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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

85.

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:

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

85.2          The Chair welcomed the representatives from Severn Trent Water to the meeting and indicated that they were in attendance for Agenda Item 9 – Review of Water Supply Outage Monitoring Report.  He also welcomed Councillor MacTiernan, Chair of the Flood Risk Management Group, who was in attendance for Agenda Item 11 – Flood Risk Management Group Annual Report.  In addition, it was noted that the Lead Member for Organisational Development was present as an observer. 

86.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

86.1           Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J E Day, D T Foyle and P E Stokes.  There were no substitutions for the meeting. 

87.

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:

87.1           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.

87.2          The following declaration was made:

Councillor

Application No./Item

Nature of Interest (where disclosed)

Declared Action in respect of Disclosure

M G Sztymiak

Item 7 – Review of Water Supply Outage Monitoring Report.

Is a Member of Tewkesbury Town Council which owned the Ham.

Would speak and vote.

87.3          There were no further declarations made on this occasion.

88.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 February 2019.

Minutes:

88.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 February 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

89.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 248 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:

89.1          Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 12-19.  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.

89.2          It was

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

90.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 226 KB

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

Minutes:

90.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19, circulated at Pages No. 20-23, which Members were asked to consider.

90.2          A Member sought an update on the progress of the Single Use Plastic Policy which was in the pending items section of the Work Programme.  The Head of Finance and Asset Management advised that workloads had meant it had not been possible to bring a report to the Committee as yet but he provided assurance that Officers were working to eliminate single use plastic within the organisation - some had already been removed e.g. cups, stirrers, and consideration was being given to additional elements such as the use of plastic bags for trade waste.  With regard to the other pending items, the Head of Corporate Services advised that the Corporate Enforcement Policy was being considered by the Corporate Management Team and his team was working on the Review of Complaints Policy which was gaining traction.

90.3          It was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19 be NOTED.

91.

Review of Water Supply Outage Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider the progress made against the actions arising from the review, including an update from representatives from Severn Trent Water who will be in attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

91.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 24-34, which provided an update on progress against the action plan arising from the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage.  Members were asked to consider the progress made and to determine what, if any, further monitoring arrangements were required, including timescales, or whether they were content to sign-off the plan.

91.2          The Head of Community Services indicated that it was now 15 months on from the water outage event in December 2017 which had affected over 10,000 residential properties, a significant number of businesses, schools, agricultural farmers, the community hospital and nursing homes.  Given the significance of the event, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had agreed to undertake a review of the outage which had resulted in an action plan comprising 20 recommendations, attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The Severn Trent Water Head of Water Quality and Environment was pleased to report that good progress had been made on all the actions assigned to Severn Trent Water.  He had brought with him two colleagues who were responsible for running the alternative supplies team and co-ordinating asset surveys and projects on the Ham who would be pleased to answer any specific questions.  A number of recommendations related to better joint working prior to incidents and he confirmed that Severn Trent Water had been working closely with the Gloucestershire Local Resilience Forum and the teams across the county and had been asked to share this with Thames Water and other groups as best practice.

91.3          Members were advised that some of the key actions were around understanding the network and ensuring that records were accurate.  He confirmed that the network from Mythe Water Treatment Works, up to the reservoirs at Churchdown, had been walked and inspected with assets reconfirmed and records updated.  Whilst traditional techniques were able to detect leaks but not necessarily identify where they were, new technology had been used which allowed leaks to be pinpointed.  The structure and condition of the pipes had been checked and any leaks that had been discovered had been repaired giving the team confidence in the network on the Ham and the wider area.  These techniques gave valuable intelligence but they were not straightforward or without risk so a lot of planning and preparation was required.  Checks would now be undertaken on a rolling basis until the pipes were replaced to ensure that leaks could be identified at an early stage.  If there was any evidence of pooling, a chlorine sample would be taken to determine whether it was from rainfall or the pipe.  Seven Trent Water had previously indicated that it intended to either replace or re-line the mid-level pipes across the Ham.  Re-lining could be cheaper and less disruptive, it would be challenging on this particular site due to the number of assets to navigate, access pits required and reduction in the capacity of the pipes, as well as the increased operational risk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.

