Agenda and draft minutes

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Contact: Wendy Binmore  01628796251

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Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman and Vice-Chairman

To appoint the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

Minutes:

Councillor Da Costa was nominated as Vice-Chairman but the Motion was unsuccessful and fell away. Two Councillors voted in favour of the Motion (Cllrs Da Costa and Baldwin), and three Councillors voted against the Motion (Cllrs Haseler, McWilliams and Singh).

 

RESOLVED THAT: That Councillor Ross McWilliams be appointed Chairman and Councillor Phil Haseler be appointed Vice-Chairman.

2.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brar.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

None.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To note the minutes of the Sustainability Panel held on 19 March 2019; the Highways Transport & Environment Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 26 March 2019 and the Planning & Housing Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 16 April 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the Sustainability Panel held on 19 March 2019; the Highways, Transport & Environment Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 26 March 2019; and the Planning & Housing Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 16 April 2019 be noted.

5.

Terms of Reference for Overview and Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 390 KB

To note the relevant sections of the council constitution relating to Overview and Scrutiny.

 

Minutes:

Nabihah Hassan-Farooq, Scrutiny Officer, explained to Members that in June 2019 the findings of the Constitution Working Group moved to amalgamate seven Overview and Scrutiny Panels to just four, and that the Panels would no longer follow the Cabinet report cycle. She added that as per the Council’s Constitution, as required by Law, the Council has designated a statutory Scrutiny Officer whose functions are to promote the role of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panels, to provide support to them and their Members and provide support and guidance to Council Members and Officers generally about the functions of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels.

 

Overview and Scrutiny Panels had powers to establish Task and Finish Groups and agree items to be added to the Forward Plan or Work Programme of those Overview and Scrutiny Panels. There were only four meetings for the Infrastructure Overview & Scrutiny Panel scheduled in for the municipal year 2019/20 but, they had the authority to schedule more meetings in as and when required.

 

The Scrutiny Officer informed Members that there was no budget for the Overview and Scrutiny function but, the Work Progamme was robust and flexible with some items added that were constitutional items which had to be included. A feedback form was being circulated to residents in the Borough to gauge what items they would like to see added to the Work Programme and that feedback form formed part A7 of the Constitution. Members could also suggest items and A7.5 of the Constitution explained that in more detail.

 

In terms of scope of the Overview and Scrutiny Panels, Members had a role in development so there would be training sessions set up for Members to attend in July 2019 and if further training was required, Members could approach the Scrutiny Officer who would look into that and made arrangements where necessary. The Scrutiny Officer stated that Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel would determine which Panels would receive reports where reports overlapped into more than one area.

 

The Chairman stated it was important to scrutinise policy a long time before it reached the stage where a decision was made, so that Overview and Scrutiny Panels were able to provide input on items and inform the best possible outcomes. The Panel had an opportunity to take a broad view of the Work Programme and it was important to focus on strategic elements so that strategic decisions were made in the best way possible.

 

Councillor Da Costa stated he wanted more training as a group with presentations from relevant heads of service to explain the aspirations of their service areas for the next two years and how that fits with their budgets. The Chairman responded when looking at broader areas, they could start with a sub group where a specific subject would have the head of service or lead officer in attendance and they could explain their service area. Councillor Da Costa responded a specific item might not appear on the Work Programme for a long time,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

190618_Member Call In - Proposed revisions to the Highways Maintenance Management Plan – 24 hour pothole response pdf icon PDF 178 KB

To receive the above report.

