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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

19.

Announcements

Minutes:

19.1          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.

19.2          The Chair indicated that Agenda Item 8 – Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update would be taken at the end of open business after Agenda Item 12 in order to allow the Member who had represented the Council at this meeting to attend and present his report.

19.3          The Chair welcomed Councillor Deborah Harwood, Lead Member for Organisational Development, to the meeting as the Tech Talent Charter Notice of Motion being considered at Agenda Item 12 fell within her portfolio.

20.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

20.1          An apology for absence had been received from Councillor H C McLain. There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

21.

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:

21.1          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.

21.2          There were no declarations made on this occasion

22.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 278 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 1 September 2020.

Minutes:

22.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 1 September 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record. 

23.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 255 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:

23.1          Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 15-21. 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.

23.2          The Chair referred to the fact that previously the Committee had been concerned that the Forward Plan was somewhat sparsely populated but it appeared that this issue had been addressed in the report now before Members which showed a good spread of items across the work programme. He drew particular attention to the fact that the next meeting on 21 October only had one item on it but this was because the meeting had been called specifically to deal with this matter although he understood that there was now one additional matter being considered at this meeting.

23.3          It was subsequently

RESOLVED           That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

24.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

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

Minutes:

24.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21, circulated at Pages No. 22-30, which Members were asked to consider. The Head of Corporate Services advised Members of an additional item for the November meeting of the Committee in relation to the Notice of Motion on the Local Electricity Bill that had been referred from the last Council meeting. He also drew Members attention to Page No. 27 which showed an additional item added to the March 2021 meeting in respect of the Trade Waste Service Business Case which tied into the project plan being considered by the Committee later on the Agenda.  Reference was made to the Housing Strategy which had been programmed to come to the Committee last April and the Head of Community Services gave an update on the current position. He indicated that the current Housing Strategy ran until March 2021 and, in normal circumstances, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee or a sub-group of the Committee would have been involved over the last six months in developing a new Housing Strategy for the following four years. Obviously with the current situation, it had not been possible to do that but rather than rush to put a new strategy in place purely to meet the timescale of the current strategy expiring, the Head of Community Services was proposing to refresh and extend the strategy currently in place for a period of one year. This extension, which was supported by the Lead Member, would allow for the development of some new key performance indicators, as Members were aware the current indicators were not really fit for purpose due to changes in legislation, and it would also allow time to study the Local Housing Needs Assessment which had recently been published. In summary, the extension would allow for the next 18 months to be spent developing a new fit for purpose Housing Strategy. He maintained that this was not an uncommon practice, particularly in the current circumstances, with a number of authorities choosing to extend plans and strategies for 12 months covering various areas rather than rushing to get them reviewed in order to meet forthcoming deadlines. He indicated that, provided that the Committee was happy with this approach, it would be his intention to extend the Housing Strategy on this basis. The Chair asked whether the Committee would still receive reports during the life of the extended strategy as he felt that whilst the existing key performance indicators were out of date, reporting on them was better than receiving no reports at all. The Head of Community Services assured the Committee that the key performance indicators would be reported in the performance tracker in the normal way and he maintained that not all of the performance indicators were out of date just those that related to specific pieces of legislation. On this basis the Committee was supportive of extending the current Housing Strategy for 12 months from March 2021.

24.2          A Member asked whether  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Review of Corporate Enforcement Policy pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the revised Corporate Enforcement Policy and recommend to the Executive Committee that it be approved.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

25.1          The Head of Corporate Services introduced the Manager of the Counter Fraud Unit of which the Council was a Member. It was explained that the unit undertook a lot of policy work around governance for the Council and those Members that sat on the Audit and Governance Committee would be aware of the good work undertaken by it which included policies on Whistleblowing, Anti-Fraud and Corruption and the report now before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the Corporate Enforcement Policy. The latter policy was operated across several Councils with a few tweaks to make it work locally. It was an umbrella policy with a number of operational enforcement policies sitting below it.

