Link to homepage

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Severn Room

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

Items
No. Item

37.

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:

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

38.

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:

38.1           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.

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

39.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019.

Minutes:

39.1           The Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.  

40.

Items from Members of the Public

To receive any questions, deputations or petitions submitted under Rule of Procedure 12.

 

(The deadline for public participation submissions for this meeting is 10 October 2019)

Minutes:

40.1           There were no items from members of the public on this occasion.  

41.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To consider the Committee’s Forward Plan.  

Subject To Call In:: No - Item to Note.

Decision:

That the Committee’s Forward Plan be NOTED.  

Minutes:

41.1           Attention was drawn to the Committee’s Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No.10-14. Members were asked to consider the Plan.   

41.2           Members were reminded that the special meeting due to have been held on 4 November had been cancelled since the publication of the current Agenda so that had now been removed from the Forward Plan.

41.3           Accordingly, it was

42.

Performance Management Report - Quarter One 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 327 KB

To receive and respond to the findings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee‘s review of the quarter one performance management information. 

Subject To Call In:: No - Item to Note.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s comments on the Performance Management Report for Quarter One of 2019/20 be NOTED.   

Minutes:

42.1           The report of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, circulated at Pages No. 15-68, asked Members to review and, if appropriate, take action on the observations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following its review of the 2019/20 quarter one performance management information.

42.2           Attention was drawn to the observations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, attached at Appendix 1 to the report; the Council Plan Performance Tracker, attached to the report at Appendix 2; and the financial performance information circulated at Appendices 3-5.

42.3           In the absence of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Head of Corporate Services explained that, as part of the annual review of the Council Plan, a number of actions within the plan were being refreshed. Being the first quarter, it was still early days for a number of actions and Key Performance Indicators to come to fruition. Any areas where actions or Key Performance Indicators were not progressing as smoothly or quickly as envisioned, were highlighted within Paragraphs 2.4 and 3.3 of the report. Some key areas that were discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were set out within the report. In terms of the Battlefield Society, Officers had extended the target date to March 2021 to incorporate ongoing discussions between Officers and stakeholders to develop the heritage offer and concept for the battlefield to be part of the 2021 celebrations; however, due to not having direct control of the target date, it was agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that it would receive a progress report in 12 months’ time. Referring to Healings Mill, Members were advised that this had been an Agenda item in its own right at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, and Members had been provided with an update on progress made to develop the site; it was noted that the Council had limited direct influence on the project, and that there were a number of complexities in respect of the site, it was resolved that a report should only be brought back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee when there was significant movement and a high-level overview would instead be provided through the performance tracker. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had congratulated the Environmental Health Team on the work it had carried out on the enviro-crimes strategy and it was noted that positive feedback had been received following Parish Council meetings which had been encouraged by the approach being taken and the difference that was making. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had discussed paperless meetings after a Member had questioned why there had been no progress made in that regard now that Members had their new ICT equipment; it had been explained that the main driver behind the new equipment was to standardise and provide consistent support to Members – if Members then chose to stop receiving hard copy papers this could be accommodated. A Member had raised concerns about the increased levels of sickness absence and asked if  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Homeseeker Plus Sub-Regional Choice-Based Lettings Allocation Policy pdf icon PDF 203 KB

To approve the Homeseeker Plus Sub-Regional Choice-Based Lettings Allocation Policy for consultation.

Subject To Call In:: No - Ongoing Matter.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That, subject to consistency, typographical and grammatical corrections being delegated to the Head of Community Services, the draft policy be circulated for public consultation.   

Minutes:

43.1           The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 69-114, explained that Homeseeker Plus was a Choice Based Lettings Scheme which was run by seven local authorities in partnership with social housing landlords operating within Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire. The Homeseeker Plus Sub-Regional Choice Based Lettings Allocation Policy explained who was eligible and qualified to apply on Homeseeker Plus and set out how applications would be assessed based on housing need. Due to legislative and other changes, the policy was in need of a refresh and, in doing so, it was considered good practice for the partnership to consult the public and associated stakeholders on the new policy. The Committee was asked to consider the draft policy and approve it for public consultation.

