Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 27th February, 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”


Additional documents:


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 D Stallan.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 9 January 2018.

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That the minutes of the last Committee meeting held on 9 January 2018 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record subject to a request by Councillor Neville that the minutes be kept to the third person.



Matters Arising


Councillor Neville asked if we had received a response from TfL after they had attended the January meeting. He was told that officers had pressed TfL for a response  and were told that they were still working on them. 



(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 G Mohindra declared a non-pecuniary interest in the following item of the agenda by virtue of being the Chairman of the Board of Governors for Epping Forest College.


·         Agenda item 6 – Scrutiny of external organisations - Epping Forest College.



Epping Forest College - Scrutiny of External Organisation pdf icon PDF 113 KB

(Director of Governance) To undertake appropriate external scrutiny of Epping Forest College, in response to the concerns of members with regard to local further education facilities and services.


Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the Principal of Epping Forest College, Saboohi Famili, who had been invited to address the committee on the recent Ofsted reports (latest re-inspection report was in November 2017) to update the committee on the latest improvements made by the College.


Ms Famili had last attended this Committee in February last year to respond to the concerns raised by the January 2017 Ofsted report on its ‘inadequate’ judgement of its local further education facilities and services.


Ms Famili noted that there had been three Ofsted inspections carried out over the last year. A full re-assessment had been carried out last week; but unfortunately she could not share the results of that with the Committee. However, their self assessment had shown they had noticeably improved since last she was here and they had moved one stage further up on their journey to excellence. They still had challenges and notices of improvement and these would not be removed until the Ofsted report was published and their judgement given.


As an indication she noted the results that they had received so far, which they were extremely pleased about. In July/August last year they had a 5.6% increase on their study programme that took them to just around the national benchmark, before that they were around 8% adrift of that national level. On level 2 they had increased to 12.8%, now 5% above the national benchmark; on level 3 that had increased by 3% to 88%. Significant improvements had been made on GCSE English; they were now 16% above the national benchmark. They had also had a 24% increase on health and social care. Over 93% of their learners expressed their enjoyment of studying at Epping Forest College, which was an increase of over 12% from the year before.


Another key area for progression where they were very poor at was delivering apprenticeships; they had improved immeasurably and were now just above the national benchmark at 61.2%.


All these improvements had been achieved through hard work by members of staff at the college and also having a very supportive and challenging board of governors. They have tackled poor performance by giving support where it was needed and taking immediate action when needed.


They had invested heavily in Continuous Professional Development (CPD), for their lecturers and had joined various organisations that had better practice that they had and this meant that they could now admit that there were things that they did not know and this has changed the culture of the organisation from blame to acceptance of the issues and then to deal with them.


They now had some significant partnership arrangements from other organisations and as well as other colleges which their students could benefit from.


They had now stopped their decline and were moving the college in an upward direction, mainly achieved by measuring and tracking progress and not being ashamed to tackle things that were not right. Their approach at the college was what they called “100-0”, that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


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.



Additional documents:


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



Customer Service Programme - Annual Report pdf icon PDF 163 KB

(Chief Executive) to consider the attached report.

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The Head of Customer Services, Ms Olivia Shaw introduced the first the annual report on the Customer Service Programme. She noted that items on the Customer Services programme had been on the work programme for the Governance and Resources Select Committees, but had now been combined into this single report, which covered activity from November 2016 to January 2018.


The Customer Service Programme was redesigned to focus on 4 key projects:

  • Civic Offices Reception,
  • Corporate Contact Centre (CCC),
  • Systems and Digital Development,
  • Customer Satisfaction;


The delivery of these projects was overseen by the Customer Programme Board (CPB) which reported to the Transformation Programme Board. The Head of Customer Service had also taken over the chairmanship of the Website Development Board to deliver improvements to the main EFDC website.


She informed the Committee that the Civic Offices Reception project had delivered a high level design and costing for refurbishment which had been agreed in principle by Cabinet in March 2017. The project was aligned to the overall Accommodation Review and consequently followed the timelines set out in that scheme of work; the CPB was now waiting for further details on how listing the building may impact on these designs before progressing further.


The EFDC Complaints policy had been reviewed and subsequently a new policy agreed with the removal of Step 3. The majority of the Step 3 investigations went on to become Ombudsman cases, which suggested that this stage in the process did not deliver significant value to customers in resolving their complaints. The removal of Step 3 had not resulted in an increase Ombudsman cases during 2017/18.


