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Contact: Gary Woodhall Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: email@example.com
This virtual meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to unmute before speaking.
The Democratic and Electoral Services Manager will read the following announcement:
“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or another use by such third parties). Thereby by participating in this virtual meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes. If members of the public do not wish to have their image captured they should ensure that their video setting throughout the virtual meeting is turned off and set to audio only.
Please also be aware that if technical difficulties interrupt the meeting that cannot be overcome, the Chairman may need to adjourn the meeting.”
The Democratic and Electoral Services Team Manager reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.
Declarations of Interest
To declare interests in any item on the agenda.
(a) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct, Councillor S Murray declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 16, which was moved to Item 12 (Member Remuneration Panel) by virtue of knowing the independent member Mr Stephen Lye, who would be presenting the report. Councillor S Murray advised that he would remain in the meeting for this item.
(b) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of member Conduct, Councillor C Whitbread declared a non-pecuniary interest in the agenda, by virtue being the Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Finance. Councillor C Whitbread advised that he would remain in the meeting and be a voting member.
To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meetings held on 17 December 2020 and 08 February 2021, as attached.
That the minutes of the Council meetings held on 17 December 2020 and 08 February 2021 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
(a) Chairman’s Announcements
(a) Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman informed members that due to the Covid-19 restrictions there was nothing to report at this time.
Public Questions (If Any)
To answer questions asked after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Council Rules of the Constitution on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties or which affects the District:
(a) to the Leader of the Council;
(b) to any Portfolio Holder; or
(c) to the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Questions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.
Question by North Weald Parish Councillor T Blanks to Councillor A Patel (Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder)
“The report on the Council Agenda on the Finance and Performance of Qualis covers Quarter 4 of the first year of operation up to 31 October 2020 being its accounting reference date.
The commentary with the report states at para 1.10 on page 166 of the Agenda that‘the single year Business Plan recently presented to, and agreed by the Council, for the Qualis 2nd year of trading, forecasts a small surplus in the period up to 31 October 2021. This effectively being the first full year of full trading operations.’
Therefore my question is, has someone forgotten that the Registrar of Companies agreed the Qualis application on 27 January 2021 to change the accounting reference date to 30 September, meaning that the next accounts due will be for 11 months and would the reports to the Council be changed to reflect this?”
Response given by Councillor A Patel (Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder)
When the business plan for one year was drawn up and approved this was done on a business year ending 31st October. A change to the 30th September allowed data from Qualis to be considered in EFDC’s Budget for the following year.
The change was approved by EFDC’s shareholder representative, after the original Qualis monitoring report to Cabinet had been published. The change will mean a small reduction in Qualis’ reported surplus as it would arise from only 11 months of trading.
Supplementary question by North Weald Parish Councillor T Blanks to Councillor A Patel (Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder)
Most Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCo’s) have the same year end date as the Council owners to simplify financial reporting, there are charges and recharges between the Qualis companies and the Council who have different external auditors as well as different year ends, which add to the administrative costs and confusion. Therefore why have the Council opted for different year end dates for Qualis and EFDC for at least the next five years.
Supplementary question response given by Councillor A Patel (Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder)
The Council undertakes and annual budget setting process and the reason EFDC and Qualis had different year ends was that it allowed the Council six months before the budget setting process took place and that then allowed the Council enough time to consider what level of Council Tax needed to be set at when the audit needed to be approved. The audit took place this year on the 21 January and by moving the Qualis year end by one month this would allow more time to consider the Qualis year end report and the Council anticipate significant money to be generated from Qualis.
Questions By Members Under Notice
To answer questions asked after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within the Council’s rules in Part 4 of the Constitution on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties or which affects the District:
(a) to the Chairman of the Council;
(b) to the Leader of the Council;
(c) to any Member of the Cabinet; or
(d) the Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee.
The Council’s rules provide that answers to questions under notice may take the form of:
(a) direct oral answer;
(b) where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication; or
(c) where the reply cannot conveniently be given orally, a written answer circulated later to the questioner.
Answers to questions falling within (a) and (b) above will be made available to the member asking the question one hour before the meeting. Answers to questions falling within (c) above will be circulated to all councillors.
Questions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.
The Council noted that there were no members questions given under notice that had been submitted for consideration at this meeting.
To receive reports and any announcements from the Leader and members of the Cabinet on matters falling within their area of responsibility:
(a) Report of the Leader;
(b) Report of the Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(c) Report of the Customer and Corporate Support ServicesPortfolio Holder (attached);
(d) Report of the Environmental and Technical Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(e) Report of the Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder (attached);
(f) Report of the Housing and Community ServicesPortfolio Holder (attached); and
(g) Report of the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder (attached).
