Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 16th July, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting on Zoom. View directions

Contact: Gary Woodhall Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

13.

Webcasting Introduction

(Corporate Communications Manager) This meeting is to be webcast and the Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this virtual meeting will be broadcast live to the internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

You should be aware that the Council is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act. Data collected during this webcast will be retained in accordance with the Council’s publiched policy.

 

Therefore, by participating in this virtual meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes. If members of the public do not wish to have their image capyured then they should ensure that their video setting throughout the virtual meeting is turned off and set to audio only.

 

In the event that technical difficulties interrupt the virtual meeting that cannot be overcome, I may need to adjourn the meeting.

 

Please could I also remind Members and Officers to unmute their microphones before speaking.

 

If you have any queries regarding this then please contact the Corporate Communications Manager on 01992 564039."

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded everyone present that the virtual meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

14.

SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there had been no substitute Members appointed for this meeting.

15.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 222 KB

(Democratic Services Manager) To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 22 June 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

          Resolved:

 

(1)        That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2020 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:

 

(a)        Minute item 10, Overview & Scrutiny Select Committees – Membership 2020/21, Councillor J H Whitehouse supported the comments of Cllr S Murray, not Cllr J M Whitehouse.

16.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

(Monitoring Officer) To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

 

In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are requested to pay particular attention to paragraph (11) of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.

 

This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before Overview & Scrutiny which relates to a decision of or action by another Committee or Sub-Committee of the Council, a Joint Committee or Joint Sub-Committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a Member.

 

Paragraph (11) of the Code of Conduct does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an Overview & Scrutiny meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

17.

Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) To receive questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Committee, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.

 

(a)         Public Questions

 

Members of the public may ask questions of the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee at ordinary meetings of the Committee, in accordance with the procedure set out in the Constitution.

 

(b)        Requests to address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business), due to be considered at the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that no public questions or requests to address the meeting had been received.

18.

Executive Decisions - Call-In

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) To consider any matter referred to the Committee for decision in relation to a call-in, in accordance with Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that no executive decisions had been called-in for consideration since the previous meeting.

19.

Annual Review of the Work undertaken by the Epping Forest Youth Council pdf icon PDF 226 KB

(Community & Culture Team Manager) To receive a presentation by the Epping Forest Youth Council on activities completed during the previous year and activities proposed for the forthcoming year.

 

The Youth Councillors would also like to show a short three-minute public engagement film about their experience of Covid-19 and the pandemic lockdown; the link is:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDCA2w4UmXY

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from V Gayton and 5 Youth Councillors reviewing the work of the Youth Council during 2019/20, and outlining their plans for 2020/21.

 

The presentation highlighted the following points:

·        the ‘We are safe’ project;

·        the updated and expanded Epping Forest Youth Activities map;

·        the Health & Wellbeing Youth Conference;

·        the undertaking of surveys in the District’s schools on local youth issues;

·        the Youth Council’s social media activities;

·        the external funding secured from the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Safer Communities Fund and the High Sherriff of Essex for youth projects;

·        the receipt of a number of awards, certificates and letters of recognition;

·        the production of a two-minute film in April on how Covid-19 had affected young people within the District; and

·        the undertaking of a post-Covid-19 survey of young people on their mental health and wellbeing.

 

The Youth Councillors thanked the Committee for their continuing support throughout the year, and urged the Committee to view their short film in the days following the meeting.

 

The Chairman, Cllr M Sartin, thanked the Youth Council for their presentation to the Committee. Cllr S Murray commented that he continued to be impressed by the work of the Youth Council and felt that some of them could go on to become full Councillors in the future; Cllr M Sartin highlighted that two current District Councillors had been Youth Councillors in the past. Cllr D Plummer was highly impressed by the way that the Youth Council continued to engage young people in local issues, Cllr S Rackham felt that the Epping Forest Youth Council was the best in the country, and Cllr D Sunger praised the public speaking skills of the Youth Councillors who had given the presentation.