As for the Corporate Contact Centre (CCC), phase 1 (which started February 2017) brought together the Neighbourhoods Contact Centre and the Switchboard. This had involved a significant amount of change to working practices, cross training, knowledge sharing and cultural change required across the two former teams to deliver a unified service.


Since 1st November these teams have been formally merged and they had an increased number of agents available to resolve enquiries without the need to transfer into the back office. These changes had reduced the abandoned call percentage by 3% since implementation. The CCC currently took an average of 9000 calls a month in addition to managing email enquiries and all corporate complaints.


Phase 2 began in January 2018 when main reception desk staff were transferred into Customer Services line management, bringing face to face and telephony services together for the first time. Work was also beginning on the next area of business, Development Management.


The Systems and Digital Development work would follow a principle of ‘digital by design’ rather than forcing channel shift. The aim was to signpost towards intuitive and integrated self service options that customers will prefer to use whilst maintaining traditional access channels. All 26 existing online forms had been refreshed during 2017.


An essential part of the programme was the delivery of a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). This would act as a layer above internal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


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.



Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 - Quarter 3 Progress pdf icon PDF 134 KB

(Head of Transformation) To consider the attached report.

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The Committee noted the quarter 3 progress of the Key Objectives Action Plan for 2017/18. It was noted that there were 50 actions in total for which progress updates for Q3 are as follows:


·         Achieved or On-Target:                        40 (80%)

·         Under Control:                             5 (10%)

·         Behind Schedule:                        4 (8%) 

·         Pending:                                                  1 (2%)

Total    50 (100%)


Councillor Jon Whitehouse asked if officers could expand on action point 12, the Accommodation Review. Mr Macnab said that they now had external consultants working on this at present, looking at the Condor building, the car parks and open plan accommodation. But they have to take into account that Heritage England has listed parts of this building and have to negotiate with them on what we can do.  He was advised that the council would be meeting the architects in the next two weeks.


Councillor Neville asked what was currently happening on phases 4, 5 and 6 of the Council Housebuilding programme and what the timetables for these projects were. He was told that Mr Hall was currently negotiating on this and that someone would get back to him when further information was available.


Councillor Sartin asked about Objective 3.b (2) and what exactly was year ‘0’. Mr Macnab said that the projects covered a number of years and that year ‘0’ took the projects up to the end of this financial year.


Councillor Bedford asked about objective 3.b (5) the Environmental Charter; was this award being publicised? He was told that it had been presented at a full Council meeting with an appropriate press release.




That the Committee noted the progress made at quarter 3 of the Corporate Plan Key Action Plan for 2017/18.


Transformation Programme - Project Dossier pdf icon PDF 299 KB

(Chief Executive) to consider the attached report.

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The Committee noted that this was another monitoring report that came from the recent Transformation Task and Finish Panel’s recommendation. This reported the progress of projects and programmes within the Transformation Programme, known as the Project Dossier.


Councillor Sartin noted that including the percentage of the progress made was a useful indicator.


Councillor Patel asked about P171, Corporate Business Support Team Review, were they still on line to complete this as it had a due date of 30 March 2018 but a progress of only12%. He was told that it was still on target to be completed on time but the matter would be looked into.


Councillor Neville wanted to know why the Local Plan progress was still only at 41%. He was told that at this point we had yet to submit the plan for inspection and have the examination in public etc. there was still a lot of work to be done on the plan and we were only half way through it.




That the Committee noted and commented on the updated Project Dossier for the Transformation Programme.


Forward Plan of Key Decisions - Review pdf icon PDF 141 KB

(Director of Governance) The Cabinet’s forward plan of key decisions is reviewed by the Committee at each meeting, to provide an opportunity for the scrutiny of specific decisions to be taken over the period of the plan. 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.

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The Committee reviewed the Council’s programme of key decisions for 2017/18.


Councillor Neville wanted to know what was the nature and context of the electoral review, was it about having an all out election every four years or having less councillors. Mr Hill, the Returning Officer, said that it could include any of those things. It had been something put in the Corporate Plan. The review would take about two years to complete and the recommendations would be taken to a full Council meeting. Councillor Philip added that it may be prudent to have the Local Plan in place before any changes were considered.


