Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. View directions
Contact: Trudy Bedford 0151 330 1330
Appointment of Chairperson
Councillor Kevan Wainwright nominated Councillor Carl Cashman to be the Chairperson of the Liverpool City Region Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Louise Outram, Head of Legal, Democratic Services and Procurement advised the Committee that in the absence of Councillor Carl Cashman, there was no indication as to whether he would accept or decline the nomination. As such it would need to be dealt with at the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 5 December 2018.
Appointment of Vice Chairperson
Councillor Bill Woolfall nominated Councillor Kevan Wainwright to be the Vice Chairperson of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
This was seconded by Councillor Louise Whitley.
Councillor Kevan Wainwright then nominated Councillor Paula Murphy to be the second Vice Chairperson of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
This was seconded by Councillor Bill Woolfall.
RESOLVED- That Councillor Kevan Wainwright and Councillor Paula Murphy be appointed as the Vice Chairperson of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the remainder of the municipal year 2018/19.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carl Cashman (Knowsley MBC), Councillor David Baines (St Helen’s MBC), Councillor Mike Sullivan (Wirral MBC), Councillor Tom Anderson (Wirral MBC) and Sir Ron Watson (LCR Conservative Sefton).
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
RESOLVED - That the following minutes of the previous meetings of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny be approved as a correct record and signed by the Vice Chairperson, Councillor Wainwright: -
a) 25 October 2017
b) 24 January 2018
c) 18 April 2018
d) 1 August 2018
Members commented that the requirement in the legislation relating to the high quorum was unacceptable and created a barrier rather than an engaging process. They suggested that representation to Government should be made to ensure that the quorum is reduced to a more reasonable number in order that the business can proceed and there is not a repeat of the last 3 meetings. Members also enquired about whether the other Combined Authorities were having similar issues and if it could be reported on at the next meeting.
Louise Outram (Head of Legal, Democratic Services and Procurement) informed the Committee that the quorum is set by Government and was being looked at and that feedback would be provided to the Committee at the next meeting regarding the progress being made in relation to the quorum.
Minute No. 11 – Metro Mayor’s 100 Day Plan: Re-LCR Brownfield List
Councillor Pugh enquired about whether or not the Brownfield list had been published.
RESOLVED – That confirmation be sought on whether the Brownfield list had been published and this be communicated to members accordingly.
To consider the report of the Monitoring Officer.
The Committee considered a report of the Monitoring Officer relating to the appointment of scrutiny members to the Audit and Governance Committee.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) Councillors Paula Murphy (Labour), Edna Finneran (Labour), Dr John Pugh (LCR Liberal Democrat) and Sir Ron Watson OBE (LCR Conservative) be appointed to the Audit and Governance Committee;
(ii) Councillors Louise Whitely (Labour) and Sam Marshall (Labour) be appointed as substitute Members to the Audit and Governance Committee; and
(iii) the remaining two substitutes be appointed in consultation with Members and the Vice Chairperson of this Committee and reported back to the next meeting.
To consider an update from Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
The Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram provided an update relating to his work over the period of May-September 2018. He highlighted the following: -
· Delivering for the City Region
· Winning the fight against rough sleeping- £7.7m secured from Government
· Half price bus travel for apprentices
· £5m for Town Centres
· Metro Mayor’s Summit
· A new train station for Maghull
· £4.5m initiative to help households into work
· Inspiring Science Fund
· £20m for new Cruise Liner Terminal
· £500m secured through the Combined Authority
· Bus Services Bill
· New trains owned by the LCR Combined Authority
Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram responded to the earlier comments by members relating to the quorum of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He informed the Committee that representation had been made to the Government regarding the two-thirds requirement which was quite high for this particular Committee given the importance of the scrutiny function. He further commented that scrutiny was integral to the process and given the recent external audit response as part of the Annual Governance Statement it was important that the Committee continues to be quorate in order to fulfil its terms of reference and functions.
Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram informed the Committee that the LCR Brownfield List had been published and was available online on the LCR Combined Authority website as part of the formal process.
Councillor Bill Woolfall thanked the Metro Mayor for the update and enquired about the bus travel scheme for the apprentices in terms of how long it would last.
The Metro Mayor informed the Committee that legislation was going through Parliament which would provide more authority to improve the bus provision for apprentices. He said that the current concession scheme was the most generous in the country, but the viability of it required review as a consequence of a reduction in Government funding. The apprenticeship scheme will be for the lifetime of the apprenticeship and action is being taken to make it easier for the apprentices to access information about apprenticeship opportunities online through a single portal in one place.
Councillor June Burns thanked the Metro Mayor for the new Maghull North train station.
Councillor Patrick Hurley enquired about the infrastructure for the new trains and what would happen if the platforms were not the same level.
The Metro Mayor informed the Committee that there was an infrastructure investment plan for platform improvements which was being considered. He advised that these improvements would cost between £20-£30m. He expressed that there were difficulties as Merseytravel did not have full control over the platforms. He informed the Committee that he would be visiting London, to meet with the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, to discuss the issues. Furthermore, Merseytravel is investing a lot of money into improvements to the train infrastructure which had yet been rolled out across the network and Councillor Robinson would be able to provide an update.
Councillor Mary Rasmussen thanked the Metro Mayor for the innovative scheme for half price fares for apprentices. She enquired about “Myticket” which ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To receive a presentation which provides an overview of the budget setting process for the LCR Combined Authority.
The Committee received a presentation from John Fogarty, Director of Corporate Resources relating to the key budget issues facing the LCR Combined Authority which were attached to these minutes at Appendix 1.