 

Cllr S Murray highlighted that young people were most likely to be affected by the pandemic and hoped that the results of the survey being undertaken by the Youth Council would be fed into the appropriate decision-making bodies. The Youth Councillors present gave an idea of how Covid-19 had affected them individually, which included missing seeing family, friends, even school, and that normal life had been taken for granted before, but also that the pandemic had shown they could cope and had become more independent. Cllr M Sartin felt that a lot of young people would have had a different experience as they would not have had the back-up available to the Youth Councillors, and Cllr S Murray commented that low income families without access to information technology had found the experience of the pandemic difficult. The Young Persons Officer, D Butler, informed the Committee that the link to the survey had been sent to all of the schools within the District to be sent on to all pupils, and so far 328 replies to the survey had been received.

 

Members of the Committee enquired if the Youth Council was undertaking any work on issues involving Black & Minority Ethnic Groups (BAME), or Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual & Tran-gender groups (LGBT)? The Youth Councillors present were clear that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

People Strategy

(Business Services Director) To receive a short presentation giving an overview on the new People Strategy for 2020/21.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Director for Business Services, P Maginnis, gave a short presentation on the new People Strategy for the Council.

 

The Service Director highlighted the road map for the candidate journey from the video, with its seven steps: Pre-attraction; recruitment; onboarding; learning; performance & talent management; communication; and leaving the organisation. The Ambition of the Strategy was to have the right people with the right skills who were highly motivated and high performing, and to transform the service provided by the People Team. The Strategy would build on the work undertaken during the life of the previous People Strategy, and had six main themes:

 

(i)         attracting & retaining our best candidates;

(ii)        developing our Leaders;

(iii)       supporting the Council to evolve and embrace change;

(iv)       developing the skills and behaviours of our employees to make EFDC a great place to work;

(v)        creating a culture of engagement and wellbeing; and

(vi)       creating a culture of collaboration, innovation & creativity to enable our employees to fulfil their potential.

 

P Maginnis highlighted that feedback from external organisations had recognised the health & wellbeing work undertaken by the Council, and the Council had a target of 10% of staff being mental health aware and first-aid trained by 2021. Finally, P Maginnis apologised if the link to the People Strategy video did not work; this would be repaired and re-distributed to Members in the days following this meeting.

 

Cllr S Murray commented that he had watched the video and was very impressed by the candidate journey with its seven steps. The Councillor noted that the proposed new People Strategy would introduce significant change to the Council, and this suggested the current practices had not been particularly effective. Cllr S Murray also enquired if the link to the video had been sent to the members of the Stronger Council Select Committee prior to the meeting when it was considered?

 

P Maginnis responded that the previous People Strategy had also greatly changed the Council with the management re-organisation, the common operating model and the adoption of local pay. This new Strategy would build upon that work, but with more emphasis this time on softer aspects such as mental health and wellbeing. The link to the video had been sent to members of the Select Committee on either the day of the meeting or the day after.

 

Cllr S Rackham welcomed the proposed improvements in the mental health care of employees, but asked what the Council was doing to support older adults? P Maginnis acknowledged that the age profile of the Council’s workforce was towards the older end of the spectrum, but the Council supported all of its employees with learning and development opportunities. However, the Council was always open to considering if there were any other areas that it needed to concentrate upon.

 

            Resolved:

 

(1)        That the presentation giving a short overview of the new People Strategy for 2020/21 be noted.

21.

Customer Services Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 488 KB

(Customer Services Director) To consider the attached report on Customer Service initiatives and performance, including compliments, complaints and call handling.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager for Customer Services, S Lewis, presented the Annual Report for the Customer Services Programme.

 

S Lewis provided the Committee with an update on the following topics within the Programme:

·        the Customer Service Strategy;

·        customer satisfaction;

·        the corporate Contact Centre;

·        the Digital Inclusion Programme;

·        Members;

·        partnership working;

·        digital payments; and

·        communications & public relations.

 

S Lewis outlined the conclusions from the Annual Report, these being that Customer Services had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the priority had always been to support residents. The launch of the Customer Service Strategy had been delayed slightly by the pandemic, but it did provide a clear plan for the rest of the year. However, the Strategy was just the start of the process to put the Council’s customers at the heart of everything we did, and it would evolve in the future to meet the changing needs of the Council’s customers. The required staffing resources was in place to deliver the Strategy, the Council just needed to finish their training.

