Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: R Perrin Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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”
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.
It was noted that there were no substitute members for the meeting.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 24 July 2018.
That the minutes of the committee meeting held on 24 July 2018 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
(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.
Councillor G. Mohindra declared a pecuniary interest in the following item of the agenda item 6 – Stansted Airport – Scrutiny of External Organisation by virtue of his role as a Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development owing to a current live planning application for stansted Airport. He advised that he did not expected to speak on the item.
To undertake appropriate external scrutiny of Manchester Airport Group, with regards to the provision of airport services and employment opportunities for residents of the Epping Forest District at Stansted Airport.
The Chairman welcomed the three officers from the Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Alistair Andrew (Planning Manager), Jonathan Oates (Corporate Affairs Director) and Marcella M’Raberty (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager) who were in attendance to talk about the provision of local airport services at Stansted Airport. The committee had raised specific issues that included:
(a) the planned expansion of the airport and associated infrastructure requirements;
(b) future capacity and infrastructure requirements arising from likely significant housing development across Essex and the south east;
(c) the handling of increased passenger numbers in the short-term;
(d) the provision of employment opportunities for local residents;
(e) opportunities for partnership working with local further education facilities (particularly Epping Forest College);
(f) improvements to the existing railway infrastructure serving the airport; and
(g) the apparent high cost of the taxi services at the airport, compared with other local private hire services.
The Planning Manager advised that following MAG’s acquisition of Stansted Airport in 2013, a Sustainable Development Plan had been published in 2015. This set out the short to medium term ambitions for the airport and making best use of the single runway and existing airport. Currently, the airport had received planning permission for a new arrivals facility that would begin in January 2019, creating separate arrivals and departures facilities for the future. The airports intentions were to expand passenger numbers by 8 million, although not through the intensification of aircrafts landing and taking off at the airport or increasing the noise footprint.
He stated that the airport had 50% of passengers accessing the airport through public transport and the live planning application had included mitigation proposals for access at the M11, junction 8 and improvements to the bus station and car parks onsite. It also took into account Uttlesford Local Plan and housing needs until 2033.
The Corporate Affairs Director advised that £150 million had been invested since MAG’s takeover, resulting in trebled the number of airlines, numerous new facilities and 40 new destinations being available which had led to the increase of 10 million passengers per annual. The airport benefited from an increased number of check in desks, more retails units and seating in the departure lounges and it was the fastest growing major airport in UK. There had been a number of issues in 2018 that had effect performance although they were largely out of the airports control including weather, delays relating to air traffic control staff, congestion in air space. Furthermore, the largest airline had undergone a retendering of their baggage handling operation which included significant investment, increase in staff and equipment, to make the operation more efficient and resilience.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Manager advised that the airport was the biggest employer in east of England, employing 12,000 people, of those 200, were within the Epping Forest District. The airport had a dedicated employment skills facility which was opened every day, providing free training programmes to job seekers and existing staff and there were currently 377 vacancies. Furthermore 250 children from ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
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.
It was noted that there were no public questions or requests to address the committee.
(Leader of the Council) In accordance with the Committee’s work programme for 2018/19, the Leader of the Council will present a mid-year report on the achievement of the authority’s corporate priorities.
(Interim Transformation Manager) To consider the attached report.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor C. Whitbread presented a mid-year report on the achievement of the authority’s corporate priorities and plans for the next five years.
He advised that following the prudent financial planning over the last decade, the Council had effectively managed to resource and maximised assets, enabling it to be in a stronger financial position. The Cabinet had set an ambitious savings target to achieve £2.5m over the next three years, in order to protect front line services, keep Council Tax low and cease the reliance on government grants by the end of 2023. In order to achieve this, the Council had determined three over arching aims that included the People Strategy, the Accommodation Strategy and the ICT Strategy. The Cabinet remained committed to the re-development of the condor building, as set out in the Local Plan and the use of smarter and flexible working. The new common operating model had been implemented, which focused on the customer and a drive of efficiencies that brought together business functions across the Council.
