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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

32.

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:

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

32.2           The Vice-Chair in the chair welcomed the Chief Officer for North West Gloucestershire Citizens’ Advice Bureau to the meeting and indicated that she would be giving a presentation at Agenda Item 7.

33.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

33.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillors K J Cromwell (Chair), P D McLain, H S Munro and P D Surman.  There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

34.

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:

34.1           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.

34.2           There were no declarations made on this occasion.

35.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2021.

Minutes:

35.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Vice-Chair in the chair. 

36.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 81 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:

36.1           Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 17-24.  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. 

36.2          The Head of Corporate Services indicated that Officers had worked hard to ensure the Executive Committee Forward Plan was well-populated and, as Members could see, there was plenty of work for that Committee.  The Vice-Chair in the chair noted that the Social Media Policy and Guidelines were due to be approved by the Executive Committee at its meeting on 5 January 2022 and he requested that be brought to Overview and Scrutiny Committee for consideration in advance of that.  The Head of Corporate Services indicated that he would be happy to add it to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme.

36.3          Accordingly, it was

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

37.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 and Action List pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider the forthcoming work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the actions arising from previous meetings.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

37.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2021/22 and the action list setting out the actions arising from meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee between June 2019 and June 2021. Members were asked to consider the Work Programme and action list.

37.2          The Head of Corporate Services indicated that, following the request at the last meeting, the Digital Strategy had been added to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for the meeting on 8 February 2022 along with the Housing Strategy which had been in the pending items section of the Work Programme previously.  A Member noted that the Planning Services Review Action Plan was in the pending items section of the Work Programme and he asked whether a date could be agreed for it to come to the Committee.  In response, the Head of Development Services indicated that she would consider this following the meeting.

37.3           In terms of the action list, the Head of Corporate Services explained that this was usually populated and emailed to the Committee on a regular basis but tended to receive a limited response.  In the interests of transparency, and to give an opportunity for greater challenge, it had been agreed with the Chair and Vice-Chair that the action list would be brought to the Committee for consideration on a quarterly basis.  It was noted that there were currently 38 actions, of which, 18 remained outstanding.  The following issues were raised during the discussion:

Meeting date: 18 June 2019

P34 - Agenda Item 9 – Enviro-Crime Annual Report

A Member was pleased to note a CCTV camera had been purchased and she questioned whether any General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) issues had to be overcome.  In response, the Head of Community Services confirmed there were no GDPR issues as it was an overt camera rather than a covert one so there was signage to indicate the camera’s location.  Officers were currently in the process of procuring an additional camera via Section 106 monies to use primarily in Bishop’s Cleeve and Winchcombe but it could also be deployed to other parts of the borough.

22 October 2019

P35 - Agenda Item 8 – Review of Planning Enforcement Plan

A Member indicated that he had significant concerns about planning enforcement and felt there was very little evidence of any action being taken within the borough.  Another Member pointed out that a press release had been issued earlier that day in respect of a successful prosecution for unauthorised development of land in the Badgeworth area and he expressed the view that this needed to be widely communicated in order to give people confidence in enforcement powers.  The Head of Development Services agreed that the Council did not shout loud enough about the positive work which was carried out; nevertheless, she was happy to discuss any particular issues Members may have outside of the meeting.

Another Member went on to indicate that she shared these concerns as, although Members received information  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Citizens' Advice Bureau Presentation pdf icon PDF 561 KB

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

Minutes:

38.1          The Chair welcomed the Chief Officer from North and West Gloucestershire Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) to the meeting.  Members were reminded that Tewkesbury Borough Council had a service level agreement with the CAB which had been in place for a number of years and it was awarded a grant on an annual basis for the services provided to residents.  The Committee received an annual presentation which provided Members with information about the work of the CAB.

38.2          The Community and Economic Development Manager explained that the previous Chief Officer for the CAB had sadly passed away during the year and would be sorely missed.  Tewkesbury Borough Council had always had a very good working relationship with the CAB and he was confident that would continue with the appointment of the new Chief Officer who would be speaking to the Committee today.  The Chief Officer from North and West Gloucestershire CAB explained that she had worked for North and West Gloucestershire CAB for 10 years prior to taking on the role; she had started as a volunteer so had experience at various different levels of the organisation.  The CAB was made up of 277 individual charities of which the North and West Gloucestershire CAB was one and covered Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean.  There was another CAB which covered Stroud and Cotswold.  She went on to give a presentation reflecting the work undertaken by the North and West Gloucestershire CAB during 2020/21 which covered the following key points:

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

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

·           Pre-COVID service: The majority of customers were seen face-to-face with a small number via telephone and an even smaller amount by email.

·           Locations – CABs operated from 15 locations: Tewkesbury Public Services Centre; Prior’s Park; Bishop’s Cleeve; Winchcombe; Brockworth; Northway; Churchdown; Cheltenham (town centre); Up Hatherley; Gloucester (city centre); Cinderford; Coleford; Lydney; Newent; and St Briavels. 

