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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

18.

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:

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

18.2          The Chair welcomed the representatives from Ubico to the meeting and indicated that they were in attendance for Agenda Item 9 – Ubico Report 2018/19 along with the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment.  He also welcomed the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel who was in attendance for Agenda Item 7 – Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update, and the Lead Member for Housing who was present as an observer.

19.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

19.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S A T Stevens.  There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

20.

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:

20.1          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.

20.2          There were no declarations made on this occasion.

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019.

Minutes:

21.1           The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

22.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 239 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:

22.1          Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 25-30.  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.

22.2          A Member raised concern that the Forward Plan was quite light in October and November and he hoped that more items would come forward for those meetings.  It was subsequently

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

23.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 263 KB

To consider the forthcoming work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

23.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20, circulated at Pages No. 31-40, which Members were asked to consider.

23.2          A Member queried when the Grounds Maintenance Working Group would be reporting back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The Head of Community Services advised that the first meeting of the Working Group was scheduled to take place on 6 August 2019.  He explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was required to review the Working Group’s Terms of Reference on an annual basis, and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee as to whether there was a continuing role for the Group, so he anticipated that a report would be brought back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in February 2020.

23.3          It was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20 be NOTED subject to the inclusion of the Grounds Maintenance Working Group Report on 5 February 2020.

24.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update

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

Minutes:

24.1          Members received an update from the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel on matters discussed at the last meeting of the Panel held on 19 July 2019.

24.2           The Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel advised that this was the first meeting of the year so there had been a number of procedural tasks to complete such as electing a Chair and Vice-Chair, both of whom had changed from previous years.  There were several new Members on the Panel and, following a discussion on the Terms of Reference, it was agreed that additional training would be helpful in order for them to better understand the role of the Panel and its relationship with the Police and Crime Commissioner.  The Chair had emphasised that the Panel’s role was not to provide oversight of the Police as they were accountable to the Police and Crime Commissioner who was accountable to the electorate in turn.  The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners stated that the role of the Police and Crime Panel was to scrutinise the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner and to be a “critical friend” with a duty to support as well as challenge.

24.3           The Police and Crime Commissioner’s annual report 2018/19 had been circulated to the Panel and, whilst this was supposedly a draft document, it had appeared to be at a fairly advanced stage giving the Panel very little opportunity to input into its content.  The Police and Crime Commissioner had given an overview of the current situation from his perspective and the 2.5% pay rise for public employees had been welcomed.  The report covered a range of issues including the challenges and impacts of missing persons in the county; a new collaboration agreement across all six Police forces in the region, the approach to knife crime in the county – this was still rare by national standards; purchase of a new training facility at Berkeley which would free up another building; details of the annual budget and an overview of the Gloucestershire force.  The Panel had discussed the report and made a number of observations including a request to see the report earlier in the production process so that more feedback could be provided and reflected in the final content.  The focus on “Gloucestershire – a child-friendly county” had been debated and the progress on reducing the number of juveniles entering the criminal justice system in order to help prevent the chances of reoffending had been noted.  A number of Members had felt that the report should contain more details on performance as it was difficult to form a clear view without any specifics.  With regard to the proposal to merge the Fire Service with the Police, the Panel had questioned whether the broadly supportive presentation by the Police and Crime Commissioner was justified, particularly as only a small percentage of the population had been consulted.  The Police and Crime Commissioner had subsequently agreed to check the data  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Annual Review of Planning Committee Overturns pdf icon PDF 204 KB

To consider the template for the annual review of Planning Committee overturns. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25.1          The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 41-49, provided a template for the annual review of Planning Committee overturns.  Members were asked to consider the template.

25.2          The Head of Development Services advised that, at its meeting on 8 January 2019, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had received a report on the new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and had requested that the template for the annual review of Committee overturns be brought back to the Committee.  At the meeting on 9 April 2019, it had subsequently been agreed that a populated version of the template be submitted for consideration.  By way of background, she explained that the Planning Committee could make a decision which was different from the Officer recommendation.  Planning Officers prepared reports for the Committee which were debated and certain issues may arise which resulted in Members taking a different view; sometimes this changed the outcome from an approval to a refusal or vice versa.  This may reflect a difference in the assessment of how a policy had been complied with, or different weight may be attributed to material considerations.  The template attached at Appendix 1 had been designed to provide sufficient information for the statistical analysis required by the Protocol for Councillors and Officers Involved in the Planning Process and to enable an annual review of the reasons why decisions differed to the recommendation.  It was noted that the Protocol, which had been refreshed in December 2016, included an annual review of Committee decisions and this was the first stage of that process. 

25.3          Members were advised that Part 1 of the template comprised a statistical analysis of all decisions made by the Committee and the percentage of decisions that had changed from a permit to refuse and vice versa.  The template covered a three year period from April 2016 to March 2019 with a three year summary and information for each individual year which would allow an assessment of trends.  Part 2 of the template provided a qualitative analysis for the previous financial year i.e. 2018-19 with full details of each application where the Committee decision differed from the Officer recommendation, together with the narrative for that e.g. site location, proposal, summary of reasons for recommendation etc. 

