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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

5.

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:

5.1             The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was advised to those present.

5.2             The Chair welcomed the representatives from Severn Trent Water to the meeting and indicated that they would be giving a presentation at Agenda Item 7.  He also welcomed the Lead Member for Built Environment who was in attendance to observe the meeting.

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 P D Surman and M J Williams.  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 of interest made on this occasion.

8.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meetings held on 6 April and 4 May 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1             The Minutes of the meetings held on 6 April and 4 May 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

9.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 83 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. 10-18.  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 advised that the Executive Committee Forward Plan would be further informed by the corporate list of policies and strategies due for review which was included at Agenda Item 9 of the current Overview and Scrutiny Committee Agenda.  A Member noted that the parking strategy review was included within the pending items section of the plan and questioned whether this would be opened up for public consultation given that it was such a hot topic amongst members of the public.  In response, the Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that he was currently looking at the timetable for the review in terms of resource availability and hoped to restart the Working Group conducting the review in September/October.  The draft strategy would be taken to the Overview and Scrutiny and Executive Committees and would go out for public consultation later in the year.

9.3             Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED

10.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

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

Minutes:

10.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/11, circulated at Pages No. 19-28, which Members were asked to consider.

10.2          It was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 be NOTED

11.

Presentation from Severn Trent Water

To receive an update on the works carried out to the Severn Ham as a result of the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage in 2019.

Minutes:

11.1          The Chair indicated that two representatives from Severn Trent Water had attended the meeting to give an update on the works that had been carried out to the Severn Ham as a result of the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage undertaken in 2019. 

11.2          The representatives from Severn Trent explained that, in terms of monitoring, an automated system was being used to oversee the mains under the Ham 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with a daily check carried out to ensure that any leaks across the Ham could be identified and repaired immediately; this system would remain until the works had been completed and the new mains were in place.  Severn Trent operatives were currently on site and were making good progress.  When they had last attended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the representatives from Severn Trent had explained that it was intended to either replace or re-line the mid-level pipes across the Severn Ham.  One of the benefits of this was that it would create resilience in the pipes – this was not necessary but, given that it was a challenging site, there was always a risk of no supply events when the system failed.  Furthermore, the site was valuable in environmental terms - being a Site of Special Scientific Interest - and replacing the mains would significantly reduce the likelihood of leaks on the Ham which caused disruption when Severn Trent had to access the area to repair them; it would also reduce the risk of sudden bursts which caused even greater disturbance to the Ham for emergency repairs.  As such, Severn Trent had proceeded with the preferred option of replacing the pipes which offered the best long term solution in terms of disturbance to the site and operational risk.  Nevertheless, it remained a complex site on which to work and flooding and COVID-19 had made this particularly challenging over the last year.  Notwithstanding this, significant progress had been made since March 2021 with the main focus at this time being on the laying of the pipes which would be followed by pipe testing/sampling in August along with the initial reinstatement of three quarters of the working area.  Connections and commissioning of the new mains was planned for September and there would then be further reinstatement - Severn Trent was working closely with the Severn Ham Committee, Natural England and others in terms of how to do that.  The primary risk for delivery of the scheme was wet weather and flooded fields but, as things stood, there was no reason why the programme would not be completed on time. 

11.3           In terms of communications, Members were advised that Severn Trent recognised the valuable nature of the site and the importance of engaging with stakeholders to agree how best to carry out the work, reinstate the land and obtain various permissions.  Weekly updates were provided to the Severn Ham Committee which were uploaded to social media and posters were being put up within the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Council Plan Performance Tracker and COVID-19 Recovery Tracker - Quarter Four 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 160 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:

12.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 29-117, attached the performance management and COVID-19 recovery information for quarter four of 2020/21.  The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was asked to review and scrutinise the information and, where appropriate, identify any issues to refer to the Executive Committee for clarification or further action to be taken.

12.2          Members were advised that this was the final quarterly monitoring report for 2020/21 and represented the latest information in terms of the status of the actions set out in the Council Plan and the Corporate Recovery Plan.  Progress against delivering the objectives and actions for each of the six Council Plan priorities was reported through the performance tracker, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, which was a combined document that also included a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  In addition, a corporate COVID-19 recovery plan had been established based on the Council Plan priorities and a recovery plan tracker, attached at Appendix 2 to the report, had been created to monitor progress in delivering those actions and objectives.  Key financial information was usually reported alongside the tracker documents but, given the complexities of the year end closedown, this was not yet available and would be presented directly to the Executive Committee in July. 

12.3           Key actions for the quarter were highlighted at Paragraph 2.3 of the report and included the new long-term let of Cleeve Hill Golf Club; five homeless properties now being managed in-house by the Property team resulting in significant savings; development and implementation of a new digital platform with the bulky waste, missed bin and assisted waste collection services going live in April; and the Business Transformation team assisting with the implementation of a new bulky waste service which had reduced wait times from 5-6 weeks to just one week and had received very positive feedback from the public.  The Head of Corporate Services felt this demonstrated there had been some real successes within the quarter alongside the recovery from COVID-19.  Nevertheless, he reminded Members that, due to the complex nature of actions being delivered, it was inevitable that some would not progress as smoothly or as quickly as envisaged and the details of those actions, which related to the Joint Core Strategy, Tewkesbury Borough Plan and the planning service improvement plan, were set out at Paragraph 2.5 of the report.  Some actions within the Council Plan had been put on hold as staff resource had been deployed to the response and recovery from COVID-19 and they were outlined at Paragraph 2.6 of the report.  In terms of the KPIs, Members were informed that the status of each indicator was set out at Paragraph 3.2 of the report.  KPIs where performance was not as good as the previous year and/or where the target had not been achieved, were set out at Paragraph 3.3. of the report.  With regard to the COVID-19 recovery tracker, key activities to bring to Members’ attention were set out at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Corporate List of Policies and Strategies pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To consider the list of polices and strategies that will inform the Executive Committee Work Programme 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

13.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 118-126, which asked Members to consider the corporate list of policies and strategies, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, which would inform the Executive Committee Work Programme during 2021/22.

