Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Management Board - Tuesday, 31st October, 2023 2.00 pm

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, and we encourage people to view them that way. If you want to attend a meeting in person at any of the venues, note that there may not be space to maintain a social distance from others in the meeting room. We respect your individual choice whether to wear a mask – they are not mandatory, but some people feel more comfortable wearing one. You should not attend if you have tested positive for Coronavirus or if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus.

Anyone wanting to attend a meeting in person should contact us first at

Venue: Committee Room 'B' - The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall 


No. Item

County Councillor Ron Woollam replaced County Councillor Rob Bailey for this meeting only.




Apologies were received from County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson.


The Chair advised the Board that in accordance with the Urgent Business Procedure under Standing Order D15(1), the Director of Law and Governance having sought the views of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Urgency Committee approved the appointment of County Councillor Sue Hind to replace County Councillor Andrea Kay as Deputy Chair of the Scrutiny Management Board with effect from 24 August 2023.


Resolved: That the appointment of County Councillor Sue Hind as Deputy Chair of the Board for the remainder of the 2023/24 municipal year be noted.



Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.


None were disclosed.


Minutes of the Meeting Held on 25 July 2023 pdf icon PDF 179 KB


The Chair reported that as recommended at the last meeting, a briefing was held on 29 September 2023 for all members on the devolution and the Lancashire Combined County Authority.


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 25 July 2023 be confirmed as an accurate record.


Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:


Members received a copy of the draft overview and scrutiny annual report 2022/23 for consideration and comment.


A general discussion took place on the changes undertaken to strengthen scrutiny arrangements over the last 18 months. It was acknowledged that whilst improvement in the scrutiny function overall have been seen, there remains space for further development.


Resolved: That the report be received.


Money Matters 2023/24 Position - Quarter 1 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


County Councillor Alan Vincent, Deputy Leader, Neil Kissock, Director of Finance and Kate Lee, Head of Service Financial Management were welcomed to the meeting.


The Money Matters 2023/24 Position – Quarter 1 report was presented to Cabinet at its meeting held on 5 October 2023. The report provided an update on the 2023/24 revenue and capital financial position, as at the end of June 2023 (Quarter 1).


It was reported that the Quarter 2 monitoring position (Money Matters report) was currently planned to be reported to Cabinet at its meeting scheduled for 7 December 2023.


Members were presented with the key headlines from the report which included:

·  Overspend of £18m currently reported.

·  Pay award has had a considerable effect on the budget, which was higher than previously budgeted for.

·  There continued to be a number of demand led pressures such as home to school transport, adult and children's social care.

·  There continued to be savings and delivery challenges across the council.

·  Inflationary pressures.


However, it was reported that the overspend has been reduced significantly to £7.6m due to work undertaken to offset costs. In addition, members were informed that services across the council were reviewing areas for potential savings.


Members were invited to discuss the report as presented.


Concerns were raised with regards to the home to school transport figures. Members were informed that the recently revised Statutory Guidance on Home to School Transport now contained advice on journey times and this was currently affecting provision in particular for children with SEND. As a result, this had reduced the council's ability to utilise school buses and taxis effectively, and extra transport has had to be provided incurring additional cost. It was reported that this was a similar picture across a number of councils.


On a question received regarding the City Deal, the Board were advised that discussions were currently ongoing, and a report would be made available once concluded. In addition, it was reported that the review of the capital programme was ongoing, with a report to follow.


Concerns were raised on the overspend currently forecast for Education Improvement Service. Members were informed that this was primarily related to the Advisory Service which had seen a reduction in schools signing up to receive this service. A review was to be undertaken with a view to drawing up proposals for consideration.


From a discussion on income generation, it was reported that conversations with the NHS had improved since the formation of the Integrated Care Board. However, there remained a need to work more closely with district councils, sharing expertise and co-operative working.


A question was raised regarding the changes undertaken to the Telecare service and potential impact. Members were informed that some of the data so far had shown a drop in service users which was expected. However, an analysis of this had yet to be completed. It was reported the service was now much improved following the changes implemented.


With regards to a query as to why there was a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Medium Term Financial Strategy Update 2024/25 - 2026/27 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Annex 'A' to follow.

Additional documents:


Members were presented with a copy of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) Update 2024/25 - 2026/27 report which was to be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 2 November 2023. The report contained an updated position compared to that presented to Cabinet and Full Council in February 2023.


It was highlighted that a full review of all assumptions was undertaken in the process of producing this information. And as reported in the previous item, the forecast position had changed as a result of factors such as pay award, inflation and utility costs.


