Performance Committees, including ensuring there is an overall planned approach to in depth review’.


Since the last meeting of the Committee on 23 June 2015 a scrutiny review into Cumulative Impact Policy had commenced and was scheduled to report back to the Committee in February 2016.  A summary of the task and finish reviews currently in progress across the other three committees was set out in the Chair’s report. The Chair informed that it was very important that only work a Committee was able to deal with was added to its Work Programme.


The Chair informed that further to the launch of the Wirral Council Plan: A 2020 Vision, the Policy and Performance Committees had been given an opportunity to review the details set out in the associated Delivery Plan which was scheduled for publication in October. This would provide Members with a chance to influence the shape of the Plan which was due to be finalised in February 2016.


In order to ensure consistency, the Committee would give consideration to proposing a co-ordinated approach to this work. This would involve considering which elements of the Delivery Plan should be prioritised for initial scrutiny and how those activities which align with the remits of more than one committee should be reviewed. An approach that could be adopted would be to have a single workshop for each of the three Council Plan priorities organised around question and answer sessions with the relevant Lead Officers.  It may be necessary to hold a Special meeting of the Committee in December 2015 to scrutinise the Council Plan and if this was the case the Chair would do this in consultation with Group Spokespersons.




That the content of all four of the Council’s Policy and Performance Committees’ Work Programmes be noted.