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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

34.

Announcements

Minutes:

34.1          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. 

35.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

35.1          Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors P D McLain, R J G Smith and M J Williams. Councillors D J Gray and V D Smith would be acting as substitutes for the meeting.  

36.

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:

36.1          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.

36.2          There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 301 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2020.

Minutes:

37.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.

38.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 258 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:

38.1          Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 23-29. 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.

38.2          It was

                 RESOLVED           That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

39.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 241 KB

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

Minutes:

39.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2020/21, circulated at Pages No. 30-37, which Members were asked to consider.

39.2          Referring to amendments made since the last meeting, the Head of Corporate Services explained that the Review of Complaints Policy had been brought out of the ‘pending items section’ and added to the February meeting. As agreed at the last meeting, the Housing Strategy review had been removed from the Work Programme as it would be rolled on to next year. The Local Government Association (LGA) peer review report had been considered by the Executive Committee and recommended to Council with the action plan being monitored by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee so, once approved, it would be added to the Work Programme.

39.3          Referring to the 12 January 2021 meeting, a Member questioned whether the Parking Strategy review would be ready for consideration at that time. In response, the Head of Finance and Asset Management indicated that this had been left in the Work Programme in hope of the review having been undertaken; however, the events of the last month in respect of COVID-19 and other priorities meant the Parking Strategy review had not moved forward. The Finance team was now focussed on the budget so it was unlikely the Parking Strategy would be considered until the spring. He would speak to Members and then confirm the timetable. Another Member questioned whether there was a confirmed date for the presentation by Severn Trent Water. In response, the Head of Community Services advised that there was no agreed date yet but he would try and get an indicative date as soon as possible.

39.4          Accordingly, it was

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

40.

Annual Review of Ubico pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider the Ubico performance report for 2019/20.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

40.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 38-77, provided the annual update on the Ubico contract for waste and recycling, street cleansing and grounds maintenance services. Members were asked to consider the 2019/20 outturn performance update on the services provided by Ubico Ltd.  

40.2          In introducing the report, the Waste Contracts Manager explained that this was the annual service report and was provided to enable Members to monitor Ubico’s performance in terms of service and financial performance. Appendix 1 contained the full performance report and Appendix 2 provided the annual corporate report. She advised that there was a lot of information contained within the report but this demonstrated the diverse environmental services contract the Council had with Ubico. Referring particularly to Paragraph 3.0, it was noted that the 2019/20 Ubico contract sum of £3,860,014 had been overspent by £302,198 which had resulted in a full outturn contract cost of £4,162,212. In the main this was due to previously unidentified corporate costs and a grounds maintenance service support fund; the core service delivery budgets were well managed and the level of financial information provided by Ubico to the Council had improved significantly in recent months. A suitable amount had been allocated in reserves to cover those additional costs. Paragraph 4.0 set out the frontline services performance and showed a positive picture in terms of service delivery with relatively good performance. In terms of missed bins, the routes and rounds had been restructured so they worked better. There were also positive trends in health and safety and fleet management and, in terms of fleet management, Tewkesbury Borough Council’s contract score was the highest for the current year.

40.3          During the discussion which ensued, a Member referred to Paragraph 4.4 and questioned how it could be established that the majority of street cleansing reports were completed and closed within timeframes when there were no planned routes for the street sweepers. In response, the Waste Contracts Manager indicated that there were some schedules in place. The scheduled work was about how the routes and rounds took place on a daily basis but Paragraph 4.4 referred to the reactive work e.g. telephone / online reports that were sent to Ubico for action – those issues were put on the system with an action date for the work to be carried out. Work was being undertaken on the street cleansing schedules as some of them were out of date; this was part of the street cleansing review which was currently ongoing. In addition, the team was looking at procuring a larger, more efficient sweeper.

40.4          Referring to Page No. 51 and the household waste target which was identified as 60%, the Waste Contracts Manager indicated that the target was incorrect and instead should be in line with the working plan. The Council was struggling slightly to meet targets for the year for various reasons but the COVID-19 pandemic had seen increases in all collections. In response to a query regarding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the meeting held on 6 November 2020.  

