Agenda and minutes

Resources & Delivering Value Scrutiny Board - Monday 9th January 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, Solihull

Contact: Paul Rogers 


No. Item



Additional documents:






Councillors: M Parker (Chairman), D Gibbin, Y Clements, M Allen, N Moses, A Adeyemo, A Hodgson, D Holl-Allen MBE


Councillor R Sleigh OBE: Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Resources








Sam Gilbert: Assistant Director of Finance & Property Services

Lauren Beach: Finance Manger

Priya Spoila (V): Senior Accountant (Strategic Services)

Sean Castree: Senior Accountant (Economy and Infrastructure)

Gabrielle Whitehouse (V): Group Manager (Development Services)

Mike Brymer: Acting Executive Director of Asset Management and Development, SCH

Yesrib Azam (V): Programme Manager

Lindon Wilson (V): Head of Corporate Property Services

Paul Rogers: Democratic Services



1.  Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor R Holt, for whom Councillor Mrs Holl-Allen MBE was substituting.


Apologies were received from Councillor J Tildesley.


Apologies were received from Paul Johnson, Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, who was on Council business.



Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

Additional documents:



No declarations of interest were received.



Questions and Deputations

Additional documents:


No questions or deputations were received.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 453 KB

To consider for approval the draft Minutes arising from the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board meeting held on 7th November 2022.

Additional documents:


The Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board:




(i)  To agree the Minutes arising from the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board meeting held on 7th November 2022 as an accurate record.




MTFS Update – Budget Strategy 2023/24 – 2025/26 pdf icon PDF 351 KB

1.1 Each scrutiny board in January will receive a report outlining the budget proposals identified within their respective portfolios for the period from 2023/24 to 2025/26.

1.2 The report outlines the forecast budget position in respect of this portfolio in more detail, explaining the pressures identified over the period to 2025/26 and the actions proposed to mitigate them.

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director of Finance & Property Services presented the report, which outlined the forecast budget position in respect of the resources Portfolio, further explaining the pressures identified over the period to 2025/26 and the actions proposed to mitigate them.


Members were informed that the task of presenting a balanced 3-year budget was very challenging in the current fiscal climate.  Budget plans have been established for 2023/24, with some options identified in relation to the 2024/25 and 2025/26 financial years.


Attention was drawn to the detail in the report addressing the Council’s key pressures, mitigating actions, proposed savings and identified efficiencies and to risks relevant to the Resources Portfolio’s budget position. Members were further informed that the Resources Directorate had identified £9.149M savings over the MTFS period, which was comprised of one-off savings of £5.610M in 2023/24, £1.212M in 2024/25 and £1.450M in 2025/26 and ongoing savings of £877,000 in 2025/26.


The report identified key risks relevant to the budget proposals for the Resources Portfolio, with the Assistant Director, Finance and Property Services, drawing Members attention specifically to the cost of living crisis impacting across various areas, including Income and Awards, the increase in the age of outstanding debt, increased ICT operating costs in the form of higher licensing and hardware costs, fiscal pressures placed on catering services through increased food costs and pay settlements and finally wider economic pressures  across the general retail sector which can lead to higher business failures.


Councillor Sleigh OBE noted that the Council was in a unique position in being able to deliver a balanced budget for 2023/24, with strategic savings also identified going forward to 2025/26 via the MTFS which is satisfactory to the Councils external auditors.


Having received the introduction to the report, Members of the Scrutiny Board raised several related questions, which in summary received the following replies and clarification from Officers present:


Ø  An on-going review of the Communities and Partnerships staffing structure would not lead to any redundancies.


Ø  In respect to the reported recruitment and retention issues currently experienced by the Resources Directorate, part of the issue lay with the increased workloads in the areas of finance, Human Resources and ICT support, which compounded the retention issue to a degree.  The current recruitment and retention scenario has been the case since the commencement of the Covid pandemic lockdown. Furthermore, the Council and wider public sector was competing with the private sector for suitably qualified and experienced staff. The Council’s HR service was reviewing how the Council could best present its offer to potential new employees in terms of the benefits arising from working for the Council. However, the working population was generally now more transient post pandemic, and this was mirrored across local authority’s and the West Midlands region in general.


Ø  Regarding the Councils Court costs in relation to Council Tax and Business Rates actions and the liability cost to the Council of £95 against the Council’s subsequent charge of £57.50 against the other party, the Finance Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Follow up report – Building Safety pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To provide the Scrutiny Board with an update on current Building Safety legislation and activities undertaken for the Council’s Housing Stock and other Council owned buildings.

Additional documents:


The report provided the Scrutiny Board with an update on current Building Safety legislation and activities undertaken for the Council’s Housing Stock and other Council owned buildings.


