Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 16th July, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: R Perrin Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

13.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“The Chairman 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).

 

If you are seated in the lower public seating area it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.

 

This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if you wish to avoid this you should move to the upper public gallery.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman 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.

14.

SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that Councillor Morgan had been appointed as a substitute for Councillor Dorrell, but Councillor Morgan had subsequently given his apologies for the meeting.

15.

MINUTES

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 4 June 2019 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)      That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2019 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

16.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

To declare interests in any item of the agenda.

 

In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Council’s Code of Conduct, members are asked pay particular attention to paragraph 11 of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.

 

This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before overview and scrutiny which relates to a decision of or action by another committee, sub-committee of the Council, a joint committee or joint sub-committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a member.

 

Paragraph 11 of the Code of Conduct does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an overview and scrutiny meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest from the Members present pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

17.

Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

To receive questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Committee.

 

(a)       Public Questions

 

Members of the public may ask questions of the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee at ordinary meetings of the Committee, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Council’s Constitution.

 

(b)       Requests to address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business), due to be considered at the meeting.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there had been no public questions or requests to address the Committee received.

18.

Executive Decisions - Call-In

To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there had been no executive decisions called in for consideration since the last meeting.

19.

Cabinet Business pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Recommendation:

 

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 is attached as an appendix to this report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Executive’s current Programme of Key Decisions for the Committee to consider.

 

The Democratic Services Manager informed the Committee that the standard report for this item had been revised to reflect the requirements of the Constitution, and the definition of a Key Decision from Article 14 of the Constitution had also been included for the benefit of the Committee.

 

Leader Portfolio

 

Councillor Murray urged the Leader of Council to include all the Epping District Councillors for the St John’s Road Development, to encourage good decision making. The Leader stated that a Working Group had been appointed for the St John’s Road Project, which included both Town and District Councillors, as well as members of the Cabinet. The Leader acknowledged that there were no members of the Liberal Democrat group on the Working Group, but there would be regular progress reports on the project submitted to the Cabinet and the Council.

 

Councillor Murray responded that it would be useful to have the whole range of opinions on the Working Group, and opined that there had been problems caused in Loughton by not having Councillors from the Loughton Residents Association on Working Groups.

 

Contract & Technical Services Portfolio

 

Councillor Jennings enquired as to whether the Vere Road Car Park item should be listed, as it was recorded as not being a Key Decision? The Leader replied that he would find out the status of this item and report back to the Councillor. Councillor Murray requested that local District Council Members be included, and their views considered for the Vere Road Car Park item.

 

Housing & Property Services Portfolio

 

Councillor Murray thanked the new Portfolio Holder for replying this morning to the important questions concerning the Fire Safety Policy that the Councillor had raised in respect of the Oakwood Hill Estate. Councillor Murray also felt that it was imperative that there was some Scrutiny involvement in the Options Appraisal for the Future Delivery of the Council’s Responsive Repairs Service, and the Service Company and Development Company items, as both items marked a significant change of direction for the Council. The Leader reassured the Committee that Scrutiny involvement in the Service Company and Development Company in particular, was being considered as this was a momentous change for the Council.

 

The Housing & Property Services Portfolio Holder confirmed that the new Action Plan for the Housing Strategy 2018 was currently out for consultation.

 

Councillor Knight enquired about the item regarding the development potential of the Council’s Sheltered Housing Assets, and pointed out that it would be the Stronger Communities Select Committee which would be reporting on this item, not the Communities Select Committee as listed. The Portfolio Holder explained that the Council needed to have a discussion on the future of its sheltered housing assets, looking at different options, and the Select Committee would be a good place to start this discussion. Councillor Knight stated that the Select Committee was informed a year ago that there was a dire need for sheltered housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Statutory Guidance on Overview & Scrutiny in Local & Combined Authorities pdf icon PDF 132 KB

(Democratic Services Manager) To consider the attached report, following the statutory guidance recently issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented a report on the Statutory Guidance on Overview & Scrutiny in Local & Combined Authorities, that had been issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in May 2019.

