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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Severn Room

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

98.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.

Minutes:

98.1          The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was taken as read.

98.2          The Chair welcomed the Lead Member for Organisational Development to the meeting who was present as an observer.

99.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

99.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P E Stokes and P D Surman.  There were no substitutions for the meeting.

100.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

100.1         The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

100.2        There were no declarations made on this occasion.

101.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2019.

Minutes:

101.1        A Member drew attention to Minute No. OS.92.8 in relation to the Ubico overspend which had been reported as part of the Performance Management Report and questioned which Committee would be taking this forward given that it had also been discussed by the Executive and Audit and Governance Committees.  In response, the Head of Community Services provided assurance that Officers were liaising with senior management at Ubico to ensure that these problems did not continue and, going forward, consideration was being given as to how to involve Members with Ubico issues across the board, potentially through establishing an overarching Working Group following the Borough Council elections in May.  The Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that he had met with the Managing Director of Ubico that morning and would be receiving information regarding the overspend by the end of the week which would be shared with Members of both the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 March 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were subsequently approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

102.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 243 KB

To determine whether there are any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee can give to work contained within the Plan.

Minutes:

102.1        Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 16-22.  Members were asked to determine whether there were any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could give to the work contained within the plan.

102.2        It was

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED

103.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To approve the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for the forthcoming year. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

103.1        Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 23-36, which attached, at Appendix 1, the draft Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20.  Members were asked to approve the Work Programme. 

103.2        The Head of Corporate Services advised that the Work Programme detailed at Appendix 1 contained the core work activities of the Committee and was a combination of standing agenda items such as performance management information, complaints, policy and strategy updates, and new areas of review that had emerged and been built into the programme, for instance, Healings Mill and Trade Waste.  It was noted that the workshop in relation to the Single Use Plastic Policy had been removed from the pending items as a full report would now be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in June.  Members were also advised that the Workforce Development Strategy, which had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its last meeting, had been approved by the Executive Committee at its meeting on 3 April 2019 and a report would be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on an annual basis in order to monitor delivery.

103.3         With regard to the Single Use Plastic Policy, a Member indicated that he had understood it might be necessary to establish a Member Working Group in order to look at how this could be developed once any ‘quick wins’ had been delivered.  The Head of Finance and Assessment Management confirmed that there would be an opportunity for Members to discuss this further when the report was brought to the Committee in June; however, Officers were not experts in this field and it was felt there was a lack of material for a workshop to discuss wider actions around the elimination of single use plastic in the building and supply chain.  Notwithstanding this, Officers were more than happy to look into any particular suggestions Members had for progressing the project.  The Member felt it was important to eliminate single use plastic from all Council-owned buildings, including the Leisure Centre, and the Head of Finance and Asset Management confirmed that Places for People, who managed the Leisure Centre, had an extensive policy which could be included in the Council’s report.

103.4         A Member indicated that the Committee had asked for a report on Planning Committee overturns which was currently listed under ‘pending items’ and he asked when that would come forward.  The Head of Development Services confirmed that this would be included on the Agenda for the July meeting in terms of the template with the populated version being submitted at a later date following consideration by the Planning Committee.  It was subsequently

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20 be APPROVED.

104.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting. 

Minutes:

104.1        The Chair advised that the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel had been unable to attend the last meeting of the Panel and there was no update on that basis, although the Minutes of the meeting were available on the Gloucestershire County Council website.

105.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting. 

Minutes:

105.1        The Chair indicated that, whilst he was the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee, it was chaired by one of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Members and he invited that Member to give a brief update. 

105.2        With regard to the review of scrutiny, the Chair of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee advised that the Council had recently agreed that the heavy workload of the existing Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee and the complexity of the governance arrangements around a joint Environment with Economic Growth Committee meant that it was probably better to retain separate committees.  With regard to the fact that adult social care was not given adequate attention, the proposed separation of Health and Adult Social Care would provide an opportunity for proper scrutiny of both areas.  In addition, it was noted that there would be two joint meetings per year specifically to consider issues around integration.  This separation meant that there would be one additional Committee, the Adult Social Care and Communities Committee.  District Councils would continue to be represented on the Heath Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee would be retained in its current format.

