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· To select appropriate items from the Cabinet agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (cabinet reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)
· To select appropriate items from the Cabinet (Finance) Sub Committee agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (Cabinet Finance Sub - Committee reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)
The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet Board items:
Welsh Language Standards Annual Report
Members were presented with the Welsh Language Standards Annual Report for 2020/2021.
The circulated report contained data on the language skills of staff within the Council; it was asked if Officers could provide a reflection on how the proportion of staff compared to the general population of the County Borough. Officers stated that they were in the process of moving to a new Human Resource payroll database which would improve the way in which data could be presented; this type of information could be provided moving forward.
Following Scrutiny, the report was noted.
2020/21 Revenue Outturn and Reserves Position Statement 2020/2021
The Committee received a report in relation to the Councils Revenue Outturn and Reserves Position Statement for 2020/2021.
Officers expressed the difficulty of the past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the need to deliver some services in a very different way. It was stated that the circulated reported included the substantial amount of additional monies that Welsh Government provided throughout the year, which resulted in improved figures for the end of the 2021 financial year. Officers confirmed that they will still in discussions with Welsh Government in relation to some of the claims that they had yet to pay, which could change some of the elements included within the report. It was added that the auditors had commenced work in relation to managing and reviewing the Councils statement of accounts, and they were due to report to the Governance and Audit Committee towards the end of July 2021; this will finalise the overview of the last financial year in relation to the information included in the circulated report and Officers will have to prepare in terms of statutory accounting requirements for those statements.
A discussion took place in relation to the data that was available to help understand the differences in usable reserves as a percentage of spend on services, for each Local Authority in Wales. Officers confirmed they had made inquiries and reviewed the documents that the auditor made reference to in a recent meeting of Council, and found a report they prepared in October 2020 called the ‘Financial Sustainability of Local Government as a Result of the Covid 19 Pandemic’. It was confirmed that the Director of Finance and Corporate Services would circulate this report and any other relevant information to all Members following the meeting.
It was asked at what point in the financial year did the reserves needed to be assessed and when was the last time the need for reserves was assessed. Members were informed that every budget monitoring report presented to Cabinet Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet included detail of the reserve balances; last year these were provided every two months, and in previous years they had been provided every quarter, then at the end of the year Members would receive a report on the final position. Officers confirmed that they would provide a further report for Members in ... view the full minutes text for item 1.
Any urgent items (whether public or exempt) at the discretion of the Chairman pursuant to Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972
Because of the need to deal now with the matters contained in Minute No. 4 below, the Chairperson agreed that these could be raised at today’ s meeting as urgent items pursuant to Statutory Instrument No.2290 (as amended).
Reason for Urgency:
Due to the time element.
Access to Meetings
To resolve to exclude the public for the following items pursuant to Regulation 4 (3) and (5) of Statutory Instrument 2001 No.2290 and the relevant exempt paragraphs of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972
Youth Custody Service (YCS) contract with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, through Hillside Secure Children's Home
Members were provided with a report which set out the historical and current matters pertaining to the contractual arrangements Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, through Hillside Secure Children’s Home, had with the Youth Custody Service.
Following scrutiny, the Committee was supportive of the proposal to be considered by the Cabinet Board.