·           Service from March 2020: 78% of contact was by telephone, 21% via email and only 1% was face-to-face; COVID-19 had meant that staff and volunteers had been forced to work remotely and measures had been put in place to support those who did not want to leave their houses e.g. freepost envelopes etc; 3,664 issues dealt with in total for the year for the residents of Tewkesbury Borough (3,370 previous year).

·           Employment status: Employed – 39.3% (38.3% previous year); self-employed – 4.7% (5.9% previous year); carers – 6% (6% previous year); retired – 9.8% (20.8% previous year); permanently sick – 21.7% (13.6% previous year); not working – 18.4% (15.5% previous year).  This was fairly consistent with the previous year albeit with a slight reduction in the number of retired people seeking assistance.  A lot of the issues raised had related to employment and loss  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Council Plan Performance Tracker and COVID-19 Recovery Tracker - Quarter One 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 280 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:

39.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No.133-163, attached the performance management and COVID-19 recovery information for quarter one of 2021/22.  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.

39.2          Members were advised that this was the first quarterly monitoring report for 2021/22 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 also reported alongside the tracker documents with a revenue budget statement attached at Appendix 3 to the report, a capital monitoring statement attached at Appendix 4 to the report, and a reserves position summary attached at Appendix 5 to the report.  It was noted that, in order to ensure the Council Plan remained a ‘live’ document, all actions were reviewed annually and refreshed where appropriate.  The refreshed plan had been considered by the Executive Committee on 1 September 2021 where it had been well-received and would now be considered at the Council meeting on 28 September 2021; it was not anticipated there would be any major changes to the actions within the Performance Tracker.  The report to Council would recommend that the Corporate Recovery Plan continued to the end of the financial year at which time any outstanding actions would be transferred to the Council Plan meaning there would be a single overarching strategic document.

39.3           Key actions for the quarter were highlighted at Paragraph 2.3 of the report and included the first promotion event under the Tewkesbury High Street Heritage Action Zone being arranged for 18 September 2021; commencement of work on a new Housing Strategy in partnership with ARK Consultancy; a collective total of £107,000 being awarded in capital grants to help improve community facilities; successful implementation of the new bulky waste service; implementation of a new recruitment microsite and an automated recruitment tracker system; the specification for the new heating system going out to tender; and implementation of a small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) scheme.  Members were reminded that, due to the complex nature of the 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 largely related to the Joint Core Strategy - were set out at Paragraph 2.4 of the report.  The Head  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Review of COVID-19 Response and Recovery pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To consider the key organisational and service related lessons learnt arising from the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

40.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 133-163, provided Members with an overview of the key organisational and service-specific learning points arising from the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Members were asked to consider the report.

40.2          The Head of Corporate Services advised that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Council had been unprecedented; there was no textbook response and it had been a very fluid situation for many months.  Pages No. 134-135, Paragraph 2.1 of the report, explained that the Council was fortunate to already have some foundations in place to support the response and recovery, for instance, the Growth Hub – set up in 2018 - meant that the Council already had a fantastic relationship with the local business network which had stood it in good stead for the provision of business advice; similarly, the Council had an excellent relationship with Places for People which had been important for the recovery of the Tewkesbury Leisure Centre and the unique set-up of the Public Services Centre had helped to facilitate a multi-agency response.  It was also noted that staff were the Council’s greatest asset and the ‘can do’ culture had been vital throughout the pandemic.  Furthermore, the Council’s excellent financial management framework, supported by the technically strong Finance team had enabled the quality of financial monitoring and reporting to be maintained despite the added complexities. 

40.3           In responding to the challenges, a number of learning opportunities had arisen and the key points were outlined at Pages No. 135-137, Paragraph 3.1 of the report.  Pre-COVID-19 it would not have been considered possible for all staff to work from home, all Committee meetings to be held virtually, £30m of business grants and £400,000 Council Tax support to be administered and 5,000 business visits to take place as well as continuing to deliver core priority services; however, out of adversity had come the motivation, creativity, doggedness and goodwill of staff who had adapted by being redeployed and working additional hours etc. for the residents and communities within the borough.  It had become apparent from an early stage that individual services would be overwhelmed by certain aspects of the response, therefore, key cells had been created each with a clear remit: communications, business, community and High Street recovery.  This had been replicated at a county level to ensure there was a joined-up approach.  A Management Team Plus group had also been created comprising the Corporate Leadership Team, cell leads and Operational Manager from each service area and that team had met daily for many months.  Technology had been fundamental to the response in terms of enabling staff to work from home and staff and Members had been required to adapt quickly to using software such as Microsoft Teams – which had not been well-used by staff when it had initially been rolled-out pre-pandemic.  Members were advised that the move to home working had happened at speed and the longevity of the pandemic had quickly  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

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:

41.1          The Vice-Chair in 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. 

42.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2021.

Minutes:

42.1          The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2021, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Vice-Chair in the chair.