Councillor Jon Whitehouse asked about the about the car parking tariffs and the mobile payments loophole where by you can renew your ticket remotely and therefore stay all day, clogging up the car parks for shoppers. Mr Macnab said that did form part of the scoping review and would be looked at.




That the Council’s corporate priorities and programme of key decisions for 2017/18 be considered and noted.



East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust - Scrutiny of External Organisation pdf icon PDF 108 KB

(Director of Governance) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:


The Committee noted that an invitation had been given to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust to attend their April 2018 meeting to respond to the concerns of members in respect of the following overarching themes of the Trust’s services:

·         The achievement of the current key priorities of the Trust;

·         Resources and capacity;

·         Call handling arrangements;

·         Ambulance response times for emergency calls; and

·         Non-emergency patient transport services.


The Committee highlighted the following points to be considered:


(1)       The plans of the Trust to address a report of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (August 2016) on its judgement that the quality of the services provided by the Trust ‘requires improvement’;

(2)       The current position of the Trust in addressing the concerns raised by the CQC in August 2016;

(3)       The arrangements of the Trust for stakeholder and public reporting of its progress in addressing the concerns raised by the CQC;

(4)       The geographic area for which ambulance services are provided by the Trust and its current response and attendance performance in relation to emergency calls across its operational area;

(5)       The current response and attendance performance of the Trust in relation to emergency calls received across the Epping Forest District;

(6)       The resources and capacity of the Trust to respond emergency calls received across the Epping Forest District;

(7)       The Trust’s call handling arrangements for emergency situations arising across the Epping Forest District;

(8)       The Trust’s complaint handling arrangements for emergency calls received across the Epping Forest District;

(9)       The current areas of ‘stress’ within the provision of ambulance services by the Trust, including any issues of specific relevance to the Epping Forest District;

(10)    The provision of cross-border ambulance services by the Trust, to other NHS Trust areas;

(11)    The operation of public forums by the Trust for feedback on its local ambulance services and the consideration of relevant service performance issues;

(12)    The operational procedures of the Trust, specifically with regard to the initial attendance of paramedic or ambulance services in response to emergency calls received across the Epping Forest District; and

(13)    The current provision of non-emergency patient transport services by the Trust.



The Committee were informed that an item would be put into the council Bulletin asking for any further topics that could be raised.




Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programmes 2017/18 - Review pdf icon PDF 64 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.


Customer service initiatives are now the responsibility of the Office of the Chief Executive and the ongoing review and performance monitoring of relevant issues have been transferred to the work programme for the Committee. Existing work programme activity such as compliments and complaints (Governance Select Committee) and call-handling (Resources Select Committee) have been removed from the work programmes for the relevant select committees.


(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:


Overview and Scrutiny Committee


The Committee noted that most of their work programme had been completed and that:


·         Item 5 of the programme, Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, would now be going on to next years work programme;

·         Item 8, Epping Forest College, had been at tonight’s meeting;

·         Item 9, the Transformation Programme, was an ongoing item;

·         Item 11, an invitation had been issued to the Essex County Council Passenger Transport section to attend a meeting;

·         Item 13, it was hoped to have a report on ‘Superfast Essex’ at the April meeting.


Reserve Programme


·         Items 1, Epping Forest Sixth Form college will be programmed in for next year; and

·         Item 3, Essex Police/Essex Fire and Rescue Services has only been in place a short while and consideration will have to be given when to ask them to attend.


Communities Select Committee


Their work programme was noted.


Governance Select Committee


The Chairman had nothing to report back.


Neighbourhoods Select Committee


The Chairman had nothing to report back.


Councillor Patel noted that the Audit and Governance Committee had indicated that they would like a report on the Health and Safety aspects of the council’s depots to go to a Select Committee. Mr Macnab said that they would have to review the final recommendations of that meeting to understand what they wanted.


Resources Select Committee


Their work programme was noted.


Scrutiny of External Organisations - Review pdf icon PDF 55 KB

(Director of Governance) For the information of the Committee, a schedule setting out the external scrutiny that it has undertaken over the last three years is attached as Appendix 1. This schedule has been updated to include those external scrutiny activities already agreed by the Committee for the remainder of the current municipal year.



Additional documents:


The Committee noted the table of visits undertaken by external organisations to this committee over the past few years.