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To confirm the notes of the meeting of the Panel held on 31 January 2019.
The notes of the meeting of the Task and Finish Panel held on 31 January 2019 were agreed as a correct record subject to including the word ‘stronger’ when referring to any of the Select Committees, so that they would read Stronger Communities, Stronger Council and Stronger Place Select Committee.
Terms of Reference
To note the following terms of reference for the Panel that were agreed by the Overview and scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 December 2018:
(a) That the Panel consider the future structure of the select committee framework to ensure that it complements the new executive portfolio and management structure of the Council, taking into consideration the options presented to the Committee at its meeting held on 29 October 2018;
(b) That the Panel consider:
(i) the retention of the existing framework of four select committees;
(ii) the introduction of an alternative framework of four select committees aligned with the new portfolio and service structure and the responsibilities of each select committee, to present opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness in scrutiny activity;
(iii) the introduction of an alternative framework of two or three select committees aligned with the new portfolio and service structure. and the responsibilities of each select committee, to present opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness in scrutiny activity; and
(iv) any other structure arrangement considered appropriate; and
(c) That the Panel consider arrangements to ensure that reports in respect of the Council’s adopted key performance indicators are made to the select committees as soon after the end of the relevant quarter as possible, and how best such reports can be presented to assist members in scrutinising performance against appropriate targets and the financial and resource implications for the authority; and
(d) That the Panel review the terms of reference of the existing select committees in terms of relevance and consider whether these could be improved.
The Panel noted its terms of reference, which had been agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 December 2018.
To review the work programme for the Panel.
The Panel noted their Work Programme.
The Panel is requested to continue its review of the current overview and scrutiny select committee framework, having regard to the scope and timescale for the review, the conclusions already reached with regard to the proposed future structure of the framework on the basis of the Corporate Plan themes of ‘Council’, ‘Place’ and ‘Community’ and to consider the following issues arising from the previous meeting:
(a) the most appropriate select committee environment for the Council housebuilding programme;
(b) the proposed terms of reference for the new select committees; and
(c) arrangements for the development of work programmes for the new select committees.
The Panel should also seek to finalise its recommendations to be made to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 16 April 2019, in order that an appropriate report can be prepared for presentation to the Committee by the Chairman of the Panel.
If required, a further meeting of the Panel has been arranged for 14 March 2019, to conclude the review of the select committee framework.
The Panel considered the draft Terms of Reference and draft Work Programmes for the three proposed Select Committees. They noted that a revised and extended work programme for the Stronger Communities Select Committee had been tabled. This added extra items to the work programme, with the Strategic Director adding proposed dates to each item of work. She noted that the new Select Committees were not orientated towards services; they were more cross cutting and so as yet they had not had any officer resources applied to them.
A member raised a question on which Select Committee should look into certain specific subjects such as the provision of mobility scooters or the sheltered housing review as all the Select Committees seemed to have similar Terms of Reference. And, how these subjects could be raised to a Committee as a request to be reviewed. The Panel was told that if the question was customer related it could go through the Chairman of the appropriate Committee. They can also go via the O&S Committee or officers, who could feed the request into the correct committee.
It was also noted that this new Select Committee system would be reviewed within a year to see if it needed modification.
The Panel debated if the Audit and Governance Committee could send items to the Select Committee to review. They noted that the Audit and Governance Committee had a very specific role and there may not be a lot of cross over in their work. But as they reported to Council, the Council could ask for a Select Committee to review a specific item. However, it may be possible to refer things up to that committee if it was warranted.
Stronger Communities Select Committee
The Panel considered the Work Programme for the Stronger Communities Select Committee. I was suggested that scrutiny of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy be added to the work programme; this could either be the County Council’s or EFDC’s strategy, as long as it affected the residents of this district.
AGREED: that the Health and Wellbeing strategy be added to the Stronger Communities Select Committee.
The Panel also noted that the Police and Crime Commissioner had been talking about volunteer officers in the district. Could they ask for some feedback from the Chief Officers. In response to this the Chairman said that the Terms of Reference were flexible and things could be brought in if warranted.
Another suggestion of the Panel was to ask officers who represented the Council on the Neighbourhood Group meetings (based around health) to report back to the Select Committee to keep them informed of what was happening, especially around mental health issues. The Chairman said that these topics did fit into the Select Committee’s Terms of Reference.
AGREED: that EFDC representatives on the Neighbourhood Group meetings be asked to report to the Committee especially on mental health issues.
Stronger Council Select Committee
The Panel reviewed the draft set of Terms of Reference. They noted that the word ‘Plan’ ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Any Other Business
The Panel formally thanked the officers for their work in providing material for this Panel to consider in pursuance of their Terms of Reference.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that, if required, a further meeting of the Panel will be held at 7.00pm on 14 March 2019.
The Panel agreed that this would be their last meeting and another one would not be required. The Chairman would present a report on their findings and recommendations to the April meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.