43.2           The Head of Community Services explained that, other than a major change to the Homeseeker Policy in 2016 to include West Oxfordshire District Council in the partnership and a name change to “Homeseeker Plus”, there had only been minor tweaks to the policy. This had led to ‘policy drift’ with it being interpreted and applied differently across the partnership. Therefore, to remove ambiguity, add clarity and also include the provision for accredited private landlords to advertise their properties, a new policy was being proposed as attached at Appendix A to the report. The major changes to the policy were set out at Appendix B to the report for ease and there were a number of other minor changes to the policy which were predominantly ‘housekeeping’ changes. It was proposed that the public consultation would last for eight weeks commencing in early 2020 and the Forest of Dean District Council would coordinate the consultations on behalf of the partnership. It was anticipated that the consultation would be held with partners, registered providers, Town and Parish Councils and members of the community. It would also be available in the Public Services Centre reception and on the Borough Council’s website.

43.3           In response to a query regarding the number of people currently on the Homeseeker Register, the Homeless Plus Coordinator advised that this was approximately 2,000. The Member noted that, of the overall total of people looking for properties – around 18,000 – there were only 63 homes currently available which she felt was disastrous. She questioned whether some of the Section 106 funding which the Council had not yet used for affordable housing could be used to build social housing. In response, the Head of Community Services explained that the Council had £2million allocated to affordable properties and was about to launch a scheme for registered providers to bid to develop more affordable housing. The Council becoming a developer itself would be a fairly high risk strategy but it was currently identifying rural areas where there was a need for more affordable housing. A Member indicated that she had an issue with the term ‘affordable housing’ as most was not actually affordable; she was of the view that the Council needed to ensure  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

Action By: DCE

44.

Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To approve the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy following recommendation from Audit and Governance Committee.

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the updated Counter Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy be APPROVED and ADOPTED.  

Minutes:

44.1           The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 115-132, presented an updated Counter Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy for approval and adoption.

44.2           Members were advised that the amendments to the policy reflected changes to legislation in respect of data protection and changes to the way that benefit fraud investigations were now being undertaken. Overall, the review had been a light touch with the policy being refreshed rather than any major changes being made.

44.3           A Member questioned whether the Council also had a Whistleblowing Policy that would fit in with the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy. In response, the Counter Fraud Unit Manager advised that it did, and that document was currently also under review; it was intended that it would be considered by Members in the New Year. Another Member noted that there were a lot of mentions of ‘he’ within the definitions of the Fraud Act and he questioned whether this should be gender neutral. In response, he was advised that this section was lifted directly from the legislation, but it would be possible to include the legal definition for clarity. In terms of records of the fraud awareness training, the Counter Fraud Unit Manager confirmed that records were kept, and training was also provided to new starters. In future it was hoped that mandatory online refresher training could also be introduced to keep staff and Members up-to-date.

44.4           Accordingly, it was

Action By: DCE

45.

Building Control Shared Service pdf icon PDF 664 KB

To consider the continuation of the Building Control shared services arrangement for a further 10 years. 

Subject To Call In:: Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Decision:

1.      That the shared service between Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council be maintained for a ten year period from the expiry of the current agreement.

2.      That the delegation of Tewkesbury Borough Council’s building control functions to Cheltenham Borough Council, as host authority, in accordance with Section 101(1) of Local Government Act 1972 and under the Local Authorities (Arrangements for the Discharge of Functions) (England) Regulations 2012, be continued.  

3.      That authority be delegated to the Deputy Chief Executive, in consultation with the Lead Member for Built Environment and the S151 Officer, to enter into an appropriate agreement under the above-mentioned legislation (the S101 Agreement) and other legal documentation and to take all necessary steps to implement the above-mentioned resolutions.

Minutes:

45.1           The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 133-139, recommended the continuation of the Building Control Shared Service arrangement for a further 10 years.