The Acting Executive Director of Asset Management and Development, SCH introduced the report to the Scrutiny Board.  Key highlights brought to the attention of Members included:


  • The Fire Safety Act 2021 was now in place.


  • Under the Act, fire and rescue services will be empowered to take enforcement actions and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.






  • SCH undertook fire risk assessments on the communal parts of both High-Rise Residential Buildings (HRRB’s) and low-rise residential buildings every 3 years. Annual risk assessments are carried out by a specialist in respect of the 37 HRRB’s located in Solihull, whilst SCH undertook risk assessments for the low-rise buildings located in the borough every 3 years.


  • The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 introduced new duties under the Fire Safety Order for building owners or managers (responsible persons). The regulations are scheduled to come into force on 23rd January 2023, implementing a number of recommendations arising from phase one of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.


  •  The Regulations did not implement the requirements for PEEPS (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans). The PEEP guidance is seen to be more relevant for those building managers who did not have a ‘stay put’ policy in place.  Solihull operated a ‘stay put’ policy for residents in the 37 HRRB’s within the Council housing stock unless the fire itself was in the resident’s residential unit.


  • The Building Safety Act (BSA) became effective on 28th April 2022, applicable to those HRRB’s over 18 meters in height and introduced a Building Safety Regulation via Health and Safety Regulations.


  • The Building Safety Bill requires an Accountable Person to be nominated for the ‘in occupation’ phase of the lifecycle of in scope buildings such as the 37 HRRB’s in the borough and this is the Director of Economy and Infrastructure.  The required tasks are delegated within  SCH to a newly  appointed Head of Building Safety, whilst the Council has a Building Safety Manager in post.


  • SCH had a Building Safety Implementation Plan in place, which captured all activities required by the legislation, which addressed amongst other matters:


-  A data strategy.


-  Building safety case for all 37 HRRB’s (scheduled for review from April 2024).


-  Governance and assurance arrangements.


-  Projects planned to further improve the safety of HRRB’s.


A sprinkler installation project currently in progress across the 37 HRRBs has led to better resident engagement, as well as allowing SCH to address some legacy issues in properties with faults. An access rate to properties of approximately 97.5% had been achieved, although it remained the intention to reach 100% of units. The programme had also experienced some significant challenges due to a change in the British Standards requirements where the 2021 standard now require the installation of double size water tanks and the provision of back up generators.


Update for the Corporate Approach to Delivering an Asset Masterplan (CADAM) Programme pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To provide an update on the progress of the Corporate Approach to Delivering an Asset Masterplan (CADAM) Programme

Additional documents:


The report provided an update on the progress of the Corporate Approach to Delivering an Asset Masterplan (CADAM) Programme.  The Assistant Director of Finance and Property Services introduced the report and drew the Scrutiny Boards attention to the following matters:


  • The report was part of a regular CADAM update to the Scrutiny Board as it was a key transformational programme, representing a larger scale project across 3 financial years. The Scrutiny Report last received a CADAM Progress Report on 7th October 2021.


  • Since October 2021, a CADAM health check had been completed. All Council office buildings had been centralised to test how to adapt and review associated property costs.


  • The CADAM Programme was comprised of 2 components a) a review of current Council buildings and b) what functionality and requirements were wanted from the Council buildings (for example, taking account of the impact of digital transformation and the Council’s Smarter Ways of Working initiatives on property requirements).


  • Phase 2 of the CADAM comprising libraries and Adult Social Care buildings were still finalising.  A Corporate Services Standards offer had been produced around building safety, leading to Corporate Landlord arrangements to be put in place.


  • The expectation was for each Council Directorate to have a SAMP (Service Asset Management Plan) in place for asset identification purposes. It has since been realised that other issues, other than SAMPS, are emerging which has led to the production of a Draft Asset Framework instead.  The Draft Asset Framework is scheduled for consideration at the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Resources decision session scheduled for 18th January 2023 and will detail further decisions and intentions around property and estate management.


  • Officers were working through centralisation leading to a standard offer being in place, alongside governance and decision- making arrangements. Supporting processes had been embedded in 2022 after a series of successful pilots, with which libraries had been involved.


  • A report was considered at Adult Social Care DLT addressing adult property assets such as day centres. Economy and Infrastructure have considered libraries so far and will consider other property assets in used by their directorate such as cemeteries, car parks and Moat Lane depot with the anticipation of centralising all assets by the end of the current financial year (2022/23). 


  • The CADAM also recognised the Councils Net Zero objectives and continues to consider how the management of corporate property can help to deliver this Council priority.


  • It was highlighted to Members that the CADAM Programme addressed the centralisation of assets and strategic decision making, as well as involving cultural change i.e. the Corporate Landlord model at the centre of decision making for property across the organisation.


Having considered the report, the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board:




i)  To agree that progress with the CADAM was satisfactory.