Agenda and minutes

Place Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 19th September 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

No. Item



The Chairman will read the following announcement:


“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing  (or another use by such third parties).


Therefore, by entering the Council Chamber and using the seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes.”




To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.



The Committee noted that Councillor L Burrows had been appointed as substitute for Councillor A Lion.



To declare interests in any item on this agenda.



Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor R Bassett declared a non-pecuniary interest in the following item of the agenda by virtue of being a NonExecutive Director of Qualis and would remain in the meeting for its consideration.

·       Grounds Maintenance



To agree the notes of the last meeting of Place Scrutiny Committee held on 4 July 2023.


A statement in response to a query on the status of Union recognition by Qualis was provided verbally to the Committee and had been sent as requested to Cllr Murray. This can be viewed on the webcast of this meeting.



That the minutes of the Place Scrutiny Sub-Committee held on 4 July 2023 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Members are invited to review the Place Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.





The Place Scrutiny Committee noted the amendments and agreed the work programme.



Transfer of grounds maintenance to Qualis Property Solutions - update pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To consider and comment on the EFDC transfer of Grounds Maintenance report.



Mandy Thompson (Interim Acting Service Director (Technical) provided an overview and update on the transfer of the Grounds Maintenance Survey to Qualis Property Solutions the

·       The service transferred in May 2023.

·       Service issues were acknowledged, this was due to weather conditions and staff vacancies.\

·       The Council had a Contract Compliance Officer.

·       Independent and joint visits were carried out, and monthly monitoring meetings had been implemented.

·       Both parties were working towards developing relevant performance indicators, improving the service and resident satisfaction.

·       Performance would be reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on a quarterly basis .


The Committee

·       agreed that questions and comments would be reserved until after the presentation by Qualis on the operational aspects of the service.




That the Committee noted and endorsed the report, for the next Cabinet meeting.



Grounds Maintenance Service Update (Qualis Property Solutions Ltd) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the attached update on the grounds maintenance service from Qualis Property Solutions.



Ben Sharples and Maria Sharples (Qualis Property Solutions) provided details on customer views and the areas of responsibility in the contract for Qualis. The four-stage improvement plan was detailed:

·       Stage 1 May 2023 to December 2023: embed a visual standard; schedule and complete a pilot with GIS mapping which would detail the ownership of land.

·       Stage 2: January 2024 to May 2024 asses the inherited ICT; and potential roll out GIS mapping with a dependency on EFDC 

·       Stage 3: June 2024 review standards, set performance and KPIs.

·       Stage 4 May 2024 to August 2024 Job creation, including apprenticeships and local jobs


The Committee welcomed the update and presentation provided by EFDC staff and Qualis.

·       Acknowledged that there had been some improvement since the previous presentation.

·       Recognised the value of walkabouts and on-site inspections.

·       Received confirmation that the Essex County Council (ECC) were responsible the enforcement of overgrown private hedges.

·       Agreed that GIS mapping, the ownership and responsibility of land would be a valuable tool.

·       Suggested the inclusion of areas of weed spraying into the GIS mapping exercise.

·       Qualis confirmed that any service requests that did not fall under their remit were referred back to the Council.

·       Qualis

§  acknowledged a difficult start to the contract with unseasonable weather, large staff vacancies

§  advised that recruitment, and efficient and effective scheduling would improve the service.

§  Provided information on recruitment, and advised there were currently 2 vacancies and 2 agency members of staff

§  detailed that specific requests including those for No Mow May would be assessed considered on an individual basis




That the Committee noted the report.



(1)        Qualis to provide details of the organisational structure of the grounds maintenance team

(2)        Qualis to ensure Ward Members were invited to the estate walkabouts.

(3)        Consideration be given to the development of a referral system to give residents a single point of contact for all ground maintenance issues irrespective of ownership and responsibility. as an outcome of the GIS mapping project.



Public Space Protection Order (Dog Control) pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To consider and comment on the Public Space Protection Order (Dog Control).



