Agenda and minutes

Dorset Council - People and Health Overview Committee
Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: To be held via a Teams Live event

Contact: Helen Whitby  01305 224187 - Email: helen.whitby@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the People and Health Overview Committee.  The Committee had a policy creating role which would help the Council make better decision and under its terms of reference had a wide scope for scrutiny activity.

 

The Chairman would take items 5 (Future Working models) and 6 (Forward Plan) together as they were closely linked.  He said that members had a wealth of experience and knowledge and he encouraged them to be creative.  Policy making required good collaboration and any good ideas would be considered.  He also reminded them that party politics played no part in scrutiny.

 

Members and officers were then introduced.

2.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

3.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Cllr T Alford declared an interest in item 4 as a former Cabinet member he had been involved in the formation of the proposals for Voluntary and Community Sector report and would not speak or vote on the subject.

 

The Corporate Director - Legal and Democratic Services explained that many members were actively involved in their communities and that the law required them to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests.  This did not prevent them from taking part in the item.

4.

Public Participation

To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee

from town and parish councils and members of the public.

 

Public speaking has been suspended for virtual committee meetings

during the Covid-19 crisis and public participation will be dealt with

through written submissions only.

 

Members of the public who live, work or represent an organisation

within the Dorset Council area, may submit up to two questions or a

statement of up to a maximum of 450 words. All submissions must be

sent electronically to helen.whitby@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk by the

deadline set out below. When submitting a question please indicate

who the question is for and include your name, address and contact

details. Questions and statements received in line with the council’s

rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the

agenda.

 

Questions will be read out by an officer of the council and a response

given by the appropriate Portfolio Holder or officer at the meeting. All

questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the

minutes of the meeting.

 

The deadline for submission of the full text of a question or

statement is 8.30am on Thursday, 17 September 2020.

Minutes:

There were no statements or questions from Town and Parish Councils or members of the public.

5.

Financial provision to the voluntary and community sector pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Chief Executive, which explained the results of the consultation regarding Dorset Council's proposals for allocating funding to the voluntary and community sector. 

 

The recently appointed Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services explained that the report had been developed over a long period and was looking to change from grant provision to commissioning activity.  If the recommendations were agreed, this would give the organisations currently working with the Council the confidence to continue with this.  They had provided a good response through the Covid-19 pandemic and it was important to go forward without grant reductions as they were saving the Council money.  The final recommendation suggested that smaller organisations could bid for outcome-based funding. 

 

The Business Partner - Communities and Partnerships explained that when Dorset Council had been established it had inherited many different funding arrangements.  The Cabinet had agreed to a full public consultation on the future provision of grants to Dorset's voluntary community sector and this had run for 8 weeks. Overall, the response to the consultation was positive but since the consultation closed the Covid-19 pandemic had had a major effect on all areas of the voluntary and community sector.  This had led to some financial instability within the sector and micro groups moving to support local communities.   The policy would enable communities to build and develop new relationships and support prevention at scale.   The Committee were asked to support the recommendations and recommend them to Cabinet for decision.

 

Members asked a series of questions about: the EU procurement exercise; whether small groups currently receiving funding would have an extension of this to 30 September 2021; clarification of Recommendation 3; what outcomes were being sought under recommendation 5 and were they achievable;  whether there would be support and advice available for micro groups set up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; whether arts and museums had been included; whether there would be any funding left for the bigger organisations once the smaller organisations had received their funding; whether Dorset Community Action, Dorchester Volunteer Centre and the Race Equality Council could abuse their power; and whether the discretionary outcome-based funding was allocated by Dorset Council;

 

In response it was explained that:

·      six months would be long enough to give notice of changes to current arrangements and undertake a procurement process under EU regulations;

·       funding for small groups would be extended to 30 September 2021;

·       currently Dorset Community Action, Dorchester Volunteer Centre and the Race Equality Council provided the social voluntary sector infrastructure which would be continued for a further six months;

·      those affected by recommendation 5 had been given notice of the change.  If the recommendations were agreed, then these organisations would receive information about next steps;

·      the criteria for the outcome-based fund had been consulted upon and details were included in the consultation report.  Final details of the criteria would be signed off by the Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services but all teams administering specialist grants had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Future Working Models and the Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To discuss and agree future working arrangements for the People and Health Overview Committee.

