Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 26th July 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Gary Woodhall & V Messenger Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:


No. Item


Webcasting Introduction

The Chairman will read the following announcement:


This meeting is to be webcast and the Chairman will read the following announcement:


“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.


By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.


You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights, and if you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.


Please could I also remind Members and Officers to activate their microphones before speaking.”

Additional documents:


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.



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

Additional documents:


The Committee noted that Councillor C Amos had been appointed as substitute for Councillor J H Whitehouse.



To declare interests in any item on the agenda.


In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are requested to 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 & Scrutiny which relates to a decision of or action by another Committee or 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 & Scrutiny meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.

Additional documents:


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


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 442 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 June 2022.

Additional documents:




That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 June 2022 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:


Sentence starting “It was felt the Council could make improvements in communicating better with residents”, by replacing the words ‘as some had to phone several times to speak to a staff member’ under Corporate Priorities (Minute no 7), to read: “It was felt the Council could make improvements in communicating better with residents, as a resident had to phone seven times but could not get an issue resolved until Councillor D Wixley helped sort it out”.


Matters Arising and Outstanding Actions

To consider any matters arising and outstanding actions from the minutes of the previous meeting(s) that are not covered elsewhere in this agenda.

Additional documents:


There were no matters raised or actions from the previous meeting.


Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

(Democratic & Electoral Services Team Manager) To receive questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Committee, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.


(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 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:


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



Executive Decisions - Call-In

(Democratic & Electoral Services Team Manager) To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:


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



Corporate Plan Key Action Plan Year 5 2022/23 - Quarter 1 Corporate Performance Reporting pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To review the attached FY 2022/23 quarter 1 Performance Report.

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M Hassall (Interim Acting Service Director (Strategy, Delivery and Performance)) introduced quarter 1. The report detailed project status summaries, key milestones and RAG status for those projects identified as a ‘priority project’ within the portfolio aligned to the Council’s corporate objectives. All KPIs regardless of status were also included. Project closure reports were an ongoing area of work within the Project Management Office (PMO).


It was requested if a glossary could accompany this report in future to explain the abbreviations being used and could more information be provided in the ‘comments’ section. It was agreed this would be helpful and a glossary would be provided for the minutes.


(a)        Priority projects – Quarterly progress updates


Project CPP141, M3PP – it was noted that the M3 software was no longer supported by the supplier.


Project COO154, Green agenda programme – it was noted the PMO now had an action plan although it was showing as ‘remained unassigned’.


(b)       Quarterly KPI reporting


Customer Services


Customer complaints received related to Ride London, the Biffa waste crisis and dissatisfaction over the Elections. The question was asked as to the nature of the complaint regarding Elections. The Democratic and Electoral Services Team Manager, G Woodhall, advised that a formal complaint had been received about lighting in the Conder building car park during the count and the noise of the generators. S Lewis (Customer Services Manager) advised we received some customer complaints regarding confusion over where a polling station was, residents confused as to whether they were registered to vote, and information related to candidates.


The KPI target on first point resolution was 45% and actual 70.9%, but should the target be increased? The Customer Services Manager stated that the target would be reviewed later in the year and the intention was to increase it.


Shouldn’t the overall customer satisfaction target be 100% if we wanted to satisfy all our customers and was the measure based on how happy the customer was with the service from the officer who dealt with them? The Customer Services Manager replied that customer satisfaction was based on the outcome that the customer wanted and that we could not always meet our residents’ expectations.  This was reiterated by A Small (Strategic Director) who added that whilst it was good to aspire higher, realistic targets had to be achieved. 


Community Health and Wellbeing


The Q1 KPI figures showed a 7% increase in homelessness approaches compared with the same period last year.There was a corresponding increase in the numbers in temporary accommodation (Q1 snapshot reporting an 8% increase compared with the same period last year). J Gould (Interim Acting Community and Wellbeing Project Director) advised that the single biggest cause of homelessness was still friend/family licence terminations but there had been significant increases in approaches as a result of domestic abuse, the ending of assured shorthold tenancies and (non-violent) relationship breakdown – approximately 50% increases in each of these causes of approach (although actual numbers were still relatively small). Homelessness demand was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Chairman to report on their Select Committee Business pdf icon PDF 70 KB

(Chairmen of the Select Committees) To report to the meeting on progress against the achievement of the current work programme, as is required under Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution, and for any recommendations for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


For information: the current work programme for each select committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.

