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Agenda and minutes

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

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Items
No. Item

5.

Announcements

Minutes:

5.1            The Chair advised that the meeting was being held under the emergency provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and, specifically, the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020. The meeting was being broadcast live via the internet, it was not being recorded by the Council but, under the usual transparency rules, it may be being recorded by others.

6.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

6.1            Apologies for absence were received from Councillors H S Munro and P N Workman. There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

7.

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:

7.1            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.

7.2            There were no declarations made on this occasion.

8.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2020.

Minutes:

8.1            The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.

9.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 337 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:

9.1            Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 11-19. 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.

9.2            The Head of Corporate Services pointed out that, whilst the Executive Committee Forward Plan was not as heavily populated as the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme, there were differences in the work streams with the Executive’s tending to be more fluid and reactive. Undoubtedly more items would come forward as time went on, but he indicated that he would work with Heads of Service to ensure it was as up to date as possible moving forward. The Chair commented that he would not like to see items coming forward at the last minute which then resulted in there being no opportunity for proper scrutiny. Whilst he accepted that the Executive Committee Forward Plan was more fluid the last thing he wished to see were matters appearing on Agenda that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had not had the opportunity of scrutinizing, particularly in the current extraordinary circumstances. The Deputy Chief Executive indicated that he would take that message back to Heads of Service.

9.3            It was subsequently

                 RESOLVED           That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

10.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To approve the revised Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21, circulated at Pages No. 20-34, which Members were asked to consider. The Head of Corporate Services reminded the Committee that it normally considered its Work Programme for the forthcoming Committee year in April but obviously, in view of the pandemic, the Committee had not met at that time. Accordingly, it had been necessary to adjust the Work Programme to take account of the impact of the pandemic in terms of response and recovery. Full consultation had been undertaken with the Chair and Vice-Chair in bringing forward this revised programme with the final column providing Members with an audit trail showing the original date when the item was to have been considered. He indicated that the programme would certainly keep Members busy and contained a combination of standing items, such as the quarterly performance tracker which was based around the new Council Plan and the two new priority areas of “Sustainable Environment” and “Garden Towns”; updates on key strategies such as Economic Development and Tourism, Housing and Workforce Development; policy updates such as the new Corporate Enforcement Policy and ad-hoc items requested by the Committee such as the Battlefield Project Plan and the wider Independent Tourism Review. The programme also included the recent motion referred by Council on whether to support the signing of the Tech Talent Charter which would need to be reported back to Council. Two new areas for the Committee were the Council’s Recovery Plan, which was recently approved at the Executive Committee and would take the form of a recovery tracker document to be presented quarterly alongside the Council Plan tracker, and the Local Government Association’s Corporate Challenge Team’s Report which had just been finalised and would be presented to Executive Committee and Council along with an action plan that would subsequently be monitored by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

10.2          In discussing the Work Programme, a Member referred to the pending items on Page No.33 and asked for an update on when the Committee might expect to see the review of the Complaints Policy and the presentation from Severn Trent Water. The Head of Corporate Services indicated that the review of the Complaints Policy fell within his remit and was scheduled in his service plan to take place at the start of the new year. In terms of the presentation from Severn Trent Water, that was within the work stream of the Head of Community Services and the Deputy Chief Executive undertook to come back to Members with an indicative timescale. In thanking the Deputy Chief Executive, the Chair stressed that this was an important matter for the Committee as it had arisen from a scrutiny review and Members were keen to know what actions Severn Trent Water had undertaken since the conclusion of the review.

10.3          Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the revised Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21 be APPROVED.

11.

Citizens' Advice Bureau Presentation

To consider the annual update on Citizens’ Advice Bureau activity in the borough. 

Minutes:

11.1          The Chair welcomed the representative from North and West Gloucestershire Citizens’ Advice Bureau to the meeting and asked the Economic and Community Development Manager to briefly introduce the item. The Economic and Community Development Manager reminded the Committee that the Council had a service level agreement with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau which had been in place for a number of years and it awarded a grant on an annual basis for the services provided to residents. The Council had a longstanding and good working relationship with the Bureau. The Committee received an annual presentation which provided Members with information about the work of the Bureau but today’s presentation would also touch on the impact of the pandemic on its work over the last few months and into the future.

11.2          In commencing his presentation, the key points of which were set out below, the representative reiterated that, as well as covering the normal work of the Bureau, he would give a brief overview of some of the challenges experienced due to the pandemic:

·        Aims – To provide the advice people need for the problems they face; to improve policies and practices that affect people’s lives.