25.4          During the debate which ensued, a Member indicated that whilst the information was interesting, he was unclear what could be done with it.  The Head of Development Services advised that it was intended to help identify any recurring issues or emerging trends, for example, if there was a lack of clarity on a particular policy.  The Business Transformation Manager explained that the annual review of Planning Committee decisions required by the Protocol for Councillors and Officers Involved in the Planning Process would be a check and balance to ensure that everyone involved was doing the best they could.  It would include all Committee decisions, not just those where decisions had been made against Officer advice, and there would be an opportunity to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Ubico Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 162 KB

To consider the 2018/19 outturn performance update on the services provided by Ubico Ltd.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

26.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 50-103, provided the annual update on the Ubico contract for waste and recycling, street cleansing and grounds maintenance services.  Members were asked to consider the 2018/19 outturn performance update on the services provided by Ubico.

26.2          The Head of Community Services advised that a range of performance information was collected and reported to the Environmental Services Partnership Board on a quarterly basis and was monitored by the Joint Waste Team monthly.  Appendix 1 to the report attached the annual commissioner report which was prepared for the Board and detailed service requests, performance and health and safety statistics for the year; this was the first full year of tracking the newly adopted Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which were the same across the partnership to allow for comparison.  The document attached at Appendix 2 to the report was the Ubico corporate update which outlined the company’s view on progress throughout the year. 

26.3          The Head of Community Services indicated that the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment was in attendance and he invited him to make a comment prior to any questions from the Committee.  The Lead Member explained that the figures for missed bin collections were extremely good in the context of the amount of collections and he reminded Members that missed bins were not always the fault of Ubico or its drivers, for instance, there was a blackspot in Winchcombe where inconsiderate on-street parking meant that vehicles were unable to exit particular streets until those vehicles had been moved which had a knock on effect on the remainder of their round – this was just one example.  In his view Ubico was very efficient and he provided assurance that missed bins were collected once they had been reported. 

26.4          The Head of Community Services felt it was important to recognise the amount of work that had been done to improve performance since 2017 and the service was now in a completely different place than it had been at that time.  Residual household waste collection and percentage of household waste reused, recycled and composted were still within target and the figures for 2017/18 and 2018/19, and the 2019/20 target, were set out at Page No. 52, Paragraph 3.2 of the report.  There had been a slight increase in residual waste and a dip in recycling in the last quarter but that could be attributed to contamination of recyclate being taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and it was recognised that work needed to be done with the community around what could and could not be recycled, for example, soiled nappies were a particular problem currently.  With regard to bin deliveries, the number of requests fluctuated across the months.  It was noted that there was error within the system which meant that Ubico was not able to respond as it should and work was ongoing to address this.  In April 2018, the Council had changed the way  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Depot Services Working Group pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To establish a Depot Services Working Group and approve its Terms of Reference.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

27.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 104-108, asked Members to establish a Depot Services Working Group in accordance with the Terms of Reference at Appendix A to the report.

27.2          The Head of Community Services indicated that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee received regular reports on the performance of Ubico and there had previously been frustration about the perceived lack of control and transparency.  It was important that Members fully understood the relationship with Tewkesbury Borough Council, including what being part of a teckal arrangement meant in terms of the level of control that the Council had over the company.  In order to facilitate this, the Committee was asked to establish a Depot Services Working Group in accordance with the Terms of Reference attached at Appendix A to the report which set out that the Group would comprise nine Members of the Council to include six Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, one Member of the Audit and Governance Committee and the Lead Members for Clean and Green Environment and Finance and Asset Management.

27.3          It was

RESOLVED          1. That a Depot Services Working Group be established in accordance with the Terms of Reference set out at Appendix A.

2. That the following Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be appointed to the Working Group:

Councillors C L J Carter, K J Cromwell, J W Murphy,                   P W Ockelton, R J G Smith and M J Williams.

28.

Community Services Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To consider the progress made against the Community Services Improvement Plan. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 109-117, provided an update on the progress made against the Community Services Improvement Plan.  Members were asked to consider the report.

28.2          The Head of Community Services explained that the Community Services Review had been carried out in 2018 and an improvement plan containing 15 actions had subsequently been approved by the Council.  Members were advised that six of the actions were complete and three were progressing well but four actions were not on target and two had not progressed.  The main reason for the actions not progressing was due to several staff leaving the team and the need to appoint agency staff whilst recruiting permanent staff to new and vacant roles; this had been challenging, particularly in terms of training. 

28.3           A Member sought clarification as to the current position in terms of recruiting a student Environmental Health Officer and was informed that there had been a change of approach as it was now intended to speak to schools and colleges in the area to try to engage someone who would like a career in environmental health rather than employ someone who was already involved.  The Member indicated that he had some concerns regarding hazardous properties in the private rented sector and he questioned whether any progress had been made in this regard.  In response, the Head of Community Services indicated that he did not want to give the impression that nothing was done in respect of private sector housing and he stressed that robust action was taken when complaints were received – he pointed out that a Prohibition Order had recently been raised in respect of a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) within the borough.  Unfortunately, resources meant that it was not always possible to be more proactive as this was not a statutory requirement; however, Officers were engaging with private sector landlords where appropriate.  It was noted that more work was now being done with the Community Development Officers in terms of their role in community safety and the reduction of crime and disorder and this was welcomed by Members.

28.4          It was

RESOLVED          That the progress made in relation to the Community Services Improvement Plan be NOTED.