(Chairman of the Select Committee) Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution requires that the chairmen of the select committees report to the meeting in regard to progress with the achievement of the current work programme for each select committee and on any recommendations for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The current work programme for each select committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.
(a) Stronger Communities Select Committee
In the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman Councillor S Murray reported that at the last meeting on 21 September 2021, the select committee had received two presentations. The first was from the Community Safety Team on the EFDC Funded Police Officers 6 monthly update. This was followed by the Museum collections project and the Committee heard a detailed account of the thorough way the collections were being rationalised, the strict criteria officers were working to and that an external grant had helped to facilitate the work. A customer service update was provided by S Lewis, Service Manager (Customer Services). Members had also reviewed the outcome of the stage 1 initial consultation on the Housing Allocations Policy 2022-27, how the stage 2 consultation would work that was commencing in October until December 2021, and looked further ahead to March 2022, when formal adoption of the policies was scheduled.
Feedback from other members was that the four Housing policy items should have been nearer the beginning of the agenda as more time was needed to scrutinise them, and that shorter presentations would help in future.
(b) Stronger Council Select Committee
Councillor P Bolton, Select Committee Chairman, noted the staff induction query raised by Councillor J H Whitehouse. Councillor Bolton continued that the select committee should also analyse and ensure its Terms of Reference were fit for purpose at the next meeting.
During the last meeting on 14 September 2021, the 2021 elections had been reviewed and it was noted that in some wards it could have worked better. Although the counts had gone well, the venue in a North Weald airfield hangar had been very cold. The Qualis quarterly monitoring report for quarter 3 outlined performance, which seemed to be going quite well. Qualis was working to ensure a timelier view of the budget and was gradually improving on its accounting position.
The Committee acknowledged that the counts had been held in a hangar because of Covid restrictions and everyone had been adhering to social distancing guidelines. There was universal agreement that staff had done a good job under difficult circumstances during the elections despite some ward polling station issues.
(c) Stronger Place Select Committee
Councillor A Lion, Select Committee Chairman, reported that at the meeting on 23 September 2021 members had finalised the proposed Terms of Reference that had come before Overview and Scrutiny Committee tonight. Members had also considered the proposed designs and names for the re-branding of the ground floor hub at the Civic Offices, which had been outlined by the Customer Services Director, Rob Pavey, and would reflect the new community and collaborative purpose of the space.
An extra meeting was being held on 4 November 2021. The select committee had a fairly full agenda with Whipps Cross and Princess Alexandra Hospital representatives attending, waste management and the potential for the Essex Highways Cabinet member to attend in terms of its highways programme.
Councillor Lion said that regarding the Terms of Reference, scrutiny of corporate project (7), District Wide Leisure Services Development (see Minute no 47), was more to do with ‘leisure infrastructure’, which was a ‘place’ issue, and was more about where the leisure centres were situated across the District and how they worked. Councillor M Sartin replied that perhaps scrutiny of this corporate project could be discussed further at the next Joint Meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen in January 2022.
(1) That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the progress of the three select committees against their work programmes; and
(2) That Stronger Place Select Committee’s Terms of Reference on scrutiny of corporate project (7), District Wide Leisure Services Development, be discussed further at the next joint meeting in January 2022.