Members enquired about the following: -
· Regarding the shortfall of £6.2m, would that cost be passed on to the tax payer over the next five years through a precept or increases in Council Tax?
· Was it the case that it did not matter how much it costs the LCR Combined Authority, as the Council Tax payer would pay the £6.2m in the long run?
· The staff positions that were not yet filled in the Metro Mayor’s office, how much would that equate to?
· Why was there a need for the Chief Executive of the LCR Combined Authorities post to be back-filled?
· Had the Transport Committee allowances been reviewed as it was now a Committee of the LCR Combined Authority and not a Committee within their own right?
· Had some of the costs in relation to the £6.2m been “double-counted” and could more detail be provided regarding the running costs. Where was the £1m Mayoral Capacity Grant from government in the budget and how was this being spent?
· How would the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be involved in the budget process for 2019/20?
· It gives the impression that it does not matter how much it costs, the Council Tax payer will pay for it in the long run.
· Had the Committee’s concerns regarding the £6.2m LCR Combined Authority running costs been referred to the Metro Mayor or the LCR Combined Authority?
· How would the £21m in potential revenue aspirations be funded if all these were to go ahead?
John Fogarty informed the Committee that any decisions relating to the LCR Combined Authority’s budget for 2019/20 and beyond would be difficult to respond to as they were decisions for the Metro Mayor and the LCR Combined Authority to make. He confirmed that there was currently no Mayoral precept but in terms of any costs being passed to the tax payer, it would be a decision that the LCR Combined Authority would have to make as part of its budget setting process. CIPFA were currently working with the LCR Combined Authority to identify the best and most sustainable way to fund the Mayoral Combined Authority in the long term and all constituent Local Authorities were engaged in this work.
It was further reported that the Chief Executive’s post had not been backfilled, Frank Rogers was the Interim Chief Executive and there were no plans to backfill his substantive post at present. Furthermore, there were no additional costs arising from this, however to delete Mr Roger’s substantive post while he was serving in another post on an interim basis would be problematic from a HR perspective.
In terms of members’ allowances for Transport Committee members, the “Order” prevented any allowance being paid by the LCR Combined Authority to Committee members, this was a decision made by the constituent Local Authorities as they ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To consider the report of the Statutory Scrutiny Officer.
The Committee considered a report relating to the Work Programme for 2018/19. It was noted that a revised version was circulated to members prior to the meeting.
Charles Yankiah (Senior Democratic Services Officer) informed the Committee that the revised report related to the proposed changes to the Task and Finish Group format. Having consulted with officers regarding the chosen topics and been advised that strategies and policies were currently being developed they would not be ready to be scrutinised till the next municipal year. It was recommended that a workshop format be used for the remainder of the year for the remaining topics and that members be informed in due course regarding the arrangements.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) the establishment of Workshops as set out at section four of the report be agreed;
(ii) in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chairs the Statutory Scrutiny Officer and the Monitoring Officer develop the work programme for 2018/19;
(iii) in consultation with the Chair (when appointed) and the Vice Chairs the Treasurer be authorised develop the budget consultation process for the LCR Combined Authority;
(iv) progress reports on the recommendation of the Committee’s previous Task and Finish Groups be provided to future meetings of this Committee; and
(v) The Chair of the Transport Committee, Councillor Liam Robinson be invited to a future meeting to provide an update and presentation on the Transport Committee.
Cllr Joe De'Asha - Rotation of venues for Overview and Scrutiny Committee
A request has been received from Councillor Joe De’Asha asking that the Committee consider the rotation of venues for this Committee across the six Constituent Local Authorities.
The Committee received a request from Councillor Joe De’Asha, St Helen’s Metropolitan Borough Council, regarding the rotation of venues across the City Region for this Committee.
Councillor Joe De’ Asha stated that some members on the Committee were new members and were not familiar with other authority areas. Therefore it would be a good opportunity to rotate across the city region and get to understand other areas across the region, especially recognising the scrutiny function of the Committee.
Members raised the following concerns: -
· Movement around the local authority areas would lose the Committee’s consistency in terms of venue, support and purpose.
· Site visits across the city region could be explored depending on what area of scrutiny was being conducted.
· Due to the difficulties of meetings being inquorate, some members may not be able to get to Mann Island due to work commitments etc. So to rotate the meeting was a good idea, as not everyone was retired.
· It was suggested that the main Committee meeting remain at Mann Island, however, consideration be given to rotating the Task and Finish Groups or the Workshops accordingly.
· Transport connections to the City Centre supported the meetings being at Mann Island.
· Varying the venue could cause complications and until the quorum was consistent it may hamper attendance.
· There may be an opportunity to hold “virtual meetings” as the technology and facilities existed in local authorities.
The Vice Chair informed the Committee that discussions had already been held regarding the venue for meetings and it was agreed that Mann Island was central and pivotal in terms of the transport links to the City Centre. He also stated that were members were unable to attend the Committee meetings, then they should consider their representation on this Committee.
Councillor Joe De’ Asha expressed his concern regarding the comments made by the Vice Chair.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) Meetings of the LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee be held
at Mann Island;
(ii) Depending upon the subject being scrutinised, consideration be
given to the Workshops and Task and Finish Groups being located at other venues across the City Region.
The Committee are asked to note a question submitted by Unlock Democracy and the subsequent response from Metro Mayor S Rotheram. The question was submitted to the meeting of the LCR Combined Authority held on 29 June 2018.
The Committee considered a question submitted to the LCR Combined Authority by Unlock Democracy relating to the “inquorate meetings” previously held of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the response provided by the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.
RESOLVED - That the question and response be noted