Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 23rd January 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: Laura Kirman Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

51.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast and the Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this 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.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights, and if you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

52.

SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no substitutions reported at the meeting.

 

The Committee noted the following substitutions reported at the meeting:

 

(1)          That Councillor Amos had been appointed as substitute for vacant Liberal Democratic member of the Committee

(2)          That Councillor Matthew had been appointed as substitute for Councillor Markham

 

53.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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 made pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

(a)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor Bassett declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Non -Executive Director of Qualis

 

(b)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor Murray declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Trustee of Epping Forest Citizens Advice

 

54.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 November 2023 and 12 December 2023.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 November and 12 December 2023 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

55.

Matters Arising and Outstanding Actions

To consider any matters arising and outstanding actions from the minutes of the previous meeting(s) that are not covered elsewhere in this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted there were no matters arising or outstanding issues.

 

56.

Public Questions & Requests to Address the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

(Democratic & Electoral Services Team 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.

 

 

57.

Executive Decisions - Call-In

(Democratic & Electoral Services Team 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.

 

 

58.

Corporate Plan 2023-27 Year 1 - Quarter 3 Performance Reporting pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To review the attached 2023/24 Quarter 3 Corporate Performance Report, due to the dependency on external organisations data on specific indicators as shown in the report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the Quarter 3, September– December 2023, Corporate Performance Report.

The Committee

  •  · received assurance that in relation to
  • CPP026 Waste Programme,  the ordering of Vehicles was on track for  February 2024.
  • Overall customer satisfaction, the stock levels of bin containers had not been maintained and this had resulted in delays to delivery, missed collection performance had improved, and liaison on these issues  with the contactor continued.  The current contract contained penalties when needed and conditions in relation to the end of the contract and transfer to the new service.
  • Contingency was included for the mobilisation of the new waste service.
  • Homelessness Approaches had increased and this was reflected in the number of households in Temporary accommodation. Changes in the allocation policy had mitigated some the impact. Funding for rough sleeping, was being used to look at root causes. Actions to address this issue included work with Strategic Health Partners, and a North Essex Council’s collective housing summit.
  • There had been an increase in the memberships for sports club memberships in January 2024.
  • Planning applications, target were statutory targets minor and other applications were below target in part due to staff shortages. The Committee were advised that a new service manager, Graham Courtney had been appointed and the Planning Advisory Services would be carrying out a review. This would be reported back in due course.
  • Waste Data was not available from Essex County Council this would be circulated as soon as available.

 

Action:

Waste data to be circulated when available.

 

Resolved:

The Committee considered and commented on the Quarter 3 Performance Report.

 

 

59.

Quarter 3 Budget Monitoring Report 2023/24

Report to follow.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Section 151 officer advised the committee that the Quarter 3 report was not available and this would be presented at the next Overview & scrutiny meeting .

 

60.

Draft Budget 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider and comment on the proposed Budget for 2024/5. Note appendix Fii to is a restricted report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor J Philip, Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder advised the Committee that 52 acres of land at North Weald Airfield had been sold to Google for the potential development of a new data centre campus. The impact on the budget had not been factored into the report and he reminded members of the Committee that the structural deficit would not be solved by selling assets.

 

A Small, Section 151 Officer and Corporate Director, provided detail on the budget report and advised the Committee that the views expressed at the joint meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet on the 12 December 2023, had been reflected in whole, or in part, in the draft budget presented.   The development of the budget had been challenging and £3.5m of savings had been identified to provide a provisional balanced revenue position.

 

Cabinet had considered the draft budget proposals for 2024/25 on 18 December 2023, and the full Cabinet report had been provided to the Committee as appendices to the report. This  included the revenue and capital proposals for both the General Fund and Housing Revenue Account, a schedule of suggested Fees and Charges and an updated Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) covering the financial years 2024/25 through to 2028/29.

 

The Committee

·         welcomed the news and opportunities that the sale of land in North Waled Airfield could bring to the district.

·         agreed on the necessity to have a balanced budget.

·         received confirmation that the housing benefit payment was paid to the Council  directly from central government.

·         raised concerns on the impact across the district of the 25% reduction in annual SLA with EF Citizens Advice and Voluntary Action Epping Forest and suggested as minimum the date of the saving could be reprofiled and delayed.

·         suggested the reduction in the Youth Council project monies, could impact on their success.

·         commented that previous decisions in relation to the instigation of Qualis, the commercial approach to rent review and the development of Epping Forest Shopping Park, had a positive impact on  the current revenue position.

 

Councillor J Philip, Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder acknowledged the comments from the Overview & scrutiny Committee.

 

Action: A detailed breakdown of ‘other contributions’ in the 2024/25 General Fund Budget Evolution Table would be forwarded to the Committee.

 

Resolved:

That the Committee provided comments on the draft budget to Cabinet.

 

 

61.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Work Programme pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Progress towards the achievement of the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is reviewed at each meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

The Committee noted the Work Programme.

 

 

62.

Chairmen to Report on their Select Committee Business pdf icon PDF 113 KB

(Chairmen of the Select Committees) To report to the meeting on progress against achievement of the current work programmeand any recommendations for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr A Patel advised the Committee that at the meeting on 16 January 2024. the Communities Scrutiny Committee had considered and commented on several key items. The importance of The HRA Business Plan, The Draft Condensation Strategy, the Damp and Mould Policy and the the Home Ownership Strategy 2023/24 to 2028/29 was acknowledged, and all were commended to Cabinet for approval.   Qualis Property Solutions provided the 2023/4 end of year performance and business update.  The work programme had progressed as planned.

Members were remined that the Communities Scrutiny Meeting on 19 March 2024 was dedicated to Community Safety Partnership.

 

Cllr H Kane,  advised the Committee there was no update as the Place Scrutiny Committee schedule for 9 January 2024 had been  cancelled.

 

63.

Cabinet Business pdf icon PDF 118 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.

 

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:

  • were advised the Leader’s report ‘Fit for the Future’ for Cabinet on 5 February 2024 was an outline of a transformation programme that would engage with members.

 

  • noted and welcomed the pre- scrutiny of the items on the Forward Plan.

 

  • were advised to contact the elections team to access information on polling districts in the new wards and the polling stations that would be used.

 

 

Resolved:

That the Committee reviewed the Executive’s Forward Plan of Key Decisions.

 

 

64.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

Democratic & Electoral Services Team 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

11 – Appendix Fii

Draft Budget 2024/25

3

 

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 Team 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:

 

Resolved:

 

That in accordance with 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

Item 11 Appendices A (Annex 2) and Fii

Budget Proposals 2024/25

3

 

 

a)    The Committee commented on specific items as detailed in Appendices A (Annex 2) and Fii to Agenda item 11, Draft Budget 2024/25.   Councillor J Philip (Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder) responded and advised the Committee that their comments would be given due consideration.

Resolved:

That the Committee considered and commented on the Draft Budget 2024/5.