Agenda and minutes

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th November, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Kate Lowes, Tel: 0191 433 4244, Email: 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on  16th October 2023.


The minutes of the meeting held 16 October 2023 were approved as an accurate record.


Performance Management & Improvement Framework 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report of the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital

Additional documents:


The Committee received a report on the Council’s Performance Management & Improvement Framework, reporting performance on the delivery of Council priorities for the period 1 April 2023 to 30 September 2023. An overview was given of performance relevant to the role and remit of Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee The framework has been put together to support Gateshead Council’s THRIVE strategy. It was noted that some metrics included in the report are annual measures which are reporting figures at a six-month mark.

A presentation was also given to the Committee on making data accessible for scrutiny, including a demonstration of Power BI and how this can be used to track data for the Office for Local Government.

The Committee noted that a more visual view of the data would support better public and scrutiny understanding of the presented content.

There was discussion by the Committee of the consideration of cyber attacks and other impacts to online systems and the effect this would have on residents. This issue is high on the Council’s strategic and operational register and these risks are being assessed. It was noted that Gateshead Council has a particularly robust IT security infrastructure.


i.              The OSC commented on and discussed the report.

ii.             The OSC recommended an item on school exclusions be discussed by Families OSC.

iii.            The OSC recommended the performance report to Cabinet for consideration in January 2024.


Annual Budget Review Report pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Resources and Digital


The Committee was given a report reviewing the 2022/23 budget and updating on the achievement of the 2023/24 budget savings to date.

Budget Review 2022/23

The revenue budget set was delivered. There were no savings delivery to report on in 2022/23.

The overall 2022/23 revenue outturn position for the Council including non-service budgets and financing this resulted in a net revenue positive balance of £3.4m. This position is after the application of agreed reserves funding to support financing of the budget and resulted in a net addition to the Council’s general fund re-serve.

Active budget management and additional scrutiny took place during the year in order to help achieve this outturn. Although the overall outturn was positive, the position masks overspends in some services and includes a number of year-end transactions that have impacted on the final position. The positive outturn remains a significant achievement given the financial pressures faced by the services and enables the Council’s sound financial position to be maintained within an extremely challenging economic and financial context.

Budget Review 2023/24 – six-month position

The projected revenue outturn for 2023/24 at the second quarter following management intervention is £2.7m over budget.  (First quarter was £1.1m over). The position per Group and Service was reported to Cabinet 21 November 2023.

The most significant budget challenge is in relation to children’s social care placements and home to school transport.

It is the intention to deliver within the overall revised budget by the financial year end and progress will be reported at quarter three.

Savings Review 2023/24

Cabinet agreed £13m of savings in the 2023/24 revenue budget which will be challenging. Financial control and monitoring of budgets is crucial. Progress is being closely monitored and those requiring further consultation and engagement will be the subject of future reports to Cabinet.

The Committee commended the report and requested a further look at the spending for child placements in the Borough in the 2024/25 work programme.


Evidence Gathering and Interim Report pdf icon PDF 188 KB

Report of the Director of Public Health


A presentation was given to the Committee on the emerging recommendations from the closure of two leisure centres. A full report was presented to the previous meeting of the committee.

The emerging recommendations outlined are as follows:

1.    Consider the lessons learned from this review and incorporate them into the procurement process as appropriate.

2.    Be clear about the risks the Council should retain as part of the procurement process.

3.    Share information from this review with the community asset groups to enable them to learn from the Council’s experience.

4.    Apply future price increases to all customers and not just new customers for all traded services unless there is a commercial reason to do something different.

5.    Review the council’s contingency planning arrangements for sudden and potentially catastrophic reductions in income (e.g. pandemics, unplanned major work etc) based on the Council’s experience of Covid.

6.    Ensure appropriate monitoring of the impact of sector competition and market trends within the Council’s trading services.

7.    Conclude future service reviews as quickly as possible to prevent the situation from worsening.

8.    Ensure appropriate contract management is undertaken for all procured sites.

The Committee asked for an addition to recommendation 6 on employment conditions.


      i.        The Committee accepted the recommendations.


Annual report on implementation of Workforce strategy pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Presentation of the Service Director of Human Resources & Workforce Development






A presentation was giving an update on the performance management workforce strategy was given to the Committee. The presentation focused on:

·        Sickness absence

·        Employee wellbeing and equality, diversity, and inclusion

·        Employee turnover

·        Health and safety update

Sickness absence

Covid, viral infection and stomach/digestion concerns account for the highest number of days lost up to the date of the meeting covering 2022 and 2023. While there has been a spike in COVID absences recently, however overall there is still  positive change.

The top reason for absence in 2023 was stress/depression/anxiety. There has been a significant decrease in COVID absences in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Most of the sickness days are caused by short term absence rather than long term absence. The service with the highest number of sickness absence days was Adult Social Care, where 22.18 days were lost.  Within ASC there is a requirement to remain away from work for so many days if the cause of absence is covid which impacts on the number of days an employee needs to be off work.

Children’s Social Care have the highest number of days lost due to work-related stress absence (1,502 days). A work stress audit has been planned for this department. The audit of Children’s Social Care will be used help identify solutions on a wider scale for workplace stress. Adult Social Care have the highest number of non-work-related stress days (3,835 days).

Ongoing work is being done on stress in the workplace, this is focusing on culture change. The key to success is supporting absences due to non-work reasons as this is the higher cause. 

Work related and non-work-related stress days lost by grade show a higher number of days lost in lower grades, however this will be presented by percentages in future meetings due to a higher number of workers on lower grades.

Employee wellbeing and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)

A permanent staff member has been recruited to focus on EDI. Alongside this change, a number of initiatives are being worked on:

·        A workforce EDI policy has been drafted

·        A single source has been made for employees to get information on health and wellbeing, via the intranet and there is also a plan to make one for councillors

·        Training is available for managers in identifying an employee who has a problem with their emotional health

·        Posters have been created showing free information and organisations available to help with mental health

·        Launched VivUp benefits platform, and exploring a package with them to get an employee wellbeing programme

Have begun a disability passport initiative, for employees to outline their  to be given information about an employee’s health without them having to repeat sensitive information routinely

The EDI maturity model was explained in that level 5 outlines what an exemplar employer does to facilitate positive EDI in the workplace which is what Gateshead Council is aiming to achieve., It was explained that it is recognised that society is fast changing and that maintaining a level 5  ...  view the full minutes text for item CR19


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director Corporate Services and Governance





The committee reviewed the work programme and noted the following changes;

A report on Old Town Hall will be brought to the January meeting of the Corporate Resources OSC.

The Committee agreed it was no longer necessary to have a standing item on world affairs.


      i.        The committee noted the proposed amended programme.

     ii.        The committee noted the work will be brought to the Committee to identify any additional policy issues, which the Committee may be asked to consider.