·        Principles – The Citizens’ Advice service provided free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. It valued diversity, promoted equality and challenged discrimination.

·        Locations – Citizens’ Advice now operated from 15 locations in the north and west of the County although obviously no face to face appointments were being carried out at the present time at any of the locations: Tewkesbury Public Services Centre; Prior’s Park; Bishop’s Cleeve; Winchcombe; Brockworth; Northway; Churchdown; Cheltenham (town centre); Up Hatherley; Gloucester (city centre); Cinderford; Coleford; Lydney; Newent; St Briavels. It should be noted that Tewkesbury Borough Council residents could get help and assistance at any of these locations should they be more convenient and accessible due to work or other commitments. This was one of the advantages of previous mergers as it gave the Bureau a greater reach to help those in need of its services.

·        How advice is requested – Majority still wanted face to face, approximately 80% of all contact, 10% via phone and the remainder online although this was not so popular. Face to face was a more expensive method of giving advice but was the preferred option for the people using the service. The reliance on face to face had presented a particular challenge in relation to the pandemic which had meant that only email and telephone services were currently available although there was a new channel over Zoom or WhatsApp but the representative was unclear as to what category that fell within.

·        Employment Status – Employed – 38.3% (31.6% the previous year); self-employed – 5.9% (4.5% previous year); carers – 6% (7% previous year); retired – 20.8% (20.5% previous year); permanently sick 13.6% (19.9% previous year) and unemployed 15.4% (16.4% previous year). It was notable that the number of employed had risen quite significantly with the number  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (17 July 2020). 

Minutes:

12.1          The Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel presented a feedback report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 35–36, on the meeting of the Panel which had taken place on 17 July 2020. Prior to getting into the detail of his report, the Council’s representative felt that it would be useful to clarify the purpose of the Panel which was to scrutinise the performance of the Police and Crime Commissioner whose role it was to scrutinise the performance of the Police. In effect the Panel was one step removed from scrutinising the operational activities of the Police, its job was to make sure that the Commissioner was fulfilling his role. This meant the Panel did not get into detail around specific problems or incidents as these were dealt with outside of the meetings.

12.2          Turning to his report, the Council’s representative indicated that the meeting had taken place over Zoom and had started by dealing with a number of housekeeping matters such as the election of Chair and Vice-Chair both of whom were re-elected unopposed. The Panel then had a discussion on COVID-19; the lessons learned and the “new normal” coming out of the pandemic. The Commissioner had detailed how he had dealt with the pandemic in terms of his interaction with the Chief Constable and the operation of the Police ensuring they had the “space” needed to get on with day to day policing. The Commissioner had released an additional £1 million of funding from reserves to ensure funding restrictions did not impact on the ability of the Police to respond effectively. In addition, the government had confirmed that the cost of Personal Protective Equipment to the Police would be reimbursed. The overall tone of how the Police in Gloucestershire dealt with the pandemic had been focused on education and engaging with the public, with enforcement as a last resort. This approach had been supported by the Commissioner as it sought to engage with the community and encourage compliance with the social distancing rules etc. rather than taking a heavy-handed approach, with fines being issued as a last resort. At the start of the pandemic, the Police had suffered resourcing problems with a number of Police Officers self-isolating, but this number had reduced over time with Special Constables being used to supplement resources. Whilst not wishing to promote any positives from the virus, the representative indicated that overall crime had reduced during the pandemic with both burglary and shoplifting falling, the latter primarily due to the fact that most retail spaces were closed. The ability to operate county lines crimes was also restricted with the limitations on travel having a positive impact.

12.3          The meeting also received a detailed report from the Police Commissioner’s Office presented by the Chief Executive of the Office. Whilst not directly within the remit of the Police and Crime Commissioner there was concern about the poor state of the Courts which was a Home Office matter but obviously impacted on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Gloucestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 290 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (14 July 2020). 

Minutes:

13.1          Members received an update from the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on matters discussed at the meeting on 14 July 2020. She referred Members to the fact that a report had been circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 37-38 and she would just highlight some of the salient points contained in that report.

13.2          The Council’s representative stated that at the start of the meeting there had been two public representations; the first one had been about concerns over the 32 deaths in the Alston and St. Marks Medium Super Output Area (MSAO) in Cheltenham, which had been considered to be very high in that area over a short period of time, and the other related to patient safety concerns with temporary service changes at Gloucester Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital. In respect of the first representation, the HOSC decided to refer the matter to a different Scrutiny Committee, to investigate why this had occurred so that if there was a re-emergence of COVID-19 later in the year they would be better prepared. It was felt that a significant factor could relate to the fact that there were nine elderly persons establishments in this area. In respect of the second representation, a response was provided around the need to revise practices in order to deliver a safe service and the changes had been endorsed by all 13 emergency consultants working in this area.

