Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Alexander Murray  Governance Officer

No. Item


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To receive and, if so determined, to approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 August 2020.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held 19 August 2020 be agreed as an accurate record.



Members to give notice of any interest and the nature of that interest relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct.


The following declarations were made;


·         Councillor Lloyd in relation to her position as a trustee of Trafford Domestic Abuse Service.



A maximum of 15 minutes will be allocated to public questions submitted in writing to Democratic Services ( by 4 pm on the working day prior to the meeting. Questions must be relevant to items appearing on the agenda and will be submitted in the order in which they were received.


A series of questions had been received from a Member of the public which were read out by the Chair. The questions related to the residents child and the support that had been cancelled due to COVID 19. The Lead Member for Education thanked the resident for their question and informed the Committee that a full written response would be provided.


RESOLVED: That a full written response be provided.



To receive a report from the Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change introduced the report that had been circulated with the agenda. The Committee were informed that Trafford had been committed to increasing the levels of active travel for a number of years and the outbreak of COVID 19 had led to an acceleration of that process. All of the changes and funding received in response to COVID 19 had to be considered by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) prior to coming to Trafford and so the Council had not been able to achieve as much as they would have liked.  There had been mixed responses from residents for a number the measures implemented, which was expected as implementation would usually involve a longer process with more communication and engagement with residents.


The Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change addressed the issues of paths being blocked by vehicles across the borough but noted that there other issues of obstruction of paths which would be taken into account when developing a strategy to improve access.  The Committee were assured that the Council was fully committed to the Mayor’s Challenge fund which looked to create cycling routes linked across all of Greater Manchester. The Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Climate Change informed the Committee that the plans for Urmston would be a trial of the active neighbourhood model with a view to expanding that model across other areas of the Borough.


Following the introduction Board Members were given the opportunity to ask questions. Councillor Coggins welcomed the progress that had been made across the borough in the last few months and noted that keeping active and reducing weight were two ways people could combat COVID and active transport was a way that the Council could look to encourage that. Councillor Coggins asked whether the Communications around active transport could be changed to express what they added to the Community rather than what they took away. These means of transport had been successful in areas where extensive engagement exercises had been conducted and Councillor Coggins asked if there were any plans to do this in Trafford. The Executive Member responded that the timeline for the work was out of the Council’s control which had reduced the opportunity for consultation with residents and was something that the Council was working on improving. 


Councillor Coggins then asked a range of further questions relating to the report. The Chair stated that rather than receiving answers for each of the questions during the meeting the points raised by Councillor Coggins and other Members of the Committee would form a report to go to the Executive to receive a full response.  The Vice Chair welcomed the Chairs suggestion and hoped that the Committee would capture the wider picture within the report and that engagement with businesses and residents within the community would play a large part in any recommendations made to the Executive.


Councillor Blackburn asked how the safety of moving traffic had been assessed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To receive a report from the Executive Member for Children’s Services and the Lead Member for Education.


The Lead Member for Education introduced the report that had been circulated to the Committee. The Lead Member for Education stated how quickly the environment was changing as there had been a number of changes in the short time since the report had been written. Central government had stated that all schools were to reopen in September and Trafford had seen good levels of attendance since the reopening although there had been a rise in the number of children who were home schooled.  The Lead Member for Education assured the Committee that there was an officer dedicated to support to children who were home schooled. Many children were attending early year’s provision and all nurseries across Trafford were open. There continued to be issues around breakfast and afterschool provision as it was difficult to deliver those services safely and this was something that the Council would continue to monitor closely.


The Committee were assured that if there was a case of COVID 19 at a school and a bubble had to be sent home the relevant ward Councillors would receive a report. When the report was written there had been 23 COVID 19 incidents in schools which had risen to 35 incidents as of the meeting. 10 of those were at secondary schools with one school sending the whole of year ten home. The government had announced that there would be a national helpline but Trafford were asking schools to continue to use the local helpline set up by Trafford public health so that they could keep an eye on the local picture. There was a lot of support available for schools, which was detailed within the report, with maintaining the clusters of Sencos being particularly important. The catch up funding would be released in three tranches and the Lead Member for Education encouraged all Councillors who were governors to scrutinise how that money was used. 


The final part of the report looked at school transport. The Lead Member informed the Committee that the Council had struggled to provide transport at the start of the new school year. The Council arranged 175 runs which carried 578 children and young people to school and further 18 runs which carried 45 adult. Part of the issue was that the Council did not have adequate numbers of passenger assistants due to many of the passenger assistants needing to shield themselves during the pandemic. Trafford had 130 staff, 10 volunteers from other Council services and 9 volunteers from a special school. A large recruitment drive was planned to increase the number of passenger assistants but it would take time for the new staff to start.


The Chair asked out of the number of children and teachers listed as being off due to COVID 19 how many had tested positive and how many were self-isolating. The Lead Member for Education responded that the number of children who tested positive was very small but whenever it happened their entire year group bubble had to isolate. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To receive a report and short presentation from the Executive Member for Finance and Investment.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Finance and investment went through the presentation that had been circulated with the agenda. The presentation included the updated financial position for the year with a predicted £45.5M of COVID 19 related pressures during the year. Through government grants and actions taken by the Council and their partners it was predicted that the Council would be left with an overall deficit of between £2.2M and £8.3M.  The Executive Member for Finance and investment stressed that these were all estimates and it was highly likely that the figures would change, especially if there were further outbreaks of COVID 19. The updated budget pressure for the next financial year was £35.1M with £19.2M business as usual pressures and £15.8M from COVID 19 pressures. The Council were looking to identify one off payments to address the recurrent COVID 19 pressures and making savings to address the business as usual pressures. The Executive Member for Finance and investment then informed the Committee of the approach that was being taken to identify savings across all services. The options included the recent offer of voluntary severance to staff. The final slide of the presentation showed the timeline for the budget during the year, including the budget scrutiny process, culminating in the budget going to full Council in February 2021. 