 

The Committee was informed that Local Authorities ‘must have regard to the guidance when exercising overview and scrutiny functions’ which meant that the guidance should be followed unless there was good reason not to. There were six themes running throughout the guidance, which were: Culture; Resourcing; Selecting Committee Members; Power to Access Information; Planning Work; and Evidence Sessions. The Democratic Services Manager then proceeded to highlight the key points for each theme within the guidance.

 

Culture

 

Organisational culture within local authorities was recognised as one of the key measures of success for Overview & Scrutiny, with an emphasis placed on the importance of Overview & Scrutiny being owned and led by Members.

 

Resourcing

 

The guidance did not prescribe a specific level of Officer support to be allocated to Overview & Scrutiny, other than an appropriate level of support to enable Overview & Scrutiny to function effectively. Any support should also include the way that the wider Council engaged with Overview & Scrutiny.

 

Selecting Committee Members

 

When selecting Members to serve on Overview & Scrutiny Committees, consideration should be given to experience, expertise, interests, ability to act impartially, ability to work as part of a group, and capacity to serve. The importance of the role of Chairman for Overview & Scrutiny Committees was recognised, with a suggestion that they should be selected by means of a secret ballot. The guidance also emphasised the value of outside expertise that could be obtained by co-opted members onto a Committee or the use of technical advisors.

 

Power to Access Information

 

The guidance highlighted the legal powers which already existed for Overview & Scrutiny to access information to enable it to carry out its work. This included access to data on finance, performance and risk.

 

Planning Work

 

The guidance stressed the importance of work programming to the success of Overview & Scrutiny, with a focus on items which could make a tangible difference. A variety of sources should be used to inform the work programme, and the use of shortlisting was recommended in deciding which topics should be included in the work programme. There also needed to be co-ordination across the work programmes of individual Scrutiny Committees, to ensure that the best use was made of the available support.

 

Evidence Sessions

 

Evidence Sessions were highlighted as a key means for Overview & Scrutiny Committees to inform their work, but they required effective planning. In developing recommendations from Evidence Sessions, a maximum of six to eight recommendations was suggested as being sufficient to ensure a focused response was received.

 

The Democratic Services Manager requested the Committee to consider the statutory guidance and to identify whether any changes to current processes were required as a result.

 

Councillor Mohindra stated that the guidance on Evidence Sessions sounded interesting, and inquired whether there had been any benchmarking or peer reviews of the Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Overview & Scrutiny Select Committees - Membership 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Recommendations/Decisions Required:

 

That the Committee note:

 

(a)         the appointment of Councillor H. Brady to membership of the Stronger Council Select Committee for the 2019/20 municipal year; and

 

(b)         the corrected appointment of members of the Loughton Residents Association Group to membership of the Stronger Council Select Committee and Stronger Place Select Committee for 2019/20.

 

(Democratic Services Manager) At its previous meeting, the Committee made appointment to membership of the select committees for the current municipal year.

 

At the time of these appointments, one nomination of the Conservative Group for  membership of the Stronger Council Select Committee remained outstanding. The Leader of the Conservative Group has subsequently advised that Councillor H. Brady should be appointed to membership of the select committee.

 

Subsequent to the appointment process, it was reported by the Leader of the Loughton Residents Association Group that an error had been made with regard to the reporting of some of its nominations to the select committees, in that the nominations for the Stronger Council Select Committee and Stronger Place Select Committee were transposed in the schedule presented to the Committee.

 

Although the appointments were therefore incorrectly agreed, it was the view of the Chairman of the Committee that the error did not affect the decision of the Committee and that, subject to a report being made to this meeting to clarify the correct appointments, it was appropriate for the first cycle of meetings of the select committees to proceed in accordance with the nomination submissions of the Loughton Residents Association Group.

 

Details of the corrected appointment of members to the select committee for 2019/20 are attached.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented a report regarding the membership of the Select Committees in 2019/20. The Committee were reminded that it had confirmed the appointments of Members to the Select Committees at its last meeting. However, there had been a couple of issues to further resolve.

