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February 2012

Welcome
to the February edition of the Scrutiny Bulletin. In this edition, you can read about The Winter Maintenance Report Fairer Contributions Assigned task update Involving Young People in Scrutiny Spotlight on a co-optee Co-optee Recruitment Social Media Webcasting of Scrutiny meetings Dates for your diary The scrutiny report was presented to Cabinet on the 14th February 2012 and included a number of recommendations designed to help to further improve the winter service including: the need for the council to continue to train staff to ensure that there will always be the expertise and knowledge to deal with severe winter weather; support for the policy of purchasing enough supplies of salt to cope with the severest of winters; and liaising with local ward councillors to achieve the best locations for grit bins across the district. Cabinet thanked the Panel for the work that had been carried out and fully supported and endorsed the recommendations that were set out within the action plan. A copy of the full report is available on the scrutiny website. http://bit.ly/x0KLZC

Winter Maintenance Report


Members of the Council's Development and Environment Scrutiny Panel have completed an assigned task review on Winter Maintenance.

Fairer Contributions - Scrutiny


influences Cabinet decision In January, the Well-Being & Communities Scrutiny Panel met with officers to discuss the consultation on proposed amendments to the Fairer Contributions Policy. The consultation was proposing two changes to the Policy: 1. The review looked at the current approach being taken by the Council in dealing with winter conditions and included a focus on the policy on road salt supplies and the approach taken on gritting roads. The Panel also considered the impact that severe weather conditions had on access to services for local residents, as well as the way the council communicated and co-ordinated services for some of the most vulnerable groups. To increase the financial contribution a person pays towards the cost of their care from 67% to 100% from a persons disposable income. To remove the upper limit for contributions, which would mean removing the current cap of 205.00 on the weekly charge.

2.

The Panel was understanding of the need for change and agreed with the increase to 100% as this would ensure fairer contributions. However, they raised concern about the proposal to entirely remove the upper limit for

contributions as they felt that this may act as a barrier to an individual accepting care. It was felt that the absence of a maximum cap could result in people imagining an unrealistic worst case scenario and being reluctant to seek help.

recommendations will be submitted to Cabinet for formal approval on 13 March 2012. Social Isolation - the assigned task group has completed its review of the progress against recommendations made in the original project and have pulled together a final report. This highlights where good progress has been made and also ensures that areas where further work is still needed are identified. The report and recommendations will be submitted to Cabinet for formal approval on 13 March.

Involving Young People in Scrutiny


The Panel therefore formally proposed an alternative course of action to the Cabinet to introduce a maximum weekly charge that was comparable with a council funded place in residential care i.e. 418.03. On 7 February, the Cabinet met to consider the responses to the consultation on the Fairer Contributions Policy, and agreed to amend their original proposal to remove the upper limit for contributions. The Cabinet agreed to introduce a maximum weekly charge that was comparable with residential care - 418.03 at the current time. Members of the Children and Young People Panel have been working to create greater links with the councils Youth Council and to involve young people more in the work of scrutiny. In order for this to happen, young people supported by the Involving Young Citizens Equally (IYCE) Team put forward a potential scrutiny item about Jobs, Opportunities and Money and the Scrutiny Panel agreed that this was an item it would like to include as part of its work programme.

Assigned Task update


You may recall the October 2011 Scrutiny Bulletin reported on a number of assigned tasks that had been set up across the scrutiny panels at the start of the municipal year. Significant progress has been made and here is a brief update on those assigned tasks. Planning Process - the evidence gathering phase is nearing completion, with the expectation that a report outlining the findings and recommendations will be presented to Cabinet in May 2012. Payment Invoicing - the assigned task group has now finished its work and have written a final report which includes a number of recommendations for improvement. The report and

It was agreed that Scrutiny would work with young people to gather more in depth views from a wide range of young people concerning jobs, opportunities and money. Young people were involved in three evidence gathering methods: Developing a questionnaire, Testing the Calderdale & Kirklees Careers Workabout site to find out information about jobs and opportunities Evaluating the 16-19 bursary leaflet. Two pupils from Shelley College designed the questionnaire and interviewed other young people. The Panel wanted to ensure they involved a diverse range of young people and therefore evidence was gathered from the Youth Council, teenage parents, Looked After Children and young offenders. Young people were approached at Connexions Huddersfield, Shelley College, Huddersfield Library,

Surestart and Young Parents Group. Influence Workers, who work specifically with young people, also attended youth clubs and other groups. All evidence has now been collated and a number of questions raised by young people will be covered and answered by officers from CHYPS and Connexions at the Children and Young People Panel on the 28 February 2012. Following this, a final report with comments, conclusions and recommendations produced by both the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel and young people will be created.

