Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 4th June, 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 noted that there were no substitute members for the meeting.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 April 2018.

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That the minutes of the last Committee meeting held on 17 April 2018 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 G Mohindra declared a non-pecuniary interest in the following item of the agenda by virtue of being a Cabinet member of Essex County Council .


·         Agenda item 6 – Scrutiny of external organisations – Essex County Council - Passenger Transport.


Councillor N Avey declared a non-pecuniary interest in the following item of the agenda by virtue of being the Chairman of Epping Town Council.


·         Agenda item 14 – Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 Quarter 4 outturn.


Change in order of the Agenda

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With the Committee’s permission the Chairman agreed to take agenda item 7 (Digital Innovation Zone) before agenda item 6 (ECC Passenger Transport).


West Essex & Eastern Hertfordshire Digital Innovation Zone

To receive a presentation from the Council’s Economic Development Officer (Michael Warr), highlighting the background, ambitions and workstreams of the West Essex and Eastern Hertfordshire Digital Innovation Zone. The presentation will also include an update on the Superfast Essex broadband rollout programme, covering both completed and planned projects.


With Michael Warr will be Cllr Lion and John Huston.

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The Portfolio Holder for Technology and Support Services, Councillor Lion along with Michael Warr (Economic Development Officer) and John Houston (One Epping Forest) gave a short presentation on the West Essex and Eastern Hertfordshire Digital Innovation Zone.


Mr Houston started by asking why was there this focus on digital technology. This was due to feedback from local business and our partners in the public service who have all invested heavily in this technology. Essex County Council would have spent or brought in £100million worth of investment on the superfast broadband network. Digital will also form a key part of the government’s industrial strategy with talk of digital being the next industrial revolution. They were also looking at both internal and external transformation to bring a better service to our customers through better use of digital technology.


Councillor Lion noted that the ‘Superfast Essex Rural Challenge Project’ started up about 4 years ago, when a paper was presented to the Cabinet which received some funding to provide digital capability to our residents. EFDC put in about £84k and got £7.5million from the government to roll out broadband services to rural communities. We wanted to be the best connected district in Essex and had now about 97% connected and expect to reach approximately 99.7% of residents in the near future, which would leave about 207 homes not connected. This was great but his question was, “so what? Having got this, what do we do with it?” They were looking at how to roll out these services to everyone who wanted it and those who did not know how useful it was. This is what can be called external transformation and smarter working.


Mr Warr noted that there were a lot of buzz words floating around but they were keen not to be driven by these buzz words. Their first step was to research the ‘smart agenda’; there was a lot of this for cities but our district was a semi rural area, close to large urban areas such as London and Cambridge, but with our own identity. We cannot be a smart city but want to be a ‘smart place’. We were not necessarily big enough for infrastructure providers to be interested in and we needed to seek a collaborative approach with other district councils and public sector organisations areas involved. So the concept of the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) was born which included 5 districts and 10 founding (and potentially) funding partners to start this process. The partnership now includes local government (Broxbourne, East Herts., Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford and Essex County Council), health (Princess Alexandra, West Essex CCG, Essex Partnership University Trust), education (Anglia Ruskin Uni., Epping Forest College, Harlow College and Herts Regional College) and various private and voluntary sector organisations. We might not be a city but we have 212,000 households and close to half a million residents.


They had come up with a work programme structured in to four different areas:

the partnership; the strategy; the infrastructure;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Essex County Council - Passenger Transport - Scrutiny of External Organisations pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider the attached report and undertake appropriate external scrutiny on the support and provision of local bus services.

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The Chairman noted that County Councillor Ray Gooding who was due to attend tonight’s meeting had cancelled due to a clash of commitments.  However, in his letter to the Committee, which was tabled, he provided some answers to the questions that had been posed by the Committee previously. Councillor Sartin expressed her disappointment and suggested that Councillor Gooding be asked to attend a future meeting. The tabled paper with the prepared answers could be taken away by the members of the Committee to be studied at their convenience.


Committee members were surprised by this cancellation and the use of the terms ‘summoned’ and ‘adversarial’ in his letter. They agreed that Councillor Gooding and any officers he cared to bring with him should be invited to attend a future meeting where a two way dialogue could be set up and supplementary questions could be put to him to flesh out the written answers already received.




(1)   The Committee noted the written answers received from Councillor Gooding to the questions that they had posed and originally sent to him; and


(2)   They agreed that another invitation be sent to Councillor Gooding, asking him to attend a future meeting so that he and his officers could answer any follow up questions arising from his written response.



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.



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.



Forward Plan of Key Decisions - Review pdf icon PDF 142 KB

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 2018/19.


Planning and Governance


Councillor Murray asked where the item on of a District electoral review came from. Councillor Philip replied that this was a way of looking at transformation from the members side. What happened because of this depended on what they found in the review.


Councillor Murray asked if this was a legal requirement and was told that it was.


Councillor Dorrell noted a typo under the description heading where the word “or” should read “for”.




Councillor Janet Whitehouse asked about the item on grounds maintenance and what sort of vehicles were they looking to buy. The Acting Chief Executive said they were probably looking at some kind of commercial rotary mower.