 

Firstly, there had been an error in the reporting of the nominations made by the Loughton Residents Association (LRA), in that the nominations for the Stronger Council and Stronger Place Select Committees had been transposed. It was felt that this error had not affected the decision of the Committee and the first cycle of meetings had proceeded in accordance with the nominated submissions of the LRA. However, the Committee was requested to clarify the correct appointments.

 

Secondly, one nomination of the Conservative Group for the Stronger Council Select Committee had been outstanding. The Leader of the Conservative Group had subsequently advised that Councillor H Brady should be appointed to this Select Committee, and the Committee was requested to ratify this appointment.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the appointment of Councillor H Brady to membership of the Stronger Council Select Committee for 2019/20 be noted; and

 

(2)        That the corrected appointment of members of the Loughton Residents Association Group to membership of the Stronger Council and Stronger Place Select Committees be noted.

22.

Waste Management Task & Finish Panel pdf icon PDF 109 KB

(Democratic Services Manager) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented a report on the proposed Waste Management Task & Finish Panel.

 

The Committee was reminded that it had agreed to establish a Waste Management Task & Finish Panel at its last meeting on 4 June 2019, to support the forthcoming review of the Council’s waste & recycling service. The Committee had to now agree the Terms of Reference, Membership and work programme for the Panel.

 

The Democratic Services Manager reported that six members had expressed an interest in being a member of the Panel prior to the meeting. A further three members expressed an interest at the meeting, bringing the total to nine. The rules regarding membership of Task & Finish Panels were flexible, save that more than one political group had to be represented and any Cabinet Member whose Portfolio was directly affected by the Panel’s Terms of Reference could not be a member either. The nine members interested in being a member of the Panel satisfied these requirements. It was also incumbent on the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to appoint the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Panel.

 

The Democratic Services Manager reminded the Committee that the Panel would need to work quickly to ensure that its findings were considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee in January 2020. The Waste & Recycling Manager introduced the proposed Terms of Reference for the Panel and drew the Committee’s attention to the six items proposed for the panel’s consideration. It was acknowledged that some of the items had been previously discussed by the Council, such as the introduction of a third wheeled bin, and the Committee was reminded that they were at liberty to add or remove items from the list as they saw fit.

 

Councillor Wixley raised an issue concerning the frequency that litter bins were emptied, as the Councillor continually saw the same litter bins full and overflowing. Councillor Wixley felt that this was a key issue as he spent an inordinate amount of his Councillor time reporting bins that needed emptying. Councillor Neville and Councillor Rackham supported Councillor Wixley’s comments, and Councillor Rackham highlighted that litter bins were used more during the summer, hence they required emptying more often. Councillor Rackham also enquired why there were not more dog waste bins being established throughout the District? The Waste & Recycling Manager acknowledged that there had been an increased use of litter bins, which created problems in some areas, and there was a seasonal issue with the use of some litter bins as well – especially during the school summer holidays. The Council had ceased putting out separate dog waste bins as bagged dog waste was now permitted to be disposed of in normal litter bins.

 

Councillor Neville and Councillor Murray supported the proposed review of street cleansing arrangements to effect improvements, and Councillor Neville suggested that bottle deposit schemes should be added to the Terms of Reference for the Panel as there was a Government consultation currently being undertaken on this subject; this was agreed by the Committee. Councillor Murray complimented  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Corporate Plan Action Plan Year 2 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 110 KB

(Service Director – Communities & Partnerships) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director for Community & Partnerships presented the Corporate Plan Action Plan Year 2 Performance Report.

 

The Service Director reminded the Committee that the Action Plan was a mechanism for reporting to Members on the Council’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and key programmes of work, which highlighted the Council’s overall performance against the agreed objectives in the Corporate Plan. The Performance Measures for Year 2 of the Corporate Plan had been streamlined to enable improved focus on how the Corporate Objectives were being met. Some suggestions for improvements to the report had been made at the meeting of the Stronger Council Select Committee, held on 9 July 2019, and quarterly milestones were intended to be added for all the listed key programmes.

