Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Patterson
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors E Roderick and G Thomas.
County Councillors M Alexander (Portfolio Holder for Education) and County Councillor A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance)
Independent Member J Brautigam (representative from Audit Committee)
A Clark (Head of Education), J Thomas (Head of Finance), J Spraggon (Finance Business Partner)
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
No declarations of interest were received.
Declarations of Party Whip
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
No declarations of party whip were received.
To authorise the Chair to sign the minutes of the following meeting(s) as a correct record:
· 13th May 2019
The Chair was authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on the 13th May 2019 as a correct record.
To undertake pre-Cabinet scrutiny of the Cabinet School Budget Reports 2019/20.
· Scrutiny Briefing
· Draft Cabinet Report and Appendix A
· Section 52 Budget Statement 2019-20
· Primary School Funding
· Secondary School Funding
· Special School Funding
The Head of Finance advised that since the Schools Budget report had been provided to scrutiny two schools had submitted revised plans that subject to confirmation would indicate they had moved to a licensed position.
There are two different types of clawback indicated in the report can these be explained.
Clawback can firstly be triggered when a schools outturn budget is examined or secondly when a surplus budget beyond the threshold of clawback is projected.
What process is followed for schools in a clawback position?
Schools are asked to provide a plan of how they intend to use the surplus. If a school can demonstrate that the surplus is to be used effectively then the surplus will not be subject to clawback. If a school cannot demonstrate that the surplus will be used effectively then clawback will be considered.
Has clawback ever taken place?
Clawback has not taken place from Powys schools.
It appears that those schools who are a potential clawback position are those schools who have followed advice from their financial surgeries and taken the difficult decisions. It seems strange to place these schools in a potential clawback position.
The statutory regulations for school finance require the authority to consider clawback for schools in a current position of clawback regardless of forecast positions. Schools can be in a clawback position despite careful financial planning if additional money has become available at the end of the year (for example additional money to cover teachers pay or specific grant funding). Schools will respond to the clawback letter with an explanation of how it is intended to spend their budget and it is not expected that any clawback will be invoked.
If clawback did take place what would the Portfolio Holder for Education intend it to be used for?
It could be used for paying off the debts of closed schools or realigning additional money into schools.
The Portfolio Holder for Finance confirmed that it was a requirement the authority went through the clawback process but that the authority had, to date, never clawed back money from schools in this position.
The Portfolio Holder for Education arrived
The Portfolio Holder for Education confirmed that when examining the proportion of surplus in conjunction with a schools development plan then no schools in Powys had been unable to explain how it was intended to use the surplus.
The Head of Education confirmed that clawback did take place in other Welsh authorities.
Have the clawback letters been sent?
It was confirmed that emails had been sent advising schools of the current budgetary position but that letters would be sent after Cabinet had considered the paper.
Is the position changing regarding those schools who are yet to reach a licensed budgetary position?
Work continues to be undertaken with those schools who are yet to reach a licensed position and 2 schools have submitted plans which may take them to a licensed position. These figures need to be verified and the report to Cabinet will reflect ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee.
No Chair’s briefing was given.
Appointment of Members for Working Groups.
Non-scrutiny members have been offered the opportunity to join the Early Years Working Group and WESP Working Group. No expressions of interest have been received and therefore Membership of these working groups can be appointed from the Membership of the Committee. Each Working Group should comprise of the Chair plus four other Members of the Committee.
Appointment of Members for Joint Scrutiny of Vision 2025 Corporate Improvement Plan and Strategic Equality Plan
The Co-ordinating Committee had originally given the Economy, Regeneration, Communities and Governance Scrutiny Committee (ERCG SC) the role of scrutinising Vision 2025 however, as a number of areas within the Vision cross into the areas of work of the Health and Care Scrutiny Committee (HC SC) and Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee (LS SC) it has been agreed to form a joint group comprising of 3 Members of ERCG SC, 2 Members of HC SC and 2 Members of LS SC.
Appointment of 2 Members to attend the ERW Scrutiny Group
The ERW Scrutiny Group comprises of 2 Scrutiny Members from each of the authorities within ERW (Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys). This group scrutinise the work of the ERW Joint Committee and meet quarterly at meetings hosted and Chaired in turn by the six local authorities)
The following Members indicated an interest in joining the following groups:
· Early Years Scrutiny Group – Cllr P Roberts, Cllr S Davies, Parent Governor Representative S Davies and Church Representative M Evitts
· WESP Working Group – Cllr P Roberts, Cllr B Davies, Cllr S Davies, Cllr L Roberts, Parent Governor Representative A Davies
· Joint Scrutiny of Vision 2025 – Parent Governor Representative G Robson and Cllr P Roberts
· ERW – Parent Governor Representative A Davies and Cllr S Davies
Future meetings of Learning and Skills Scrutiny:
· 10th June 2019 Post 16 Review
(TBC) Schools Major Improvements
· 8th July 2019 Complaints, Compliments and Comments
School Service Budget
· 19th August 2019 (if required for pre-Cabinet scrutiny)
· 7th October 2019 School Balances and Schools Service Budget
Standards (provisional), attendance and exclusions
· 18th Nov 2019 ALN update
Dates to be confirmed:
· Early Years Working Group
· WESP Working Group
· Funding Formula Review
To elect a Vice-Chair
To elect a Vice-Chair for the ensuing year.
RESOLVED that Parent Governor A Davies be elected Vice-Chair for the ensuing year.