105.3        It was

RESOLVED          That the update from the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee be NOTED.

106.

Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee - Six Month Update Report pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider the progress made in relation to the 2018/19 Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee Action Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

106.1        The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 37-74, gave an update on progress against the Joint Waste Action Plan 2018/19 as adopted by the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee.  Members were asked to consider the report.

106.2        The Head of Community Services drew attention to the additional Appendix, circulated separately, which provided a Tewkesbury Borough Council specific project plan and he apologised for this being omitted from the original report.   He pointed out that Page No. 39, Paragraph 4.0 of the report discussed the future of the Gloucestershire Joint Waste Committee and the Joint Waste Team and he was now able to speak openly about the fact that Cheltenham Borough Council had given notice of its intention to withdraw from the Committee in December 2019.  This left a number of options for Tewkesbury Borough Council including remaining in the partnership with fewer partners, dissolving the partnership or continuing in a less formal partnership arrangement without a formal Committee.  An options appraisal was currently being carried out, the outcomes of which would be presented to the Council in due course.  It was noted that the future of the Joint Waste Team was also part of the consideration with one possibility being that staff would be employed by the individual organisations.  The Head of Community Services advised that himself and the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment had made representations to the Joint Waste Committee expressing their preference for a Gloucestershire-wide strategy which they felt was more beneficial than working individually. 

106.3        The remainder of the report gave an update on the Joint Waste Team and the elements that were specific to the Borough Council and particular reference was made to Page No. 72 which outlined the Javelin Park Energy from Waste project and the street cleansing review.  In terms of Javelin Park, a successful solution had been reached through negotiation which would mean that 30% of Tewkesbury Borough residual waste would be delivered directly to Javelin Park – Gloucestershire County Council had commissioned a waste transfer station within Tewkesbury Borough at Wingmoor Farm where the remaining 70% waste would be tipped.  This would avoid vehicles having to travel from the north of the borough all the way to Javelin Park which would take a considerable amount of time and subsequently put pressure on the Council’s waste services.  This had been a significant piece of work and it had taken a long time for the Council, Joint Waste Team and Ubico to secure a beneficial deal.

106.4        A Member raised concern at the late circulation of the appendix as it gave very little time for the Committee to scrutinise the information.  He was immediately struck by the absence of any ‘red’ projects and raised concern that this was not a true reflection.  He drew attention to Page No. 56 of the report which included a street cleaning operational review which had been given a target date of March 2019 and pointed out that this was included  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.

107.

Housing Strategy Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 256 KB

To consider the progress made in respect of the outcomes identified in the Housing Strategy Action Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

107.1         The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 75-104, provided a summary of the key activities during 2018/19 and the changes in activity for year three of the Housing Strategy.  Members were asked to consider the progress made to date in respect of the outcomes identified in the Action Plan.