Following the presentation Members were given the opportunity to ask questions. Councillor Blackburn asked about the voluntary severance scheme, whether it was a redundancy scheme and if so how many jobs were expected to be lost by the next year. The Executive Member for Finance and investment responded that it was a severance rather than redundancy scheme. Staff Members were being asked to look at flexible working options as well as possible severance depending on a person’s circumstances and what would work best for them and their service.  The Executive Member also stated that he could not rule out redundancies later on in the year depending on the situation at that time. Councillor Blackburn followed up her question asking whether this was being offered to passenger assistants and if that could further reduce the number of passenger assistants the Council had. The Executive Member responded that he could not comment on the impact the scheme would have on a service at this stage.


Councillor Lloyd noted the contingencies which were contained in the budget report especially around the high needs budget and asked the Executive Member for Finance and investment how confident he was that the contingencies would be adequate. The Executive Member for Finance and investment responded that they were the best estimates available at the time and were very likely to change, especially following the announcement of further restrictions. The Corporate Director of Children’s services added that the monitoring of the demand lead pressures was ongoing and the Council was continually thinking of strategies to help to deal with fluctuations in demand.


The Chair noted that a number of fees and charges had been suspended during COVID 19 to help people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To receive an update from the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing, and Equalities.

Additional documents:


The Executive Member for Health Wellbeing and Equalities introduced the item and thanked the Director of Public Health and the public health team for the work they had done to prepare the report and in dealing with the ongoing pandemic. The Executive Member handed over to the Public Health Consultant to provide an update on testing. The Committee were informed that the ambition had been to have a range of testing options available in the area which had been achieved. There was a backlog in supplying test and receiving results but this was a national issue. Care homes offered regular testing to residents and staff and had been proactive in their approach to dealing with COVID 19. Schools had a very small set of testing kits available to offer to families who could not visit testing sites and schools were having issues in ordering additional testing kits. Trafford would be maintaining the testing sites within the borough which was a positive outcome and the focus was on ensuring that residents were being tested when they had symptoms.


Councillor Williams thanked the public health team for the work that they had done in establishing the Partington testing site, especially around the excellent communications and engagement. Councillor Williams had asked at a previous meeting to have data on the number of hospitalisations in the area to be added to the weekly update sent to Members which had not yet been done and asked that this be added. Councillor Williams noted that in the report on flu vaccinations there were concerns about a possible lack of availability of vaccinations and asked whether those concerns had abated since the report was written. The Director in Public Health responded that the hospitalisation data would be added to the weekly update. There was a delay of around two weeks between increase in cases and any hospitalisations that resulted from the infections. Given the age profile of the people who had been contracting COVID 19 it was unlikely that there would be much of a spike in the level of hospitalisations. With regards to the flu vaccinations GPS were working very hard in an attempt to maximise coverage and the Council were encouraging people to get the vaccination if possible. Those over 65 or with pre-existing conditions were being prioritised and there was a large drive within schools. Due to the restrictions on contact people needed to have an appointment in place rather than just turning up for vaccinations.


The Executive Member for Adult Social Services addressed the report that had been made on Channel 4 during the week which had made it seem that Trafford had been sending COVID positive patients into care homes. The Executive Member assured the Committee that the story had been a miss interpretation of the facts and that all patients were being tested prior to being discharged from hospital, which Trafford had been doing since March.  A winter plan for Trafford was being developed and the Executive Member offered to bring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



To suggest and agree items, relating to the COVID 19 Pandemic, to be on the agenda for future meetings of the Committee.


The Chair informed the Committee that there were likely to be another two meetings before December and asked Members if they had any items that they wanted to be considered at those meetings. The Chair also informed the Committee that there were provisional dates for budget scrutiny of the 1st and 3rd of December and the dates would be confirmed at the next Council meeting. Committee Member made a number of suggestions for items including home schooling, an update on Ofsted, CAMHS, and Public Health. The Chair stated that the different items would be considered by the agenda setting panel at their next meeting.


Councillor Dillon raised a point about the lack of ability to do task and finish work that was done under the standard Scrutiny Committees. The Chair responded that there were issues around officer capacity which was under continual review. There could be a possibility of Members doing a focused piece of work but there may be a lack of officer support. Councillor Dillon raised further issue that the Committee was only receiving information from officers rather than from wider sources. The Vice Chair agreed that the Committee should look at having external representatives such as the local chamber of commerce and other witnesses to attend meetings.


RESOLVED: That Committee Members comments and suggestions be noted.




To approve the report for submission to the Executive Meeting 28 September 2020.


The Chair introduced the report to the Committee briefly and asked if there were any questions or amendments to the report or if it was agreed by the Committee. No questions or amendments were raised and the report was agreed to be sent to the Executive.


RESOLVED: That the report to be submitted to the Executive.