The Council received written reports from Portfolio Holders. The Chairman invited the Leader of Council to provide an oral report and the opportunity for other members of the Cabinet to give updates on matters concerning their relevant portfolios.
(a) Leader of Council
Councillor C Whitbread stated that the Covid-19 vaccination programme roll-out was well established, it was good news for the Country and for the Epping Forest district bringing positive signs with a timetable to unlock the Country which would bring back some normality into the daily lives of people.
He advised that he had been attending numerous meetings on a regular basis, in his capacity as Leader of Council, including the Covid-19 Local Outbreak Board. The Board had been looking at controlling the Covid-19 outbreaks and as had been reported in the news Brentwood were undergoing additional test and trace procedures due to the South African variant. He stated that he was pleased to report the figures for the Epping Forest district had been falling and continued to fall which was positive news. Members of the EFDC Cabinet have brought forward their reports to the meeting which start to show the way forward and the recovery following the Pandemic, this would be one of the Councils main focuses in the weeks and months ahead.
Councillor J Philip will be reporting the Councils Budget at this meeting and I am pleased to say it was an excellent Budget and would set the theme for the coming year
(b) Housing and Community Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor H Whitbread advised that she had recently attended a housing webinar which gave her the opportunity to engage with tenants. It was a good way of communicating with tenants and for them to be able to ask questions of officers. The event was well attended and hopefully these webinars will continue regularly.
Councillor Whitbread also advised that she had met with the Youth Council and the High Sheriff of Essex and was asked some very challenging questions from the Youth Councillors. She felt it was good to keep in touch with the Youth Council and that was something she had done regularly throughout the year.
The Festival of Culture which was ongoing with lots of digital engagement programmes from wild life to music and was good to celebrate culture across the district. The Digital Inclusion projects were continuing to help people with social isolation particularly in Shelley, Ongar and Paternoster, Waltham Abbey.
(c) Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder
Councillor N Bedford advised that recently the Planning team had become aware of a Government bid that was available for the National Model Design Code and the Council hastily put together a bid with the co-operation and collaboration of working with North Weald Parish Council a bid has been put forward and the result will be known shortly. The National Model Design Code sets out design considerations around the masterplanning areas and as North Weald would be one of the first areas coming forward in the Local ... view the full minutes text for item 65.
Questions by Members Without Notice
The Council’s rules provide for questions by any member of the Council to the Leader or any Portfolio Holder, without notice on:
(i) reports under the previous item; or
(ii) any other matter of a non operational character in relation to the powers and duties of the Council or which affects all or part of the District or some or all of its inhabitants.
The Council’s rules provide that answers to questions without notice may take the form of:
(a) a direct oral answer from the Leader or, at the request of the Leader, from another member of the Cabinet;
(b) where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication;
(c) where the reply cannot conveniently be given orally, a written answer circulated later to the questioner; or
(d) where the question relates to an operational matter, the Leader or a member of the Cabinet will request that a response be given direct to the questioner by the relevant Service Director.
In accordance with the Council’s rules, a time limit of thirty minutes is set for questions. Any question not dealt with within the time available will receive a written reply. The Chairman may extend this period by up to a further ten minutes at their discretion.
The Chairman thanked Members for giving notification of their intention to ask a question without notice.
(a) Biographies of Qualis Directors published on the Qualis Website
Councillor S Heap stated that in response to a freedom of information request, ref 1582, it was stated that biographies of all Qualis directors would be published on the Qualis website. He stated that this had been partially done but that the biographies were not full and complete. He asked the Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder would these be reviewed and it was also stated that the directors have “no prior connection with proposed developments in Epping Forest”. Was this statement correct?
Councillor A Patel replied that he did not have the answer to the question but that he would find out and report back to Councillor Heap.
Councillor S Neville asked the Leader of Council would he agree that the figures for Covid-19 across the District were decreasing, which was good news and that the vaccination programme was progressing very well but that we as a District should still air some caution and keep following the safety guidelines as the Council would not want the figures to start increasing again.
Councillor C Whitbread stated that the presentation by the Prime Minister earlier in the week was sensible and measured. It had been a really tough year and it was important to continue to follow the Governments guidelines. The vaccination programme was progressing well over the District and the Country and everyone should stay at home where possible and stick to the rules. The Council were busy preparing for the future to bounce back when lockdown ends.
(c) Clean Air Zone Advisory Panel
Councillor P Stalker asked the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder if he could give an update on the advisory panel to look at the mitigation strategies needed to avoid a Clean Air Zone and when they were going to meet and reflecting on the recent call-in from the LRA, the Liberal Democrats and others for more development in the green belt, would he comment on the impact this might have on the rural parts of the district, one of which was represented in my ward that they seem not to care about.