25.2          The Chair welcomed the Manager of the Counter Fraud Unit to the meeting and in presenting the report, circulated at Pages No. 31-38 which detailed the policy, she explained that it was relatively legislative but was an overarching policy that had been prepared in partnership with One Legal to deliver a prosecution policy. The policy did not go into great detail with regard to each service area although each service lead had been consulted as they had specific enforcement policies which were much more detailed for their particular service area. However, if a member of the public was looking at what the Council could enforce, this explanatory document would cover this off as well as explaining that the Counter Fraud Unit was part of the Council and, if there was a fraud offence against the Council, prosecution could fall under this policy if it was not a service specific matter.

25.3          During the discussion which ensued, a Member asked on how many occasions enforcement action had been undertaken under this policy and broadly in relation to what matters. The Manager of the Counter Fraud Unit indicated that any criminal enforcement which would go through the criminal process would be covered by this policy which was why it referenced all the different service areas such as environmental crime, revenues and benefits fraud etc. The policy was about considering the Public Interest Test and the Evidential Test with regard to any enforcement action which may go through the Courts to be considered as a criminal offence. The Member indicated that he was curious to know whether the policy had been used over the last 10 years and whether it was something frequently made use of as he had not heard a lot about action being taken on criminal prosecutions under the services listed in the policy. The Head of Community Services referred Members to the Tewkesbury Waste Aware website which was a website specifically dedicated to enforcement and detailed all Environmental Enforcement Action that had been undertaken over the last 18 months and, whilst he did not have the specific numbers to hand, it was certainly in the 10s, 20s or even 30s. From the point of view of Environmental Services, enforcement was proactively undertaken, and it was very much in the public domain; more recently action  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Gloucestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (15 September 2020). 

Minutes:

26.1          Members received an update from the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Health Overview (HOSC) on matters discussed at the meeting on 15 September 2020. She referred Members to the fact that a report had been circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 52-54 and she would just highlight some of the salient points contained in that report.

 

26.2          The Council’s representative stated that winter planning was currently underway although it was a little different this year which was why it was being called Gloucestershire Winter Sustainability and Surge Management Plan. In essence, there were four plans dependant on which direction the COVID-19 virus was heading and what level it was at. She indicated that this meeting had taken place a month ago, so things had moved on quite quickly and it was now more likely that a second peak of the virus was coming. What was not known was whether this would coincide with the winter flu outbreak or whether the surge of winter flu that was normally experienced would be tempered by the fact that everyone was wearing masks and washing their hands more frequently. Basically, attempts were being made to predict the unpredictable and preparing for this with four different scenarios with a plan in place to tackle each one. The Council’s representative also drew particular attention to the fact that the temporary changes implemented as part of the COVID-19 response would be continuing for a further six months until the end of March 2021 to enable the winter planning. She stressed that the changes which included the arrangements at Cheltenham accident and emergency department were temporary and essential for winter planning. The temporary extension would enable the return of non COVID-19 health services, making full use of capacity available, and recovery of the maximum elective activity possible between now and the winter peak. The service was already tackling reduced staffing levels due to self-isolation and so for safety reasons it was important that the temporary changes remained in place in order to meet the challenges and cope with winter pressures in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary arrangements would not be reviewed for six months as opposed to the previous three month review as this would mean a review in December which would be the peak of the winter season as well as the Christmas period. Other areas mentioned included Fit for the Future service review which would form the main item of business for the next meeting of the HOSC in October. The review was continuing, albeit at a fairly slow pace, and was based on normal demand rather than COVID-19 demand, focusing on the medium to long term rather than the short-term response to a crisis. There was a lot of speculation that the current changes would set a precedent for the future and would ultimately become permanent but the representative stressed that assurances had been given that this was not the case. Also on the website if Members were interested, was the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (16 September 2020). 

Minutes:

27.1          The Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC) presented the report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 55-62, which contained a summary of the Committee’s last meeting held on 16 September together with a number of links which would enable Members full access to the documents/presentations and links to YouTube to watch the Joint Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (JEGSC).

