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Apologies for Absence and Substitutions
The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.
There were no absences or substitutions.
To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on 21 September 2020.
The Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Monday 21 September 2020 were approved as a correct record and were then signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Personal Interest, and the nature of it, in relation to any item on the agenda.
Councillor Bray declared an interest for the public record in regards to Housing as hewas a Council tenant.
Councillors Stephenson, Allen, Scott and Barry all declared an interest for the public record in regards to Business Grants as they were all involved in organisations that had received them.
Questions on Notice pursuant to Council Procedure Rule 38
Subject to providing two working days' notice, a Member of the Committee may ask the Chairman of the Committee a question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the Tendring District and which falls within the terms of reference of the Committee.
On this occasion no Councillor had submitted notice of a question.
To update the Committee on the progress of works to office buildings. Complimentary reports will be made in relation to IT, customer and human resources initiatives within the programme.
It was reported to the Committee that in December 2016 Cabinet had approved a proposal to make major changes to the Council’s office services and accommodation. In September 2017 the Chief Executive (Ian Davidson) had subsequently signed off a detailed business case for a package of measures aimed at four main areas of modernisation:
The report focussed on the progress of works to office buildings. Complimentary reports would be made in relation to IT, customer service and human resources initiatives within the programme.
Progress on office facilities is as follows:
The Committee was then asked to consider passing the following resolution:
“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of an element of agenda item number 5 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act”.
The Chairman read out the following statement for the benefit of the press and public:
“It is unusual to discuss items to an Overview and Scrutiny Committee without the press and public being able to sit in and observe. However, there are rare occasions when we deal with a restricted number of items, when it is necessary to exclude the press and public. Councillors will be looking at those items here. For instance, what the council be expected to receive in payment for a plot of land it owns. We want the council to get the best price and we do not want to jeopardise this by discussing the price in public so that the best offers that are potentially provided aren’t raised up or down.
Once we have discussed these points we will readmit the press and public for the remainder of the meeting. For this meeting, this means the live stream will be temporarily paused until we reconvene in public.
Thank you for your understanding”.
It was then moved by Councillor Bray, seconded by Councillor Scott and:-
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of part of Agenda Item 5 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A, as amended, of the Act.
Following the discussions in private referred to above the press and public were re-admitted to the meeting.
Following further discussions of the report it was RESOLVED ... view the full minutes text for item 94.
Transformation Agenda of the Council – and delivery against it. Staff (flexible working, home working and productivity).
The Chairman informed the Committee that he had deferred consideration ofthis item until a special meeting of the Resource and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be held on the 3rd December 2020.
Report of Chairman (Resource and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee) - A.3 - Review of Reserves and Provisions
The Chairman will give a verbal report in relation to his meeting with the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance as scheduled for 9 November 2020.
The Chairman gave an oral update in relation to the Review of Reserves and Provisions.
The Committee heard the Chairman had held a meeting with Councillor C Guglielmi (Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance) to discuss the Council’s reserves, provisions and one off carry forwards, though at the time of that meeting the list was still pending. The Chairman also told the Committee that the Council’s External Auditors had asked questions about the value of money for holding in reserves and provisions, as well as one off carry forwards, with defined delivery utilisation of those sums.
The Chairman informed the Committee that there would be another meeting with the Portfolio Holder, to be scheduled before the Budget meeting in January, where this list would be discussed, and that this list would be forwarded to the Committee on the 17th of November 2020.
It was RESOLVED that the Committee noted the contents of the update.
Report of the Deputy Leader, (Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance) - A.4 - Financial Performance Report - In Year Performance Against the Budget at End of the Second Quarter 2020/21 and Long Term Financial Forecast Update. PDF 320 KB
So the Committee can review the report of the Deputy Leader provided to Cabinet in relation to an overview of the Council’s financial position against the budget as at the end of September 2020 and to present an updated long term forecast.
The Committee considered a report, given to Cabinet on the 13th of November 2020 (minute 87 referred), in relation to an overview of the Council’s financial position against the budget as at the end of September 2020 and to present an updated long term forecast.
The report was split over two distinct sections as follows:
1) The Council’s in-year financial position against the budget at the end of September 2020
2) An updated long term financial forecast
In respect of the in-year financial position at the end of September 2020:
· A half year treasury management review had been carried out with a summary set out later in the report along with an associated recommendation to temporarily increase the aggregate limit of funds that could be placed overnight with the Council’s bankers for the period that the ... view the full minutes text for item 97.
So the Committee can review the report of the Leader of the Council to Cabinet in relation to adopting a Council wide plan to support the District’s recovery from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and agree a number of short term actions in advance of a wider delivery plan being adopted.
The Committee considered a report, given to Cabinet on the 13th of November 2020 (minute 86 referred) in relation to Back to Business for Cabinet to adopt a Council wide plan to support the District’s recovery from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and agree a number of short term actions in advance of a wider delivery plan being adopted. That report highlighted that:-
· Covid-19 had significantly changed the way we work and live our lives, as well as impacting on the national and local Tendring economy. In its role as a community leader, the Council was committed to supporting the District’s recovery towards a brighter future;
· This Back to Business process would be targeted at improvements to the environment/quality of life and support for residents, businesses and wider local economy to recover from the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan would also focus on the Council and its services adapting to the challenges of the pandemic and long term planning for how services would operate moving forward.