Minutes:

Nabihah Hassan-Farooq, Scrutiny Officer explained the procedure once an item was called into Overview and Scrutiny, was detailed on page 41 of the agenda which stated:

 

Where the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Panel considers a call-in request, the format of the meeting will be as follows:

 

i.              After the Chair opens the meeting the members who asked for the decision to be called in will be asked to explain their reasons for the request and what they feel should be reviewed;

ii.             On matters of particular relevance to a particular ward, ward division Members who are not signatories to a call-in have the opportunity to make comments on the call-in at the meeting, such speeches not to exceed five minutes each. Ward Members will take no further part in the discussion or vote. Ward Members must register their request to speak by contacting the Service Lead - Governance by 12 noon on the day prior to the relevant hearing;

iii.            The relevant Lead Member for the portfolio (or holders if more than one is relevant) will then be invited to make any comments;

iv.           The relevant Executive Director or his representative will advise the Panel on the background and context of the decision and its importance to achieving Service priorities;

v.             Panel Members will ask questions of Members and officers in attendance; and

vi.           The Lead Member(s) will be invited to make any final comments on the matter before the Panel votes on a decision.

 

Councillor Da Costa stated the Council should always be trying to improve services for residents and that meant getting the best value for money. He asked if the Council was paying more for the contract and what more would that bring to residents. He asked what should be available following the implementation compared to what was already in place. The average cost to repair a pothole nationally was £55. However, the report stated the budget worked out at over £700 per pot hole and the Council would quite adequately cover pothole repairs within the current contract.

 

Councillor Hill said on page 20 of the Cabinet Report, there was a table of pothole repairs; in three months from January to March 2019 there were 125 potholes left unrepaired more than 24 hours which was when the roads were affected by bad weather. He felt as a Council, the Borough was good at maintaining roads and repairing potholes. In table four of the Cabinet Report it showed the amount of potholes outstanding and table five showed residents satisfaction with road repairs which stood at 57% which was good. The Royal Borough ranked eighth in the league of Councils and had been working on the Borough’s highways for many years. Councillor Hill added that if the numbers stated in the Cabinet Report were to be believed, then the extra £450k, which was an election pledge by the administration, seemed a bit extreme when the Council ranked eighth in the country and there was a sever homelessness problem and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Programme 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 221 KB

To note the Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Chairman stated the Homeless Strategy was adopted in 2018 and so as it was almost a year since then, he felt it was a good opportunity to revisit it to ensure the policy was being delivered. He proposed to set up a Task and Finish Group for that item. The Scrutiny officer stated a report would be brought to the next Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel which would outline the areas the group should focus on.

 

Councillor W. Da Costa stated he was meant to meet with officers to flesh out scopes of items he had requested be brought to the Highways, Transport and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel but, the meeting had not yet taken place. The items he wanted to look at in more detail included bus services and bus route availability, sustainability and how the Council dealt with its waste such as plastic cups and also street lighting with a review of location and coverage to improve the security of residents. the Vice-Chairman replied that there were a lot less Councillors following the election and they each had several Panels so the Infrastructure Panel needed to be selective about the areas it looked at, the Panel needed to decide where the priorities were. He added the panel also needed to work out what Members could do as a Panel and what could be dealt with by officers directly. The Scrutiny Officer confirmed other Overview and Scrutiny Panels had decided to look at areas within the performance report, therefore it might be worth looking at the performance report to find things the Panel could hone in on. Russell O’Keefe, Executive Director, explained that was good practice where scrutiny Panels carried out a small number of reviews while going into a lot of depth to then produce evidence based recommendations. The Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel had a colossal remit. The Chairman agreed and suggested first reviewing the Homelessness Strategy and also Waste Management including Sustainability. The Chairman stated he wanted to set up a Task and Finish Group to look at making the Council greener which would include looking at infrastructure to support developments in the Borough. Councillor Da Costa confirmed he was happy with the items suggested but disappointed the Task and Finish Group would not include buses. The Chairman responded that buses would fall into the Infrastructure item when the Task and Finish Group looked at ways to reduce pollution.

8.

Future Meeting Dates

The dates of future meetings are to be confirmed.

Minutes:

Members agreed the following dates:

 

·         29 July 2019 at 7pm.

·         17 September 2019 at 7pm.

·         3 February 2020 at 7pm.

·         7 April 2020 at 7pm.

 

With Task and Finish Group meeting dates to be agreed.