27.2          The Council’s representative explained that his report was broken down into five parts: the work plan; Joint Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (JEGSC) Update; Business Rates Pool; Broadband; and GFirst LEP Update. Workplan: The Committee discussed items for inclusion in its October and November 2020 work plan and Page No. 55 set out the detail of the items considered for inclusion. JEGSC Update: The Chair of that Committee reported on what had happened at the meeting earlier in the day which included an update on the cyber central development at the Golden Valley which boasted a central and well connected position within the country with a location ranking for cyber specialisation considered to be at “number one” and it was emphasised that Cyber Central was a huge development opportunity not just for Cheltenham but for the whole of Gloucestershire and the South West of England. The Council’s representative indicated that he felt the marketing materials for this site were rather good and he had provided links for the Committee to view them in full. The meeting also considered Gloucestershire’s Economic Recovery Plan and the point that kept being made was that nobody really knew what it was the County was recovering from particularly with the furlough scheme and other government subsidies masking potential problems. The COVID-19 situation was incredibly fluid and therefore the plan needed to be adaptable and responsive. Reference was made to the overall approach that the County was following utilising the 3 Cs of Collaboration, Communication and Confidence with, initially, the Senior Officer Group agreeing that the focus would be on skills, visitor economy and joint lobbying. The plan included a short-term, medium-term and long-term target for each of those areas but, following a prompt by a Committee Member, it was agreed that short-term deadlines would attempt to be assigned to the various events in the plan. Business Rates Pool: The Council’s representative indicated that he had found the presentation on this matter really interesting as it was something he had been unaware of previously. The presentation covered how the business rates pool had done between 2019 and 2020, how the pandemic had affected the business rates pool in the current year and what the future was for business rates pooling. In terms of how the pool had done between 2019 and 2020, the total growth over the given baseline across Gloucestershire was £19.4 million. The gain from pooling as opposed to not pooling was the levy amount which was saved as it did not get returned to central government and over the period that gain was £4.85 million - the pooling gain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Council Plan Performance Tracker and COVID-19 Recovery Tracker - Quarter 1 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 411 KB

To review and scrutinise the performance management and recovery information and, where appropriate, to require response or action from the Executive Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 63-144, attached the performance management and recovery information for quarter one of 2020/2021. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was asked to review and scrutinise the performance and recovery information and, where appropriate, identify any issues to refer to the Executive Committee for clarification or further action to be taken. Prior to the presentation of the report, which was a huge document containing a significant amount of information, the Chair pointed out that obviously the quarter four performance tracker, considered at the Committee’s meeting in July, was the last update before COVID-19 and the quarter one data now before Members was the first update since the start of the pandemic. He felt that it was important to point this out as just reviewing the information, without this in mind, could fill Members with despair given the number of unsmiling faces but undoubtedly this was as a result of the pandemic and he asked Members to bear this in mind when scrutinising the information before them.

28.2          In presenting the report the Head of Corporate Services indicated that there were three elements to the report: the Council Plan tracker; the Recovery Plan tracker; and the financial information update. He indicated that he would deal with the first two elements and take any questions on those and then hand over to the Head of Finance and Asset Management to deal with the final element on the Council’s finances. He advised Members that the Council Plan tracker information could be found at Appendix 1 on Page No. 80 onwards and included the actions on the two new priority areas in the Council Plan, that of Garden Communities and Sustainable Environment. He indicated that there was a lot of detailed information in both of the tracker documents but hopefully on Pages No. 63-72 of the report, he had pulled out, by exception, the key points for Members consideration; for example at Paragraph 2.3 some of the key successful activities and projects specific to the Council Plan were listed and Paragraph 2.4 set out those activities and projects that had not progressed as swiftly as would have been anticipated many of which were due to the significant organisational effort involved in responding to COVID-19. In respect of the latter, new timescales had been added or the actions had simply been put on hold until there was sufficient capacity in the organisation to take them forward. Reference was made to the first action in the table at Paragraph 2.4 which related to the Trade Waste Service where the timescale had been amended but assurance could be given that this timescale could be achieved based on the high level project plan that was to be considered later in the meeting. Three of the amended timescales related to work on the Joint Core Strategy which now had new milestone dates of Summer 2021; however, it was evident from the commentary that the revised dates were not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Council Motion - Support for Tech Talent Charter pdf icon PDF 255 KB

To consider the information set out in this report and determine the Committee’s response to the Council in respect of the Tech Talent Charter Motion.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

29.1          The Committee was reminded that at the meeting of the Council on 28 July the following Notice of Motion was referred to Overview and Scrutiny for consideration and recommendation back to Council.

