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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Severn Room

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

Items
No. Item

18.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.   

Minutes:

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

18.2          The Chair welcomed the Head of Operations and the Director of Operations from Ubico to the meeting and indicated they would be presenting the Ubico Report 2020/21 at Agenda Item 7.

19.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

19.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillors C L J Carter, H C McLain, P D McLain, H S Munro and P D Surman.  There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

20.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

20.1           The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

20.2          There were no declarations made on this occasion.

21.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2021.

Minutes:

21.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 June 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

22.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To determine whether there are any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee can give to work contained within the Plan.

Minutes:

22.1          Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 18-26.  Members were asked to determine whether there were any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could give to the work contained within the plan.

22.2          The Head of Corporate Services pointed out that the plan had been populated with the corporate policies and strategies due for review, as discussed at the last meeting.  It was noted that one Member had requested that the Digital Strategy be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration prior to approval by the Executive Committee so that would be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme; he welcomed suggestions for any other policies/strategies where the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could add value.  A Member noted that the Sandbag Policy was due to be taken to the Executive Committee on 2 January 2022; however, given the flooding experienced in December 2020, he felt this needed to be brought forward to ensure it was in place as soon as possible so the policy could be communicated to residents before the winter.  Another Member pointed out that the policy should also be considered by the Climate Change and Flood Risk Management Group prior to being taken to Executive Committee.  In response, the Head of Community Services confirmed that would be the case and he undertook to consider the timescales and bring this item forward to an earlier meeting of the Executive Committee.

22.3          A Member noted that the Parking Strategy was due to be taken to the Executive Committee for approval at its meeting on 30 March 2022; however, he indicated that the Parking Strategy Review Working Group had not met since 30 September 2020 and there were no meetings of the Working Group currently scheduled.  In response, the Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the intention was to reform the Working Group in September/October with a view to bringing the final strategy to Overview and Scrutiny Committee early in the New Year prior to Executive Committee in March; this would enable the Parking Order to be drawn up ready to take effect from 1 April 2022.

22.4           Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          1. That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED and the Head of Community Services undertake to consider the timescales for the review of the Sandbag Policy, currently due to be considered by the Executive Committee on 2 January 2022, in order to bring this item forward to an earlier meeting.

2. That the Digital Strategy be added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for consideration prior to being taken to the Executive Committee for approval.

23.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

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

Minutes:

23.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22, circulated at Pages No. 27-36, which Members were asked to consider.

23.2          The Head of Corporate Services advised that the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had presented the Committee’s findings on the recent Council Plan Performance Tracker and the COVID-19 Recovery Tracker to the Executive Committee at its meeting on 7 July 2021 and, in light of the discussion that had taken place around the planning services review and in accordance with the resolution of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, he had made a specific request that the action plan arising from that review be monitored by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  As no objections had been made by the Executive Committee, this would be added to the Work Programme and the action plan would be brought to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the appropriate time.

23.3          A Member noted that the Housing Strategy 2022 was included in the pending items section of the Work Programme and he noted that the strategy was due to be approved by the Executive Committee at its meeting on 2 March 2022 so he asked when this was likely to come to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The Head of Community Services explained that a consultant had been commissioned to undertake this significant piece of work; he would need to look at the timescales but provided assurance that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be consulted prior to the strategy being taken to the Executive Committee.

23.4          Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 be updated to include the Planning Services Review Action Plan which would be brought to the Committee following consideration by the Executive Committee.

24.

Ubico Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider the 2020/21 outturn performance update on the services provided by Ubico. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

24.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 37-64, set out the 2020/21 outturn performance update on the services provided by Ubico.  Members were asked to consider the report.

