That the Committee review the Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions to enable the identification of appropriate matters for the overview and scrutiny work programme and the overview of specific decisions proposed to be taken over the period of the plan.
Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution requires that the Committee review the Executive’s programme of Key Decisions (the Cabinet Forward Plan) at each meeting, to enable the identification of appropriate matters for the overview and scrutiny work programme and to provide an opportunity for the overview of specific decisions proposed to be taken over the period of the plan.
The Constitution (Article 14 (Decision Making)) defines a Key Decision as an executive decision which:
(a) involves expenditure or savings of £250,000 or above which are currently within budget and policy;
(b) involves expenditure or savings of £100,000 or above which are NOT currently within budget and policy;
(c) is likely to be significant in terms of its effect on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards;
(d) raises new issues of policy;
(e) increases financial commitments (i.e. revenue and/or capital) in future years over and above existing budgetary approval;
(f) comprises and includes the publication of draft or final schemes which may require, either directly or in relation to objections to, the approval of a Government Minister; or
(g) involves the promotion of local legislation.
Wherever possible, Portfolio Holders will attend the Committee to present forthcoming key decisions, to answer questions on the forward plan and to indicate where appropriate work could be carried out by overview and scrutiny on behalf of the Cabinet.
The Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions of 1 July 2021, as an Appendix to this report, will be published as a very late Supplementary Agenda on 1 July.
Councillor A Lion queried the Corporate Aims and Objectives header and that it should be updated to read, 2021/22.
(a) Leader Portfolio
Councillor S Murray asked for an update on the Civic Offices accommodation and for progress with community partnerships. Councillor C Whitbread replied that visits to the newly refurbished Civic Offices were being organised for members in addition to an official opening. There had been some positive commercial interest for accommodation use and there were other partnerships he was personally involved with, but a report would follow shortly.
(b) Planning and Sustainability
Councillor A Lion queried where electric charging issues would be covered. Would this be in relation to the Implementation of the Local Plan item or was there going to be an item on sustainable transport because only the HGGT Transport strategy was the other item under this Portfolio Holder? Councillor J Philip replied that these were the key decisions, but the Council did have work ongoing on sustainable transport under the Local Plan, as there were policies that covered this and electric charging vehicle points, as well as the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town sustainable transport policy. Further information on this would be coming out very soon in the public consultation of the Local Plan’s main modifications.
(c) Housing Services
Councillor S Murray acknowledged that he had received a detailed email update from J Gould (Community and Wellbeing Service Director) outlining timelines for the scrutiny of housing issues he had raised at the last committee meeting. This was particularly in relation to the tenancy strategy, housing strategy, homelessness and rough sleeping strategy, allocations policy and sheltered housing, and thanked the officer for this useful information.
(d) Community and Regulatory Services
Councillor M Sartin asked for more information, on the Fit and Proper Person Test under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Councillor A Patel replied that the Council had to ensure fit and proper persons managed caravan sites as they needed to go through a particular procedure to meet certain criteria under the Act. The report would review the Fit and Proper Person Determination Policy and the safeguards the Council needed to put in place.
(1) That the Committee reviewed the Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions of 1 July 2021; and
(2) That the Corporate Aims & Key Objectives header would be updated to 2021/22.