 

Cllr S Rackham highlighted that, in respect of digital inclusion, many older residents did not like to, or want to, use computers, so how did the Council plan to overcome this and change the minds of these residents? Cllr M Sartin also highlighted that the ability of some people to use technology also declined as they got older. S Lewis responded that every customer had different needs. The Digital Inclusion Programme had made an excellent start in building networks, but their Manager would soon be going on secondment in another section of the Council. It was accepted that some customers would not want to use technology, and Officers were considering how it could be possible to open a cash office to accommodate these customers. The Council would not be able to channel shift every one of its customers to digital contact.

 

Cllr J H Whitehouse enquired about the further improvements identified for the Council’s website to increase its accessibility. S Lewis stated that the Corporate Communications Team were progressing this work at the moment, and agreed to follow up on this question and report back to the Members, but added that any changes to the Council’s website would be shaped by user groups. Cllr S Heap commented that the current arrangements be retained as an option for residents. In response to a question from Cllr D Wixley regarding the Out-of-Hours service, S Lewis informed the Committee that the option to bring the service back in-house was discussed by Officers but the costs were far higher. The number of calls received by the Service currently were very low, and the current contractor – Mears – were happy to continue to provide the service. S Lewis also highlighted that the mechanism was not in place to record the overall customer satisfaction in the first quarter of 2019/20, hence there was no figure in the table.

 

Cllr D Plummer expressed some concerns about the continual use of the term ‘customers’ rather than ‘residents’ or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2019/20 - Quarter 4 Performance pdf icon PDF 230 KB

(People & Performance Service Manager) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager for Strategy, Delivery & Performance, L Wade, presented a report on the Council’s performance during quarter 4 of the Corporate Plan Key Action Plan for 2019/20.

 

L Wade reminded the Committee that the Action Plan for the Corporate Plan 2018-23 provided a mechanism for reporting on the Council’s Key Performance Indicators and key Programmes of work, and highlighted the Council’s overall performance against the agreed Corporate Objectives.

 

L Wade reported that the Covid-19 pandemic had had an adverse effect on the following corporate objectives:

 

            (i)         Providing Culture & Leisure;

 

            (ii)        Improving the District Housing Offer;

 

            (iii)       Enhancing Skills & Flexibility of our workforce; and

 

            (iv)       Improving performance through innovation and new technology.

 

In addition, L Wade reported that the following Corporate Objectives had not been met in the fourth quarter of 2019/20:

 

            (i)         Engaging with the changing needs of our customers;

 

            (ii)        Supporting healthy lifestyles;

 

            (iii)       Planning development priorities;

 

            (iv)       Ensuring infrastructure supports growth;

 

            (v)        People develop skills to maximise their potential;

 

            (vi)       Promoting retail, tourism & the visitor economy; and

 

            (vii)      Efficient use of our financial resources, buildings & assets.

 

L Wade apologised for a couple of typographic errors in the report, as well as an incorrect figure quoted for the Key Performance Indicator – Increase cultural activity attendance – and reassured the Committee that the corrections would be emailed out after the meeting.

 

In response to questions from the Committee, L Wade stated that the Council had continued to recruit new starters to its workforce throughout the pandemic, some of whom would be joining shortly; and that if the Council had been collecting more recyclable materials since the start of the pandemic then this would be reflected in the figures for the next quarter. Cllr S Murray stated that the increase in the collection of waste throughout the District during the pandemic had been reported at meetings of the Group Leaders, and was satisfied that this would be reflected in the figures for the next quarter.

 

            Resolved:

 

(1)        That the performance in quarter 4 of 2019/20 in relation to the Key Performance Indicators and Work Programmes within the Corporate Plan be noted;

 

(2)        That the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the following Corporate Objectives be noted:

 

                        (a)        Provide Culture & Leisure;

 

                        (b)        Improving the District Housing Offer;

 

                        (c)        Enhancing Skills & Flexibility of our workforce; and

 

                        (d)        Improving performance through innovation and new technology;                         and

 

(3)        That the following Corporate Objectives were not met in quarter 4 of 2019/20 be noted:

 

                        (a)        Engaging with the changing needs of our customers;

 

                        (b)        Supporting healthy lifestyles;

 

                        (c)        Planning development priorities;

 

                        (d)        Ensuring infrastructure supports growth;

 

                        (e)        People develop skills to maximise their potential;

 

                        (f)         Promoting retail, tourism & the visitor economy; and

 

                        (g)        Efficient use of our financial resources, buildings & assets.

