(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 the Overview and Scrutiny Committee 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.
The Chief Executive presented the Work Programme for the Overview & Scrutiny Committee for 2020/21.
The Chief Executive suggested that the Council’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery should be added to the Work Programme as a standing item, which the Committee agreed. In addition, the Committee agreed that the other standing items on the Work Programme should remain in situ for the coming municipal year.
In respect of the items listed for the next meeting in July, a number of the Committee felt that the Local High Streets Task & Finish Panel should continue and be considering the longer term viability of the local High Streets; it should not be subsumed by the newly created Portfolio Advisory Group for Covid-19 Recovery. The Chief Executive advised the Committee that it was important to ensure that the work of the two Groups was aligned and work was not being duplicated. Cllr S Murray also opined that, whilst the work of the Task & Finish Panel was important, the same Officers were probably involved in the Portfolio Holder Advisory Group which should take priority at the current time. The Chairman reminded the Committee that this item could be discussed in detail at the next meeting.
In respect of the items listed for the remaining meetings in the municipal year, it was noted that the Work Programme was lighter than in previous years but the Committee did have five standing items on the Work Programme. The Chairman highlighted that other issues would arise throughout the year, and the Committee felt that a lighter Work Programme would provide flexibility for later in the year.
The Chairman observed that the planned external scrutiny of the Epping Forest Sixth Form Consortium had been carried forward on the Work Programme for some years now, and requested the Committee to consider whether it should be removed. Cllr S Murray, who had initially raised this item, stated that legally the Sixth Forms were operating as a consortium, but in reality they were operating as four independent Sixth Forms with a degree of co-operation. In addition, not all of the Sixth Forms throughout the District were part of the Consortium either. Given the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Committee agreed that this item was not a priority currently, and it should be moved to the Reserve List.
The Committee also agreed that the other item on the Reserve Programme List – external scrutiny of Essex County Council Children’s Services – should remain there for the time being.
The Vice-Chairman suggested it might be useful to undertake external scrutiny of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium. Cllr A Lion gave the Committee a very brief summary of the work of the Consortium and advised that it would be useful for the Committee to receive an update from the Director. The Committee noted that this item could also be linked to Covid-19 Recovery issues, as well as carbon emissions. Cllr N Bedford informed the Committee that Councillors could register to receive a regular update issued by the Consortium. The Committee agreed to add this item to the Work Programme at a future date to be agreed with the Consortium.
(1) That Covid-19 Response and Recovery be added to the Work Programme as an additional standing item;
(2) That the item concerning the external scrutiny of the Epping Forest Sixth Form Consortium be moved to the Reserve Programme List at the current time;
(3) That external scrutiny of the London-Stansted-Cambridge Consortium be added to the Work Programme; and
(4) That, revised as agreed above, the current Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme for 2020/21 be noted.