Minutes:

41.1          The Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel presented a feedback report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No.78-79, on the meeting of the Panel which had taken place on 6 November 2020. The representative explained that the meeting had once again been conducted under COVID Regulations and had taken place via Zoom.

41.2          The matters covered by the meeting had included an update from the Police and Crime Commissioner; the COVID-19 Enforcement Plan; the Police and Crime Plan Refresh; the Criminal Justice Update; the opening of the Sabrina Centre; and the report from the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. In terms of the update from the Police and Crime Commissioner, it had been advised that Police Officer numbers had been increasing as planned and had risen from 1,168 to 1,194 since the end of September. COVID had not delayed plans but had actually helped, as there had been fewer retirees than anticipated. The Gloucestershire Rural Crime Week, which ran from 23 October, had a number of areas of focus including hare coursing, rural criminals, illegal angling and dog theft. The use of 4x4s and drones had been publicised and, whilst nationally the Rural Crime Week was cancelled, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable had decided that, given the nature of the County, it should proceed in Gloucestershire. The Bamfurlong Motor Patrol Centre at the junction of the A40 and M5 had been emptied of Police assets due to roadworks that had adversely affected response times, and in particular as they related to Gloucester, and Officers had been relocated to various locations to provide cover. A planning application had been submitted for an upgrade to the site and demolition of the existing site would commence in January 2021. Additional costs identified as occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic amounted to £1.3 million so far, £1 million of which had been covered from reserves and the rest from central government grants. Crime had dropped by 6% as a result of COVID restrictions but this was less than the national average which was 20%. The Police and Crime Commissioner had suggested this was largely explained by the higher number of crimes being booked as a result of the recent negative conclusion of the review into the Force’s activities, which was a practice consistent with the “every crime matters” focus in the Police Plan.

41.3          Referring to the COVID-19 Enforcement Plan, the approach in Gloucestershire had been to follow the four Es: Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce. The focus was now on enforcement and flagrant breaches of the regulations would attract fines. The Police and Crime Commissioner had emphasised the wide range of views amongst the public and the need to make sure that enforcement was seen to be proportionate, being sensitive to different communities and age groups. In this regard the new second national lockdown had actually made life easier as the rules were simpler to interpret.

41.4          The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Gloucestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the meetings held on 22 October, 11 November and 17 November 2020.  

 

(NB: the report from the meeting on 17 November will be circulated as soon as possible).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

42.1          Members received an update from the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on matters discussed at the meetings on 22 October, 11 November and 17 November 2020. She referred Members to the fact that a report had been circulated with the Agenda at Pages No. 80-82 and separately at Pages No. 1-3 and she intended to highlight some of the salient points contained in those reports - Members should look at the full reports which were available on the County Council’s website for the detailed information.

42.2          The representative advised that 22 October had been an additional meeting to look at progress with the Fit for the Future consultation and the consultation on the new hospital in the Forest of Dean. The Fit for the Future consultation had been discussed on numerous occasions during its progression but it had recently been slightly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was to look at acute hospitals and how they were functioning as well as how Centres of Excellence could be developed within existing resources. The public consultation was due to close on 17 December and everyone was encouraged to respond. In terms of the new hospital in the Forest of Dean, this would be a 24 bed ensuite facility built on the lower side of Cinderford. The current hospital provision at Lydney and the Dilke would be closed. The new hospital would have inpatient and outpatient facilities although further discussion and input was needed to determine what would be provided in the new hospital and what would be provided in Lydney at the proposed new health centre. It was anticipated that the new hospital would have an urgent care department which would include diagnostic services such as x-rays and would run from 8am to 8pm seven days a week. 