23.

Q1 Service Plan Objectives Progress pdf icon PDF 132 KB

(People & Performance Service Manager) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

L Wade, the Service Manager for Strategy, Delivery & Performance, presented a report on progress with the Service Plan objectives for the first quarter of 2020/21.

 

The Service Manager reminded the Committee that each Service Area had set objectives that they wanted to achieve in 2020/21. However, whilst services had been maintained throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the Pandemic had resulted in an adverse effect on progress with achieving Service Plan objectives. Therefore, there would be a need to further review the Service Plans, to ensure momentum was maintained on the transformation of internal processes and digitalisation within the Council. This would provide the authority with clarity and purpose during a challenging period, which in turn would contribute to the maintenance of the Council’s strong financial position.

 

L Wade highlighted that the pandemic had delayed the promotion of the ‘Tuck In’ programme by the Council’s Environmental Health Officers, and Health & Safety projects had been re-focused to deal with the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The usefulness of the provision of an update on the individual Services themselves in comparison with the Service Planning undertaken was also emphasised.

 

Cllr S Murray was concerned that when the furlough and mortgage protection schemes ended, the result would be greater pressure on the Council’s housing and homelessness services. L Wade commented that Officers were undertaking a risk assessment exercise on this topic as part of the Covid-19 recovery work. Cllr H Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for Communities & Partnerships, added that she was aware of the pressures outlined by Cllr S Murray which might occur in the future, and more information on this would be presented to Members in due course.

 

Cllr J H Whitehouse welcomed the style of this report and enquired if the Ombudsman complaint cases were still on hold? S Lewis, the Service Manager for Customer Services, stated that the Ombudsman had originally put these complaint cases on hold, but they were now being processed again.

 

            Resolved:

 

(1)        That progress with the achievement of the Service Plan objectives during the first quarter of 2020/21 be noted; and

 

(2)        That the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Covid-19 Recovery Plan to require Services to review their priorities and objectives within their Service Plans and with their Portfolio Holders be acknowledged.

24.

Waste Management Task & Finish Panel Review pdf icon PDF 325 KB

(Chairman of the Waste Management Task & Finish Panel) To consider the attached final report of the Task & Finish Panel’s review.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Panel, Cllr L Burrows, presented the final report of the Waste Management Task & Finish Panel review of the Council’s Waste Management Service.

 

Cllr L Burrows highlighted the seven recommendations of the Panel, which included the possibility of a third wheeled bin for households within the District, the future collection of food and garden waste, the provision of the Street Cleansing service, new high street refuse bins, and the possibility of further changes to the Service as a result of the Environment Bill 2020 and further Resource and Waste Strategy consultations undertaken by the Government. It was stressed that the further Government consultations planned during 2020 could result in new legislation affecting local authorities by 2023. Finally, Cllr L Burrows thanked the members of the Panel for their efforts during the review.

 

In respect of the proposal for a third wheeled bin to be reviewed as part of the extension or re-tender of the existing Waste Management Contract, Cllr D Plummer commented that many homes within the District did not have sufficient space for the two wheeled bins that they already had, and a third wheeled bin was simply not feasible. Cllr S Heap suggested that the status quo of clear recycling sacks should be retained instead of replacing them with a third wheeled bin. Cllr D Wixley, who had served on the Panel, commented that the Panel had accepted that not all residences within the District would have space to store a third wheeled bin, and perhaps this had not been reflected in the report.

 

Cllr J H Whitehouse enquired who would be involved in the review for a possible third wheeled bin, and would there be a public consultation on this matter as well? The Service Director for Contracts & Technical Services, Q Durrani, explained that the current Waste Management Contract would end in November 2024, but the Council was always looking to improve its service to residents. The Panel had considered a number of different options for the collection of recyclables and had decided that now was not the right time to implement a third wheeled bin. Any proposed service change would be the subject of a wide-ranging public consultation before the Cabinet made a decision, and external experts would be appointed by the Council to assist in this process.