The Motion asked the Council to adopt the following

1.        Ask the Council’s Human Resources Section to look at the Tech Talent Charter, identify what the Council could do better, the benefits to the Council in signing up to the  Charter and how the Council can influence other shared service providers that the Council works with (including, but not limited to, Ubico, One Legal, Publica, South West Audit Partnership).

2.        Receive a report back to a future meeting of the Council in 2020/21 with the findings and recommendations from the Human resources Section.

29.2          The Chair explained that he would firstly ask the proposer of the Motion to present it to the Committee, followed by the Head of Corporate Services presenting his report circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 145-152. The item would then be opened up for questions and debate before determination of what response should be sent back to Council in respect of this Motion.

29.3          The proposer of the Motion indicated that she would like to give Members some background on the Tech Talent Charter which was essentially a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aimed to deliver greater inclusion and diversity in the workforce. An organisation had to nominate a senior member of staff who would be the lead and work towards inclusive recruitment and retention policies together with a commitment that once a year data would be submitted anonymously to the Tech Talent Charter organisation. She explained that the Motion had really come about to ask Tewkesbury Borough Council to look beyond itself and play its part in encouraging diversity in the tech area. The proposer felt that this was particularly pertinent as the Council was supporting the Cyber Park and she felt it would be a good message to send to potential employers that, as a local authority, Tewkesbury Borough Council was committed to doing everything it could within its power to try and achieve the best workforce with the most talent. The Charter was supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport together with a number of major government departments who were signatories to the Charter. In addition, a large number of the Country’s blue-chip companies and neighbouring authorities had signed the Charter, so it was very mainstream. There was no cost involved with the Charter, no membership fee to pay and each organisation’s progress was at its own timetable, so the Council set the timetable which it wished to work to. The Charter compliance was not monitored by the responsible body so the Council would not be questioned for instance on the outcomes from an interview panel. She indicated that, from reading the report of the Head of Corporate Services, it looked like Tewkesbury was doing very well with women in the Tech  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update pdf icon PDF 192 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (18 September 2020). 

Minutes:

30.1          It was reported that the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel had been unable to attend the last meeting on 18 September 2020 and therefore a substitute representative, the Leader of the Council, had attended and had prepared the feedback report circulated at Pages No.49-51 as well as being present at today’s meeting to answer any questions. In presenting his report, the Leader of the Council drew particular attention to the item on the Police and Crime Plan Refresh; he explained that the refresh had been necessary as the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections had been postponed this year and the current incumbent had therefore been granted a 12-month extension in the role which had then resulted in the need for the Plan to be reviewed and updated. However, the presentation on the refresh had consisted of just a few slides and it was his opinion that they were little more than a marketing exercise with a comment that more detail was to follow. The Panel was told that it had to vote on the Plan so as to formally endorse the changes, however the Leader of the Council had been of the view that as the Panel had not actually been shown a Plan it would be inappropriate to vote on what was essentially just a few headlines and definitely not a Plan. Nevertheless, despite some support, the majority of the Members on the Panel had disagreed and a vote had been taken with the Plan receiving the Panel’s support although the Leader of the Council had voted against it on the basis that it was not a Plan. The Chair thanked the Leader of the Council for his report and for stepping in as a substitute representative, after which it was

RESOLVED           That the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update be NOTED.

31.

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:

31.1          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. 

32.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 1 September 2020.

Minutes:

 32.1         The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 1 September 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.

33.

Trade Waste Service Development Project Plan

(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 approve the project plan for the completion of the options appraisal and a business case of the preferred trade waste service delivery option.

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))

33.1          Members approved the project plan for the completion of the options appraisal and a business case of the preferred trade waste service delivery option.