Councillor N Bedford replied that it had taken some time to get organised due to the calendar of meetings but we have now got a Democratic Services Officer appointed and responses back from Councillors. The Councillors that are to make up the advisory panel are: Councillor S Heap, representing the Green Party, Councillor Jon Whitehouse, representing the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Chris Pond representing the LRA. The Conservative group will be represented by myself as Chairman, Councillor P Stalker, Councillor P Keska and Councillor D Dorrell. The first meeting was scheduled for the 3 March 2021 at 5.30pm to discuss the aspirations of the Panel followed by the second meeting on the 23 March 2021 where there will be a presentation by AECOM and a discussion ... view the full minutes text for item 66.
To consider any motions, notice of which has been given under the Council’s rules.
Motions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.
The Chairman reported that there were no motions to be considered at the meeting.
(Customer & Corporate Support Services Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached report from the Cabinet recommending the Pay Policy Statement to Council.
Mover: Councillor S Kane, Customer and Corporate Support Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor S Kane presented a report regarding the Council’s Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22, which was required by Section 38 (1) of the Localism Act 2011 and set out details of the Council’s current practices and policies. This specifically included the Council’s approach to its highest and lowest paid employees.
Report as first movedADOPTED
That the Council’s Pay Policy Statement for 2021/22 attached to these minutes be adopted.
REORDER OF AGENDA
The Chairman advised that with the consent of the Council, the report under agenda item 16, Member Remuneration Panel would be brought forward as the next item of business.
Report to follow.
To consider the attached report from the Independent Member Remuneration Panel on the Member Allowance Scheme for 2021/22.
The Chairman of the Remuneration Panel, Mr S Lye presented a report following the annual review of the Epping Forest District Members’ Allowances Scheme, which set out the Panels conclusions and recommendations with regard to the application of members’ allowances for the 2021/22 municipal year.
Report as first moved ADOPTED
(1) That, for the 2021/22 municipal year, no change be made to the level of Basic Allowance of £4,300.00 per member per annum, currently included in the Council’s Members’ Allowances Scheme;
(2) That for 2022/23 and future municipal years, the Council be encouraged to increase the Basic Allowance to bring the Council up to the level of the Basic Allowance paid by other Councils;
Special Responsibility Allowance
(3) That for the 2021/22 municipal year, no changes be made to the application or implementation of the Special Responsibility Allowances currently included in the Members’ Allowances Scheme;
(4) That for 2022/23 and future municipal years, the Council be encouraged to increase the implementation level of Special Responsibility Allowance applied to the responsibilities identified in the Members’ Allowances Scheme, in order to achieve the full amount of each allowance;
Revised Scheme and Guidance
(5) That, subject to the above recommendations and other matters set out in the report, the Members’ Allowances Scheme and Guidance for 2021/22, attached as Appendix 1 be adopted and implemented with effect from 25 May 2021;
(6) That the Statement of Implementation of the Special Responsibility Allowances set out in the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2021/22, attached as Appendix 2 be agreed; and
(7) That the Panel continue to be kept appraised of the Council’s intentions regarding any future restructure proposals that directly affect the application of Special Responsibility Allowance for the specific member roles and responsibilities currently reflected in the Members’ Allowances Scheme.
(Leader) To consider the attached report.
That a recorded vote is held on the recommendations contained within the report, in accordance with the Council Procedure Rule V3 ‘Voting at Budget Decision Council 18 February 2016 Meetings’ which directs Members to comply with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, immediately after any vote is taken at a budget decision meeting there must be recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of that meeting the names of the persons who cast a vote for the decision or against the decision or who abstained from voting.
“Budget decision” means a meeting at which:
(a) a calculation is made (whether originally or by way of substitute) in accordance with any of the Sections 31A, 31B, 34 to 36A, 42A, 42B, 45 to 49,
52ZF, 52ZJ of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended; or
(b) a precept is issued under Chapter 4 of Part 1 of that Act,
and includes a meeting where making the calculation or issuing the precept as the case may be was included as an item of business on the agenda for that meeting.
References to a vote are references to a vote not only on the substantive budget motions agreeing the budget, setting council taxes or issuing precepts, but also on any amendments proposed at the meeting.
Mover: Councillor J Philip, Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder
Councillor J Philip presented a report of the Budget for 2021/22 (including Medium-Term Financial Plan, Capital Programme and Fees and Charges). He thanked Mr A Small, Strategic Director and S151 Officer and Mr C Hartgrove, Interim Chief Financial Officer for an excellent budget and for their sound financial advice.