92.

Performance Report - Quarter 3 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 323 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

92.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 35-79, attached performance management information for the third quarter of 2018/19.  The Overview and Scrutiny Committee was asked to review and scrutinise the performance information and, where appropriate, identify any issues to refer to the Executive Committee for clarification or further action to be taken.

92.2          Members were advised that this was the third quarterly monitoring report for 2018/19 and progress against delivering the objectives and actions for each of the Council Plan priorities was reported through the Performance Tracker, attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  Key actions for the quarter were highlighted at Paragraph 2.3 of the report and included: approval of the Medium Term Financial Strategy at Council in January; approval of the Commercial Strategy by the Executive Committee in November; official launch of the Growth Hub which had received national recognition with features in publications such as the Municipal Journal; refurbishment of the Lower Lode Depot car park; progression of the pool car project with a ‘go live’ date of 26 March 2019; income from garden waste renewals reaching £250,000 in its first week and rising to £500,000 currently; delivery of 262 affordable homes in 2018/19 against a target of 200; and, consultation on the Ashchurch Masterplan, the draft Supplementary Planning Document for Tewkesbury Town and the Tewkesbury Borough Plan.  As was often the case, due to the complex nature of the actions being delivered, it was inevitable that some would not progress as smoothly or quickly as envisaged and details of these were set out at Paragraph 2.4 of the report.  It was particularly noted that the action around exploring options for the regeneration of Spring Gardens had only been delayed by one month due to reporting timeframes and although the action to explore the potential to increase the heritage offer at the Battlefield site had slipped on four occasions, it was hoped that it now had feasible implementation dates and would not need to be flagged to the Committee again.

92.3          In terms of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Members were informed that the status of each indicator was set out at Paragraph 3.2 of the report.  Of the 17 indicators with targets, three had not been achieved as at the end of the third quarter.  It was particularly noted that the number of visitors to the Growth Hub (KPI 7) was 369 during the first quarter of opening and, in terms of planning performance (KPIs 12 and 13), the targets for the 2017/18 outturns had been exceeded.  The Head of Corporate Services also pointed out that a further 36 community groups had been assisted with funding advice (KPI 19) resulting in over £587,000 of external grants being raised.

92.4          During the debate which ensued, the following queries and comments were made in relation to the Performance Tracker:

Priority: Finance and Resources

P44 – Objective 1 – Action a) Deliver the Council’s transformation programme to deliver a balanced budget – A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Review of Workforce Development Strategy pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To endorse the Workforce Development Strategy and to recommend to the Executive Committee that it be approved. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

93.1          The report of the Head of Corporate Services, circulated at Pages No. 80-96, introduced the Workforce Development Strategy for the Council covering the period 2019-24.  Members were asked to endorse the strategy and recommend to the Executive Committee that it be approved.

93.2          The Interim HR Manager explained that the Council’s previous peer review had recommended that a Workforce Development Strategy be put in place to support the delivery of the Council’s priorities.  This had coincided with the new Local Government Workforce Strategy being promoted nationally by the Local Government Association.  He explained that UK employers faced unprecedented challenges in recruiting and retaining staff and this had been explored at the Overview and Scrutiny workshop held on 26 February where Members had discussed employment demographics in the context of the Council’s future requirements.  The purpose of the strategy, attached at Appendix 1, was to position the Council to respond effectively to the challenges posed by continuing economic growth and competition for skills and to be at the forefront of a candidate-driven market.  The strategy was a response to the Council’s own plans and priorities with an outlook on local government and used local and national demographic data, as well as internal data, to identify work and recruitment patterns.  The strategy had been considered by the Corporate Management Team and other managers and discussions had taken place with trade unions and staff as well as Lead Members and Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  There were five core strategic themes in the strategy: releasing productivity; digital transformation; commercialisation; workforce resilience; and, being a great place to work. Each theme was supported by action areas which described what needed to be done - detailed actions would be included as part of the annual service plans and the strategy set the overall direction and context for those plans. 