Mandy Thompson (Interim Acting Service Director (Technical)) introduced the Public Space Protection Order (Dog Control) (PSPO) report.


·       The Committee were advised that the Council tried to encourage responsible dog ownership and an operational PSPO would streamline and improve the enforcement process carried out by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhoods officers.


·       Consultation on the proposed PSPO was required and the suggested approach set out criteria for the implementation of the PSPO, if consultation was favourable (60%), or reconsideration of the proposal in light of 40% objections


·       The PSPO would last for three years with an option to amend and extend for a further three years.


The Committee


Welcomed the report and suggested that the PSPO would be welcomed by the community and received confirmation that:


·       the PSPO applied across the District and would be enforceable in Epping Forest as City of London Constables are authorised to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN).

·       dog waste could be put in any waste bin, and awareness on the disposal of dog would be included as part of the consultation exercise.

·       FPNs carried the maximum level of fine, which was set by Government,

·       enforcement would carried out within current resources.

·       where there was repeat offending of dog fouling a target approach could be taken.



Committee Recommendation


Consideration be given to raise awareness of the fines and use of litter bines for dog waste with the use of stickers on all  litter bins throughout the District.



The Committee endorsed the recommendations of the report to Cabinet.



Public Space Protection Order (Debden Broadway) pdf icon PDF 776 KB

To consider and comment on the Public Space Protection Order (Debden Broadway.



Mandy Thompson (Interim Acting Service Director (Technical)) introduced the Public Space Protection Order (Debden Broadway) (Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014)  ) report. The committee were advised that 


·       Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)are intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life.

·       The Broadway had been highlighted as an area of focus for the Home Office ‘ASB hotspot patrols’ within the Epping Forest District.

·       Detailed conditions of the proposed PSPO were included in the report

·       Hotspot patrols had commenced and the introduction of the PSPO would compliment this work and allow swift enforcement action.\ to be taken

·       Consultation on the proposed PSPO was required and the suggested approach set out criteria for the implementation of the PSPO, if consultation was favourable (60%), or reconsideration of the proposal in light of 40% objections


The Committee welcomed the report and received confirmation that:


·       The PSPO would give the powers to identify where the perpetrators of the ASB were from

·       Theres is scope for other areas to have a PSPO but this must be based on evidence.

·        Low level ASB should be reported to the Council

·       Enforcement will be carried out within existing resources.

·       Officers did have powers to request names and addresses, if a perpetrator refuses the police can be contacted, CCTV and bod cam footage could provide opportunities to gain this information retrospectively.



The Committee endorsed the recommendations of the report to Cabinet.



Essex Draft Waste Strategy pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider the attached report on the Draft Waste Strategy for Essex.



Additional documents:


J Warwick (Contracts Service Director) introduced the draft waste strategy for Essex and advised the Committee that this report was before the Scrutiny Committee to raise awareness and ask members for feedback and support on the consultation. The following key points were highlighted.


The Strategy:

·       had been developed collaboratively with all the bodies in the Essex Waste Partnership,

·       provided the Vision, objectives and a framework for the management of waste for the next 30 years, had challenging targets and did not prescribe collection regimes or practices which would be developed locally,

·       consultation would run from 13 September 2023 to 22 November 2023, there were in-person sessions across the County, and it was available on-line and in hard copy,

·       the final waste strategy would require approval from Essex County Council before being presented to Forest District Council, and other members of the Essex Waste Partnership Wand for adoption.


The Committee

·       Received clarity that the figures contained in the cover report, in relation to  aims and aspirations of the draft waste strategy had been transposed, and should be read as per the  draft waste strategy for Essex 2024/2025

·       Acknowledged their role in the consultation exercise.

·       Were advised that costs needed to factored into waste collection.





That the Committee acknowledged the consultation exercise on the draft waste strategy



(1)        Details of the draft waste strategy to be included in the Members Bulletin

(2)        The website to be circulated -




To note that the next meeting of the Place Scrutiny Committee will be held at 7.00pm on 9 January 2024.




The committee noted the date of the next meeting was on 9 january 2024 at 7:00pm.