Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 5th April, 2007 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Simon Hill, Senior Democratic Services Officer  email: Tel: 01992 564249

No. Item


Webcasting Introduction

1.         This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.


2.         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 repeated viewing and copies of the recording could be made available for those that request it.


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”


The Chairman made a short address to remind all present that the meeting would be broadcast on the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings. The Sub-Committee noted the Council’s Protocol for Webcasting of Council and Other Meetings.



(Head of Research and Democratic Services). To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.


It was reported that Councillor R Frankel was substituting for Councillor M Woollard and that Councillor Mrs P Smith was substituting for Councillor M Colling.



(Head of Research and Democratic Services). To declare interests in any items on the agenda.


In considering whether to declare a personal or a prejudicial interest under the Code of Conduct, Overview & Scrutiny 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 personal and prejudicial interest in any matter before an OS Committee 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 does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an OS meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.


a)             Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor S Murray declared a personal interest in agenda item 9 (Leisure Task and Finish Panel report) by virtue of being a council representative on the Roding Valley Meadows Local Nature Reserve Management Committee. He declared that his interest was non-prejudicial.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 46 KB

Decisions required:


To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 March 2007.


That the minutes of the Committee held on 8 March 2007 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Presentation from Aidan Thomas - West Essex Primary Care Trust pdf icon PDF 31 KB

Members are asked to note that following consultation with the PCT, the Chief Executive of the PCT will make a presentation to members at the meeting and will bring copies of this to the meeting.


The Committee received a presentation from Aidan Thomas the Chief Executive of the West Essex Primary Health Care Trust. He introduced a proposed strategy for Healthcare in West Essex. They were hoping to formulate a strategy and were conducting a consultation exercise until 31 May 2007. A copy of the West Essex Primary Care Trust proposed strategy report had been distributed to members previously. Nationally a white paper was being produced for the NHS as a whole.


The Trust were taking a strategic view of local issues, looking at poor access to services and deprived communities, taking into account the higher than average age range of the district. There was a large area of West Essex where public transport was a huge issue, it affected villages and towns, and where getting to a GP or a Hospital was a problem. It was noted that older people tend to use the health service more and that the average age range was higher in the area. Also because of the higher age of patients they tend to stay in hospital for longer periods. This tends to remove older people’s ability to look after themselves. However, there are alternatives to hospitalisation such as moving health services into, or closer to, people’s homes wherever this is possible and safe.


The Trust is facing a huge population growth in the area and will be working with their partners to demonstrably improve health, well-being and services in the more deprived parts of West Essex. The strategy hopes to meet the government’s targets such as an 18-week wait (instead of 20 at present), sexual health, obesity, smoking and cancer.


All three former PCTs in West Essex met the General Practice targets, but it is known that the public still has problems with them. The Trust is trying to make access to GPs easier and to reorganise how the community hospitals etc. are accessed.


As part of the exercise they have asked GPs to closely examine the invoices received from hospitals etc. as they have found that a lot are overpriced, this would enable them to save money immediately.


The consultation on the Strategy runs from 2 April to 31 May 2007 when they hold public meetings, meetings with local groups, patients, carers and other user groups and NHS staff from the wider health community. More information is available on their website:


A copy of Mr Thomas’ presentation is attached to these minutes for information.


The Committee then took the opportunity to question Mr Thomas.


Q.                Are you confident that West Essex PCT and particularly Whipps Cross, is now fit for purpose.

A.         It’s not as yet, but we are listening to the views of the public, but as yet no formal consultation has taken place, that should begin in October.         


Q.        Can you expand on the statement you made about moving health services closer to peoples homes.

A.         In some cases we can put some services in people’s homes. Immediate care teams could do transfusions and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.


2006 - 07 Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report pdf icon PDF 21 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:


The Committee were asked to endorse and refer the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2006/07 to the Council for consideration at its next meeting.




That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2006/07 be endorsed and submitted to the Council for consideration at its next meeting in April 2007.





To adopt the attached 2007 – 08 Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme.


At its last meeting on 8 March 2007, the Committee requested that a meeting be arranged between the Chairman and the Vice – Chairman to formulate the 2007 – 08 OS work programme. The meeting was held on 22 March 2007.


The notes of the meeting and  the programme they put together is attached for consideration. The Committee is asked to endorse the plan for implementation in the new Council year. 

Additional documents:


It was reported that the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee met on 22 March 2007 to formulate the 2007/08 OS work plan when they considered the first draft of the plan containing outstanding items from the current year and bids submitted for the new plan.


The Committee agreed that although the proposed item on the role of rural transport in the District would not be put on the new work programme, a letter should be sent to County to put the views of the district to them asking that public transport should be looked at and if possible, improved.


AGREED that a letter be sent to County expressing the Districts disappointment in the current level of public transport for the district.





            That the Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme for 2007/08 be endorsed.


Tabled Paper - Report of the Constitution and Members Services Standing Panel


The Committee next considered the tabled paper from the Constitution and Members Services Standing Panel. This was their report on Council meetings – regulation of question time and the review of financial regulations, which was to be referred to Council for adoption.


Recommendation 1(c) was debated as the wording was considered ambiguous in that it seemed to say that all questions from each political group should receive a reply, which could extend the Council meeting some time while all the questions were answered.


It was proposed that the recommendations should stand and be referred to Council with a paragraph saying that recommendation 1(c) was discussed by the Committee and it should be considered as guidance and not proscriptive.




1.                  That the report from the Constitution and Members Services on Council Meetings – Regulation of Question Time and Review of Financial Regulations be endorsed and submitted to Council.

2.                  That a paragraph be inserted in the covering report that O&S discussed paragraph 1(c) and agreed that it should be considered as guidance and not be treated as proscriptive.


Leisure Task and Finish Panel pdf icon PDF 596 KB

(Chairman of Task and Finish Panel). To consider the Final Report of the Panel (attached).


The Chairman of the Leisure Task and Finish Panel, Councillor Mrs Heather Harding, introduced the panel’s report to the Committee.


The Committee were very happy to endorse the report and agreed that it was a first class report produced by a good Task and Finish Panel.




That the Leisure Task and Finish Report be endorsed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and be referred up to the next Cabinet meeting for their consideration.


Older and Disabled Persons Task and Finish Panel - Final Report pdf icon PDF 251 KB

(Chairman of the Panel) To consider the Final Report of the Panel (attached).


The Older and Disabled Persons Task and Finish Panel Chairman, Councillor Mrs Susan Perry, introduced the Panel’s report to the Committee. She thanked her Panel members and officers for their assistance and commented that because of the lack of time they could not cover everything in their terms of reference. It was unfortunate that that the Panel could not finish their remit and look at the disabled part of it.


The Committee agreed that it was a very good report, especially the extensive, informative appendices.




That the Older People and Disabled People Task and Finish Report be endorsed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and be referred up to the next available Cabinet meeting for their consideration.






To consider any items to be raised by the Chairman at the Cabinet meeting on 16 April 2007.


As the Cabinet agenda will not be available until after this meeting, the front sheet of the agenda will be circulated prior to this meeting to enable the consideration of the item.


The Committee considered the Cabinet agenda for its next meeting on 16 April 2007. No new issues were raised.


Closure of the meeting


The Chairman of the Committee noted that this was the last meeting of the present municipal year. He took the opportunity to thank all the members and the vice chairman for all their help and support during the year.


The Vice Chairman also took the opportunity to thank the Chairman on behalf of the members for his fair and impartial chairmanship during the past year.