42.3          Referring to the meeting on 11 November, the representative explained that this was the annual briefing by the Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. It was felt the merger earlier in the year had gone well and the benefits were starting to be seen. The Trust was part of the wider health care system, in association with acute hospital colleagues, and plans had been made to ensure they all got through the winter, meeting needs and coping with increased demands. There had also been an introduction of the Home First Scheme which encouraged discharge as soon as someone was medically fit to go home or to a re-enablement resource. A Rapid Resource Team was also in operation to try and prevent hospital admissions by care in the community – currently around 90% of the services were provided in the community which increased independence and life opportunities. All seven hospitals in the county were set up to take COVID positive patients alongside other patients and the general hospitals were continuing as previously, with Cheltenham being a ‘green’ site with no COVID patients and Gloucester Royal having all patients in specific wards. In terms of COVID  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 519 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the meetings held on 21 October and 18 November 2020.  

 

(NB: the report from the meeting on 18 November will be circulated as soon as possible).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

43.1          The Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (GEGSC) presented the report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No.83-84 and separately at Pages No. 4-8, which contained a summary of the Committee’s meetings held on 21 October and 18 November 2020.

43.2          The two main parts of the meeting on 21 October had covered the Golden Valley Project and an update from GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Golden Valley presentation, which the representative suggested would be worth viewing, had noted that Gloucestershire had the largest concentration of cyber businesses in the UK outside of London. In terms of economic growth, the development could potentially deliver more than 12,000 jobs and contribute approximately £800 million to the economy for the Golden Valley site alone. In terms of the GFirst LEP update, the paper provided was largely the same as the information presented at September’s meeting but did include some additional information to provide a more complete context, which was helpful.

43.3          The meeting on 18 November had consisted of three parts: a Joint Committee update; a presentation on modern methods of housing construction; and an update from GFirst LEP. The main items in the Joint Committee update had been the Gloucestershire skills portal which provided job seekers with a list of local and national contacts and training opportunities; an overview of the Committee’s work; an update on the Kings Quarter Regeneration Project in Gloucester; a document that delivered a snapshot of the current status of strategic and local plans in the county; and an update on the Business Rates Pool. Bromford Housing Association had delivered a presentation on modern methods of housing construction which the representative had found to be extremely interesting. The presentation had explained that, in future years, Gloucestershire would face significant housing growth to meet the demand for new homes and delivery of that housing would provide important challenges. It had been explained that modern methods of construction were not intended to replace traditional construction methods but to be used alongside them and it had been agreed that representatives from some private building developers would be invited to a meeting in the near future so their plans could be scrutinised and a summary report produced. Finally, in terms of the GFirst LEP update, Members had been advised that the total Gross Value Added (GVA) for Gloucestershire was estimated to be £16.5 billion; the number of young people (18-24 year olds) claiming benefits in Gloucestershire was currently 3,725 which was 19.6% of the total working age claimants in the county; the second phase of the Self Employment Income Scheme Grant had seen a total of 21,300 claims made in Gloucestershire up to 30 September with a take up rate of 62% of those potentially eligible; and the total value of loans offered to businesses in Gloucestershire, as part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme now stood at £483 million.

43.4          The Chair thanked the representative for his update and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Economic Development and Tourism Strategy pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To consider the progress made against the delivery of the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy during year three and the actions identified for 2020/21.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

44.1          The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 85-113, outlined the progress to date on the three year action plan in respect of the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy, as well as outlining the actions for 2020/21. Members were asked to consider the progress made against the delivery of the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy during year three and the actions identified for 2020/21.

 44.2         Members were advised that there were five key priorities in the strategy: employment land planning; transport infrastructure improvement; business growth support; promoting Tewkesbury Borough; and employability, education and training. Under each of the headings were a number of objectives and under each objective were annual actions. The Economic Development and Tourism Strategy was a corporate strategy which involved contributions from across the Council. It was important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted on the action plan delivery but the teams had worked to move services online and to operate a ‘virtual’ offer. The Community and Economic Development Manager indicated that, of particular note, was that the Growth Hub team had acted rapidly to realign its service in response to COVID-19 and had developed an online webinar, one-to-one offers and focussed business support request forms and surveys to ensure targeted support. Looking forward, the team would be focussing on economic assessments, understanding the needs of businesses, recovery from COVID and how support could be offered going forward. The strategy had been due for refresh next year but this would be delayed due to the uncertainty in the business community - it was felt this would be more effectively undertaken in 2022 when there was a clearer picture of what was happening in the business community.

