Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: R. Perrin Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: email@example.com
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.
To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
It was reported that Councillor I Hadley was substituting for Councillor L Burrows.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 18 December 2018.
That the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 18 December 2018 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
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.
There were no declarations of interest made pursuant to the Member’s Code of Conduct.
To receive a presentation from Epping Forest Youth Council on its programme of work for 2018/19. Members of the Youth Council will attend the meeting to outline:
(a) the achievements of the Youth Council over the last year; and
(b) the plans of the Youth Council for the coming year.
Youth Councillors Stanimir, Florence, Archie, Eleanor and Zak made a presentation to the Committee on the work untaken by the Youth Council in the past year. This included the celebrations of the Youth Council’s 10th Anniversary at the Houses of Parliament; the Drugs Project; MiLife; Youth Activities Map; Winners of the National Crimebeat Awards 2018; and their current project We R Safe.
The Youth Councillors advised that to ensure that they were considering relevant priorities, they consulted with their peers and this revealed that the five top issues of concern were; Skills for Work; Mental Health; Bullying; Drug Misuse; and Gangs which they used as a starting point for their project work. They also used social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and had been involved in many consultations with external organisations. Currently they received £4830 from external funding and had chosen to support Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) as their charity.
The Committee congratulated the Youth Council on their presentation, recent drugs report and work that they had been involved in across the District. Members asked a number of questions regarding the presentation.
Councillor A Patel acknowledged that the Youth Council had decided to raise funds for CRY. He advised that in conjunction with the Council, free screenings for 13-34 year olds would be being held in Buckhurst Hill this year.
Councillor H Whitbread asked how the Youth Activities Map could become more interactive. The Youth Councillors advised that the map would be available on the EFDC website, which would be interactive providing photographs of the location and further information on the organisation.
Councillor D Wixley advised that he had attended a few Youth Council meetings in relation to the litter caused by nitrogen oxide canisters and what could be done to prevent or reduce this issue across the District. Furthermore, Loughton Town Council was also considering a venue for the cardiac screenings to take place next year.
Councillor S Neville enquired about the type of fund raising the Youth Council were considering for CRY. The Youth Councillors advised that they were looking to hold events in their schools and were currently working on ideas.
Councillor R Baldwin asked the Youth Councillors what they thought of the GCSE reforms which introduce the 9 – 1 scale and mental health issues surrounding the pressure on young people; and whether there was pressure to attend university or if other outcomes such as apprenticeships were deemed acceptable. The Youth Councillors advised that they felt pressured and stressed at exam times and that this was probably not talked about enough, although the Youth Councillors were looking at ways to help address this issue. Furthermore, there appeared to be an equal split following GCSE’s between young people wanting to attend university and vocational subjects with around 70% attending sixth form choosing university compared to an apprenticeships.
Councillor A Lion asked how the Council could encourage a more positive attitude towards litter. The Youth Councillors advised that greater awareness could help ... view the full minutes text for item 60.
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.
To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in.
(a) Accommodation Strategy
To consider the attached report.
It was reported that the call-in of the decision of the Cabinet had been made on the following summary grounds:
(a) the current economic conditions in terms of cost savings to support relocation;
(b) the likely proceeds to be achieved from the sale of the Council’s property in light of a deteriorating residential sales market;
(c) the provision of an updated cost plan allowing for inflation and rising construction costs;
(d) the likely rental stream to be obtained from letting the Council’s existing offices and assumptions in terms of the rent-free and void periods required to achieve lettings;
(e) detailed estimates of the costs associated with remodelling the Civic Offices building to facilitate multi-letting;
(f) the negative effect of relocation on businesses within the High Street at a time when retail is under immense pressure;
(g) the unsustainable location of the proposed new Council office from an accessibility perspective and the need for transport initiatives;
(h) the effect of the proposed move on the efficiency of the operation of the Council, including the interface with the public, the retention of the existing staff and the ability to attract new staff members who do not live in the immediate locality;
(i) demonstration that the extra costs and additional risk of relocation is justified by non-financial benefits; and
(j) the mitigation of risks associated with the relocation project.
In accordance with Article 6 of the Councils Constitution, the lead signatory of the call-in had requested the opportunity to have an informal meeting with the relevant officers, Portfolio Holder and Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to establish if there was a way forward to remove the objections which were raised in the call-in request.
At this meeting the lead and secondary signatory of the call-in attended with the Strategic Projects Portfolio Holder, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Acting Chief Executive, Strategic Director, Housing & Property Services Director, Chief Estates Officer and Democratic Services Officers. Following this discussion the lead signatory advised that he was satisfied with the assurances and actions proposed and that the call-in could be formally removed and no further action would taken.
Councillor J H Whitehouse asked that a more comprehensive report be provided to the Committee, following the outcome of the informal meeting for the call-in and that, if actions were determined they were published in the Council Bulletin for all members. The Acting Chief Executive advised that her comments would be taken on board to ensure the process was more transparent. The outcome and actions would also be included in the Council Bulletin.
That the withdrawal of a call-in relating to elements of the Council’s current Accommodation Strategy be noted.
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.
Contract and Technical Services
Councillor S Murray queried whether the Waste Management Review would be considering implementing a cost for dry recycling sacks. The Acting Chief Executive advised that the Waste Management Review would be considering the cost to the Council for production and distribution and not the cost to residents.
Housing and Property Services
Councillor S Murray asked whether there was any indication on what the Sheltered Housing Assets Review would encompass. Councillor C Whitbread advised that Councillor S Stavrou would report back to him.