Furthermore, the Local Plan was back on track following the Judicial Review and had been submitted with the examination in public expected in March/April 2019. Regarding economic development, the shopping park was trading well and the council was now in the position to take forward the St John’s road site, Epping, to potentially develop a new leisure centre. In addition to this, the Leisure Management Contract had delivered £12m of investment, including the new leisure centre and swimming pool in Waltham Abbey and the Council House Building Programme had started to provide good quality homes, to local people. Furthermore, the community policing funded by the Council had made an impact on the fear of crime and was working well with Park Guard.
The Financial Issues paper and budget process had begun, with positive bids being brought forward through the Invest to Save scheme and all members were welcomed to engage in the budget process, especially the joint meeting of Finance Performance Management Cabinet Committee 24 January 2019.
After the Leaders report, the Interim Transformation Manager, G. Nicholas advised that the Corporate Plan 2018-2023 was the authority’s key strategic planning document and laid out the journey the council would take to transform the organisation to be ‘Ready for the Future’. The plan linked the key external drivers influencing council services, with a set of corporate aims and objectives, grouped under three corporate ambitions.
A Corporate Specification for each year (previously called the Key Action Plan) detailed how the Corporate Plan was being delivered through operational objectives, with these in turn linked to annual service business plans. The success of the Corporate Plan was assessed through the achievement of a set of benefits, each measured through one or more performance indicator, focussed on what the Council achieved for the customers. Management Board, Cabinet and the select committees had overview and scrutiny roles, to drive improvement in performance and ensure corrective action was taken where necessary.
The Interim Transformation ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
Executive Decisions - Call-In
To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in.
There had been no decisions called in for consideration at this meeting.
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.
The committee considered the Council’s programme of Key Decisions for 2018/19.
Planning and Governance
Councillor S. Neville queried whether the District Electoral Review should be a decision for the Council. Councillor C. Whitbread advised that Council would have to look at its future democratic arrangements but this would not take place until the Local Plan had been agreed and the Council was aware of where the growth would take place in the District. The Electoral Review was a statutory process and although the Cabinet could trigger the process, it would ultimately be the Council’s decision.
Councillor S. Murray asked whether the aim to review the Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2019/20, was to save money or whether there was another agenda. Councillor G. Mohindra advised that there was no hidden agenda.
Councillor S. Murray asked whether the Waste Management Review would be asking residents to either pay for the dry recycling bags or limit the number of bags they were allowed. Councillor N. Avey advised that the decision was not due until next year and he would report back to members when he had further discussions.
Councillor N. Bedford asked whether smaller fleet carriers could be purchased when the waste contracts were renewed, due to the amount of damaged kerbs that have arisen across the District. Councillor N. Avey advised that he would discuss the issues at the next Waste Management Board.
Councillor S. Murray asked for more detail on Sheltered Housing Assets. Councillor C. Whitbread advised that he required further details and he would report back.
Leisure & Community Services
Councillor M. Sartin enquired about the Gymnastics Centre – North Weald Airfield. Councillor C. Whitbread advised that a report was coming forward at the next Cabinet meeting on 10 November 2018.
Councillor N. Bedford advised that there were no turn-style entrance systems at Ongar Leisure Centre, which was reportedly enabling people to walk in and use the swimming pool facilities for free. Councillor C. Whitbread advised that he would look into this concern.
Assets & Economic Development
Councillor H Whitbread commented that she was happy to see the future of St John’s School Site on the work programme.
Councillor S. Murray asked whether the report regarding Epping Forest Shopping Park had included reference to the traffic flows around this area and the pollution issues. Councillor A. Grigg advised that she had been made aware of the issues and would be looking into it. The economic impact study may cover this issue, although it may need to be looked at separately. There were issues with parking problems at the shopping park and they were investigating solutions in consultation with the tenants. Any issues outside the shop park would have to be reported to Essex County Council (ECC) as they were responsible for highways. Councillor S. Murray commented that he had received a large number of complaints about traffic on Rectory Lane and Oakwood Hill. Councillor G Mohindra advised that there were a significant number of road improvement works going ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
To consider the attached report.
The Democratic Services Manager, presented a report regarding a review of the overview & scrutiny select committee framework for 2019/20.
