To enable the Cabinet to consider recommendations made by the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee in relation to the above.
That the recommendations of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee be taken into account as part of developing the Back to Business Action plan, which will include regular and timely updates being presented to the Committee as part of its important overview and scrutiny role in delivering against this key priority for the Council.
Cabinet was aware that,at its meeting held on 13 August 2020 (Minute 74 referred), the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee had a scrutinised a report of the Assistant Director (Governance) regarding the development of ‘Priorities and Projects’ that would be incorporated as part of the Council’s Back to Business and Recovery Plan, and the Performance Management framework for the Council for 2020/21 in advance of any decisions to be made by Cabinet/Council on those matters. The report included an Appendix prepared by the Assistant Director (Finance and IT) which drew together the numerous proposals and concepts arising from a survey of businesses locally, from individual Councillors and from Officers to help the District to build back better following the economic and social impact locally of the lockdown associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Committee had been invited to identify its collective view on the themes and activities that should be key strands of work to focus on helping the District recover and included restarting the local economy, keeping residents and visitors safe and harnessing the power of the voluntary sector to deliver much needed services and improve the quality of life locally.
As a result of its scrutiny the Committee had formulated a proposed draft response to the Cabinet on this matter and had agreed that it would be circulated to the members of the Committee for confirmation. Subsequently, the Chairman of the Committee (Councillor M E Stephenson) had convened a further special meeting of the Committee in order that the Committee could formally endorse its response.
The Committee had subsequently meton 3 September 2020 to review the outputs from the 13 August meeting and ensure that they had been accurately captured. Those points were now before the Cabinet as set out at Appendix A to item A.6 of the Reference Reports from the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
The Committee had also taken a look at what the Cabinet should be recommended to do next to help achieve a coherent and integrated response to the ‘Back to Business’ agenda locally. As the 3 September meeting was held after the publication of the Agenda for this Cabinet meeting the Committee’s formal response had been circulated as soon as practicable.
It was reported that the decisions concerning the Financial Outturn 2020/21 (referred to in Minute 54 above) and the discussions around ‘Back to Business’ had suggested to the Committee that a clear and deliverable action plan should be developed by the Cabinet taking in the range of proposals. Those proposals now needed to be assessed and the component parts examined in order to identify the various steps that would be necessary to achieve them. The timing and financing of those proposals needed to be thoroughly worked through in order to avoid wasted energy and public funds. Initially, schemes and services that were already in place or were anyway going to be implemented in this timeframe could be started or refocussed with minimal delay. This would ensure that the Council did not defer intervention whilst the full range of proposals were worked on.
Cabinet was informed that the Committee felt that, as ‘back to business’ steps were developed they could themselves suggest related or associated steps to be taken. Such associated and related steps might help deliver enhanced benefits and maximise the deliverables that could be achieved through the “back to business” agenda. To help encourage this approach it was felt that it would assist to theme the proposals. Through an agreed themed plan a more coherent approach could be encouraged. In developing the Action Plan, a themed approach was considered for recommendation to the Cabinet. This in itself had identified to the Committee that in many areas proposals would fit into more than one theme and thereby achieve advantage across those overlapping themes.
Cabinet noted that, as the Committee saw it, the ‘back to business’ agenda was not intended to replace the Corporate Plan and so there was a recognition that particular activities would be on-going to achieve that Plan and that it was vital that this activity continued. Indeed, the Committee recognised that some of the more long term proposals arising from the ‘Back to Business’ discussion would fit well with the delivery of the Council’s Corporate Plan goals.
Following discussion, it had been agreed by the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee that it inform Cabinet that it –
(a) confirms its decisions of 13 August 2020 in respect of the outputs from its discussion of ‘Back to Business’ at Appendix A to this report (and the Outturn 2020/21, as set out in report A5 for this meeting of Cabinet);
(b) recommends that the Cabinet approves the necessary work to assess the various ‘Back to Business’ proposals, proceeds to implement those schemes and services that can be speedily focussed on ‘Back to Business’, develops an Action Plan of assessed and costed proposals (based on short, medium and long-term measures) and sets about the delivery of that Action Plan;
(c) further recommends to Cabinet that the themed approach to ‘Back to Business’ at Appendix B to this reference report be adopted; and
(d) records its intention to monitor the development of the Action Plan referred to in (b) above and its delivery. This will include project management and performance (which itself will include success measures and milestones towards delivery) and to approve that the work programme for this Committee shall be prepared to provide for this.
Cabinet had before it the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder’s response to the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s comments and recommendations which was as follows:-
“I would like to thank the RSOS Committee for its work on the back to business priorities and projects. I will certainly be looking at how many of these initiatives we can progress within the funds available. I would be keen to focus on the key business and resident support measures we can put in place given that we are not yet clear about where in the Covid cycle we may be and so it is critical that there is longevity to the initiatives and that any spend is done wisely.
To this end Cabinet will focus on putting together an action and delivery plan to focus on short term actions, drawing from the suggestions from RSOS Committee and the other suggestions submitted by other Councillors.”
Having considered the Resources and Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and the response of the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder thereto:
It was moved by Councillor G V Guglielmi, seconded by Councillor Newton and –
RESOLVED that the recommendations of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee be taken into account as part of developing the Back to Business Action plan, which will include regular and timely updates being presented to the Committee as part of its important overview and scrutiny role in delivering against this key priority for the Council.