Agenda item

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme

Progress towards the achievement of the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is reviewed at each meeting.


(a)          Current Work Programme


The current work programme for the Committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.


(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.


Councillor M Sartin commented that work programme items for the next meeting on 18 November included Corporate performance reporting for quarter 2 and progress on the enforcement project.


(a)          Current work programme


(i)            Amendments


Item (9) sale of the Pyrles Lane site to Qualis – the Cabinet decision had been put back to 8 November 2021 (from 21 June 2021).


(ii)          New items


Staff induction training

Cllr J H Whitehouse had previously met with officers of the People Team about training for new staff on what the Council did and how it was run etc. She thought that the training currently provided for new staff was inadequate and asked if this could be improved. The presentation that G Woodhall, Democratic and Electoral Services Team Manager, had given to new councillors was very good and perhaps this could be adapted but, in her opinion, members should be able to give some guidance on what they thought staff should be informed about, so could a report about what went into staff induction be presented to a scrutiny committee.


A Small replied that he would refer this request to the People Team and that a report would go to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 27 January 2022.


Unaffordable rents

Councillor J H Whitehouse said this question was in respect of communities because she had been made aware that houses were being bought under right to buy and then being let at affordable rents to people on the housing waiting list, but that some of these people had turned down this opportunity because they could not afford the rents. Could a report be presented for scrutinising that detailed the number of properties being built under the Council housebuilding programme and those being bought under right to buy receipts, how many were being let at social rents and how many at affordable rents? Who made these decisions and what were they based on? Councillor H Whitbread replied that it was easier to have social rents when the Council was building properties on a scale, which would make the Council eligible for social rents and it was being looked into as officers had been liaising with Homes England. This could be looked at by a future Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee or Stronger Communities Select Committee and officers could provide a report. The Committee agreed that a report on this item should be scrutinised by the Stronger Communities Select Committee.


(b)          Reserve Programme – external scrutiny


A Hendry, Democratic Services Officer, advised that he was not aware of any external scrutiny being organised. Councillor M Sartin said that members could consider moving up from the reserve programme, Essex County Council (Children’s Services). The Chairman was also mindful that some of the external organisations that might be invited to Overview and Scrutiny Committee were likely to be too busy with ongoing Covid difficulties. Therefore, if the Committee did not have any suggestions perhaps it was better to wait.


Councillor D Wixley commented that he was researching some organisations of public interest with regards to possible external scrutiny. He would forward these details in due course to the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Democratic and Electoral Services Team Manager.




(1)          That the Committee reviewed its current work programme and reserve programme;


(2)          That an amendment be made to item (9) sale of the Pyrles Lane site, as the Cabinet decision date was due on 8 November 2021;


(3)          That a new item be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme on the staff induction process regarding training on how the Council was run, which would be scheduled for the meeting on 27 January 2022; and


(4)          That a new item be added to the Stronger Communities Select Committee work programme to report on the numbers of social rents and affordable rents for properties being built under the Council Housebuilding programme and those being bought under right to buy receipts (as detailed in full above).

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