 

Cllr S Murray offered his thanks to the Biffa operatives for continuing to collect waste throughout the District during the Pandemic, and also welcomed the proposal to implement high street bins that allowed for the segregation of waste and recyclables. In respect of the review of the Street Cleansing service, the Councillor hoped for an improvement in the service as shopping areas and high streets were kept clean but residential streets were not covered so well by it currently. Finally, the Councillor emphasised the need to consult with residents whenever a major change to the Waste Management service was proposed as to many residents, the Council’s primary purpose was to collect the bins. The implementation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Cabinet Business pdf icon PDF 197 KB

Recommendation:

 

That the Committee review the Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions to enable the identification of appropriate matters for the overview and scrutiny work programme and the overview of specific decisions proposed to be taken over the period of the plan.

 

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution requires that the Committee review the Executive’s programme of Key Decisions (the Cabinet Forward Plan) at each meeting, to enable the identification of appropriate matters for the overview and scrutiny work programme and to provide an opportunity for the overview of specific decisions proposed to be taken over the period of the plan.

 

The Constitution (Article 14 (Decision Making)) defines a Key Decision as an executive decision which:

 

(a)         involves expenditure or savings of £250,000 or above which are currently within budget and policy;

 

(b)         involves expenditure or savings of £100,000 or above which are NOT currently within budget and policy;

 

(c)         is likely to be significant in terms of its effect on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards;

 

(d)         raises new issues of policy;

 

(e)         increases financial commitments (i.e. revenue and/or capital) in future years over and above existing budgetary approval;

 

(f)          comprises and includes the publication of draft or final schemes which may require, either directly or in relation to objections to, the approval of a Government Minister; or

 

(g)         involves the promotion of local legislation.

 

Wherever possible, Portfolio Holders will attend the Committee to present forthcoming key decisions, to answer questions on the forward plan and to indicate where appropriate work could be carried out by overview and scrutiny on behalf of the Cabinet.

 

The Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions is attached as an Appendix to this report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Executive’s current programme of Key Decisions.

 

Leader of the Council

 

Cllr J H Whitehouse enquired about the proposed informal workshop to discuss the Epping development sites? The Leader of Council, Cllr C Whitbread, stated that the sites had been transferred to Qualis for development and Members would be informed of details regarding the proposed workshop shortly.

 

Cllr D Wixley enquired about the status of the Pyrles Lane site in Loughton and whether it had already been sold? The Chief Executive, G Blakemore, confirmed that the site had not been sold and it was on a list of potential sites for Qualis to consider.

 

Cllr S Murray was concerned about the public accountability of Qualis. When the Company was originally set up, Councillors were informed that there would be quarterly public meetings of the Qualis Board, but Qualis had been in existence for six months now and no public Board meetings had been held. The Councillor wanted an assurance that this would happen and to be informed of the date of the next Board meeting for Qualis.

 

Cllr C Whitbread assured the Committee that there was no secrecy with the activities of Qualis. The Interim Board was coming to the end of its life and would be replaced before the end of the year by a permanent Board of Directors. There would be quarterly financial monitoring reports for Qualis submitted to the Cabinet, and the next report was expected at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for September. Cllr S Murray commented that he understood the quarterly meetings of the Qualis Board would be held in public, as it would be discussing issues which would have been discussed at public committee meetings in the past.

 

Cllr S Heap expressed further concerns regarding the decision-making process involved with Qualis, as currently there were a small number of Councillors from one political group making the decisions, and the Councillor felt that the process needed to be more open. Cllr C Whitbread replied that the interim Board of Directors for Qualis did have representation from the second largest political group, and there would be regular reports from Qualis to the Council as well. However, Qualis had to have the ability to react quickly to progress projects and give it a commercial edge.

 

Cllr S Heap agreed that Qualis needed to react in a quick and decisive manner, but it also needed an alternative point of view. Cllr C Whitbread reassured the Committee that this facility had been incorporated in the governance arrangements for Qualis. G Blakemore acknowledged the concerns expressed about the lack of visibility for the Qualis Board meetings, and stated that the new meeting schedule for the Qualis Board was currently being devised and would be published to give transparency; the next Board meeting was scheduled for 23 July 2020.