Following Greater Essex moving into Tier 2
‘High Alert’ level for Covid and the subsequent announcement of a national
lockdown, this plan and impending delivery plan,
· This Back to Business plan set out the Council’s approach to supporting the District’s recovery from Covid-19 and included a number of short term projects, in advance of a wider action plan being brought forward to Cabinet. This agenda and the subsequent actions and projects brought forward were underpinned by the Council’s Corporate Plan;
· To ensure the Council had sufficient resources to support the delivery of its range of Back to Business actions and projects, it was proposed that a dedicated resource would be provided to deliver this plan. This resource would be tasked with bringing forward a wider Back to Business delivery plan, with a number of deliverable projects and actions. This would reflect feedback from the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the responses from Members following the associated All Member Briefing and subsequent requests from the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance.
After a short discussion it was RESOLVED that the Committee both notes that the development of a cost action plan is progressing and re-states the Committee’s intention to work with Cabinet to secure delivery of that action plan.
The report advises the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) of the work of the NEGC Joint Scrutiny Panel, to formally invite this OSC and the Community Leadership OSC to note that that the Joint Scrutiny Panel was being dissolved and to consider the recommendations of the Joint Scrutiny Panel in respect of governance of future Council controlled companies.
It was reported to Members that the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny Committee, at their respective meetings held on 29 July 2019 (Minute 15 referred) and 5 August 2019 had both approved that a joint scrutiny panel be established in order to scrutinise the work of the North Essex Garden Communities Limited (NEGC) and, in particular, its interim business plan and future business plans.
The membership of the Joint Scrutiny Panel had been delegated to the Chairmen of the two Overview and Scrutiny Committees to determine, subject to ratification by those two Overview and Scrutiny Committees. The following Members had been appointed to the Joint Scrutiny Panel:
Councillor M Stephenson (Chairman)
The Resource and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) had endorsed the above membership at its meeting on 14 October 2019 (Minute 28 referred). The Community Leadership OSC had also endorsed that Membership on 7 October 2019.
The Joint Scrutiny Panel had met three times as follows:
16 October 2019
12 February 2020
17 September 2020
The Committee heard that the Joint Scrutiny Panel had looked at the various responsibilities of the Council as community leader, shareholder of NEGC Ltd and having a Director of the Board of that Company. The inherent conflicts and the management of those conflict points were also mentioned.
The absolute importance of Part 1 of the Local Plan in the critical path for Garden Communities and NEGC Ltd (and any future delivery vehicle for the Communities) was referenced at the meetings. NEGC Ltd had been commissioned by the partner Councils (Braintree, Colchester, Essex and Tendring) to undertake work for those partner Councils to secure approval of Part 1 of their Local Plans.
While the process of adoption of the Local Plan was underway, the NEGC Ltd had developed interim business plans only. The Interim Business Plans for NEGC Ltd from 2018/19 and 2019/20 had been submitted to the Panel for its consideration.
It was reported to the Committee that the work of the Council’s Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer with their colleagues in the other partner Councils in respect of protecting the interests of this Council in relation to NEGC Ltd and the governance arrangements had been reflected upon.
The Panel had also looked briefly at possible future delivery vehicles for the Garden Communities.
Members were informed that across all meetings of the Joint Scrutiny Panel there was reference to best practice models for governance arrangements for Council controlled companies such as NEGC Ltd. In part that discussion was about what might be appropriate for the future development of governance around NEGC Ltd, but, also around future companies that the Council may have established or participated in where the Company was a Council controlled company.
At the Joint Scrutiny panel’s last meeting, it noted the decision of the North Essex Garden Communities Ltd Board on 6th July 2020 to take all the necessary steps ... view the full minutes text for item 99.
To present to the Committee the updated Recommendations Monitoring Report, outlining any recommendations the Committee have sent to Cabinet. The Committee is requested to consider the report and determine whether any further action is required on the recommendations submitted.
The Committee had before it the current Recommendations Monitoring Report. The Committee was aware that this report outlined any recommendations it had made to the Cabinet, the Cabinet’s responses thereto and any relevant updates.
The Committee heard that the recommendations from the Reference Report from the NEGC Ltd Joint Scrutiny Panel on the 16 November 2020 (Minute 99 referred) would be heard at Cabinet on the 18th of December 2020 and so following that meeting their response wouldbe reported back to the Committee.
Pursuant to the provisions of Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 13, the Committee will review any new and/or amended published forthcoming decisions relevant to its terms of reference and decide whether it wishes to enquire into any such decision before it is taken.
Matters may only be raised on those forthcoming decisions at Committee meetings where the Member has notified the Committee Services Manager in writing (or by personal email) of the question they wish to ask, no later than Midday, two working days before the day of the meeting.
The Committee heard that there were 4 items which all related to Housing and it was advised that these issues would be addressed at the Committee’s meeting on the 1st of February 2020 as the focus of this meeting would be on Housing matters.
The proposed decisions in question related to:-
1. Future booking of a temporary accommodation hostel in Clacton
2. Recharge Policy for Council Tenants and Leaseholders
3. Decant Policy
4. Alterations and Improvements Policy for Council Tenants and Leaseholders
It was RESOLVED that the Committee noted the foregoing.
To present to the Committee a draft detailed Work Programme 2020/21, to consider the detail and ordering of the Work Programme.
The Committee had before it the Work Programme 2019/20 that outlined the scrutiny to be undertaken by this Committee in the remainder of that Municipal Year.
After some deliberation it was RESOLVED that:
1. The Committee would hold a special meeting on the 3rd of December to look at the Transformation items in relation to IT, Customer Services and Staffing.