13.3          Discussion took place on the COVID-19 temporary service changes, which initially had involved extensive re-prioritisation with all organisations in the NHS and Social Care working together, and the use of private hospitals. The infection was still with us although the rates had changed but plans were being put in place for the autumn/winter should there be a rise in COVID-19 cases alongside winter flu issues. It was stressed that the changes were temporary and had nothing to do with “Fit for the Future”, although some of the changes were mentioned in “Fit for the Future” which it was felt could cause some confusion. However, it had given the opportunity to try out some of the changes in working practices and use of hospitals that were being suggested in “Fit for the Future” and could be used to inform this piece of work. The temporary changes were set to continue for a further three months. In view of the concerns about the re-emergence of COVID-19 alongside the winter flu, the flu injections were being rolled out earlier and to a wider age group.

13.4          The meeting then went on to talk about “Fit for the Future” which was progressing slowly due to the pandemic. The report from the Council’s representative indicated that it was hoped to launch a public consultation in September-December, including a virtual consultation of the Citizens Jury in November, with a business case in January/February and implementation in March/April but this may slip dependant on whether there was a second peak of COVID-19. There were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 413 KB

 To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (2 July 2020).

Minutes:

14.1          The Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC) presented the report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No.39-43, which contained a summary of the Committee’s last meeting held on 2 July 2020. He indicated that three main areas had been covered at the meeting; update on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee (GEGJC) meeting held on 3 June 2020; GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) verbal update and COVID-19 Response – Planning for Gloucestershire’s Economic Recovery.

14.2          The verbal update on the GEGJC meeting was given by the Chair of that Committee and Page No. 39 set out the main points, with the key item covered being the COVID-19 response which was currently very fluid with lots of matters happening outside of the County. The Joint Committee would be taking a co-ordinating role in terms of the response to COVID-19 and would be working closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and District and Borough partners; the aim was to have a united approach across the County. The next update was from the Deputy Chief Executive of the GFirst LEP which was in three parts: Growth Deal Projects; the County’s Inward Investment Project; and a New Funding Pot from the government. Picking up the main points under the Growth Deal Projects, which included the West Cheltenham Transport Scheme, West Cheltenham Walking and Cycling Schemes, Airport Schemes and the Gloucestershire Railway Station, it was explained that the LEP had been making sure that these projects continued; working on due diligence and getting funding agreements signed off. In terms of the County’s Inward Investment Project, which was aimed at attracting foreign owned companies into the County, obviously this had been heavily impacted by COVID-19 with national and international events having been cancelled resulting in the project coming to a halt for the time being. The team responsible for this project had been deployed onto COVID-19 recovery planning. The Council’s representative indicated that he had just noticed a typing error in his report in that the heading for part c., on Page No.40, repeated that for part b. and should read “New Funding Pot from Government”. Under this heading the Deputy Chief Executive of the LEP had explained that it was always sensible to have a live project pipeline in the event that government provided a new funding source. In this respect, the LEP had been given six days notice by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for available projects that satisfied a strict criteria. The projects had to be shovel ready; able to be completed by December 2021; recovery and job creation theme focused; and have “green credentials”. Fifteen projects were submitted from across the County the most important of which that satisfied the criteria were: Kings Square, Gloucester; Tewkesbury Garden Town, Cheltenham to Gloucester Cycle Highway and Bishop’s Cleeve to Cheltenham Cycle Highway. The plan was to have full business cases ready for submission to the government by the end of July. Finally, the third  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Complaints Report pdf icon PDF 325 KB

To consider the annual update to provide assurance that complaints are managed effectively and determine whether any further action is required.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No.44-57, provided the annual review of complaints received for scrutiny by the Committee in accordance with the complaints framework which was introduced in April 2016.