officers, to discuss their real-life experience of the system, and in meetings with staff who had responsibility for the system to understand their aims and ambitions for it. We obtained relevant documents, such as internal audit reports, and requested specific data on system usage patterns. I was involved in turning all the evidence we had gathered into a draft report with a coherent set of recommendations. The full Panel then reviewed, amended and finalised the report. After consultation with those involved with Marketplace, our report was presented to Cabinet last summer and our recommendations were supported. It was extremely heartening to receive an update at a recent Panel meeting on how the recommendations had been implemented and the improvements that had been achieved. I was really chuffed to see that a piece of work I had been involved in had been taken so seriously and had made a contribution to those improvements. The main focus of the Resources Panel is on the Councils internal strategy and operations. It was therefore really interesting to get involved in something with a more external focus the Ad Hoc Panel on Teenage Conception. This has been a major piece of work, which has involved meetings with officers, health professionals, teachers, voluntary organisations and young mothers. We have received a massive amount of evidence which the Panel recently ploughed through to enable us to identify the key themes and to frame our provisional recommendations. The report is due to be published in March 2012 and I hope that, once published, it will make a contribution to making things better for young people in managing their sexual health and accessing the support they need if they become young parents. In all the Scrutiny work Ive done, Ive been really impressed by the support and professionalism of the Scrutiny Officers. Ive thoroughly enjoyed this work and I hope to continue it for a few more years.

Spotlight on a Co-optee
In this edition of the scrutiny bulletin, the spotlight on a co-optee features Linda Summers, who has been a Voluntary Co-optee for the last 2 years. I came across the advert seeking Scrutiny Co-optees on the Kirklees website and, having just retired from full-time work, this seemed like an interesting opportunity. The recruitment process was very helpful in explaining more about the role and, once appointed, the comprehensive training provided opportunities to practise the skills that would be required. I was allocated to the Resources Scrutiny Panel. Our work has included some elements of ongoing oversight and review such as the important Innovation & Efficiency programme, which is aiming to achieve major efficiencies in the Councils operations and reductions in its expenditure along with more focussed pieces of work carried out, usually, through Assigned Tasks involving a sub-group of the Panel. I was involved in one such Assigned Task which looked into Marketplace, the Councils electronic procurement system. My professional background is in senior management in the public sector and I aimed to apply the skills and experience I acquired there in the conduct of the Marketplace project. Cllr David Ridgway and I were involved in meetings with a wide range of

Co-optee Recruitment
Scrutiny is currently looking to recruit a number of new Voluntary Co-optees. The role of a co-optee provides an opportunity to help to shape how Kirklees Council and its partners deliver services to meet the needs of the residents of Kirklees. If you know anyone who might be interested in becoming a co-optee further information can be found by visiting www.kirklees.gov.uk/scrutiny An information pack and application form, can be obtained by contacting the Scrutiny Team on 01484 221916 or e-mailing scrutiny.governance@kirklees.gov.uk Closing date for applications is 8 March 2012.

Webcasting of Scrutiny Panel Meetings


The next meetings of the Scrutiny Panels for Development and Environment and Children and Young People are to be webcast. The webcasting facilities at Huddersfield Town Hall allow the public to watch Council meetings online, in real time without the need to leave their homes or place of work. To access the webcast head to http://kirklees.gov.uk/webcast Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel will meet on Tuesday 28th February 2012 at 10.00am. The Panel will be talking to the Assistant Director for Learning about the Financial Management of Schools and receiving responses from officers on the questions put forward by young people and the scrutiny panel about Jobs, Opportunities and Money. http://bit.ly/x6ycid The Development and Environment Scrutiny Panel will meet at 1.00pm on the same day. The Panel will be talking to officers from Strategic Housing about the Housing Commissioning Strategy, which is currently being revised, and will also be meeting with the Assistant Director for Streetscene & Housing to review progress against the Panels recommendations on Crematoria and Cemeteries. http://bit.ly/wnHDkX

Social Media
Social media forms an important part of how Scrutiny communicates information about its work to a wider audience. Social media was also used to gather evidence as part of the Academies Ad Hoc Scrutiny Review. Kirklees Scrutiny now has 237 Twitter followers and since October we have tweeted 207 times sending out details of forthcoming meetings and reporting on the proceedings during meetings. Why not follow meetings on Twitter by following conversations tagged with #kirkcouncil or via the Scrutiny Facebook page. You can contact us at: Scrutiny & Governance Team 2nd Floor, Civic Centre 3 Huddersfield HD1 2TG 01484 221700 scrutiny.governance@kirklees.gov.uk Or follow us on Twitter - @kirkleescrutiny

Dates for your Diary


The Panel meeting dates for the remainder of the municipal year are: February 8th Well-Being & Communities Panel 14th OSMC 28th Children & Young People Panel 28th Development & Environment Panel 29th Resources Panel March 7th Well-Being & Communities Panel 13th OSMC 27th Children & Young People Panel 27th Development & Environment Panel 28th Resources Panel April 4th Well-Being & Communities Panel 10th OSMC