Councillor Murray asked if it was council policy to replace a lost standard Green Bin with a smaller one, as this had happened to one of his constituents. Councillor Avey said that he would look into this if Councillor Murray could give him an address after the meeting.




Councillor Bedford asked about the adoption of the fire safety policy. Would we be asking private landlords to take this up? Councillor Stavrou said she would pass this on to the officer concerned, Mr Pledger, to answer.


Councillor Murray noted that eventually a report on the Grenfell Tower fire would be published and recommendations made, could the Portfolio Holder assure the meeting that we would as a council take up the recommendations made. Councillor Stavrou assured him that they would.


Safer Greener and Transport


Councillor Murray asked about the Vere Road car park and his concern about the retail business in the area. Would there be free car parking here. Councillor Sam Kane said that there were no plans to provide this.


Assets and Economic Development


Councillor Murray asked for an update on the Epping Forest Shopping Park. Councillor Grigg replied that this had been considered at a recent meeting involving the Broadway Town Centre partnership meeting, but the minutes were not out as yet. They were looking to have a further retail impact analysis undertaken by the same company and to be completed by October this year.


Select Committees - Terms of Reference & Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider the attached report.

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The Committee considered the re-establishment of the Select Committee for 2018/19 and their Terms of Reference and Work Programmes for each of the Committees.


It was noted that a new Council management structure was being considered at present. The Committee noted that they would agree the structure of the Select Committees for this municipal year but would start work on a new structure by September, when the joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen would consider how to take this forward.




(1)  That the four Select Committees, Communities SC, Governance SC, Neighbourhoods SC and the Resources SC, be re-established and their Terms of Reference and Work Programmes as amended, be agreed;


(2)  That no change be made to the current Select Committee framework before the commencement of the 2019/20 municipal year; and


(3)  That arrangements to review the current Select Committee framework to reflect the new senior management structure be considered at the joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen to be held in September 2018.



Overview and Scrutiny Select Committees - Membership 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Decision Required:


(1)        To appoint members to the following Select Committees in accordance with pro-rata in the proportions (Report and full name list to follow):


Select Committee:

Governance Select Committee

Communities Select Committee

Neighbourhoods Select Committee

Resources Select Committee


(2)        To consider requests for appointments to Select Committees by non affiliated members; and


(3)        To appoint a Chairman and a Vice Chairman to the following Select Committees:


Select Committee

Appointments Required:



Vice Chairman:




Vive Chairman:




Vice Chairman:




Vice Chairman:






Select Committees


1.         The Council has agreed that pro rata apply to Overview and Scrutiny Select Committees only. The Overview and Scrutiny rules provide that the memberships must reflect pro rata requirements and the lowest number of members required to achieve cross-party representation whilst allowing the inclusion of members who are not members of a political group or are not members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


2.         The Committee are asked to make appointments to Select Committees in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure rules.


3.            Nominations to Chairman and Vice Chairman of these Select Committees are excluded from the calculation required under the Council's protocol regarding allocation of Chairman and Vice-Chairman positions between the political groups.


4.         Nominations to the Select Committees, which may be submitted up until the day of the meeting, were sought through officer liaison with the Group Leaders and via the Appointments Panel. A list of nominations will be tabled at the meeting.


Task and Finish Panels


No Task and Finish Panels have been proposed at this time.






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Article 6 of the Council’s Constitution required that the Committee determined the number of select committees and reviewed them. In addition, the membership of the select committees was to be appointed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the first meeting each year, as such appointments were reserved to the Committee and not made by the Council.




(1)  That, in order to reflect pro rata and achieve the cross party rules of the Council’s Constitution, each of the select committees comprise 15 members for 2018/19;


(2)  That, the appointments to the select committees annexed to these minutes be adopted; and


(3)  That, appointments be made to the position of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of each select committee for 2018/19, as set out in the appendix to these minutes.



Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider the attached report.

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The Committee received the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report for 2017/18.


Further to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 17 April 2018, the annual report had been amended incorporating comments made by the committee at that meeting. Members were asked to agree the report for referral to the full Council for its 31 July 2018 meeting.


Councillor Janet Whitehouse asked that the report be bound separately from the agenda as a stand alone document. This was agreed.





That the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report for 2017-18 be recommended to the Full Council at its meeting on 31 July 2018.



Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 - Quarter 4 Outturn pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To consider the attached report.

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The Acting Chief Executive introduced the Council’s key strategic document, the Corporate Plan, this sets out its priorities over a four year period, with strategic themes reflecting those of the community strategy for the district.


The annual identification of key objectives provides an opportunity for the Council to focus attention on how areas for improvement would be addressed, opportunities exploited and better outcomes delivered during the year.


The key objectives for 2017/18 were adopted by the Cabinet at its meeting in September 2016. The achievement of the objectives was supported by a range of individual deliverables and actions, with target dates spread throughout the year (and beyond in some instances). Some of the deliverables could only be achieved incrementally or were dependent upon the completion of other actions, and were intended to be fluid to reflect changes in priorities and other influencing factors.