107.2        The Housing Manager advised that the Executive Committee had approved the Housing Strategy Action Plan for 2019/20 at its meeting in January 2019; this was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and included updated targets.  Members were reminded that the strategy contained four key priorities to meet the housing needs of the borough: increasing the supply of housing; prevent homelessness; meet the housing needs of specific groups; and improving the health and wellbeing of local people.  In terms of increasing the supply of housing, Members were informed that two modular housing projects had commenced on former garage sites with a planning application received for the site in Staverton and an application due to be submitted for the site in Winchcombe later in the year.  With regard to homelessness and prevention, the government had recently introduced a number of funding opportunities.  Tewkesbury Borough Council had led a partnership bid for the Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government private sector access funding along with the other Gloucestershire authorities and West Oxfordshire District Council and had been awarded £363,408 which it was hoped would assist 180 households in one year.  There had been a raft of other opportunities through partnership working and it was noted that Gloucestershire County Council had been awarded £553,289 of Rapid Rehousing funding to operate two ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ centres which would be located in Gloucester and Cheltenham and would link in with the countywide homeless single person pathways.  With regard to Universal Credit, the demand on discretionary housing payments had increased significantly and new claims during homelessness were resulting in higher costs to the authority whilst in emergency accommodation.  In relation to improving the health and wellbeing of local people, it was noted that new regulations had come into force in October 2018 altering the definition of Houses In Multiple Occupation (HMO) which required mandatory licensing.  This had resulted in 11 new applications which were currently being processed and, as part of these activities, an unlicensed HMO in very poor condition had been identified in Tewkesbury resulting in seven prohibition notices on individual units and an improvement notice on the entire building; Housing Services had rehomed the affected households and the landlord had been prosecuted for being unlicensed.  In summary, the Head of Community Services indicated that it had been a really big year and the Homelessness Reduction Act had been very resource intensive so the achievements in the strategy were extremely positive and the team had worked very hard.

107.3        A Member drew attention to Page No. 91 of the report which stated that Tewkesbury Borough Council’s rough sleeper figure for 2018 was one and he questioned what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.

108.

Development Services Review Action Plan pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider the progress made against the Development Services Review Action Plan. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

108.1        The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 105-138, gave an update on progress against the Development Services Action Plan that had been approved by Council in April 2018.  Members were asked to consider the report.

108.2         Members were reminded that, whilst planning and development management were significant elements, the action plan covered all of the service areas within the remit of the Head of Development Services. It was a strategic document and was a tool to help manage service improvements. With regard to development management, the Head of Development Services indicated that the Key Performance Indicators had previously been presented to the Committee and would be reported back as part of the performance management report; Planning Performance Agreements had been implemented for two planning applications with discussions ongoing in relation to a number of potential others; and re-validation checklists had been published to improve the opportunity for customers to self-serve.  In terms of planning policy, the focus had been on responding to the issues and options stage of the review of the Joint Core Strategy and the preferred options stage of the Tewkesbury Borough Local Plan and they would continue to be a focus for the foreseeable future.  Work had also commenced on the development of the Statement of Community Involvement which was hugely important.  With respect to economic development, the integration of the Growth Hub as a service within the Council was progressing and surgeries and briefing sessions had allowed better communication between services.  Community development was critically important in terms of the place approach and a Member workshop had been held to clarify and define its role.

108.3        A Member noted that concerns had previously been expressed about planning application recommendations being contrary to pre-application advice and she questioned what had been done to address that.  The Head of Development Services explained that this could happen for a number of reasons, not least changes in planning policy – this was significant in terms of the Joint Core Strategy and the five year housing land supply.  Officers always tried to be open and transparent with developers and householders and positive conversations at the pre-application stage would not be over-ruled by a Senior Officer without good reason.  Regular meetings with the teams and the Officers responsible for signing-off decision notices had helped with this.  A Member drew attention to Page No. 123, Action B.13 ii) which related to creating and publicising Section 106 templates and standard clauses and indicated that the target date had changed from July 2018 to March 2020.  He raised concern that people were not aware that Section 106 money was available and made particular reference to a football club in Churchdown which needed new pitches and a cricket club in Down Hatherley that required a changing room, both of which may benefit from such funding.  The Head of Development Services advised that the Executive Committee had approved a new process for administering Section 106 spending in July 2018 and, under  ...  view the full minutes text for item 108.

109.

Community Safety Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To consider the update on the Community Safety Partnership. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

109.1        The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 139-145, provided an update on the Community Safety Partnership.  Members were asked to consider the report.

