Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 9th January, 2018 7.30 pm

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

Contact: A. Hendry Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:


No. Item


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:


“This meeting will be webcast live to the Internet and will be archived for later viewing. Copies of recordings may be made available on request.


By entering the chamber’s lower seating area you consenting to becoming part of the webcast.


If you wish to avoid being filmed you should move to the public gallery or speak to the webcasting officer”


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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.



(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.


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It was reported that Councillor L Hughes was substituting for Councillor N Avey.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 31 October 2017.

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That the minutes of the last Committee meeting held on 31 October 2017 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.



(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any items on 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.


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Councillor S Murray declared a non-pecuniary interest  in item 11 (O&S Work Programme) on  discussion of possible review of the Epping Forest Sixth Form Consortium, by virtue of being employed by that consortium. He advised that his interest was not prejudicial and that he would remain in the meeting.


Transport for London pdf icon PDF 112 KB

(Director of Governance) to receive a short presentation from an officer from Transport for London to respond to concerns in regard to local bus service provision by TfL.


The officer to attend this meeting will be Mark Hart, the Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Line.

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The Chairman introduced Mark Hart, the Transport for London Community Partnership Specialist (West) who was there to speak to and answer questions from members on their concerns in regards to the operation of local bus services within the Epping Forest District run by TfL.


Mr Hart began by saying that in 2016 bus routes 167, 397 and 549 were reviewed in March 2016 in preparation for a new contract with a service provider, to be let in March 2017. They reviewed all their services looking at capacity, reliability and, increasingly, costs, as they were also a publically funded organisation. They were now in a tighter financial position as TfL had lost financial support from Essex County Council and the grant from Central Government, which was roughly about £700 million per year. They had to now look at how they did things and to do them smarter, such as building on land owned, advertising etc. It also meant that they had to look at reducing the services they provided. 


Route 167 had been cut back, so that it now finished in Loughton and still provided a cross boundary service. From there passengers could change onto the Central Line or other busses (routes 20 or 397). He accepted that this was not as convenient as staying on a single bus to their eventual destination. He noted that now passengers get a ‘Hopper’ ticket – where they only had to pay once even if they had to change buses.


There was also a demand for the 167 from school children so they created route 677, especially for school children.


The frequency of the service (167) had not been changed; there was still a bus every 20 minutes. The buses now had new engines that were more efficient and better for the environment.


They had no plans to change the 167 route at this time, but would be reviewing it again when the contract was due for renewal. Contracts tended to run for 5 years with a further 2 years depending on the performance of the contractor.


He had been asked if the route 20 would continue to deliver the same service. Route 20 was currently being reviewed for a new contract to start in March 2019. If any changes were proposed then they would go out to consultation on any proposals. So no change until March 2019.


Route 549 was reviewed also, and reliability was proving to be an issue, largely because of congestion on roads and also road works. Because of this TfL found they could not keep to the timetable they had, so reduced the frequency from every hour to every 70 minutes. The alternative would be to maintain that service but they would have to buy another bus. And buses were very expensive, and did not pass the value for money test they had.


The review of the 397 route proposed no changes and so no changes were currently planned.


Generally, because of the increase in bus journey times there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.


Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

(Director of Governance) 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.



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It was noted that there were no public questions or requests to address the committee, for this section of the agenda.



Executive Decisions - Call-In

(Director of Governance) To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in.



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There were no call-in of decisions to be considered.



Key Objectives Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 - Quarter 2 Performance pdf icon PDF 133 KB

(Head of Transformation) To consider the attached report.

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The Director of Neighbourhoods, Mr Macnab, introduced the report on the Key Objectives Key Action Plan for 2017/18 second quarter performance. This was for April to end September 2017.


The Corporate Plan was the Council’s key strategic planning document, setting out its priorities over the five-year period from 2015/16 to 2019/20. The priorities or Corporate Aims were supported by Key Objectives, which provided a clear statement of the Council’s overall intentions for these five years.


Progress against the Key Action Plan was reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure the timely identification and implementation of appropriate further initiatives or corrective action where necessary.


There were 50 actions in total for which progress updates for Q2 were as follows:


·         42 (84%) of these actions had been ‘Achieved’ or were ‘On Target’

·         2   (4%) of these actions were ‘Under Control’

·         6   (12%) were ‘Behind Schedule’

·         0   (0%) were ‘Pending’


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was requested to review progress against the Key Objectives Key Action Plan for 2017/18 at Quarter 2. This report was also considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 7 December 2017.


Councilor Wixley wanted to know the definition of ‘empty’ used in the term a ‘higher value’ empty property under Aim 1, objective 1a. He was told that it was a high value property that had become void.


Councillor Neville asked about the timescale for phases 2&3 and then onto phases 4&5 of the Council’s Housebuilding Programme. Mr Macnab said that he would find out and get back to him.


Councillor Murray asked about item 6 on objective 1b that was behind schedule. Was this because of solutions for staff car parking at Oakwood Hill was still to be formulated and what Cabinet meeting would this go to? Mr Macnab noted that there had been a call in on this but it had been withdrawn after a meeting was arranged between the lead member of the call-in and the relevant Portfolio Holder who agreed to have traffic surveys commissioned with the opening of the shopping park. They would re-run the parking survey next week. He was not sure that it would come back to the Cabinet.