The Portfolio Holder added that there had been a slight error reported on page 90 of the agenda in the first table, where it stated ‘Thornwood Parish Council’, this should have read ‘Thornwood via North Weald Parish Council’.
The Portfolio Holder stated that this had been a very challenging year in terms of Covid-19 and had a massive impact in many areas of the Council’s budget. However, this was a balanced budget and he confirmed that a Council Tax freeze of 0% for 2021/22 had been applied.
There voted for the recommendations (45) namely: Councillors N Avey, R Baldwin, R Bassett, A Beales, N Bedford, P Bolton, H Brady, R Brookes, L Burrows, D Dorrell, I Hadley, S Heap, S Heather, B Jennings, J Jennings, S Jones, H Kane, S Kane, H Kauffman, P Keska, J Lea, J Leppert, A Lion, C McCredie, R Morgan, S Murray S Neville, M Owen, A Patel, J Philip, C C Pond, C P Pond, B Rolfe, B Sandler, M Sartin, J Share-Bernia, P Stalker, D Stocker, D Sunger, B Vaz, C Whitbread, H Whitbread, J H Whitehouse, J M Whitehouse and D Wixley.
Report as first moved ADOPTED
(1) That the draft General Fund Revenue and Housing Revenue Account budgets for 2021/22 as presented in Appendix A be approved (pages 83-111 of the agenda).
(2) That the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital programmes for 2021/22 to 2025/26 presented in Appendix B be approved (Pages 113-120 of the agenda).
(3) That the updated General Fund Medium-Term Financial Plan for 2021/22 to 2025/26 presented in Appendix A be approved (pages 83-111 of the agenda).
(4) That the proposed Fees and Charges for 2021/22, including an average rent increase of 1.5% on Council Dwellings, presented in Appendix C be approved (pages 121-147 of the agenda).
(5) That the Section 151 Officer’s report – in accordance with Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 – on the robustness of the estimates for the purposes of the Council’s 2021/22 budgets and the adequacy of the reserves, presented in Appendix D be noted (pages 149-154 of the agenda); and
(6) That the Section 151 Officer’s recommendation to retain a minimum £4.0 million contingency balance in the Council’s General Fund Reserve for the duration of the adopted Medium-Term Financial Plan be approved.
(Finance and Economic Development) To consider the attached report.
Mover: Councillor J Philip, Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder
Councillor J Philip presented a report regarding the Council Tax Setting 2021/22. He advised that the Cabinet had recommended a District Council Tax increase of 0% for 2021/22 (i.e. a freeze) at its meeting on 11th February 2021.
The procedure for Setting the Council Tax was subject to the detailed requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011). This report complied with those requirements.
The preparation of the 2021/22 budget proposals, including the recommended Council Tax increase had been the subject of extensive scrutiny and consultation. The Cabinet – at its meeting held on 11th February 2021 – considered comments on the budget proposals, made by the Stronger Council Select Committee at its meeting held on 19th January 2021.
Epping Forest District Council was responsible for the billing and collection of all Council Tax due from local taxpayers. This meant that the Council was required to collect Council Tax to cover not only its own services but also the precepts set by other authorities. The Council Tax levied therefore comprised of five separate elements:
· Epping Forest District Council element
· Parish precepts
· Essex County Council precept (including Adult Social Care Services)
· Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner precept; and
· Essex County Fire and Rescue Service precept.
The procedure adhered to the requirements of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011) and the level of Council Tax is directly related to the net expenditure of the Council after deducting income from Government grants and other sources of income. Council resolutions also adhere to legislative requirements and recommendations and are therefore written in a very formal language.
The Council Tax Base for 2021/22 is 54,018.7 and a breakdown of the calculation by parish can be seen in the first column in Appendix A attached.
Report as first moved ADOPTED
(1) To note that under delegated authority, the Strategic Director and Section 151 Officer, had calculated the Council Tax Base for 2021/22 for the whole Council area as 54,018.7 (Item T in the formula in Section 31B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, as amended) and for dwellings in those parts of its area to which a Parish Precept relates as set out in Appendix A (attached).
(2) That the following amounts be calculated for the year 2021/22 in accordance with sections 31 to 36 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992:
(a) £110,508,763 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(2) of the Act taking into account all precepts issued to it by Parish Councils;
(b) £98,509,000 being the aggregate of the amounts which the Council estimates for the items set out in Section 31A(3) of the Act;
(c) £11,999,763 being the amount by which the aggregate at 13 (a) above exceeds the aggregate at 13 (b) above, calculated by the Council in accordance with Section 31A(4) of ... view the full minutes text for item 71.