24.2          The Head of Community Services drew attention to Page No. 39, Paragraph 3.0 of the report, which gave financial performance information and Members were advised there was an underspend of £160,455 at the end of the year.  The savings could be attributed to a number of factors: the cost of diesel had reduced; an underspend on the tyre budget – which had been set at a high level for the Tewkesbury Borough contract due to being sorely hit by tyre costs in 2019; and an underspend on vehicle repairs, although that was an area of risk as vehicles became older as maintenance costs would increase.  In terms of frontline services performance, set out at Pages No. 39-40, Paragraph 4.0 of the report, Members were informed that the overall bin collection rate for the year was 99.93% which was very positive and there was improved performance in terms of repeat missed bin collection and repeat missed assisted collections.  Health and safety information was detailed at Page No. 41, Paragraph 5.0 of the report, and it was noted there had been a positive trend in terms of increased reports of near misses; there had been a huge rise during the first six months of the year due to more cars being parked in roads as a result of increased home working during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The number of overweight vehicles remained high and had increased compared to previous years so that was an area of concern which needed to be addressed.  The Head of Community Services advised that he had reviewed the number of formal complaints for 2020/21 as 26 complaints with regard to the waste and street cleansing service, as set out at Paragraph 4.6 of the report, seemed quite low.  He confirmed that the figures provided in the report related to quarter four and he undertook to update Members on the correct figures for the year following the meeting.  The Ubico Director of Operations indicated that the contract had performed well in 2020/21 despite it being a very difficult year and the partnership between Ubico and the Council had paid dividends through those tough months.  He would be happy to answer any questions Members may have about the information provided.

24.3           A Member questioned why the report did not include information in respect of grounds maintenance and street cleansing as those services were also provided by Ubico and had Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which were monitored by the authority.  The Ubico Director of Operations indicated that the report always followed the same format and it was shared with the Head of Community Services and his team; however, if Members wanted additional information to be included then he would ensure that was provided going forward.

24.4          A Member raised concern with regard to the overweight vehicles  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (7 July 2021). 

Minutes:

25.1          The Chair indicated that the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel had been due to give an update on the last meeting of the Panel; however, he had been held up in traffic and therefore would be unable to attend the meeting.  On that basis, the update would be circulated via email following the meeting on this occasion.

26.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update pdf icon PDF 426 KB

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting (9 June 2021). 

Minutes:

26.1          The Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee presented the report, circulated with the Agenda at Pages No.65-68, which contained a summary of the Committee’s last meeting held on 9 June 2021. He indicated that the main purpose of the meeting had been to provide an introduction to new Members of the Committee and he would be happy to answer any questions on the information provided.

26.2          It was

RESOLVED          That the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update be NOTED

27.

Financial Outturn Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To consider the General Fund outturn for 2020/21, the reserves position as at 31 March 2021, the financing of the capital programme and the annual treasury management report and performance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

27.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 69-93, and the updated report and Appendix A circulated separately, which provided financial information for quarter four and the full year 2020/21 which would usually be included in the performance report that had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its last meeting.  Members were asked to consider the general fund outturn for 2020/21, the reserves position as at 31 March 2021, the financing of the capital programme and the annual treasury management report and performance.

27.2          The Head of Community Services advised that he had been unable to include the finance report with the performance management information due to the timing of the completion of the accounts so a separate report had been provided following approval by the Executive Committee.  An updated report had been circulated separately following an error by the government.  Members were advised that a general fund surplus of over £13m had been generated during the year which was a great overall position and a boost to the Council’s reserves; however, it did not resolve the ongoing challenges with the base budget and the concerns over funding reduction and reform remained.  In terms of the reserves allocated, a number had been earmarked for specific purposes so there was limited choice over how they could be spent and it was still necessary to act cautiously ahead of an announcement on what the financial future would look like for the Council.  The table at Page No. 3, Paragraph 2.3 of the separate papers, gave a breakdown of how the surplus had been generated with the main factors being employee vacancies and turnover and savings in respect of premises and transport as staff had been working mainly from home.  There had been an overspend on payments to third parties because several provisions had been raised at year end for planning appeals lodged in the financial year.  It should be noted that there had been an underspend on the Ubico contract.  During the year, the Council had responded to COVID-19 and a number of costs were directly attributable to that with the main one being support to Tewkesbury Leisure Centre to help with unavoidable costs of closing during the pandemic as well as additional Ubico costs due to extra staff, vehicles, personal and protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning products in order to be COVID-19 secure.  With regard to projects funded externally, the vast majority of the £1m saving was due to additional government funding received, particularly relating to the Garden Town; that money was moved to reserves at year end.  Council income was showing additional income levels of £1.29m over the budgeted position; the majority of fees and charges budgets were under target due to the pandemic, with the exception of planning fees, so the large variance was due to substantial external grant income received during the year for a range of activities including homelessness prevention, carbon reduction and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Carbon Reduction Action Plan pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider the progress achieved in year one of the Council’s Carbon Reduction Action Plan, and the recommended year two action plan and to note the request to Council for a permanent Carbon Reduction Programme Officer post. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

28.1          The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 94-112, provided an update on year one of the Council’s carbon reduction action plan and set out the recommended year two action plan.  Members were asked to consider the progress made to date and to note the request for a permanent Carbon Reduction Programme Officer post.