He advised that the Council’s People Strategy, had now progressed and the two Strategic Directors and eight Service Directors had been appointed with the intention from the Leader, to realign the responsibilities of the Cabinet with this new structure. Furthermore, it was assumed appropriate to review the overview and scrutiny framework as well. Following a joint meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen held on 3 September 2018, the option favoured was for the establishment of two select committees as follows;
Communities & Neighbourhoods Select Committee
Covering the following service areas:
· Housing and Property Services;
· Community and Partnership Services;
· Contract and Technical Services; and
· Planning Services.
Governance & Resources Select Committee
Covering the following service areas:
· Governance and Member Services;
· Business Support Services;
· Customer Services; and
· Commercial and Regulatory Services.
It was proposed that the lead officer for each of these select committees would be one of the Council’s new Strategic Directors and that a focused and achievable work programmes would be developed, drawing from the Portfolio Holder and service delivery aims and objectives. There would be no increase in meetings or membership to the select committees and it would continue to appoint in accordance with the pro-rata provisions.
Furthermore, the adoption of the new overview and scrutiny framework was not a matter reserved to the Council, although any changes would need to be considered by the Constitution Working Group. The Government was currently preparing new statutory guidance on overview and scrutiny, to reflect the changing role of scrutiny and this was expected to be published in December 2018.
Councillor J.H. Whitehouse enquired whether any consultation had been completed with members and possible training requirements for overview and scrutiny. Councillor M. Sartin advised that the committee had decided to reconsider the framework of the select committee last year and training was provided at the start of each year. The Democratic Services Manager advised that overview and scrutiny training was provided each year following local elections.
Councillor S. Neville had concerns over the suggested framework leading to less scrutiny; that the changes to the national scrutiny framework could impact on this; and asked whether external scrutiny would still take place. The Democratic Services Manager advised that the national changes would be unlikely to prescribe how the Council established its internal arrangements, but that they would probably be around giving scrutiny a wider remit. He advised that external scrutiny would continue. Councillor M. Sartin advised that some items were cyclical and did not always require a presentation to the committee but a members briefing or an item placed in the Members Bulletin would be more beneficial.
Councillor D. Wixley advised that he could see some benefits that would enable the appointed members on those committees a larger overview of the council. He asked whether this would be an opportunity for other members to take part in Task and Finish panels. Councillor M Sartin ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
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.
The Democratic Services Manager updated members on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2018/19. There were several proposed deletions from both the programme and reserve programme, in favour of a member briefing. These included (9) Essex County Council – Passenger Transport, (2) Princess Alexander Hospital NHS Trust and (5) Essex County Council – Local Highways Services and Infrastructure.
Councillor S. Murray asked that both the Principal of the Epping Forest College and the Principal of New City College be invited with regards to Epping Forest College, to enable both the curriculum and the land and building issues to be considered.
Councillor S. Neville asked whether a date had been arranged for a member briefing regarding the (9) Essex County Council – Passenger Transport. The Chairman advised that officers had been unsuccessful in arranging this.
Communities Select Committee
Councillor H. Whitbread advised that the committee had considered the Museum, Heritage & Cultural Local Government Association Peer Challenge, which had highlight how good the Council’s services were and an extra meeting had been held to consider two consultation documents regarding a Social Housing Green Paper and Use of Receipts from Right to Buy Sales.
She advised that the next meeting on 13 November 2018, had the District Commander, Chief Inspector Lewis Basford attending, which was open to all members.
Governance Select Committee
Councillor G. Chambers advised that the committee had considered feedback from the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Area Plans Sub-Committee and District Development Management Committee, which had resulted in security guards being present at meetings. In addition to this, a review of local elections and the petition scheme had also been discussed.
Neighbourhoods Select Committee
Councillor N. Bedford advised that committee was on target.
Resources Select Committee
Councillor A. Patel advised that the committee had considered the ICT Strategy, Fees and Charges and the Financial Issues Paper. The next meeting would be considering the People Strategy in relation to value for money, how it would be realized and agency costs.
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.
The committee noted their schedule of recent external scrutiny carried out since 2014.
Councillor N. Bedford requested that if an organisation had attended multiple times, this would be better if this was grouped together on the schedule. The Democratic Services Manager advised that the schedule would be updated to reflect this.