Councillor S Neville enquired about the date set for the District Electoral Review. The Acting Chief Executive advised this would take place following the outcome of the Local Plan, to see where growth would be distributed across the District and would probably be delayed by 12 months.
Community & Partnership Services
Councillor A Patel asked that when the CCTV Strategy was considered, could it include temporary and pop-up CCTV because of incidents such as cars driving down one-way streets in Buckhurst Hill. The Acting Chief Executive advised that he would pass on this information and it would be discussed with Officers and the Community & Partnership Services Portfolio Holder.
(Interim Transformation Manager) To consider the attached report.
The Interim Transformation Manager, G Nicholas advised that the Corporate Plan 2018-2023 was the authority’s key strategic planning document. The Plan laid out the journey that 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 indicators, focussed on what the Council achieved for customers. Management Board, Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committees had overview and scrutiny roles, to drive improvement in performance and ensure corrective action was taken where necessary.
The Interim Transformation Manager highlighted the performance indicators that had not achieved their quarter targets and the reasons for this, as follows;
· M1.2 – Number of ‘take-away’ restaurants signed up to ‘Tuck In’ pledge – This had missed the target although a further business had signed up to the initiative and a number of steps had been put into place by the EFDC Public Health Improvement Officer to increase the up take.
· M4.3 - Number of New Residential Properties Built or Acquired by the Council – The value had increased although the target had been missed due to boundary wall issues; rectifying damage caused by the fire at Burton Road; and getting the water supply connected.
· M9.6 – Delivery of the Technology Strategy - The new projects added had reduced the overall percentage of completions and a number of projects were on hold due to the accommodation work.
· M10.2 –Annual Council Tax collection - This had marginally missed the target.
Further updates included;
· M2.1 – Number of safeguarding concerns – The value was incorrect and should have been 27%, which made it above target.
· M2.2 – Number of days to process benefits claims – The target had now been met.
Councillor N Bedford questioned the commentary on M10.2 Annual Council Tax collection and why the monthly instalment value was affected, if customers switched from 10 to 12 monthly payments. The Business Support Services Portfolio Holder advised that payments had now been spread over 12 months, when historical months 11 and 12 had been to chase outstanding payments, therefore causing a drop in the target as the full amount had not been collected by this point. He would amend the commentary to reflect.
That the outturn position for Quarter 3 2018/19, in relation to the achievement of the Corporate Plan for 2018-2023 had been considered and noted.
To consider the attached report.
The Democratic Services Manager advised that representatives of the South-East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) would be attended the next Committee meeting on 16 April 2019. Members were asked to consider appropriate lines of questioning, to ensure maximum value was achieved.
The following questions were captured and would be sent onto the Manager Director of SELEP and Essex Business Board representative for the meeting on 16 April 2019;
a) What is the role and responsibilities of the Local Enterprise Partnership;
b) How does the Local Enterprise Partnership support local business organisations to adapt to the current economic climate and the shift of retail activity towards increased online provision;
c) How can the Local Enterprise Partnership assist the Council to enhance its digital infrastructure throughout the District, to support local businesses;
d) How can the Local Enterprise Partnership support the Council in terms of attracting investment and delivering economic growth for the District;
e) What is the likely effect of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on how the Local Enterprise Partnership will continue to seek to attract investment and deliver economic growth across its area; and
f) What support can the Council provide to the Local Enterprise Partnership, particularly through initiatives such as its Digital Innovation Zone, to support the attraction of investment and the delivery of local economic growth.
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. It was noted that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and the Customer Services Annual Report would brought to the Committee meeting on 16 April 2019.
Councillor S Murray asked for assurances that Epping Forest College would be invited to attend the Committee in September/October 2019, which would allow for the Councils representative Councillor R Bassett to have established his role.
Communities Select Committee
Councillor H Whitbread advised that at the last meeting they had considered the Fire Safety Policy for residential Council properties, a six month progress report on the EFDC-funded police officers and an options report for the installation of sprinklers in sheltered housing schemes and homeless accommodation. The next scheduled meeting had been cancelled.
Councillor J H Whitehouse asked whether further details on the Buckhurst Hill Isolation Programme could be provided as the next meeting had been cancelled. Councillor A Patel advised that he would pass on the relevant officer’s details to Councillor J H Whitehouse.
Governance Select Committee
The Democratic Services Manager advised that the consultation period for Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places & Polling Stations was now taking place for a six week period which would be reported to the relevant select committee in July 2019.
Resources Select Committee
Councillor A Patel advised that the select committee had received training with regards to the budget process and had been invited to the Finance Performance Management Cabinet Committee which considered the Council Budget for 2019/20. At the most recent meeting, consultation papers were considered regarding the Fair Funding Review and Business Rates Retention.
Neighbourhoods Select Committee
The Chairman of the select committee had nothing to report back.
Overview & Scrutiny Task and Finish Panel
Councillor P Bolton advised that the Panel had met on several occasions and had been keen to draw a distinction between the Council’s ‘Overview’ (policy development) and ‘Scrutiny’ (decision-making) responsibilities. In addition there was a need to ensure that adequate resources were directed towards ‘overview’ activities and that influencing of policy development was carried out through appropriate pre-scrutiny.
The Panel had agreed that the future structure of the select committee framework should be based on the Corporate Plan themes of ‘Stronger Council’, ‘Stronger Place’ and ‘Stronger Community’ and this approach had been further developed, to inform the recommendations to be made to the Committee on 16 April 2019.
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 which had been carried out since 2014.