At the end of the year:


·         Achieved:                                  28 (56%)

·         Under Control:                           15 (30%)

·         Behind Schedule:                        6 (12%)

·         Pending:                                                  1 (2%)

Total    50 (100%)


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was requested to review year-end progress against the key objectives for 2017/18.


Objective 1.b – item 11: Councillor Bedford requested an update on the St. John’s Road site development. He was told that the council had recently received a draft document that had been agreed by the Town Council. Officers were now looking at the final draft and hoping to have it sealed by the end of this week.


Objective 1.b – item 12: Councillor Bedford asked about the comments in Q4 and what was happening. He was told that a report would be going to the June Cabinet meeting.


Objective 1.b – item 3: Councillor Neville asked when would the work start on phases 4,5 & 6 of the council house building programme and how many would be offered at an affordable rent. He was told that the Portfolio Holder would get back to him on the details and the rents would all correspond to the council’s rent code as this would all be District Council housing stock.


Objective 1.b – item 6: Councillor Murray asked if the relocation of the Housing Repairs Service to Oakwood Hill could remain behind schedule as he was worried about losing all the greens in Loughton. Oakwood Hill estate was a densely populated area of the district and now the council wanted to take away the green. The Leader of the Council replied that he wanted this back on schedule as soon as possible as it would be a benefit to our district, our residents and save money. Loughton had a lot of investment, more than any other area. Locating the service made sense and would save us £3million in doing so, by not having to build a further new depot.


Councillor Wixley said that he did not think that this was a good idea, building a car park that was not necessary.


Objective 1.b – item 7: Councillor Sartin asked if the Pyrles Lane nursery was on the market as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Transformation Project - Project Closures pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To consider the attached report.

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The Performance Improvement Officer, Ms Chwiedz introduced the report on the transformation programme project closures. When a project comes to an end it was evaluated by the project sponsor and manager. The request to close the project then progresses through the programme management office and once agreed would formally recommend the closure to the Transformation Programme Board.


The committee noted the closure report for the project on Customer Satisfaction and Standards and that it was in budget and had achieved its end goal.


Councillor Patel asked how the sample was chosen and would the questions be the same next year to act as a baseline. He was told that she would find out how the sample was chosen and would get it to him. As for the questions, they would be the same questions asked year on year, with some flexibility on the questions asked around the set questions.


Councillor Janet Whitehouse noted that the Council had carried out tenant satisfactions surveys on a regular basis and it was shame that we could not take these into account.




That the Project Closure report be noted.


Transformation Programme - Project Dossier pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To consider the attached report.

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The Performance Improvement Officer, Ms Chwiedz introduced the report on the project dossier for the Transformation Programme. The Committee was asked to consider the list of active High and Medium complexity projects, known formally as the Project Dossier.


P175 – Councillor Neville noted that the due date was only 2 days away but it was only 27% complete and there was no new deadline. He was told that this would now be extended.


Councillor Dorrell noted that there were some long term projects such as the staff transport plan that did not end until March 2023, a long way away. The Assistant Chief Executive noted that a lot of these hinged on the delayed accommodation review.


Councillor Patel commented that he had asked the same question as Councillor Neville. The table was fine up to the date it was printed out but would have moved on since. What was needed was an anticipated progress column for these reports. These showed progress, but in relation to what? Ms Chwiedz said that she would take this comment back.


P162 - Councillor Janet Whitehouse asked about the current position of the staff transport plan and was told that officers were in the process of producing a new plan to address all these issues on accommodation.



That the latest Transformation Programme project dossier be noted.


Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programmes 2018/19 - Review pdf icon PDF 63 KB

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 programme is attached.


(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. A PICK form is attached.



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The Committee reviewed their draft work programme for the coming year.


They noted that Item 2 – Corporate Priorities for 2018/19 - should have gone to this meeting but would now go to their next one.


Under the reserve programme the comments for items 2 and 3 should be swapped around as they were in the wrong place.


Councillor Murray wondered where Epping Forest College was on the list. He would like them to return to us as soon as possible as he had concerns, especially about transport links with Redbridge.


AGREED: The Committee agreed to add this to the work programme.


He would also like officers to approach the County Highways again and ask them to attend one of our meetings. He was reminded that they did come last year and provided a private members briefing. Members commented that they were more likely to attend a member briefing but not a public one. Councillor Chris Whitbread agreed that they should be asked to attend especially now that the county had made an extra £2.5 million available for roads. We needed our fair share of this.


AGREED: Officers would approach Highways and ask again if they would like to attend one of our Overview and Scrutiny Committees.


Councillor Patel said that he would like someone from the Mental Health Services to attend a meeting so that we could ask about how they would support our residents. Councillor Neville said that they should be invited to the October meeting.


AGREED: Officers to try and arrange for October.


Councillor Sartin noting the item on Stansted Airport said that we should open it out and receive a wider report from them on such matters as employment, rail infrastructure and taxi pricing. We would ask for any questions from councillors as to what topics we should cover before asking them formally to attend.


AGREED: Members to be consulted on what they wish to discuss with Stansted Airport.


Scrutiny of External Organisations - Review pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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 their schedule of recent external scrutiny carried out over the past few years.