 

The Service Director provided some updates to the report, following its publication on the agenda:

-        For the ‘Increased Customer Satisfaction’ KPI, the overall target was listed as 67% but the Council had already achieved 73.4% in Quarter 1; this target had now been revised upwards to 75%.

-        For the ‘Improved Customer First Contact’ KPI, quarterly figures and targets would be implemented, not quarterly updates.

-        For the ‘Increase new Leisure Centre Attendees year on year’ KPI, the target for the first quarter was 65,0007 but 200,086 had been achieved. This figure was not new Leisure Centre Members as stated in the description but total attendances at the Council’s Leisure Centres. New KPIs would be set up for this area to give Members an idea of the number of new Leisure Centre members, users of the gymnasiums, users of the swimming pools etc, which would give a better indication of any trends in Leisure Centre usage.

-        Corporate Objective 7, ‘Keeping the District Safe’, was showing a status of Red but all the self-generated actions had been completed; it was only the joint actions with Essex Police which were still outstanding which subsequently adversely impacted this Objective.

-        For the ‘Partnership Working Programme’, it had been suggested by the Stronger Council Select Committee that this programme should be removed from the report as it could mean any number of different things and was difficult to measure.

 

Councillor Murray felt that an initial target of 67% for customer satisfaction was quite low and the Council should be aiming for 80% at least. The Leader of Council stated that the Council’s customer satisfaction rating was actually quite high but reiterated that the indicator would be reviewed. Councillor Philip felt that a more complicated score should be considered for this indicator rather than the simple customer satisfaction rating. The Service Director undertook to feed these views back to the Service Director for Customer Service. Councillor Wixley commented that the revised target of 75% was based on the number of people who had actually answered the survey, and enquired how many people did not answer the survey? The Service Director responded that she would have to liaise with the relevant Officer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

(Democratic Services Manager) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman presented the Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for 2018/19.

 

The Chairman informed the Committee that the Annual Report had been further revised following the Committee’s meeting on 16 April 2019, taking account of the Committee’s comments at that meeting and further consultation with the Chairmen of the Select Committees. The Committee was reminded that the report had been produced in accordance with Article 6 of the Constitution, which required an Annual Report to be submitted to the Council each year and was the fourteenth such report to be submitted under the current Scrutiny regime instigated in 2005. The Committee was requested to agree the report for submission to the Council at its meeting on 30 July 2019.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report for 2018/19, reporting the work undertaken during the past municipal year, be agreed for submission to the Council at its meeting on 30 July 2019.

25.

Scrutiny of External Organisation - Epping Forest College pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented a report concerning the scrutiny of Epping Forest College.

 

The Democratic Services Manager reminded the Committee that the former Principal of Epping Forest College had attended the Committee on 27 February 2018 to report on the plans to improve the College’s performance following its ‘inadequate’ report from Ofsted. In August 2018, Epping Forest College had merged with New City College. An invitation was extended to the new Principal to attend the meeting scheduled for 3 September 2019, to report on the progress being made with the implementation of improvement plans, and to respond to the concerns of Members regarding the College’s curriculum and its future intentions for its landholdings.

 

The Democratic Services Manager reported that the new Principal, Ms Janet Smith, had responded and felt it was not appropriate for the College to report to the Council in this manner. The College was answerable to its own governing body and was open and transparent in its dealings with the public. However, the Principal added that she would be happy to meet with Councillors to discuss the improvement at the College since the merger, but only on an informal basis, and would keep the Council informed on the development of the new Wellbeing & Leisure Centre.

 

Therefore, given the response from the Principal, it had been recommended that the external scrutiny of the College be removed from the Work Programme for the Committee for 2019/20. It had also been recommended that the Service Director for Communities & Partnerships should make arrangements for an informal briefing between the Principal and Members of the Committee. However, it was also suggested that the Service Director and the Chief Executive should meet with the Chief Executive of New City College prior to the Members meeting with the Principal of Epping Forest College.