Councillor Brookes asked about item 3 on Objective 1b, if we were in dispute with East Thames as our Development Agent. She was told that this was not their core business and that they were refocusing on their core business.


Councillor Brookes asked about item 11 on Objective 1b, and the ongoing delays for St John’s Road. She was told that EFDC were happy with the terms of the agreement but had reached an impasse on agreement with the Town Council. This should be resolved by the end of this month.


Councillor Bedford asked about item 3 of Objective 3b. He noted that this had passed its target date but it said that it was under control. Mr Macnab replied that it was behind schedule but had a revised date. Councillor Patel noted that this had been reported  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Scrutiny of External Organisations - Review pdf icon PDF 104 KB

(Director of Governance) a report on the proposed visit of the Principal of Epping Forest College to attended this meeting on 28 February 2017 is attached.


Also for the information of the Committee, a schedule setting out the external scrutiny that it has undertaken over the last three years is attached. This schedule has been updated to include those external scrutiny activities already agreed by the Committee for the remainder of the current municipal year.



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The Committee noted that the Principal of Epping Forest College was due to attend the next meeting of this Committee on 27 February 2018. In preparation for this the committee was asked to identify areas that they wished to be covered at this meeting. The following topics were identified by members of the Committee:


(1)       The support, assistance and facilities provided by the College for disabled or disadvantaged students and those with special educational needs;


(2)       The support, assistance and facilities provided by the College for students from areas of identified social deprivation;


(3)       The educational subjects and qualifications in which the performance of the College is currently regarded to be ‘failing’ and those subjects and qualifications where the College is presently performing well in terms of attainment;


(4)       The success of the College’s proposed improvements and achievements outlined to the Committee in February 2017 and its expectations for future improvement and achievement going forward;


(5)       The current position with regard to Luctons Field and the intentions of the College with regard to the future use of this area, which is currently restricted to educational or health service uses;


(6)       The success of the College’s relationship with its ‘sister’ college (Barnet and Southgate College) in terms of the support, assistance and facilities provided to students; and


(7)       The success of the links and partnership arrangements that the College has established with the local community within the Epping Forest District, including the commercial and charitable sectors.

The Chairman informed the Committee that an item would be put into the Council Bulletin asking for any further topics that could be raised with the Principal.


Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programmes 2017/18 - Review pdf icon PDF 62 KB

(Director of Governance) Progress towards the achievement of the work programmes for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and each of the select committees, is reviewed by the Committee at each meeting.


(a)             Current Work Programmes


The current overview and scrutiny work programmes are attached as an appendix to this report.


(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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Overview and Scrutiny Committee


The Committee reviewed their current work programme, noting that the Transport for London had made a visit this evening and so that this could be taken off the work programme. The meeting had also discussed the proposed visit of the Principal of Epping Forrest College to this February 2018 meeting.


They also noted that they would also be receiving updating reports on the Transformation Programme.


Councillor Patel asked about the attendance of the Customer Services Manager at Scrutiny meetings and when was that likely to happen. Mr Macnab said that he had spoken to the Manager and that she would like to report to the main Overview and Scrutiny Committee in April, as her service cut across the whole of the Council, this would come at the same time as the outturn Transformation Report presentation.


Councillor Patel also noted that work programme item 9(a) had promised an update report of the Transformation Programme at each meeting. What was happening about that? Mr Macnab said that had been altered slightly so that the Select Committees would now review their bits of the programme and an annual report would be brought back to this Committee at the end of the year.



Reserve Programme


(a)          The Committee agreed that that they would like to receive the East of England Ambulance Service at their April 2018 meeting; and


(b)          to ask for officers from Essex County Council to attend the first meeting in the new municipal year to speak about the ECC Passenger Transport (this item initially sat in the Neighbourhoods Select Committee work programme).



Select Committees


Communities SC


Councillor Murray asked about item 16 on their work programme (briefing on proposed Council rent increases for 2018/19) – was that still going to the January meeting? Councillor Knight would take this up with the Housing Portfolio Holder.


Councillor Murray also asked about item 32 (restructure of older people’s housing services) was this going to the January meeting.  Mr Macnab said that he had seen the draft of this report recently and it would be going to the Select Committee in the near future.


Governance SC


Mr Tautz informed the meeting that item 13 of the work programme, analysis of compliments and complaints, formed part of the Customer Services work load and it would be drawn out of the report coming to the main Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the Governance SC.


Neighbourhoods SC


Councillor Bedford noted that there had been some complaints about Health and Safety investigations at Oakwood Hill depot and as a result he thought that his Select Committee should look at the procedures involved and investigate them; perhaps getting someone from Health and Safety to attend a meeting. Mr Macnab clarified that there had not been any issues at the Oakwood Hill depot but there had been some concerns at the Town Mead depot, which had been subject to an internal audit report. He was happy to have a report on how the Council fulfils its H  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.