Agenda and draft minutes

LCR Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 20th January, 2022 2.15 pm

Venue: Authority Chamber - No.1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

Contact: Lisa Backstrom 

Note: Members of the public are encouraged to view the meeting via the webcast but for anyone who would like to attend in person, please contact Democratic Services on 07833 047153 or email democratic.services@liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk in advance of the meeting. Please note that there is very limited capacity in the Chamber and seating will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. All those attending will be asked to wear a face covering (unless exempt) and are encouraged to take a Lateral Flow Test before attending. You should not attend if you have tested positive for Coronavirus or if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus 

Media

Items
No. Item

23.

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Pat Moloney, Kai Taylor and Sir Ron Watson CBE.

24.

Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest received.

25.

Minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Liverpool City Region Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 3 November 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 3 November 2021 were agreed as a correct record.

 

 

 

26.

Combined Authority Budget Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To consider the report of the Portfolio Holder for Policy, Reform and Resources and the Executive Director of Corporate Services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Portfolio Holder for Policy, Reform and Resources and the Executive Director of Corporate Services, which provided the Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an opportunity to consider and make recommendations on the 2022/23 budget for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority prior to its approval at the meeting of the Combined Authority on 21 January 2022.

 

            The Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, introduced the proposed 2022/23 Combined Authority Budget and thanked John Fogarty and his team for the tremendous work that had been undertaken in the preparation of the budget proposals.

 

            The Metro Mayor advised the Committee that this budget reflected where we were as a public body in the aftermath of Covid, the impact on Local Government Finances, uncertainty in levels of patronage on the public transport system, souring inflation, rises in supply chain costs, reductions in revenues and a growing gap between income and expenditure.

 

            The Metro Mayor highlighted some of the key challenges and changes within the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Budget 2022/23 to the Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee:-

 

  • Ensuring the safe running of services to the public, given the economic challenges;
  • Organisational efficiency and modernisation;
  • Handling money was very inefficient as it generated transaction costs;
  • A proposal to increase the tunnel tolls for the first time in five years in response to budget pressures and increasing maintenance costs;
  • A proposal to increase the transport levy by 2%;
  • A freeze in the Mayoral precept to avoid putting further financial pressure on residents; and
  • A proposal to bring an amendment to the Combined Authority meeting to incentivise the rate of take up of Fast Tag to non-City Region residents.

 

            The Metro Mayor concluded his statement and invited John Fogarty, Executive Director of Corporate Resources to make his budget statement.

 

            John Fogarty advised the Committee that Covid continued to cast a big shadow over the financial situation and the Combined Authority’s involvement in public transport meant it was very exposed to that financial impact of the pandemic. In setting a budget this year there had been four related, but quite distinct, challenges to consider:-

 

·      How to return the Combined Authority to a position of financial sustainability where reserves were no longer needed to prop up the revenue budget which had been the case through Covid;

·      How to maintain and grow the passenger transport network in an environment where passenger revenues had fallen off significantly;

·      How did the Mersey Tunnels fit into this picture in balancing the financial benefits of tunnels with some of the negative aspects, particularly reliance of cars for cross river journeys; and

·      How to deliver a package of investment (over £1bn) with limited revenue funding and the budget gap.

 

John Fogarty explained that the budget gap that currently existed had

predated Covid, but the pandemic had made the situation worse. The transport levy had reduced over time and was now significantly less than it had been five years ago, but costs had not reduced  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

LCR Combined Authority Corporate Plan 2021-24 - Biannual/Q2 Performance Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 755 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Director of Corporate Services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director for Corporate Services which provided an overview of performance for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Corporate Plan 2021-24 as at the end of Quarter 2 (July to September) 2021. This was part of the bi-annual cycle of strategic performance reporting.

 

            Stephen Littler, Corporate Performance Manager advised that the Quarterly Performance Monitoring Report included the following elements:

 

(a)             performance summary against the Corporate Plan Priorities up to the end of Quarter 2 2021/22 (30 September); and

 

(b)             performance data for the Corporate Performance Measures to the end of Quarter 2 2021/22.

 

The report outlined the 2021/22 half year delivery progress against the 5

priorities in Combined Authority’s Corporate Plan 2021-24 which had been agreed in July 2021.

 

            Stephen Littler confirmed that from his point of view all of the priorities were being delivered very well in accordance with the framework and commitments that had been set out in the Corporate Plan. There were no priorities or activities which were causing a huge concern at this point in what was a three year plan. The Combined Authority was six months into a 36 month programme and therefore it was still very early days.

 

            He added that there was no doubt that Covid-19 had impacted on delivery in a lot of ways, not only in delivering the projects and the way officers worked in the Combined Authority, but also in the way we had performed. The way in which information had been managed had continued in a consistent and well governed format so that Members could have confidence in what was being reported as information was based on evidence and intelligence that was collected on a regular basis.

 

            Looking forward into 2022/23 following the budget discussions the authority was already planning for next year’s plan which would include new strategies, for example equalities, people and social value, as well as any other projects and levelling up funds etc. that came through. These would start to appear in in the reporting throughout the year to reflect exactly what was being delivered.

 

            Stephen Littler informed the Committee that a lot of the narratives were in a summary format but that he was open to answer any questions. One of the main aspects of the report was for Members to flag any areas they wished to know a little more about. At the previous meeting there had been quite a few questions around the Low Carbon Agenda and Priority 3 which was in the Corporate Plan and consequently a report was being brought to this meeting in relation to the launch of the Net Zero Strategy. He hoped that Members were supportive of this concept in terms of presentation of the report.

 

            The Chair indicated that he had found it quite difficult to read the report as the print was very small on some pages particularly when using a screen and he asked if a larger font could be used in future reporting.