Members were informed that with regards to the adult social care precept, it had been assumed that this would continue until at least 2025/26.


A number of management actions equating to around £23m had been undertaken to mitigate cost pressures including a review of continued underspends, ongoing vacant posts and more effective ways to manage financial demand. These actions did not require member or policy decisions to be taken through Cabinet.


With regards to some of the budgeted savings' work, it was reported that some of these would be realised in 2025/26 rather than 2024/25 as previously anticipated.


Members were advised that in relation to capital borrowing, the debt strategy had been realigned in the last couple of years. However, two thirds of the debt would be affected by interest rate changes. Around £50m was set aside from the revenue budget to meet the costs on capital borrowing.


A question was raised in relation to energy conservation targets. It was acknowledged that more could be done around the use of energy particularly in council buildings and that further work was being undertaken to review efficiencies in general. However, it was highlighted that costs had been reduced on street lighting with the use of energy saving bulbs. Members were informed that further detail could be circulated on the work being undertaken around energy savings.


A question was raised regarding independent reviews of the forecasting. It was reported that professional advice was sought, and benchmarking undertaken with other councils.


It was confirmed that savings proposals for 2024/25 would be presented to Cabinet as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy Update 2024/25 - 2026/27 report at its meeting scheduled for 18 January 2024.


Resolved: That;


(i)  The report be noted.


(ii)  The Medium Term Financial Strategy Update 2024/25 - 2026/27 report due to be presented to Cabinet at its meeting scheduled for 18 January 2024, be presented to the Scrutiny Management Board's next meeting to be rescheduled in January 2024.





Budgeted Savings Tracker pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Additional documents:


The Board was presented with a report on the tracking and delivery of savings agreed by Full Council in the current and previous financial years.


From discussion, it was felt the delivery of a number of savings indicated there were challenges in realising delivery. It was suggested that a report providing further explanation and how the plans were proceeding to implement the following savings be provided at its next scheduled meeting:


1.  Learning Disability and Autism and Mental Health (Ref. SC508 and ASC025)

2.  Enablement (Ref. ASC026 and SC511)

3.  Older People Physical Disability – reablement (Ref. SC504)

4.  Living Better Lives in Lancashire (Ref. A009)

5.  Family Safeguarding model (Ref. FSG)

6.  High cost placements (Ref. CE001)

7.  Pensions (Ref. CEX001)

8.  Treasury management (Ref. CEX003)


A question was raised with regards to the two savings proposed under adult social care currently RAG rated as red (Reablement and Living Better Lives in Lancashire). It was reported that there had been delays to the role out of reablement and the service was looking at mitigations to offset costs associated to the delay of savings.


Resolved: That:


(i)  The report be noted.


(ii)  A report providing further explanation and how the plans are proceeding to implement those savings as set out in the minutes be provided to the Scrutiny Management Board its next scheduled meeting.


(iii)Portfolio holders of those services identified be invited to attend the next meeting of the Board.


Work Programmes 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


Members were invited to consider the 2023/24 work programmes for all the scrutiny committees and the Scrutiny Management Board as set out in the report.


Permission was sought and agreed that the Carbon Capture in Grasslands (biochar) topic be moved from the reserve list for consideration at the meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee on 25 April 2024.


With regards to the work programme for the Scrutiny Management Board, it was reported that advice from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny on the budget scrutiny process, was that this work should be undertaken throughout the year. It was suggested that the quarterly Money Matters reports should be added to the agenda for all future meetings of the Board.


Resolved: That the:


(i)  Scrutiny work programmes be noted.


(ii)  Political Governance Working Group activity be noted.


(iii)All future Money Matters reports be added to the 2023/24 work programme for the Scrutiny Management Board.




Report on the activity of the Councillor Support Steering Group pdf icon PDF 170 KB


Members were provided with a report which provided an overview of matters presented and considered by the Councillor Support Steering Group (CSSG) at its meetings held on 26 July and 6 September 2023.


The Chair reported that it had now been agreed that the rollout of the highway's dashboard to mobile phones for councillors would go ahead.


With regards to the information provided on Vivup Lifestyle Savings scheme for staff, it was suggested that further promotion could be undertaken to help improve the uptake across the council.


Resolved: That:


(i)  The report be received.


(ii)  Feedback on the promotion of the Vivup Lifestyle Savings be reported back to the county council's HR Team.


Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.


There were no items of urgent business.


Date of Next Meeting

Currently, the next scheduled meeting of the Scrutiny Management Board will be held on Tuesday 30 January 2024 at 2pm in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.


The next meeting of the Scrutiny Management Board will take place in January, with a date to be confirmed.