Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Keith Simmons Email: or Telephone  01255 686580

No. Item


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.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Thursday 14 January 2020.


The Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Thursday 14 January 2021 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.



There were no declarations of interest.


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.


Report of the Head of Housing Growth at Essex County Council. - A.1 - Developing an ECC housing strategy pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To provide an update to the Committee on the progress to develop and Essex County Council Housing Strategy. The attached material was presented to the County Council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Policy & Scrutiny Committee on 21 January 2021. This item has been included to assist the Committee to frame its discussion of the matters at item 6. 



The Head of Housing Growth at Essex County Council shared his report on Essex County Councils Housing strategy with the Committee.


After a detailed discussion relating to the topic of the Housing Strategy the Committee thanked Lee Healy (Head of Housing Growth) for his attendance and his insights into the matter and his reported noted.




Report of the Assistant Director for Housing and Environment. - A.2 - Update on Housing. pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To examine the intended Housing Acquisition Strategy – to assess right to buy numbers, values, type and age of housing and impact on the risk appetite for Council house building.  Plus to consider the progress deliberations around a Pension Provider providing a lease-back housing development. The meeting will also examine the use of Community Infrastructure Levy/section 106 funds to provide facilities/services and infrastructure.


In addition the report also provides an update on the councils voids position.




Housing Acquisition and Development Strategy


The Committee heard how the strategy was adopted by Cabinet in October 2020 and set out a framework around which the council owned housing stock would be increased to achieve a target of 200 additional homes. The strategy was appended to this report for ease of reference.


Right to Buy


Members were informed that when added to the housing stock held within the Council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) the impacts of right to buy have to be taken into consideration and factored into the financial planning.


Right to Buy numbers over the last five years were shown in the table below:



Number of properties

Av. Discount (£)

Total discount (£ loss)






















8 to date




The total discount figure was essentially the financial loss to the HRA compared to the market value of the properties sold. Sales peaked in 2017/18 and had now returned to a lower level. The addition of newer and more desirable properties to our housing stock could have led to an increase in sales.


The current maximum discount was £84,200 or £112,300 if you lived in London.


Houses: Discounts started at 35% when you have been a public sector tenant for three years and the discount remained at 35% until five years spent as a public sector tenant. After year five, the discount went up by 1% for every year up until a maximum of 70% or £84,200 across England (excluding London) whichever was the lower.


Flats: Discounts started at 50% for three years as a public sector tenant and remained at 50% until five years spent as a public tenant. After year five, the discount went up by 2% for every year until a maximum of 70% or £84,200


Cost floor rule

Discount could be reduced by the ‘cost floor’ rule. That may apply if the property had recently been purchased or built by a landlord or they had spent money on repairing or maintaining it. Discount could be reduced to nil if the cost floor was more than the value.


It was reported to the Committee that the cost floor period for council properties was either a 10 year period prior to receipt of the RTB application form or 15 years if the home was built or acquired by the Council after 2 April 2012


That meant that a house bought through right to buy after year 15 could subject the HRA to a loss of over £80k.


Extending the cost floor to 30 years would alleviate that risk and put the Council onto a much lower risk position.  Officers had discussed that with representatives from MHCLG however it required a change of government policy and legislation so at the time all decisions around acquisitions and development had to be taken on the basis of the current 15 year cost floor.


Leaseback Housing Development


The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 123.


Report of the Leader of the Council. - A.3 - Priority of actions 2021/22 and monitoring delivery of those actions. pdf icon PDF 139 KB

So the Committee can review the report of the Leader of the Council to Cabinet in relation to inviting Cabinet to determine its provisional key priority actions for 2021/22 and the means by which performance against the priorities will be monitored and reported on in that year.  Cabinet is further invited to approve that consultation on these key priority actions and the performance monitoring proposals be undertaken with the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  The outcome of the consultation would then be reported to Cabinet on 19 March 2021.

Additional documents:


It was reported to the Committee that the Council approved a Corporate Plan for 2020/24 and that established its strategic direction for those four years.  That strategic direction itself sought to reflect the issues that matter most to local people, the national requirements from Government and the challenges that face the District over that time period.  The Corporate Plan was adopted unanimously at the Council meeting on 21 January 2020 (Minute 78 refers). 


The themes of the 2020/24 Corporate Plan were:

·         Delivering High Quality Services

·         Building Sustainable Communities for the Future

·         Strong Finance and Governance

·         Community Leadership through Partnerships

·         A Growing and Inclusive Economy


Cabinet established each year its priority actions to deliver against the Corporate Plan and thereby ensure that the ambition of that Plan was central to its work. The priority actions do not cover every separate element of the ambition of the four year Corporate Plan; nor were they intended to indicate that other projects, schemes or activities were not being pursued.  They were though intended to reflect imperatives across the Council and for the District and actions that that was right to focus on in that year.


