Agenda and draft minutes

Dorset Council - People Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 13th January, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room A/B, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, DT1 1EE

Contact: Lindsey Watson  01305 252209 - Email: lindsey.watson@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

Councillor Roberts declared an interest as a contractor for adult services to Dorset Council.

2.

Public Participation

To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.

Minutes:

There were no representations from town or parish councils or from members of the public.

3.

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.

4.

Pre-decision Scrutiny of the 2020/2021 Budget pdf icon PDF 854 KB

The Scrutiny committees are asked to consider the budget proposals on behalf of the residents of Dorset, and to provide constructive challenge to decision-makers before a final decision is made.

 

Minutes:

The committee was invited to consider the budget proposals for 2020/21 prior to consideration at Cabinet on 28 January and Full Council on 18 February 2020.  The report set out the proposals for Dorset Council’s 2020/21 revenue and capital budgets, summarised the medium-term financial plan, which covered the following four years to 2024/25 and included the capital strategy and treasury management strategy.  The committee had the opportunity to consider the implications of the proposals on behalf of residents of Dorset and to provide constructive challenge to decision makers before a final decision was made.  It was noted that the comments made by the committee would be reported to Cabinet on 28 January 2020 and taken into consideration as part of the budget setting process.

 

The Portfolio holders for Adult Social Care and Health, Children, Education and Early Help, and Housing and Community Safety, all provided a short introduction to their budget area.

 

The committee considered the issues arising from the report and during discussion, the following points were raised:

 

·                In response to a concern raised, the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help confirmed that the council had a statutory obligation to provide safe accommodation to children in care.  In terms of budget setting, it was difficult to know what the requirements would be in a year as the numbers of children in the service could only be a forecast.  It was accepted that there was a risk to the budget but mitigation was built in

·                The Interim Executive Director for People, Children, confirmed that the forecast was based on previous patterns and that in addition, officers would take learning from elsewhere including the use of statistical neighbouring authorities.  Discussion was also held with those within the service.  Through the Blueprint for Change transformation work, which would evolve over time, the service was looking to mitigate risks

·                The Portfolio Holder felt that there was a greater political awareness in Dorset Council of issues in this area, with a clear role for the Council as corporate parents

·                Reference was made to the costs associated with high end residential placements and the risks associated in this area were recognised and would need to be reviewed during the year.  The service would always work to keep children in family settings where possible

·                The difficulties in predicting level of demand was recognised and it was noted that a lot of work was done in this area

·                In response to a question, the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health felt that the budget proposals would demonstrate that the funding and capability was in place in order to build public confidence.  The use of early interventions and making information available was key.  In terms of winter pressures, funding was in place and conversations with partners were in place

·                The importance of the council and relevant partner organisations communicating with residents was noted

·                A point was noted that proposals within the Children’s Services Blueprint for Change for locality working should assist with the dissemination  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

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 is no exempt business.

Minutes:

There was no exempt business.