Medway’s Council Plan 2021/22 sets out the Council’s three priorities. This report and appendices summarise how we performed in Q4 2021/22 on the delivery of the programmes and measures which fall under the remit of this Committee which are:
· Priority: Growth (Appendix 1)
· Values: 1: financial resilience, 2: digital enablement, 3: working together to empower communities, 4: creativity and innovation, 5: tackle climate change, and 6: child friendly (Appendix 2).
Given the overarching responsibilities of this Committee to provide guidance and leadership on the development and coordination of the scrutiny function for all overview and scrutiny committees, this report also contains:
· a performance summary of all services (Appendix 3)
· a summary of discussions at the Children and Young People, Regeneration, Culture and Environment, and Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committees (Appendix 5).
This report also presents the Q4 2021/22 review of strategic risks (Appendix 4).
The Committee considered the reports at items 9 and 10 of the agenda together. These summarised performance during Quarter 4 of 2021/22 and Quarter 1 of 2022/23. The reports also presented a review of strategic risks.
The following issues were discussed:
· MEA 2 – Medway Adult Education % retention rate – The Chief Operating Officer said that he would find out if an exit interview was conducted when someone left a course.
· PH14 and 15 – Excess weight in children – Members were advised that the Public Health team had started to prescribe healthy activities and that leisure centres were subsidised by the public health grant.
· PH17 – Breast feeding initiation – The Chief Operating Officer said that he would ask colleagues in Public Health why this measure was significantly below target.
· EDU3(b) – Percentage of children persistently absent from school – The Chief Operating Officer said that he would ask colleagues in Education why this measure was significantly below target, beyond reasons related to Covid-19.
· Removal of SR52 – A new severe pandemic from the risk register – Considerable concern was expressed about the removal of this risk from the register, and it was considered that the absence of a risk associated with pandemics from a public risk register would look odd given what had happened over the last two and a half years. It was suggested that there be a review of the risk to see if it could be reinstated. The Chief Operating Officer said that the steer from the Director of Public Health was that the response to a pandemic would be business as usual as staff were in place to respond should the need arise. This approach had been accepted by Corporate Management Team. A Member suggested that sight of departmental risk registers might give reassurance to Members.
The Committee was advised that the most appropriate forum for a discussion on this issue was the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Chief Operating Officer advised the Committee that it would be preferable for it to focus its discussions on the matters within its terms of reference and that some of the issues raised under this item would be better dealt with by the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee where the appropriate officers would be in attendance and could provide full responses to Members.
· Risk of income reduction due to cost of living pressures – The Chief Operating Officer agreed to give consideration to the inclusion of this as a risk on the register.
· GH6 - Satisfaction with parks and green spaces – Concern was expressed about significant problems within Medway’s parks, and it was questioned why this measure was considered to be on target, given that this was based on such a statistically small sample. It was considered that an increase in the green spaces budget was required to improve the situation and achieve health and social wellbeing benefits.
· Improving air quality in air quality management areas in Medway - It was suggested that this should have its own risk or be included within the HIF risk (SR50) because it was not considered that the Four Elms Hill Air Quality Action Plan would result in improvements in air quality until there was an increase in the use of electric vehicles and forthcoming roadworks would result in significant congestion.
· NI 154 – Net additional homes provided – The view was expressed that this measure was not meeting its target in terms of the provision of affordable housing.
· Energy supply – It was asked whether business continuity and emergency planning plans included the issue of energy supply.
· Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman referrals and decisions – Details were requested of the three upheld complaints referred to in the report and of any lessons that the Council had learnt as a result.
· Cyber security refresh training – Given that Members and officers were being asked to agree to a new cyber security policy, an update on the previously requested training was sought. The Chief Operating Officer advised that this request was with the Head of Elections and Member Services, and he would find out the latest position.
Decision (item 9):
1. considered the Q4 2021/22 performance against the measures used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities and noted the amended Strategic Risk Register as set out in Appendix 4;
2. referred the removal of SR52 - A new severe pandemic, e.g. flu, Covid-xx, MERS or other, more serious than Covid-19, from the risk register to the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee for further discussion; and
3. referred SR50 - Delivering £170m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) programme to the Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss a proposal that it should include improving air quality, particularly around Four Elms Hill.