 

Environment & Technical Services

 

Cllr J H Whitehouse enquired about the proposed contract variation with Places Leisure, in particular what service would be provided in the future and whether the proposals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 163 KB

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) Progress towards the achievement of the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is reviewed at each meeting.

 

(a)             Current Work Programme

 

The current work programme for the Committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.

 

(b)             Reserve Programme

 

A reserve list of scrutiny topics is developed as required, to ensure that the work flow of overview and scrutiny is continuous. When necessary, the Committee will allocate items from the list appropriately, once resources become available in the work programme, following the completion of any ongoing scrutiny activity.

 

Members can put forward suggestions for inclusion in the work programme or reserve list through the adopted PICK process. Existing review items will be dealt with first, after which time will be allocated to the items contained in the reserve work plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic & Electoral Services Manager, G Woodhall, presented the Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2020/21.

 

G Woodhall highlighted that the format of the Work Programme had been revamped for the new municipal year, with the ongoing standing items now appearing at the start of the Programme. All of the items listed for the previous meeting of the Committee had been dealt with, and four of the items listed for this meeting had been discussed already at the meeting.

 

In respect of the one item for this meeting that had yet to be discussed, Local High Streets – Viability & Regeneration, the Chairman, Cllr M Sartin, suggested that the Local High Streets Task & Finish Panel should not be lost but deferred for a couple of months as it would not be the best use of Officer time currently. The Committee was in general agreement with this course of action, agreeing that the Task & Finish Panel was still important but that a short delay to allow the Covid-19 Recovery Portfolio Holder Advisory Group to finish its work would be beneficial. Cllr M Sartin emphasised that the Task & Finish Panel would remain on the Committee’s Work Programme to avoid being overlooked.

 

Cllr R Jennings stated that residents’ parking schemes were becoming more popular in Loughton, and suggested that the North Essex Parking Partnership be invited to attend a future meeting of the Committee. Given the reduced level of external scrutiny on the Work Programme this year, the Committee felt that this was a sensible suggestion.

 

          Resolved:

 

(1)      That the external scrutiny of the North Essex Parking Partnership be added to the Work Programme; and

 

(2)      That, revised as above, the current Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2020/21 be noted.

27.

Select Committees - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 198 KB

(Chairman of the Select Committee) Article 6 (Overview and Scrutiny) of the Constitution requires that the chairmen of the select committees report to the meeting in regard to progress with the achievement of the current work programme for each select committee and on any recommendations for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

The current work programme for each select committee is attached as an appendix to this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the current Work Programmes for the three Select Committees.

 

Stronger Communities Select Committee

 

The Chairman of the Stronger Communities Select Committee, Cllr D Sunger, informed the Committee that their first meeting of the municipal year was scheduled for 21 July 2020, and the focus would be on the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s housing communities.

 

Cllr D Wixley praised the sterling efforts of Democratic Services Officer, J Leither, in organising the presentation by the Loughton GROW Community Garden group at the meeting next week.

 

Stronger Council Select Committee

 

The Chairman of the Stronger Council Select Committee, Cllr P Bolton, stated that the first meeting of the municipal year had taken place on 14 July 2020.

 

Cllr S Murray, who had attended the meeting, highlighted the concerns expressed by the Select Committee on learning that the contract for refurbishing the Civic Offices had been let on the basis of only one tender being received. The Councillor felt that this should not happen again in the future for any contract. The Leader of Council, Cllr C Whitbread, reassured the Committee that more than one tender should be considered in normal circumstances; however, the Council undertook a full procurement process for this contract which had produced only one tender.

 

Stronger Place Select Committee

 

The Chairman of the Stronger Place Select Committee, Cllr R Bassett, reported that the first meeting of the municipal year had been held on 9 July 2020. It had been a lively meeting, but the Councillor felt that there had been too many verbal reports. The Select Committee had considered an early version of the updated Local Plan, considered climate change, and discovered that the Epping Forest had many veteran trees.

 

            Resolved:

 

            (1)        That the Work Programmes for the three Select Committees be noted.

28.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

Nil

Nil

Nil

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers 

(Democratic & Electoral Services Manager) Article 17 - Access to Information, Procedure Rules of the Constitution define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection for four years after the date of the meeting one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there was no business which necessitated the exclusion of the public and press from the meeting.