Agenda and minutes

People and Health Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 12th January, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. View directions

Contact: George Dare  01305 224185 - Email:


No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.



Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Paul Kimber, Belinda Ridout, Bill Pipe and Louie O’Leary.


Cllr Molly Rennie attended the meeting online.




Declarations of Interest

To disclose any pecuniary, other registrable or non-registrable interest as set out in the adopted Code of Conduct. In making their disclosure councillors are asked to state the agenda item, the nature of the interest and any action they propose to take as part of their declaration.


If required, further advice should be sought from the Monitoring Officer in advance of the meeting.



Cllr Ireland declared that he was a governor of Dorset HealthCare.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2023.



Proposed by Cllr Taylor and seconded by Cllr Ireland.



That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2023 be confirmed and signed.




Public Participation

Representatives of town or parish councils and members of the public who live, work, or represent an organisation within the Dorset Council area are welcome to submit either 1 question or 1 statement for each meeting.  You are welcome to attend the meeting in person or via Microsoft Teams to read out your question and to receive the response.   If you submit a statement for the committee this will be circulated to all members of the committee in advance of the meeting as a supplement to the agenda and appended to the minutes for the formal record but will not be read out at the meeting. The first 8 questions and the first 8 statements received from members of the public or organisations for each meeting will be accepted on a first come first served basis in accordance with the deadline set out below.  For further information read Public Participation - Dorset Council


All submissions must be emailed in full to by 8.30am on Tuesday, 7 January 2024.


When submitting your question or statement please note that: 


·       You can submit 1 question or 1 statement.

·       a question may include a short pre-amble to set the context.

·       It must be a single question and any sub-divided questions will not be permitted.

·       Each question will consist of no more than 450 words, and you will be given up to 3 minutes to present your question.

·       when submitting a question please indicate who the question is for (e.g., the name of the committee or Portfolio Holder) 

·       Include your name, address, and contact details.  Only your name will be published but we may need your other details to contact you about your question or statement in advance of the meeting. 

·       questions and statements received in line with the council’s rules for public participation will be published as a supplement to the agenda. 

·       all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting.



There was no public participation.




Councillor Questions

To receive questions submitted by councillors.  


Councillors can submit up to two valid questions at each meeting and sub divided questions count towards this total.   Questions and statements received will be published as a supplement to the agenda and all questions, statements and responses will be published in full within the minutes of the meeting. 


The submissions must be emailed in full to by 8.30am on Tuesday, 7 January 2024. 


Dorset Council Constitution – Procedure Rule 13



There were no questions from councillors.




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.



There were no urgent items.




Committee's Work Programme and Executive Forward Plans pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To consider the committee’s Work Programme and the Executive Forward Plans.


Additional documents:


There were no comments on the work programme and forward plans.


Members noted the committee’s work programme and the Executive forward plans.




Budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Strategy Report pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director of Corporate Development.


Additional documents:


The Executive Director for Corporate Development introduced the budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan. Overall, the budget proposed an 8% increase in funding for the council, which included a 5% increase in council tax. The proposed budget included a savings target of £12m for the Our Future Council programme. The budget setting process until this point was outlined.


The Committee and non-committee members raised a series of issues and recommendations for Cabinet to consider prior to finalising the budget. The table below summarises the issues raised, and responses given at the committee meeting, as well as the recommendations for Cabinet to consider.



Issues raised by the People and Health Scrutiny Committee



Children’s Services

The Executive Director of People – Children gave a short presentation on the transformation, savings, and external funding for Children’s Services. The presentation is attached to these minutes.


Were there any planned cuts to staffing levels?


There were no savings planned through job cuts. Some recruitment may be withheld for 3 months when a vacancy arises to ensure that the post is right.


Was the council making savings from Family Hubs?


The council was not proposing savings from reduction in the number or scale of operations of Family Hubs. However, the work enabled would lead to a reduction in high level need which would create the savings included in the proposed budget.


What benefit would £110k being allocated to the Birth to Settled Adulthood Head of Service post bring to the council?


The Birth to Settled Adulthood programme would improve services for young people transitioning into adulthood, up to the age of 25. It required significant leadership, and the post would be a complex role. The funding was for the total cost of the post rather than the salary.


How could national changes to children’s services policy affect the budget?


The Council was part of the Families First for Children pathfinder which enabled Dorset Council to be further ahead than other councils on this major national policy change. The council was working with the government on policy changes for school attendance and education.


What would be the risk of increasing the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children but not increasing the funding? Would costs for support services decrease as children become more integrated?


The council has made a commitment to meet the requirement set by government. Integration through foster carers or supported accommodation would bring costs down. Staffing has been future proofed in case the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children increased. There was full cost recovery for accommodation costs.


Was there enough funding to look after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to age 25?


There were currently over 500 care leavers. It was built into the budget in terms of staffing.

The financial risks associated with the High Needs Block.

The high needs block was the most significant financial risk to the council. The Statutory Instrument was in place until April 2026, which if not extended would mean that the Council would have to account for a significant debt .  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Exempt Business

To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph x of schedule 12 A 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.  


There are no exempt items scheduled for this meeting.



There was no exempt business.