Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access
Contact: Shilpa Manek 01628 796310
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WELCOME FROM THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
No apologies for absence were received.
To receive any declarations of interest.
No declarations of interest were received.
Councillor Davey referred to Part 4, A17 of the constitution and asked the Panel if any Member had been whipped. All Panel Members confirmed that they had not been whipped.
Councillor Cannon suggested that the Chairman take advice on the Council’s Constitution on having to declare any Party Whip at the beginning of meetings.
Councillor Baldwin suggested that the Chairman may wish to take advice on the duty of Chairman’s to ensure a fair and reasonable debate. The Chairman commented that if Councillor Baldwin had any issues with his Chairmanship, he should refer them to the Leader of the Opposition, the Conservative Leader, the Managing Director and the Monitoring Officer. Councillor Baldwin responded again to the Chairman and the host was asked to mute Councillor Baldwin.
To receive an update on the Environmental Enforcement Contract.
Neil Walter, Parking Principal, gave a short introduction to the report. Neil Walter informed the Panel that earlier in the year, the council sought to obtain a solution to issues related mainly to environmental issues within the borough, namely littering, fly-tipping, dog fouling and a number of other offenses under the Environmental Protection Act and the Highways Act. The officers went out and sought recommendations from areas where enforcement had already taken place and discussions started with a company, District Enforcement Limited. During the course of this year, a range of meetings had taken place and it was agreed through procurement and council officers that a one-year pilot of a concession contract would be entered into with District Enforcement Ltd, which commenced on 5th October 2020.
To begin with, District Enforcement were asked to prioritise areas of littering, fly-tipping in commercial waste, duty of care and dog fouling, in the interim and to consider additional offenses under the Act at a later date. During October, six employees of District Enforcement had been working throughout the borough, in a range of areas and at various different times. As in the report, during the first month, 649 fixed penalty notices had been issued for a range of offences. The offences ranged from the dropping of a cigarette butt through to large scale fly-tips.
During the same time, the council had received four formal complaints from members of the public, not all residents, in relation to the undertaking that District Enforcement had been doing. The four complaints had been reviewed and answers had been provided to the requesters and the complaints had officially been dealt with. During the same period, there had been issues raised by six councillors in relation to District Enforcement’s work. These had ranged from working on private land to working in pairs, intimidation and a number of other issues. These issues have all been looked into and responses had been sent to the councillors. Most of the allegations were unfounded in reviewing video evidence and other evidence available to officers. It was clear that the District Enforcement employees were acting within the contract and in a manner that was normal for such enforcement reasons. Neil Walter commented that any form of enforcement would cause concern for those being enforced against.
The Chairman asked how long the operation had been going on and was advised by Neil Walter that the operation began on 5 October 2000 and was currently in its fifth operational week.
At this point the Chairman invited the Lead Member for Public Protection and Parking, Councillor David Cannon, to say provide an update to the Panel before questions from Panel Members would be answered.
Councillor Cannon commented that the contract had been brought in to address one of the major concerns that had been reflected in resident surveys of the anti-social behaviour of a small percentage of people in littering, fly-tipping, dog fouling and commercial waste. The fines that had been imposed were those fines that ... view the full minutes text for item 115.