109.2        Members were advised that the report gave an update on the work of Safer Gloucestershire, the countywide group, and the local Tewkesbury Borough Community Safety Partnership (CSP) which had been reconstituted.  Safer Gloucestershire had identified six priority areas: locality-based crime; deprivation and vulnerability; safeguarding children; substance/alcohol misuse; domestic abuse/sexual violence; and criminal exploitation.  Tewkesbury Borough CSP would support those priorities and engage in activities to promote them where possible.  The CSP had now met twice and had agreed its Terms of Reference, attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  It was noted that it would take a strategic approach to dealing with community safety in the borough which meant using an evidence-based approach to problem solving.  The Head of Community Services reminded Members that, as the CSP had not been in place for a number of years, there was a lack of infrastructure, for example, there was currently no co-ordinated method for collating and tracking anti-social behaviour complaints.  It would take time to address these issues but progress was steadily being made and work had started on the community safety strategy for the borough which would be brought back to the Committee in due course.

109.3        A Member raised concern that community safety issues were not being fed back locally as they had been under the previous CSP when representatives from the Police and other partner organisations had attended parish meetings.  The Head of Community Services accepted this point but reiterated that the CSP had taken time to establish its priorities and he hoped that Members would soon start to feel more informed.  He stressed that the Police had previously indicated to the Committee that they would be happy to send representatives to community meetings on request but did not have the resources to attend every meeting.

109.4        It was

RESOLVED          That the Community Safety Partnership update be NOTED.

110.

Customer Care Strategy Action Plan pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To consider the progress made in relation to the actions contained within the Customer Care Strategy Action Plan 2018/19.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

110.1        Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 146-156, which provided an update on the progress against the actions contained within the Customer Care Strategy Action Plan.  Members were asked to consider the report.

110.2        Members were advised that the Customer Care Strategy had been endorsed by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee workshop in January 2016 and committed to supporting customers by going the extra mile through providing an efficient service, delivered by welcoming and knowledgeable professional staff.  In order to achieve this, the strategy was supported by an action plan which was reported to the Committee on an annual basis.  A review of the 2018/19 actions was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and it was noted that the majority had been completed.  Members were advised that the review of the effectiveness of the Advice and Information Centres (AICs) had been delayed due to other commitments; however, work had now commenced on the scoping of the project and it was proposed that an Overview and Scrutiny Committee Working Group be established to undertake the review later in the year.  In addition, a new target date of October 2019 had been set for the roll-out of Office 365 and a new revised IT Policy had recently been approved by the Executive Committee to facilitate this.  It was noted that, as the Customer Care Strategy had been in place since 2016, it was proposed to develop a new strategy and action plan for approval in 2020 to reflect the changes that had been made and the new challenges going forward.

110.3        A Member raised concern that, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it was unclear how Members should be dealing with queries they were not able to respond to directly and he felt this could mean that customers did not always get the best possible service.  The Corporate Services Manager undertook to look into this following the meeting but she understood that Members should seek permission from the individual concerned if they intended to pass on any personal data e.g. contact information, to anyone who was not an Officer of the Council.

110.4        It was

RESOLVED          That the progress made in relation to the actions contained within the Customer Care Strategy Action Plan 2018/19 be NOTED.

111.

Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To approve the annual report as required by the Council’s Constitution to ensure that the activities of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee are promoted both internally and publicly to reinforce transparency and accountability in the democratic process. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

111.1        The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 157-187, attached, at Appendix 1, the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2018/19.  Members were asked to approve the report.

111.2        A Member drew attention to Page No. 164 which contained a reference to Severn Vale Housing and he questioned whether that should be updated in light of the fact that it no longer existed.  In response, the Head of Corporate Services advised that the report looked back at the work that had been undertaken by the Committee during the year and it was accurate in that Severn Vale Housing had been in existence at the time the housing strategy report had been presented, as such, it was appropriate to retain this reference.

111.3        The Chair thanked the Officers for the report which he felt was a good reflection of the hard work of the Committee throughout the year.  He extended his thanks to Members for their tenacious scrutiny over the Council term and his appreciation to Officers for their support.  It was

RESOLVED          That the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Report 2018/19 be NOTED