93.3          A Member indicated that he had found the workshop to be very informative and he questioned how the issues that had been raised would be dealt with.  In response, the Interim HR Manager advised that two of the issues had been included in the strategy in relation to younger workers leaving the area, thus intensifying competition for the Council, and making the Council more attractive as an employer to candidates of all ages.  The Member queried how Members fitted with the strategy and the Chief Executive explained that this strategy was particularly about staff; Members would be addressed via the Member development programme which would re-commence with the induction programme and subsequent training for the new Council in May.  He provided assurance that Member development would be looked at carefully and there would be engagement with Members over the coming months to establish what they might find useful.  It was subsequently

RESOLVED          That the Workforce Development Strategy be ENDORSED and that it be RECOMMENDED TO THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE for APPROVAL.

94.

Healings Mill pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To consider the progress made in respect of the redevelopment of the Healings Mill site. 

Minutes:

94.1          The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 97-100, provided an update on the progress being made to secure a suitable development scheme for Healings Mill.  Members were asked to consider the report and to agree to receive updates as any significant changes arose.

94.2          Members were informed that Healings Mill was an important piece of the fabric of Tewkesbury Town Centre and was recognised as such in the emerging Tewkesbury Borough Plan and the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Tewkesbury Town Centre.  The report focussed on progress in three areas: planning strategy; discussions with external agencies; and funding.  The Head of Development Services advised that Officers had met with agents working on behalf of the owners of Healings Mill and, whilst these discussions remained confidential at the current time, they were confident that a strategy for the planning framework and delivery of a scheme to regenerate the Mill in accordance with the Council’s aspirations would be forthcoming.  Officers would continue to work with the agents to find a viable solution which brought it in line with the strategic objectives.  Several conversations had also taken place with Historic England and the Environment Agency in relation to the very specific requirements of the site and the significant impact of development.  The Head of Development Services advised that the government had recently announced a fund to revitalise high streets and the Council would shortly be submitting a bid focusing on Tewkesbury Town Centre which would include the Healings Mill site, Spring Gardens and the wider High Street.  This would present an opportunity to set out the vision for the area and, whilst there would not necessarily be specific funding for Healings Mill, it would highlight the opportunities for that part of the town.  It was important to recognise that the Council had no direct control over the timeframe for the project and its role was an enabler and facilitator.

94.3          In response to a query, the Head of Development Services clarified that Healings Mill had been vacant since 2006.  A Member indicated that there was obvious frustration from people in the town about what was happening with the building.  He felt it was unfortunate that the Council had no direct control and questioned whether the possibility of the Council purchasing the building had been considered.  The Head of Development Services advised that Officers shared the frustrations about the progression of the site; however, there was an opportunity to work with the current developer and owner and they were confident that discussions would result in a viable scheme for the site.  If that proved not to be the case, it would be necessary to reassess the options - the Council becoming a more active partner may be one of those conversations but that was not what was intended currently.  The Member was not aware of a business case for the site and questioned whether this had received Committee approval.  He also asked whether the High Street fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Flood Risk Management Group Annual Report pdf icon PDF 319 KB

To consider the annual summary report of the Flood Risk Management Group.

Minutes:

95.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Flood Risk Management Group, circulated at Pages No. 101-106, which provided an annual summary of the work of the Group.  Members were asked to consider the report.