15.2          In presenting the report, the Head of Corporate Services indicated that Members were being asked to consider the annual update to gain assurance that complaints were managed effectively and to identify any further action required. He indicated that the report was very detailed and therefore he would only pick out the key aspects; Paragraph 2.1 on Page No.46 showed that 200 complaints had been received of which 178 related to Council Services; 164 were actual complaints whilst 14 were just simple service requests; of the 164 complaints, 135 had been responded to on time which resulted in an 82% response rate with 27 being answered out of time which was over the 20 working days. Paragraph 2.2 of the report showed that only 15 complaints had been escalated to Stage 2 where the complainant was not happy with the first response which the Head of Corporate Services felt was quite positive. The breakdown of the complaints by service area was shown at Appendix 1, on Page No.52, and it was not really surprising that the higher profile service areas generated most of the complaints which was an inherent risk of their service delivery; for example there were 89 complaints about waste and recycling, 11 about grounds maintenance, revenues and benefits had 22 complaints and planning 23; the figures for 2018/9 were shown in brackets. Paragraph 3.1 detailed the number of complaints reported in previous years so 2019/20 was very much on par with the previous year of 2018/19. Moving onto Paragraph 4.1, complaints were bench marked against other authorities through LG Inform, which consisted of over 50 other authorities and showed that the Council’s performance against other authorities, was very strong as highlighted in the chart. Paragraph 5.1 showed compliments that had been received again shown in chart format on Page No. 48; these were spread across service areas although one of the areas had not been properly populated and should be amended to read “Tewkesbury Leisure Centre”. In terms of the Ombudsman report, which was on Pages No. 49-50, Paragraph 6.1-2, only 11 complaints had been referred to the Local Government Ombudsman which again was very positive. The Head of Corporate Services apologised for the fact that the pie chart shown under Paragraph 6.2 had not re-produced correctly at the printers but it should show the number of complaints in 2016 as 10, 2017/18 as 12, 2018/19 as 6 and 2019/20 as 11. Overall, in comparison to the number of transactions and customer engagements at the Council for example there are over 4 million bin collections, the complaints figures were extremely good.

15.3          The Chair thanked the Head of Corporate Services for the report which he felt was good news but suggested that, as had been mentioned at the Chair’s briefing,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 137 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:

16.1          The Chair referred to the report, circulated at Pages No. 58-60, which had attached to it the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Annual Report, at Pages No.61-90, and prior to its presentation he thanked his Vice-Chair and all Committee Members for their support, hard work and diligent scrutiny of all matters that came before them.

16.2          In presenting the Annual Report, the Head of Corporate Services stated that it detailed the activity of the Committee over the course of 2019/20 and demonstrated the breadth of the Committee’s work which included progress reports from Officers on key strategies and policies, quarterly performance management reporting, Working Group reviews, presentations from internal and external sources and special meetings to deal with matters such as the climate change motion referred from Council. In the Chair’s introduction to the report there was reference to the Local Government Association Peer Challenge which concluded that the Council had a good governance framework and commented positively on the impact and value of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which was particularly pleasing as it was a fairly new Committee in terms of membership. Also, in the Chair’s introduction there was reference to the pandemic and how this had changed the way the Council operated, particularly in relation to remote working and virtual meetings, which Members and Officers had adapted to very well. The Head of Corporate Services drew particular attention to Page No.75 of the report under the heading “Looking Forward”, which referenced the Committee’s role in monitoring the Council’s COVID-19 Corporate Recovery Plan, the new Council Plan and also the up and coming Peer Challenge Action Plan. In concluding his presentation, the Head of Corporate Services advised the Committee that the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report would be presented by the Chair to the Council at its meeting on 29 September 2020.

16.3          During the discussion which ensued, the Chair indicated that he would like to propose an amendment on Page No.70 of the report in relation to the final paragraph on the section “Notice of Motion Declaring a Climate Change Emergency”. He indicated that it was important to show that the Council was already aware of the importance of Climate Change before the Motion had been submitted and was not simply reacting to the Motion but had been actively addressing this matter beforehand, with initiatives such as the car fleet and the solar panels on the roof of the Council Offices, and would continue to do so going forward.

16.4          Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s Annual report be   APPROVED, subject to the amendment of the last paragraph under the section entitled “Notice of Motion Declaring a Climate Change Emergency” on Page No. 70 to read as follows:

“The new Council Plan 2020-24 identifies “sustainable environment” as one of its six key priorities within the Council Plan. The Council commits to carefully manage its carbon footprint and support the climate change declaration, which will be carefully monitored by this Committee through the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Separate Business

The Chair will move the adoption of the following resolution:

 

That under Section 100(A)(4) Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

Minutes:

17.1          The Chair proposed, and it was

RESOLVED          That  under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items on the grounds that they involve the likely discussion of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.

18.

Trade Waste Services

(Exempt –Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 –Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information))

 

To receive a progress update and presentation on the detailed business case on the pilot proposal and other third party options. 

Minutes:

(Exempt – Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)

18.1          The Committee received a progress report on Commercial Waste Options for the Council and agreed that a project report should be prepared for the next meeting setting a timeline to bring the matter to a conclusion with a recommendation as to the future provision of a Trade Waste Service.