(Commercial and Regulatory Services) To consider the attached Qualis report which covers the 4th quarter up until the 31 October 2020.
Mover: Councillor A Patel, Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor A Patel introduced Qualis Quarterly Monitoring Report – Q4 2019/20 (Outturn).
The Governance framework for Qualis, as agreed by Cabinet on 6 February 2020, set the requirement that Qualis should report to Epping Forest District Council on its performance Quarterly.
The management report presented by Qualis covered the 4th Quarter up until the 31 October 2020, and so was effectively the year end. This 4th Quarter took longer to produce as it needed to align to the Final Accounts and Audit process. This was completed on the 21 January 2021 and so the reconciled management information had now been provided to the Council.
The first year’s trading for Qualis was almost entirely taken up with set-up, governance and the appointment of a permanent staffing structure. The Coronavirus Pandemic had a significant impact in terms of delaying this whilst the Council focused on the immediate response effort. As a result, very little income was received during the first year, whilst costs were still incurred in the form of professional fees, equipment, salaries and recharges to the Council. Consequentially, the combined loss across the Qualis Group totalled £1.49 million and this would be added to the Qualis Balance Sheet and carried forward and set against future expected profits.
Despite making a loss as a Group, taxation was still payable on elements of Qualis activities and this Tax had been paid at the appropriate levels. The calculations of Tax payable have been certified by Qualis Auditors.
Whilst the original expectation was that certain activities, such as the acquisition of commercial property and the transfer of housing maintenance activities would have happened earlier in the Qualis trading year it was always envisaged that the Qualis Group would incur losses, at least in the 1st year.
The single year Business Plan recently presented to, and agreed by the Council, for the Qualis 2nd year of trading, forecasts a small surplus in the period up to 31 October 2021. This effectively being the first full year of full trading operations.
Report as first moved: ADOPTED
(1) That the Qualis Quarterly Monitoring Report - Q4 2019/20 (Outturn) be agreed.
To receive the report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to answer any questions without notice asked in accordance with Council Rules.
To consider the attached report recommending the appointment of a co-opted member to the Stronger Communities Select Committee.
The Council received a written report from Councillor M Sartin, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding the meetings that were held on the 7 January 2021 and 2 February 2021.
Councillor Sartin advised that at its meeting on the 2 February 2021, the Committee undertook external scrutiny of the North Essex Parking Partnership. NEPP’s Group Manager, Mr Walker, who gave a comprehensive overview of its operations. Members put questions to Mr Walker, some of the information he was unable to produce at that meeting but said he would get the information collated and sent to Members, that information was still awaited.
At the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 15 April 2021 the Committee would welcome the Epping Forest Youth Council and would present external scrutiny of Young People’s Mental Health Services.
Councillor Sartin referred to the supplementary agenda document and advised that Mr Wyn Marshall was currently the Chairman of the Tenants and Leaseholders Forum. The Forum represented the views of the tenant’s associations and acted as a consultative body for the Council on a range of housing issues. It was particularly important that tenants had a voice at this level especially in relation to the publication of the Social Housing White paper.
At a meeting of the Stronger Communities Select Committee on 14 January 2021, the Chairman informed the Committee that a request for Mr Marshall to become a co-opted member of the Committee had been made by officers, who strongly supported this. It would ensure that tenants opinions and input would be considered in relation to Housing issues scrutinised by the Stronger Communities Select Committee.
The Council’s Constitution set out rules for the management of its overview and scrutiny responsibilities. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was entitled (Article 6) to recommend to the Council the appointment of appropriate persons as non-voting co-optees on select committees.
As Mr Marshall’s appointment was close to the end of this municipal year, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee also recommended to Council that this should continue until the end of 2021/22 when it could be reviewed.
(1) That the Overview and Scrutiny progress report for the meetings held on 7 January and 2 February 2021 be noted; and
(2) That Mr Wyn Marshall be appointed as a non-voting co-opted member of the Stronger Communities Select Committee until the end of the 2021/22 municipal year.
Joint Arrangements & External Organisations
(a) To receive from Council representatives the reports (attached - if any) on the business of joint arrangements and external organisations and to receive answers to any questions on those bodies which may be put without notice; and
(b) To request written reports from representatives on joint arrangements and external organisations for future meetings.
(a) Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey
The Chairman, Councillor H Kane reported that the newly appointed CEO of the Royal Gunpowder Mills had recently passed away due to Covid-19 therefore there was no update at this time.
(b) There were no requests made for written reports by representatives on joint arrangements and external organisations for the next meeting.