44.3          During the discussion which ensued, a Member queried the amount of smiley faces contained within the action plan. In response, the Community and Economic Development Manager explained that this was due to the way the actions were grouped and the emphasis on what had been achieved. Progress was undoubtedly quicker in some areas than others but on the whole what should be achieved was being achieved. He did however accept that the action plan needed to isolate actions better so they could be more accurately reflected. The Chair agreed that this was required and indicated that, as well as being told what was going well, Members also needed to know about those items which were not going as well, as the Committee may then be able to help progress things.

44.4          Having considered the report, it was

RESOLVED           That progress made against the delivery of the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy during year three, and the actions identified for 2020/21, be NOTED.

45.

Tourism Review pdf icon PDF 613 KB

To receive a presentation providing an overview of the project plan and the 2021 group and an update on the independent tourism review.  

Minutes:

45.1          Attention was drawn to three specific projects by the Community and Economic Development Manager. Members were advised that the Battlefield Interpretation project, which was a Battlefield Society led project, was looking at providing a focus for the battlefield. It was felt something was needed which was accessible all year round and, whilst a number of options had been considered, the focus now was on the Gupshill Manor and an outbuilding on the site which could be used for interpretation and to act as a central point for walks into the Town Centre. The Gupshill Manor was very amenable to the ideas but was currently going through the process of getting support from Greene King which was taking quite a long time. In terms of Tewkesbury 2021, this was a project based around organising a series of events throughout 2021 to celebrate 900 years since the consecration of Tewkesbury Abbey and 550 years since the Battle of Tewkesbury; the events would celebrate the culture and heritage of the Abbey. Unfortunately, the plans had been somewhat hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic as it was not known what could or could not go ahead but the Executive Committee had recently agreed to support the project with a grant of £25,000 which it was hoped would kickstart the planning process once more. Lastly, the tourism review had been delayed until the summer due to COVID-19 but a consultant had been appointed to look at the current offer, future offers and the resources required. The final report was due in January, and the consultant was present at today’s meeting to provide a presentation of her findings.

45.2          Members were advised that the review had been split into two parts; an external market assessment (visitor behaviour and digital trends) and internal assessment (tourism product, current tourism resource and stakeholders). Recommendations had then been made in terms of the Council support which would be required for the key projects. In addition, a review of key partner stakeholders, business models, initiatives and the opportunities they presented had been undertaken. The recommendations being made were about the key priorities for strategic direction for tourism in the Borough to 2025, including the response to COVID-19; to engage and support tourism businesses, including working with Gloucestershire Airport, key events and the Tourist Information Centres; headline ideas for income generation and a business model; outline marketing focus to 2025; and a suggestion of the resources needed. The consultant outlined her experience in the tourism sector which included working for the Forestry Commission at Westonbirt; Visit Bristol; Visit Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. In terms of Tewkesbury Borough’s tourism economy, Members were provided with a snapshot taken pre-COVID which had shown approximately 158 tourism businesses made up of 129 accommodation businesses and 27 attractions; 2,273 jobs in tourism in the Borough which was 5% of all employment; visitors to the Borough had spent just under £136 million in 2019; the impact of the tourism economy went far  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Workforce Development Strategy - Annual Review pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To consider progress made against delivery of the Workforce Development Strategy.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

46.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 114-140, set out the progress on the actions contained in the Workforce Development Strategy which Members were asked to consider.

46.2          The Committee was reminded that the purpose of the Workforce Development Strategy was to identify how the Council would meet the current and future workforce needs to ensure it had skilled people to deliver high quality services. It set out the critical challenges, opportunities and threats regarding workforce requirements as well as a considered and flexible set of responses to meet them. The current Strategy had been approved by the Executive Committee on 3 April 2019 following consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and it was agreed that an annual update on the delivery of the Strategy would be presented at Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Strategy had five key themes: releasing productivity; digital transformation; commercialisation; workforce resilience; and being a great place to work each of which were supported by high-level steps. The Strategy was attached to the report at Appendix 1. Appendix 2 provided an overview of the actions delivered and proposed actions moving forward and Appendix 3 set out the Key Performance Indicator metrics that were approved as part of the Strategy. Whilst the Strategy was led by the Human Resources team, it was an organisational strategy and had received full engagement from the Management Team.

