Agenda and minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting
Contact: Jane Meller
In light of the changing circumstances around the Covid-19 pandemic, this meeting was held remotely. Scrutiny Committees are not decision making meetings. Therefore the outcomes recorded in these minutes are not subject to approval by the Chief Operating Officer under his emergency delegated powers.
Declarations of Interest
At this point, Members are asked to declare:
· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
· any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.
At this point in the meeting, the Chair invited Members to
declare any personal, pecuniary or prejudicial interests, which
they had not already included in their standing register of
interests. None were declared.
To approve and sign the Minutes of the two meetings held jointly
with the Health and Adult Social Care and the Economy and Place
Committees on 25 October 2021. To approve and sign the Minutes
of the meeting held on 01 November 2021.
The Chair clarified his Declaration of Interest statement for both meetings held on 25 October 2021 and requested that the minutes be updated to reflect this.
Cllr Fenton requested that some additional text be added to the minutes of the 2pm meeting held on 25 October 2021.
The Chair requested that the minutes for the second meeting held on 25 October 2021 be updated to reflect which Cllr Taylor left the meeting between 6.32 and 6.34pm.
Resolved: That the minutes of both meetings held on 25 October 2021 and the meeting of 01 November 2021 were approved, subject to the updates outlined above, to be signed by the Chair as a correct record at a later date.
At this point in the meeting members of the public who have
registered to speak can do so. Members of the public may speak
on agenda items or on matters within the remit of the committee.
Please note that our registration deadlines have changed to 2
working days before the meeting, in order to facilitate the
management of public participation at our meetings. The deadline for registering at this meeting is at 5.00pm on Thursday, 9 November 2021.
To register to speak please visit
www.york.gov.uk/AttendCouncilMeetings to fill in an online
registration form. If you have any questions about the registration
form or the meeting please contact Democratic Services on the
details at the foot of the agenda.
Webcasting of Public Meetings
Please note that, subject to available resources, this meeting will
be webcast, including any registered public speakers who have
given their permission.
The meeting can be viewed live and on demand at
www.york.gov.uk/webcasts. During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our
coronavirus updates (www.york.gov.uk/COVIDDemocracy) for
more information on meetings and decisions.
It was reported that there had been no registrations to speak at
the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.
Public Health Update
The Director of Public Health will give a presentation updating the
Committee on Public Health in York.
Members received a verbal update and presentation from the Director of Public Health on the latest figures and information relating to the impact of the Covid virus, in particular the new Omicron variant, around the city, specifically covering the following:
· Case numbers in the city had risen, reflecting the rise in cases nationally. The majority of cases had been in the 5-19 and 10-14 age groups with a corresponding rate in parents.
· Approximately 30% of all PCR tests were sent for sequencing, detection of the Omicron variant took up to 10 days to come through, therefore press reported numbers of cases had been inaccurate. The variant was more transmissible but the impact on health was not yet known.
· The booster dose of the vaccine provided the best protection against the new variant. Boosters had been offered to all over 18’s. This programme had led to a drop in cases in older people and fewer hospital admissions, however the hospital continued to be very busy. Meetings had taken place to support the acceleration of the booster programme, calls for volunteers had been made and community pharmacies had contributed to the programme.
· Covid vaccination update, including that over 70,000 residents had received the booster vaccination.
· Public safety advice continued to be to follow all prevention measures including; face masks, hand washing, ventilation as well as to minimise contacts.
The Director of Public Health then responded to a range of questions around the availability of vaccinations and lateral flow tests, the vaccination programme and new variant symptoms.
Resolved: That the update from the Director of Public Health be noted.
Reason: To keep the Committee informed of the impact of pandemic across the city.
This is the second report of the financial year, covering the
period 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021. It assesses
performance against budgets, including progress in delivering
the Council’s savings programme and provides an overview of
any emerging issues.
Members considered the Finance and Performance report for Quarter 2 and were given a brief overview by the Chief Finance Officer. She highlighted the continuing financial pressures in adult and children’s social care which, she noted, was a national issue and not unique to the city.
The Chief Finance Officer and the Head of Business Intelligence Hub then responded to various questions from members covering time scales for processing new housing benefit claims, the projected overspend in the People Directorate and the position regarding reserves, staff sickness absence and customer service contact rates, and the budget decision process.
The Head of Business Intelligence Hub offered to provide to the Committee some further data on staff sickness by location and customer centre statistics on calls answered within timescale or abandoned.
Resolved: That the report and actions needed to manage the financial position be noted and that further staff sickness and customer centre data be circulated to Members for information.
Reason: To ensure that expenditure was kept within the approved budget.
This report provides Members with details of new petitions received to date, together with those considered by the Executive or relevant Executive Member/Officer since the last report to the Committee.
Members considered a report providing them with details of new petitions received to date, since the last report to the Committee.
The Democracy and Member Support Manager and the Chair had a brief discussion regarding the process for the Schedule of Petitions. The Chair confirmed that he had reported to the working party for the new constitution and suggested that the petitions could be processed differently, possibly with the Committee overseeing those that do not have a set route through the council. This item would be re-examined following publication of the new constitution.
It was noted that petition 148 had no signatures, this had been thought to be an administrative error which would be verified and amended if necessary.
Resolved: That the report be noted.
Reason: To ensure the Committee carried out its requirements in relation to petitions.
This report sets out the current position in relation to available
Council funding for research in support of scrutiny review work.
Members considered a report relating to the amount recommended to Budget Council in relation to the scrutiny research budget.
It was moved by the Vice Chair and seconded by the Chair to approve option 2 within the report. This was agreed unanimously by Members and it was therefore:
Resolved: That it be recommended to Executive to retain the current budgetary support of external research and consultancy work.
Reason: To ensure the availability of funding for the Committee to use for training and scrutiny purposes.
[Cllr Pearson left the meeting at 19:00, during the discussion of this item].
To consider the Work Plan for 2021-22.
Members considered the corporate scrutiny work plan covering the next meeting of this Committee and the meetings of the other Scrutiny Committees up until 28 February 2022.
Resolved: That the work plan be noted.
Reason: To ensure that the Committee has a planned programme of work in place and an overview of the other Scrutiny Committees.