 

Councillor Neville commented that it was unfortunate the Principal of the College felt she did not need to come before the Committee, especially as it was residents of the District which sent their children there to be educated. The previous Principal had attended although it was pleasing that an alternative offer had been made.

 

Councillor Murray also expressed his disappointment at the response from the Principal, as he felt there were some important issues at the College which required scrutiny. Local residents were very interested in the College’s plans for their local landholdings. However, Councillor Murray also explained that the new Principal had a slightly different role with responsibility for just the curriculum and no other areas like finance and land holdings, unlike her predecessor. The College was also intending to focus on vocational qualifications in the future and would cease offering ‘A’ Levels. The Councillor felt that the College was improving with lower numbers of students increasing the quality. The Committee should pursue an informal briefing or meeting with the Principal, but the Councillor also supported the idea of a pre-meeting with the Chief Executive of New City College.

 

The Democratic Services Manager informed the Committee that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Progress towards the achievement of the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is reviewed at each meeting.

 

(a)          Current Work Programme

 

The current work programme for the Committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.

 

(b)          Reserve Programme

 

A reserve list of scrutiny topics is developed as required, to ensure that the work flow of overview and scrutiny is continuous. When necessary, the Committee will allocate items from the list appropriately, once resources become available in the work programme, following the completion of any ongoing scrutiny activity.

 

Members can put forward suggestions for inclusion in the work programme or reserve list through the adopted PICK process. Existing review items will be dealt with first, after which time will be allocated to the items contained in the reserve work plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager presented the Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme for 2019/20, including the Reserve List.

 

The Democratic Services Manager reported that the first two items on the Work Programme were now complete, scrutiny of the Cabinet’s Key Decisions were ongoing throughout the year, and the Customer Services item was an annual report presented to the Committee in March. The Committee had just agreed to remove the proposed scrutiny of Epping Forest College from the Work Programme for this year. For the next item, the review of the provision of local mental health services, a briefing for Officers had taken place this afternoon by the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and one option was to repeat this briefing for Members before a meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, possibly the next scheduled meeting in September. For the Local High Streets Viability & Regeneration item, the Service Director for Communities & Partnerships was considering the best way for this to be scrutinised, and the Economic Development Strategy was due to be considered by the Council at its next meeting on 30 July 2019. The scrutiny of Adult Social Care could also be scheduled for the next meeting in September as an invitation had already extended to Councillor Spence, who was the County Council Cabinet Member for Health & Adult Social Care. The Committee would need to consider the scope of the scrutiny that they wished to undertake for this item. Finally, no proactive action was being undertaken for the scrutiny of the Epping Forest Sixth Form Consortium at the current time.

 

The Democratic Services Manager then presented the two items on the Reserve List, both of whom had been brought forward from the Reserve List last year. The scrutiny of the Joint Governance of the Essex Police / Essex Fire & Rescue Service could be added to the formal Work Programme.

 

Councillor Mohindra stated that he had been at the Officer Briefing this afternoon for the provision of local mental health services and felt that it was an excellent session. He suggested that if the scrutiny of Adult Social Care was undertaken as an informal training session then this would benefit the  Committee more than a formal presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

 

The Chairman commented that there was no external scrutiny currently planned for the next scheduled meeting of the Committee and suggested that there was an opportunity to invite Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust to the next meeting as a follow-on from the Officer briefing today. The Committee concurred, and the Democratic Services Manager undertook to speak to the relevant Officers to assess the feasibility of bringing that item to the next meeting.

 

The Chairman also highlighted that the viability and regeneration of local high streets was a national issue at the moment, as there had been recent programmes and articles on BBC Radio 4 and in the Daily Telegraph.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)      That the current Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme for 2019/20 be noted; and

 

(2)      That Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Member Request for Scrutiny Review - Air Pollution from Vehicle Emissions pdf icon PDF 36 KB

(Democratic Services Manager) To consider the attached Member request for a Scrutiny review submitted by Councillor J H Whitehouse, who has requested that this be a ‘Spotlight’ review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager informed the Committee that a Member request for a Scrutiny Review had been received from Councillor J H Whitehouse.