13.2          The Head of Corporate Services explained that this was an annual report, although it had not been brought to the Committee in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had previously requested that a list of policies and strategies be produced to give an overview of what would be coming forward during the year for consideration by the Executive Committee and to identify areas where the Overview and Scrutiny Committee may be able to provide support.  The list at Appendix 1 to the report included those policies and strategies that had been put forward by the Heads of Service as being due for review during 2021/22 and this would be used to populate the Executive Committee Forward Plan.  In due course, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee may wish to review some of the policies and strategies within the list and that could be built into the Work Programme of the Committee; however, it was to be borne in mind that some of the policies and strategies would be considered by other Committees, for instance, the Risk Management Strategy would be taken to the Audit and Governance Committee, and it was important to avoid “double handling”.

13.3          It was

RESOLVED          That the corporate list of policies and strategies attached at Appendix 1 to the report be NOTED.

14.

Corporate Peer Challenge - Progress of Action Plan pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To consider the progress made in delivering the corporate peer challenge action plan.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

14.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 127-152, provided an update on the progress that had been made in delivering the corporate peer challenge action plan.  Members were asked to consider the report.

14.2          The Head of Corporate Services reminded Members that Tewkesbury Borough Council had undergone a Local Government Association corporate peer challenge during March 2020 and the final report was attached at Appendix 1 to the Committee report.  Whilst the report was very positive about the Council’s performance, as with all challenges, areas for improvement had been identified and an internal action plan comprising the five key recommendations had been approved by Council in December 2020 where responsibility for monitoring delivery of the actions had been delegated to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The action plan was attached at Appendix 2 to the Committee report with progress to date set out in the final column.  It was noted that the actions were at various stages of delivery with some actions having been completed, some making good progress and others being deferred.  It was hoped that all actions would be complete when the report was brought back to the Committee on 23 November 2021.

14.3          A Member felt that the Communications team should be congratulated as there had been a notable increase in the amount of communications about what was happening at the Council.  He drew attention to Page No. 149 of the report, recommendation 5, which related to reviewing the timings of meetings so that all Members could contribute effectively and he questioned whether now was an appropriate time to consider whether Members were happy with the timing of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  In response, the Head of Democratic Services advised that, should Members wish to discuss the timing of the Committee, an item could be put on the Agenda for the next meeting in order for that debate to take place.  The Chief Executive explained that officers had been surprised this had come forward as a peer review recommendation; he clarified that there were no formal start times for Committee meetings - the timing was down to the individual Committee or Working Group to determine the best time to meet.  He recognised there had been a couple of occasions when the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Agenda had been quite heavy, which was not helpful to anyone, so officers were aware of the need to take care not to overload Agenda and to discuss management of the meetings with the Chair.  It was recognised that the timing of meetings was unlikely to suit every Member of the Committee.  The Chair hoped that Members would approach him if they had any issues with the timing or length of meetings; he provided assurance that careful consideration was given to the work programme and the weighting of Agenda but there were inevitably times when a longer Agenda was unavoidable.  One Member indicated that he liked the fact that Council and Committee meetings were at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Private Rented Sector Housing Scheme pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To receive a report on progress of the Private Rented Housing Sector Scheme. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1           The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 153-159, provided details of the private rented sector housing scheme.  Members were asked to consider the achievements of the scheme and note that it had now closed.

15.2          The Head of Community Services explained that, in March 2019, a successful bid had been made to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for funding for a pilot project which met the criteria of the Private Sector Access Fund which supported innovative measures that provided additional support for single homeless people and/or reduced the number of households in temporary accommodation.  The pilot scheme was around encouraging landlords in the private rented sector to take tenants on a lower income and involved all of the district councils in Gloucestershire as well as West Oxfordshire which was part of Homeseeker Plus, the mechanism used for bidding on properties.  The appendix to the report provided a summary of the scheme and demonstrated that Tewkesbury Borough Council had supported 34 households into private rented accommodation at a cost of £45,694.16, mainly through providing rent in advance and deposits.  The fact that it was a pilot scheme was important as it had meant that each authority could use different methodology which could be evaluated to establish what worked and what did not work.  Members were informed there had been varying degrees of success as the pilot had secured 234 properties; however, feedback from landlords had suggested they did not really need financial incentives from the authority in a buoyant housing market.  In light of this, whilst officers were always looking to improve relationships with private sector landlords, it was not proposed to actively take the scheme forward as a project.  It should be noted that Tewkesbury Borough Council already had schemes in place to assist landlords and tenants e.g. rent deposits and rent in advance.

15.3          A Member indicated that it was his understanding that one of the landlords’ main concerns was how much support they would get from the Council if they had any issues with tenants and he asked whether there had been any discussion with landlords as part of the pilot scheme.  In response, the Head of Community Services clarified that this scheme was very much about the Council supporting tenants to maintain their tenancy but he felt that it had also helped the relationship with landlords which officers would look to maintain going forward.  Another Member raised concern that he was aware of rented properties being snapped up by a collection of financial companies who were then changing the use to holiday lets, therefore depleting the housing stock, and he questioned whether this had been happening in Tewkesbury Borough.  The Head of Community Services advised that a countywide review of the condition of private sector housing stock was about to be undertaken so this issue may be flagged up as part of that.  There were holiday lets within the borough, which were encouraged in terms of supporting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

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:

16.1          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.  

17.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 6 April 2021.

Minutes:

17.1          The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 6 April 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.