46.3          The HR and OD Manager drew particular attention to key points from Appendix 3: candidate attraction was currently good with an average of 16 applications for every vacancy; there had been a drop in absence rates to 4.3 days per person – this would equate to 8.6 days across the year which was less than the 12.4 days per employee last year – mental health remained at the top of the reasons why people were having time off and the Council was continuing to put in support for that; the employee engagement opinion survey had not been done this year but had been replaced by a COVID specific survey and followed up by a ‘pulse check’ survey which had six multiple choice questions that would provide up to date and responsive data on how staff were doing – this would be run every quarter for the time being. In terms of the forward plan, Members were reminded that this was a five-year Strategy of which the Council was about to complete the first year. Already quite a lot had been covered and there was a lot in the plan for next year which was good. The plans were quite ambitious but if delivered the Council and its staff would be in a good place.

46.4          A Member noted that the Key Performance Indicators measured the cases of absence but he questioned whether there were detailed statistics available to enable the Council to hone in and focus on the biggest issues. In response, the HR and OD Manager explained that the figures came from the HR  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Council Motion - Support for Local Electricity Bill pdf icon PDF 347 KB

To consider the Local Electricity Bill Motion which was referred from Council and make a recommendation thereon to Executive Committee for decision.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

47.1          The Committee was reminded that at the meeting of the Council on 29 September 2020, the following Notice of Motion was referred to Overview and Scrutiny for consideration and recommendation to Executive Committee for a decision:

‘Power for People is a campaign for more local, clean energy generation that would benefit local communities.

They are a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for the Local Electricity Bill – that they authored – to become law. The Bill is currently supported by a cross-party group of over 200 MPs including Tewkesbury’s own MP Laurence Robertson.

The Bill aims to solve the current problem whereby local renewable energy generators, such as community energy groups, are unable to sell energy that they generate to local people. This is because of the huge setup and running costs involved in doing so.

The Bill would overcome this problem by establishing a Right to Local Supply that would make the costs of selling locally generated clean energy proportionate to the scale of the operation. This would benefit the existing community energy groups across the country and, even more excitingly, create the opportunity for huge growth in such groups and other local clean energy providers.

If the Bill became law it would be excellent news for public authorities that wished to set up their own energy companies to sell locally generated renewable energy to local people, as the set up and running costs involved would be proportionate and thus a fraction of what they are now. The revenues received by such authorities could be ploughed back into local emissions reduction schemes and other local services and facilities.

A full copy of the Bill and the names of the 200+ MPs supporting it can be viewed via the following link

https://powerforpeople.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Local-Electricity-Bill.pdf

A copy has also been emailed to all Members of the Council

In light of the above, the Council is asked to:

1. sign up to the campaign www.powerforpeople.org.uk/sign-up and

2. adopt the resolution set out below:

Tewkesbury Borough Council:

(i)    acknowledges that it has made efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy;

(ii)  recognises that Councils can play a central role in creating sustainable communities, particularly through the provision of locally generated renewable electricity;

(iii)  further recognises that:

a)    very large financial setup and running costs involved in selling locally generated renewable electricity to local customers result in it being impossible for local renewable electricity generators to do so,

b)    making these financial costs proportionate to the scale of a renewable electricity supplier’s operation would create significant opportunities for Councils and Community Groups to be providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local people, businesses and organisations, and

c)    revenues received by Councils that became local renewable electricity providers could be used to help fund local greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures and to help improve local services and facilities;

(iv)  in view of the above, the Council supports the Local Electricity Bill, currently supported by a cross-party group of more than 200  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

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:

48.1          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. 

49.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 13 October 2020.

Minutes:

49.1          The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2020, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.