 

Role/Terms of Reference

 

Overview and scrutiny is a statutory activity of the Council, its powers and responsibilities are set out in detail the Council’s Constitution. The Council will appoint members to 2 Overview Committees and 2 Scrutiny Committees:

 

· People and Health Overview Committee

· People and Health Scrutiny Committee

· Place and Resources Overview Committee

· Place and Resources Scrutiny Committee

 

Each Overview and Scrutiny Committee will perform all those functions conferred on it by the Local Government Act 2000.

 

The Overview Committees shall:

 

(i) Review and develop policy at their own initiative and at the request of the Cabinet.

 

(ii) Oversee major consultations and make recommendations to Cabinet and full Council.

 

(iii) Monitor performance of services in accordance with the targets in the Corporate Plan.

 

(iv) Provide a clear focus on finding efficiency savings in accordance with requirements in the Council’s financial strategy.

 

(v) Monitor expenditure against available budgets and make recommendations to the Cabinet.

 

(vi) Make reports and recommendations to the full Council or the Cabinet on matters which affect the authority’s area or its inhabitants.

 

In the absence of any alternative joint arrangements having been entered into, the Overview Committee and the Scrutiny Committee with primary responsibilities for:

 

(i) “People and Health” shall be the Council’s Overview Committee and the Council’s Scrutiny Committee for the purposes of fulfilling the Council’s statutory duties in relation to crime and disorder;

 

(ii) “People and Health” shall be the Council’s Scrutiny Committee for the purposes of fulfilling the Council’s statutory powers in relation to health scrutiny; and

(iii) “People and Health” shall be the Council’s Overview Committee and its Scrutiny Committee for the performance of the Council’s statutory functions in relation to education matters.

 

To consider the Cabinet's Forward Plan.

Minutes:

The Committee considered its future working arrangements, the current Forward Plan and noted its Terms of Reference.

 

The Chairman stated that formal meetings were not always the best means of developing policy, although they had their purpose.  He thought the Committee should embrace new ways of working, was keen to use technology in the formulation of policies and hold informal workshops to work on policy development with the outcomes being considered at formal meetings of the Committee.

 

The current Forward Plan was an amalgamation of the Forward Plans of the Council's People and Health Scrutiny Committees but he believed this needed to amended to reflect the Committee's future way of working.

 

Members noted that it had been agreed that an informal meeting of the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would be held to ensure agenda items went to the appropriate Committee and to reduce duplication.  It was suggested that Cllr R Knox, as Chairman of the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board, be included in these meetings.

 

The Chairman of the Place and Resources Overview Committee, who was also a Committee member, highlighted the need for the Committee to undertake manageable pieces of work.  He also offered to undertake joint work with his Committee on cross-over issues by way of inquiry days or working groups which was a more efficient use of time and resources.

 

It was suggested that the findings from working groups could go straight to Cabinet rather than being considered by the Committee which was adding a further layer of bureaucracy.  The Chairman hoped that such findings could be shared through a Teams Group where it could be commented upon and quickly signed off at a formal meeting.

 

The Vice-Chairman referred to the need for transparency and public involvement and that the more work done informally, the more difficult it became to involve the public.

 

The Chairman of the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board, also a member of the Committee, welcome the opportunity to join the Chairmen's informal meeting.  She thought it was important for the Chairmen to have a holistic view and decide where items were best directed as some of the housing policies scheduled for this Committee could equally sit under the Place and Resources Overview Committee. 

 

The Executive Director of People - Children said she saw a real opportunity for the Committee to look at what was not working well and what was being done about it in various areas.  She offered to provide a list of such areas for the Committee to consider.   The Executive Director of People - Adults added that policy development should support the Council's ambition, focus on outcomes and make a difference.

 

The Corporate Director - Legal and Democratic Services explained that the Committee's Terms of Reference would help them develop their Forward Plan and that the Cabinet might request them to carry out policy development.  It might also like to look at the risk register to focus on areas of concern.

 

The Chairman suggested having a session  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Urgent Items

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4)b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

8.

Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business.