Additional documents:


(a)        Stronger Communities Select Committee


Councillor J Lea, Chairman, reported that at the meeting on 12 July 2022 W Marshall, Chairman of the Tenant’s and Leaseholders Forum, had been appointed as a non-voting co-opted member of the select committee. The Committee had reviewed a report on cash paying customers at the Debden Broadway office which detailed that cash paying customers would be issued with Allpay cards. When this was in place, the Debden cash office could be closed, as other services would be transferred out of the Broadway Housing office. The Committee heard about the successful sheltered housing refurbishment of Frank Bretton House. There were lots of policy changes happening in the Housing sector, as the Committee reviewed the Housing Strategy 2022–2027 and the Changing Landscape of Housing Paper 1.


A Small commented that people would still be able to pay by cash, it would just be provided in a different way. Councillor D Wixley added that as most people using the Broadway Housing office lived in Debden, he could not support the suggestion that the office could be moved to Loughton High Road as this was approximately two miles away and would therefore, be inconvenient for local residents. However, he had subsequently heard that there would still be an office in The Broadway, located in the premises previously occupied by the Restore Community Church, which he found acceptable.


(b)       Stronger Council Select Committee


Councillor J McIvor, Chairman, reported that the committee reviewed three reports – the People Strategy Overview 2022, Azure – move to the Cloud business case and the quarter 4 Budget Monitoring Report 2021/22. It had helped that officers had attended the meeting in person. The effectiveness of officers attending meetings via Zoom was an item that had been added to the work programme, but the parameters for scrutiny had yet to be determined. Hybrid meetings could be very effective but also ineffective as sometimes had happened at planning committee meetings, so a procedural and practical way forward with Zoom would be scrutinised.


Councillor H Kane commented that you would not be able to have all officers present, but it was helpful if they could attend via Zoom. Other comments received included that it would be important for people to share their experiences, so feedback from members and officers would be helpful.


(c)        Stronger Place Select Committee


Councillor R Balcombe, Chairman, reported that its Terms of Reference had not been completed as the agenda had been published for the 5 July 2022 meeting before the Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen on 28 June. The Committee had scrutinised the EFDC Litter Strategy but could not recommend the policy as there had not been enough detailed information within the strategy and a lack of solutions provided for rural communities. The Interim Acting Contracts Service Director would be recirculating an updated Litter Strategy, for members to review at the next meeting on 13 September 2022.




That the select committee Chairman reported on business undertaken at their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 65 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.

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(a)        Current Work Programme


The following were noted:


·     The new Corporate Plan would be scrutinised at the September 2022 meeting;

·     It was likely the Qualis 4-Year Business Plan would be presented in November; and

·     Epping Forest Youth Council would be attending the April 2023 meeting.


(b)       Reserve Programme


There were no reserve work items. It was noted that scrutiny was focussed on the Council this year. However, if the Committee wanted to invite an outside organisation, this could be held as an all-member briefing instead to facilitate more engagement with other councillors.




That the Committee reviewed its current work programme and reserve Programme.


Cabinet Business pdf icon PDF 175 KB



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 2022 is attached as an Appendix to this report.

Additional documents:


Cabinet’s Key Decision List (KDL) of 1 July 2022 was scrutinised by the Committee and the following points were raised.


(a)        Portfolio – Leader


Local Government Council Size and Boundary Review – this was ongoing. The initial consultation had closed in July 2022. The number of councillors would most likely reduce to 54 and changes to ward boundaries would need to be made to accommodate this. The Council was waiting for a response from the Commission and would then have the opportunity to make further comments.


(b)       Portfolio – Place


Air Quality Action Plan – this would be pre-scrutinised by Stronger Place Select Committee in January, as Cabinet was due to make a decision on 13 March 2023.


(c)        Portfolio – Contracts and Commissioning


Charging for additional Waste Containers – Stronger Place Select Committee had pre-scrutinised the Litter Strategy on 5 July 2022. In light of comments made at the meeting, an amended strategy would go to the meeting on 13 September and was due to go to Cabinet in November 2022.


It was unfair on a resident if their bin was damaged by someone else, so would they still be charged? The Contracts Service Director replied that if a bin was broken through wear and tear or by a Biffa operative, it would be replaced by the Council. However, if a bin was lost or could not be repaired, the resident would be charged. All the information would be in the report.




That the Committee reviewed the Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions of 1 July 2022.