45.2           The Building Control Manager for the Shared Service indicated that as the agreement was due to expire, Officers had been reviewing the existing agreement and considering the options moving forward for both Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough Councils. A small Officer task and finish group involving finance officers from both authorities and representatives from One Legal had also been formed and that group had considered a number of options. In addition, the Joint Monitoring and Liaison Group – made up of Officers and Members – had been kept abreast of developments. The options considered were: to continue to deliver the Shared Service without change; to maintain the existing Shared Service model but adapt and change the service provision methods to reflect market forces and competition; to link the Shared Service to an existing local authority teckal company (Publica or Ubico); to set up the shared service as a new standalone local authority teckal company; to set up as a standalone Approved Inspector; to outsource to another service provider; for each authority to terminate the shared working agreement and take the service back in-house; and to expand the Shared Service to include other local authority building control teams.

45.3           The current position was that the building control team was made up of seven officers and, in the last financial year, that team had dealt with 1,354 applications across both local authorities. In addition to that, during 2018/19 the team had implemented a number of service improvements including: investment into street naming and numbering idox module to improve the service and create staff efficiencies; reduction of staff costs by £45,000 against the budget by introducing ‘grown your own’ staff development; development of a standalone Building Control website – this had been launched in September 2018; development of staff time recording to demonstrate cost recovery per application and allow effective analysis of time spent on chargeable and non-chargeable work in either Borough; development of branding through the website and signage boards; and the undertaking of activities to gain ISO9001 certification.

45.4           In response to a query regarding the proposed 50/50 split in costs, the Finance Manager explained that there was a ringfenced building control fee charging account so everything it charged for could break-even. If there was statutory work undertaken, each authority would need to pay the bill so overall it evened out. The Lead Member agreed and indicated that, as the building control service was a competitive market, the Shared Service did not see every case so it did not follow that if there was more development in Tewkesbury Borough that would be where the majority of building control applications would come from. In terms of competing in the market, the Building Control Manager explained that the team was very dynamic in looking at income streams and consulted on every planning application and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

Action By: DCE

46.

Membership of Tewkesbury Garden Town Member Reference Panel

One of the Ward Member’s for Tewkesbury South is unable to participate in the Tewkesbury Town Garden Town Member Reference Panel as a consequence of a Code of Conduct interest. Members are asked to nominate a Member to replace the Ward Member for Tewkesbury South during the period that the interest maintains.

Subject To Call In:: No - Procedural Matter.

Decision:

1.      That the Terms of Reference of the Tewkesbury Garden Town Member Reference Panel be amended to include the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment in the membership.

2.      That, whilst the Code of Conduct interest for the Tewkesbury South Ward Member maintains, Councillor R J Stanley be appointed to serve on the Garden Town Member Reference Panel and that the Membership of the Panel be reviewed in the event of any change in circumstances.  

Minutes:

46.1           Attention was drawn to the Agenda which asked Members to nominate a replacement for the Ward Member for Tewkesbury South during the period that his Code of Conduct interest maintained.

46.2           During the discussion which ensued, the Leader of the Council explained that the change in circumstances since the Executive Committee had agreed the Terms of Reference had necessitated this item on the Agenda. It was felt that, as this was a major project, there was a need to ensure the Code of Conduct interest was properly recorded for the future and to ensure there was proper representation on the Panel going forward. The Leader indicated that, as it was clear the Garden Town was very much linked to environmental issues, it made sense to add the Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment to the Panel membership. In addition, Councillor Stanley had volunteered to sit on the Panel as an additional Member whilst the Ward Member for Tewkesbury South was unable to participate. The Borough Solicitor indicated that, should the situation regarding the Ward Member for Tewkesbury South change, the membership of the Panel would be reconsidered as it would not, in the absence of a Code of Conduct interest,  be fair to exclude someone that was entitled to be a Member.

46.3           The proposal was seconded and, accordingly, it was

Action By: BS

47.

Separate Business

The Chairman 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:

47.1           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.

48.

Separate Minutes

To approve the separate Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 4 September 2019.

Minutes:

48.1           The separate Minutes of the meeting held on 4 September 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.