28.2          Members were reminded that the baseline audit of the Council’s current carbon consumption had been taken to Council in July 2020, along with an action plan designed to achieve carbon neutrality in the Council Offices by 2030, and there was now an opportunity to reflect on the progress that had been made as at the end of year one.  A year two action plan had been approved by the Executive Committee and within that report was a recommendation to put in place a permanent officer to support the carbon reduction programme going forward; having been accepted by the Executive Committee, that would now be a recommendation to Council.  Members were advised that good progress had been made during year one, particularly within the last six months, and the achievements were detailed in Appendix A to the report with particular reference being made to the completion of energy diaries for all operational Council buildings and survey work at the Roses Theatre and the Council’s homeless properties and Horsford Trust properties.  In addition, a number of smaller projects had been carried out such as the installation of new lighting within Council-owned car parks and approval of a cycle salary sacrifice scheme for the Council.  A significant success had been the number of grants attracted with more than £305,000 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding secured which would be used to support the installation of a new heating system within the Council Offices later in the year.  Members were informed that 26 tonnes of carbon had been saved within the last financial year which had been partly due to the reduced electricity costs as a result of staff working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, there had been an increase in gas consumption due to there being fewer people in the offices and no natural heat being generated.  Data was currently being collected from other sites and in terms of business travel for Officers and Ubico and the Climate Change and Flood Risk Management Group met regularly to receive updates on a whole range of work being undertaken.

28.3           With regard to year two, a balanced set of actions were proposed including embedding the carbon reduction agenda within the Council and raising awareness; Tewkesbury Borough Council was not very good at flagging up its achievements but a significant amount had actually been delivered during the first year compared to other authorities.  It was intended to continue to look for further funding opportunities and to update a number of policies as well as casting an eye to the future and what that might mean - there were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Annual Workforce Development Strategy Review 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To consider progress made against delivery of the Workforce Development Strategy during 2020/21 and the actions planned for 2021/22. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

29.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 113-130, set out the progress made against delivery of the Workforce Development Strategy during 2020/21 and the actions planned for 2021/22.  Members were asked to consider the report.

29.2          The HR and OD Manager reminded Members that the Workforce Development Strategy was a five year strategy which covered the period 2019-24. The strategy was accompanied by a five year action plan and the progress made during 2020/21 was presented alongside the key performance measures at Appendix 2 to the report with the proposed action plan for 2021/22 set out at Appendix 1.  During the year, a lot of services had adapted their focus in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and Appendix 3 showed the organisational health and wellbeing support for employees which had a specific focus on COVID-19.  The HR and OD Team had been responsive to the needs of the Council and its employees with the development and adjustment of policies, new training and new welfare support alongside the normal workload.

29.3          A Member drew attention to Page No. 127 of the report, specifically the performance measure in relation to the gender pay gap, and he asked what plans were in place to reduce the gender pay gap to zero and how many years that would take.  In response, the HR and OD Manager explained that, whilst it was a useful metric, it must be taken in context.  Small organisations such as Tewkesbury Borough Council tended to have fewer “big money” posts so any changes to those positions had a significant impact on the overall figures.  Notwithstanding this, it had been identified that those occupying the top positions in the authority tended to be men with a greater number of women in the lower tiers and that skewed the results.  In order to try to address this, it was necessary to make clear that careers at lower levels were an option for men and to support female staff wanting to progress; staff were supported with a management development programme and the South West Councils coaching networks were also being utilised.  It was noted that this figure would be different in 2021/22 as the Deputy Chief Executive had left the authority and his post had subsequently been deleted. 

29.4          A Member went on to draw attention to Page No. 121 of the report which talked about performance management and he questioned whether a performance management structure was in place.  The HR and OD Manager confirmed there was an existing policy around managing poor performance, known as the capability process, and it was intended to re-look at that to make it slicker and more effective. The Member noted there had been a significant reduction in average sickness rates to 9.7 days per employee compared to 12.4 days per employee in 2019/20 which he assumed did not include absences due to COVID-19.  In response, Members were advised that these figures did include COVID-19 absences and an extra  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

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:

30.1           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. 

31.

Trade/Commercial Waste Service Business Case Update

(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 consider the update on progress of the high-level implementation plan.

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))

31.1          Members considered the update on progress of the high-level implementation plan in relation to the trade/commercial waste service business case.