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse had requested a ‘spotlight’ Scrutiny review of air pollution caused by vehicle emissions, to: identify the locations of poor air quality in the District caused by vehicle emissions; learn how air quality was measured; and consider the measures available to the Council to address the problem. If this request was supported by the Committee then a scoping exercise would need to be undertaken and reported back to the Committee at its next meeting in September 2019.

 

Councillor Knight highlighted that the review could also examine the air quality from building developments throughout the District, but that there was currently no plan in place to resolve these issues and maybe this was not the right time for such a review. However, Councillor Neville felt that the review would be timely; the point being to examine what could be done to tackle this issue and then formulate a plan. The Council did have some powers to deal with this issue, whether it be through planning or dealing with idling traffic; other areas could be added during the scoping exercise if it was felt appropriate.

 

Councillor Murray was very supportive of the request and acknowledged that, although the Council could not do everything to improve the air quality within the District, it could do something. This review would be a start, was precisely worded, and would examine the measures and resources available to the Council before making its recommendations. Councillor Mohindra applauded the sentiment behind the request for a review, but wondered whether the District Council was the right body to undertake this review? Information on this subject might have already been collated by other public sector bodies.

 

However, the Portfolio Holder for Planning Services, Councillor Philip, felt that the request for a Scrutiny review was flawed. Air quality was a key part of the emerging Local Plan, particularly in the Habitats Regulations Assessment (2019). The air quality levels for the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) within the District were higher than for the areas of human habitation. The Stronger Place Select Committee had scrutiny of the Local Plan within its remit, and this issue could be examined there; there was no need for a separate Task & Finish Panel.

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse acknowledged that air quality could be a wide topic, but she simply wanted a short, focused Task & Finish Panel to examine this subject. The Councillor had received numerous complaints about engine idling at Epping Underground Station, and Abridge was probably another area within the District with poor air quality due to traffic fumes. The Council had powers to issue fixed penalty notices but they were not used. There was the option to have follow-up Panels to tackle the other air quality issues.

 

Councillor Sunger, who was the Chairman of the Stronger Place Select Committee, pointed out that the ‘Green Agenda’ was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Select Committees - Work Programmes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

(Chairmen of the Select Committees) Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution requires that the Chairmen of the three Select Committees report to the meeting on progress with the achievement of the current work programme for each Select Committee and on any recommendations for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The current work programme for each Select Committee is attached as an Appendix to this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Knight introduced the Stronger Communities Work Programme for 2019/20. The Committee was reminded that the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex was scheduled to attend the Select Committee’s meeting on 1 October 2019, and all Members were urged to attend this meeting.

 

Councillor Sunger introduced the Stronger Place Select Committee Work Programme for 2019/20, and reassured the Committee that the issue of Air Quality within the District would be included under item 5 of the Work Programme – ‘Green Agenda’ – following the earlier discussion on the Member Request for a Scrutiny review. Councillor Neville reminded the Committee that single use plastics had been proposed as a topic for discussion under the ‘Green Agenda’ item as well.

 

Councillor Bolton introduced the Stronger Council Select Committee Work Programme for 2019/20, and cautioned the Committee that consideration of four topics at the last meeting had taken over four hours to complete – although this did include the review of polling places, polling districts and polling stations. Councillor Murray opined that the review of polling stations was conducted very well by the Committee. He had also met with the Head Teacher of White Bridge Primary School in Loughton and had discussed with her the issues concerning the necessary use of the School as a polling station.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the Work Programme for the Stronger Communities Select Committee be noted;

 

(2)        That the Work Programme for the Stronger Place Select Committee be noted; and

 

(3)        That the Work Programme for the Stronger Council Select Committee be noted.

29.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion: To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

Nil

Nil

Nil

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers:  Article 17 - Access to Information, Procedure Rules of the Constitution define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection for four years after the date of the meeting one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there was no business which necessitated the exclusion of the public and press.