 

            Councillor Christine Howard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Appointment of Substitute Scrutiny Member to the LCR Audit and Governance Committee 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Chief Legal and Monitoring

Officer which sought a nomination from the Committee for a Liberal Democrat Councillor to sit as a substitute Member on the Combined Authority’s Audit and Governance Committee for the remainder of 2021/22.

 

            Louise Outram, Deputy Chief Legal and Deputy Monitoring Officer explained that the Committee required the appointment of two Labour Councillors, one Liberal Democrat Councillor and one Conservative Councillor and to appoint substitute members on the same basis.  Following a change in the Membership of the Committee approved by the Combined Authority in November 2021, a replacement substitute Member needed to be appointed.

 

            RESOLVED – That Councillor Geoff Pearl be appointed as the substitute Liberal Democrat Member on the Audit and Governance Committee for 2021/22.

 

 

29.

Liverpool City Region Pathway to Net Zero - Overview and Progress Update pdf icon PDF 359 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Director of Policy, Strategy and Government Relations.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director of Policy, Strategy and Government Relations which updated on progress to address the Climate Emergency declared by the Combined Authority in 2019. The report highlighted that the production of a net zero carbon pathway and action plan was one of the key objectives of the Corporate Plan (Priority 3: A Cleaner City Region) and outlined progress on meeting this objective and the proposed next steps.

 

Rachel Waggett, Principal Environment Officer advised that since the last meeting in November 2021, an update had been made to Corporate Plan priorities. A number of questions had been raised around Priority 3, the Cleaner priority stream and in particular around the plan for achieving Net Zero Carbon and what this meant for Liverpool City residents. So on that basis the Performance Team had been asked to present progress on this particular plan activity in more detail.

 

Rachel Waggett explained that the report set out a summary of progress together with two additional appendices. The first appendix was a Pathway to Net Zero document which was scheduled for approval at the Combined Authority meeting the following day. The second appendix provided an overview of the key stakeholders consulted whilst preparing the document.

 

The Committee were informed that section 4 of the report highlighted some of the great progress that had already been made in a number of areas, fundamental in achieving the Net Zero goal. Examples of initiatives included the Community Environment Fund which supported grass roots environmental projects, the energy efficient retrofit of homes, steps to encourage people out of private cars.

 

The pathway document also provided a brief summary of the excellent work being undertaken by each of the six local authorities. The aim was to show the breadth and the scope of actions that were already being undertaken so the excellent progress being made in moving towards our goal could be seen. However, in order to meet the ambitious target and the challenges set at COP26 it would be necessary to move even more quickly in the future. It was clear that in order to do that the participation of all the communities and businesses in the City Region was required.

 

Appendix two of the report detailed the wide public engagement exercise undertaken to understand the thoughts and opinions of people in the Liverpool City Region on this matter.   Rachel Waggett advised that a fuller report was available if anyone wished to see it.

 

In conclusion, the Pathway to Net Zero document set out a clear direction of travel for the Liverpool City Region. It tried to set out where we were now, where we needed to be in the future and the broad actions needed to achieve Zero Net Carbon in each of the five areas. The document had been designed by a community supplier with the aim of delivering this very complex information in a simple accessible format and was an attractive document to read. For those people who did want  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Equality Strategy Draft Vision and Objectives pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Director for Corporate Development and Delivery and Portfolio Holder for Policy, Reform and Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director for Corporate Development and Delivery and the Portfolio Holder for Policy, Reform and Resources which provided an update on work to develop a four-year Equality Strategy for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The strategy would set out the vision and objectives for equality, diversity and inclusion and would include a delivery plan to demonstrate how the ambition set out within the corporate plan in relation to equalities would be achieved.

 

            Olly Martins, Fairness and Social Inclusion Policy Lead advised the Committee that performance would be reviewed regularly against the delivery plan and considered by this committee in addition to the Combined Authority. The draft vision and objectives were set out within the and the finalised version of the Strategy and delivery plan was due to be considered by the Combined Authority at its meeting on 4 March 2022.

 

            Olly Martins explained that the report provided an update on the work to develop a strategy to ensure that this was encased across all activity of the Combined Authority. Since consideration of the Strategy by the Committee at its meeting on 3rd November 2022, it was at the point where the equality vision had been set and an objective had been developed in relation to each one of the three defined roles. Beneath each objective sat a descriptor and then some of the initial priorities that would be pursued.  The next stage would be to develop a detailed delivery plan which would be presented to the Combined Authority for consideration at its meeting on 4 March 2022.

 

            Olly Martins explained that the Committee now had an opportunity to undertake some activity via a Task and Finish Group to look at the Strategy in more detail.  A proposal had been put forward to look into disability and this was detailed in section 3.7 of the report.  

 

            Councillor John Abbott asked for clarification on the make-up of the Task and Finish Group

 

            Trudy Bedford, Statutory Scrutiny Officer advised that Task and Finish Groups were open to all Members of the Committee. There were no upper or lower limits and the group and it was not bound by any of the usual quorum issues. The process would start with an introductory session where a scoping document would be presented to Members and then three or four sessions would take place where evidence would be gathered from various witnesses and then formal report would be brought to Members for consideration together with a set of recommendations. If the recommendations were agreed by this Committee then they would go to the Combined Authority for final approval.  

 

            Councillor John Abbott explained that he was the Chief Executive of a disability Charity and would very much like to be involved.

 

            The Chair asked if the Committee were in agreement with the focus being on disability or whether there were any other areas that Members would like to consider.

 

   Councillor Christine Howard commented that she was not opposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.