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Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public


(NOTE: In accordance with the arrangements published on the Council’s website in relation to meetings of the Scrutiny Committee, questions/petitions are required to be submitted in writing, to, by 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday, 24th June.)





Helen Thompson, on behalf of the Sheffield Futures Board of Trustees, raised the following questions:-




(1)      How does the Council propose to manage the £10 million pension deficit it has underwritten?




(2)      What is the rationale for the withdrawal of the contract extension in respect of Covid-19 restrictions when all the contracts have had extensions in this period?




(3)      Is the Council confident that it has adequately qualified people in-house to ensure a smooth transition within the tight timescale?




(4)      Is the Council certain that the timescale offers sufficient time for the consultation period?  (Unions have written to the Council concerned that there is not enough time to adequately consult with their members during the current Covid-19 period.)




(5)      Can the Council offer reassurance that the transition will not have any impact on the young people’s services?




(6)      What assurances can the Council give that the additional well-respected services of Sheffield Futures are going to be able to be maintained?




John Macilwraith (Executive Director, People Services) provided brief responses to the questions raised, as follows, and indicated that he would send more detailed, written responses to Ms Thompson:-




(1)      With regard to the pension deficit, initial conversations had been held with South Yorkshire Pensions on the expiry date of the contract, which had included discussions on the treatment of any pension deficit.  These preliminary discussions had not raised any particular concerns at this stage.  A final, agreed position would be reached as part of the due diligence process, as the Council engages more formally with Sheffield Futures.




(2) & (3)        Whilst it was not necessarily the case for all Council contracts, as they were all considered on a case by case basis, it was appreciated that there was a high level of uncertainty regarding the provision of services for young people over the last few years, given the announcement of the review two years ago.  In order to try and reduce such levels of uncertainty for both the young people and the staff of Sheffield Futures, every effort would be made to progress the transition of the service in line with the end of the contract as at 30th September 2020. 




(4)      It was believed that the timescale of 30th September 2020, in terms of the transition, could be achieved.  The primary objective was to ensure the smooth transition of the services as they currently operated to ensure that the Council continued to maintain a focus on the young people.  Every effort would be made to ensure that all young people, particularly the more vulnerable, continued to receive the same level of support they currently received.




(5)      As part of the due-diligence process, the Council would be working very closely with Sheffield Futures to understand those contracts in more detail, which would include working to mitigate any challenges.  The Council would also like to confirm ongoing engagement from other agencies on the basis that it wouldn’t want there to be a reduction in the provision of services for young people.  Discussions would therefore continue with Sheffield Futures and the other agencies to ensure that there was continued support.