Members heard that 2020 was an exceptional year not only nationally but globally.  In Tendring our Community Leadership role had never been more important.  Working with our members we took on additional responsibilities in supporting our residents and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whilst Tendring District Council did not formally report on its performance against priorities during 2020, much was achieved including but not limited to:


·         The roll out of numerous grants in excess of £38million to businesses

·         The adoption of a local Back to Business Agenda which not only supports businesses to survive but preparing to help them flourish.

·         An Economic Growth Strategy focusing on recovery for the future.

·         Allocation of monies from the Tendring Community Fund to Ward Councillors to provide grants to local organisations to enable them to respond to the pandemic locally.

·         Business continuity arrangements immediately being invoked to ensure Council services remained in place where they were able to do so and for those services impacted by the various lockdowns, staff were redeployed to work with different teams in response to the pandemic, such as the Community Hub.

·         Adoption of a Climate Change Action Plan to meet the Council’s aspirations towards the Climate Emergency.

·         Section 1 of the Local Plan was found sound by the Planning Inspectorate establishing the 5 year housing supply of 550 dwellings per annum, a North Essex vision and the Garden Community at Tendring Colchester Borders

·         A balanced budget and revised governance arrangements to ensure democratic decision making continued throughout.

·         Getting ready to build or acquire new council homes. We adopted a Corporate Housing Strategy to deliver homes to meet the needs of local people, making the best use of and improving existing housing and supporting people in their homes and communities.  Separate strategies and polices were introduced to assist reducing homeless and rough sleeping in the district, providing financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 124.


Report of the Corporate Finance & Governance Portfolio Holder. - A.4 - Protocol for Cabinet and Overview & Scrutiny Roles. pdf icon PDF 240 KB

So the Committee can review the report of the Corporate Finance & Governance Portfolio Holder to Cabinet in relation to the approval of the draft Protocol for Cabinet and Overview and Scrutiny roles, which has been produced following consultation undertaken with the Chairman of the relevant Committees and Portfolio Holders for recommendation onto the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and full Council for adoption and incorporation into the Council’s Constitution.

Additional documents:


It was reported to Members that in May 2019, Statutory Guidance was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in May 2019 on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities.  The Council in operating as Leader and Executive Governance Model must have regard to it when exercising their functions and should be followed unless there was a good reason not to in a particular case.  The Guidance was attached as Appendix A to that Report.


Section 2 of the Government’s Statutory Guidance refered to Culture and expressly states


The prevailing organisational culture, behaviours and attitudes of an authority will largely determine whether its scrutiny function succeeds or fails. 


While everyone in an authority can play a role in creating an environment conducive to effective scrutiny, it is important that this is led and owned by members, given their role in setting and maintaining the culture of an authority.


Creating a strong organisational culture supports scrutiny work that can add real value by, for example, improving policy-making and the efficient delivery of public services.  In contrast, low levels of support for and engagement with the scrutiny function often lead to poor quality and ill-focused work that serves to reinforce the perception that it is of little worth or relevance.


Members and senior officers should note that the performance of the scrutiny function is not just of interest to the authority itself. Its effectiveness, or lack thereof, is often considered by external bodies such as regulators and inspectors, and highlighted in public reports. Failures in scrutiny can therefore help to create a negative public image of the work of an authority as a whole.”


The Committee was informed that the guidance recommended an ‘executive-scrutiny protocol’ to help define the relationship between the two arms of the organisation, dealing with the practical expectations of scrutiny committee members and the Executive, as well as the cultural dynamics.  Councils should consider adopting a protocol, e.g. formal agreement at scrutiny committees and Cabinet, then formal integration into the Council’s constitution.


The Council already had strong measures in place to demonstrate the openness of Cabinet being held to account and introduced some time ago that Group Leaders of all political groups would have the right to attend Cabinet meetings, speaking on agenda items although not being able to vote.  The Terms of Reference of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee state that the position of Chairman and Vice-Chairman will normally be a Member of a political group not represented on the Cabinet.  Informal Group Leaders meetings are also held at which the Leader or Deputy Leader can share information in advance of going to Cabinet or other topics, which proved particularly useful during the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Chief Executive holds regular All Member Briefings, at which Portfolio Holders had presented ideas on early strategies and policies for discussion. And furthermore the Deputy Leader chairs a Constitution Review Working Group, whose membership was made up by all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 125.


Scrutiny of Proposed Decisions pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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 Members had before them a list of 31 decisions since 12 November 2020. The Committee noted the contents of the report.


Recommendations Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 285 KB

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 Members had before them the current Recommendations Monitoring Report. The Committee was aware that the report outlined any recommendations it had made to the Cabinet, the Cabinet’s responses thereto and any relevant updates.


The Committed noted the contents of the report.


Review of the Work Programme pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To present to the Committee a draft detailed Work Programme 2020/21, to consider the detail and ordering of the Work Programme.


The Committee has noted that has five items to add to its work programme and have decided to adjourn this discussion until the meeting in March, at which the Chairman has requested that it is the first item on the agenda.