95.2          The Chair of the Flood Risk Management Group explained that the Flood Risk Management Group met quarterly with the last meeting taking place on 18 February 2019.  The Group monitored land drainage and flood risk projects by way of reference to the Flood Risk Management Action Plan which was a ‘living’ document to which funding and partnership opportunities could be added as and when they arose.  In terms of the live capital projects, the most significant related to the Grange Field in Bishop’s Cleeve.  There was an approved allocation of £180,000 for the project which was being match funded against the European Regional Development Fund.  It had been a very successful project and the feedback from residents and users of the land had been overwhelmingly positive.  The majority of work had been completed but it would take time for the plants to develop over the next few seasons.  She went on to explain that the Council owned various parcels of land across the borough with watercourses running through, or adjacent to, them meaning it was a riparian owner with responsibilities to maintain those watercourses in good condition.  The Group monitored the Tewkesbury Borough Council Programme of Watercourse Maintenance and 95 projects had been completed during 2018/19 to date incorporating desilting, blockage clearance, flail cutting and hedge cutting as well as reactionary work such as felling and removing trees.  This amounted to a spend of £41,465 out of an allocation of £45,000 at the time of writing the report.  The Group had expressed concern at the size of the budget which had not been increased for many years; this was something which the Group would be considering over the coming months.  Members were advised that a tender for a call-off contract to cover the Council’s maintenance liabilities had been offered in 2017 for a period of three years with an option for a two year extension and two contractors had been successfully procured; this had resulted in a saving from the previous arrangements.  Furthermore, the Council had received compliments regarding the contractors’ workmanship and interaction with the public.  It was noted that Tewkesbury Borough Council worked in partnership with Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) to help communities increase their knowledge and resilience against flooding and the Group received regular reports from the representative from GRCC who delivered flood warden training events throughout the year.

95.3          The Chair of the Committee thanked the Chair of the Flood Risk Management Group for her report and it was

RESOLVED          That the annual summary report of the Flood Risk Management Group be NOTED.

96.

Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting. 

Minutes:

96.1          Members received an update from the Council’s reserve representative on the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on matters discussed at its last meeting held on 20 February 2019.

96.2          Members were advised that this additional meeting had been called to examine evidence from the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust about its General Surgery Reconfiguration Pilot, and to hear the Clinical Commissioning Group’s response to Motion 825, passed by Cheltenham Borough Council on 21 January 2019.  58 senior doctors had signed a letter to the Hospitals Trust expressing fears about the pilot. Many of those fears concerned patient safety – not only in Gloucestershire but in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Wiltshire, because patients from those areas were also treated in Cheltenham General Hospital and may well be adversely affected by the changes envisaged.

96.3          The Trust’s proposals were described as a ‘pilot’, but this designation introduced its own complications. Firstly, because the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee could not stop a pilot from being brought into being and could only act as a ‘critical friend’. Secondly, because putting the pilot into effect would entail breaking-up the current service arrangements, with the clear risk that a reversal would not be possible.  The view taken by those opposing the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s proposals was that alternatives should have been fully explored in advance; assurances had supposedly been given to Gloucestershire Members of Parliament in September 2018 that other options would be worked on before the ‘pilot’ went live, but this had not happened

96.4           The Council’s reserve representative explained that the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s strongest allowable action, as advised by the Gloucestershire County Council Officer, was to write to the Secretary of State for Health expressing the Committee’s concerns about the Trust’s proposals and Committee Members had voted unanimously for the Chair to do so.

96.5          The Chair thanked the Council’s reserve representative for his update and indicated that it would be circulated to the Committee following the meeting.  It was subsequently

RESOLVED          That the Gloucestershire Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee update be NOTED.

97.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting. 

Minutes:

97.1          The Chair indicated that he was the Council’s representative on the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee but, as he had been unable to attend the last meeting held on 20 February 2019, the Chair of that Committee would give a brief update.

97.2          Members were advised that the Committee had considered views from the Forest of Dean District Council in terms of its aspirations for economic growth.  It was noted that the main priority was building on the industrial offering but it was recognised that there were challenges to overcome, not least connectivity.

97.3          It was

RESOLVED          That the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee update be NOTED.