Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: https://www.tendringdc.gov.uk/livemeetings

Contact: Keith Simmons Email:  democraticservices@tendringdc.gov.uk or Telephone  01255 686580

Items
No. Item

11.

Chairman for the meeting.

Minutes:

In the absence of the Chairman of the Committee (Councillor Skeels), the Chair was occupied by the Vice-Chairman (Councillor Chittock).

12.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

The Committee is asked to note any apologies for absence and substitutions received from Members.

Minutes:

Councillor Skeels sent his apologies (no substitute).

13.

Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, held on Monday 30 November 2020

Minutes:

The Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on Monday 30 November 2020 were approved as a correct record and were then signed by the Chairman.

14.

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.

 

Minutes:

There were none on this occasion.

15.

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.

 

Minutes:

On this occasion no Councillor had submitted notice of a question.

16.

Report of Head of Strengthening Communities at Essex County Council. - A.1 - Social Isolation and Mental Health. pdf icon PDF 233 KB

The purpose of this paper is:

 

a)    to set out what we are currently doing to address social isolation as a key component to tackling mental illness;

b)    how we’re responding to the amplified need, specifically for key cohorts who have become increasing isolated due to COVID and its restrictions, both through formal support and building resilience; and

c)    to seek the views of HWB members as to where and what the gaps are in our approach, and the consider what remedies are available.

 

Minutes:

Summary of Issue

 

The Committee heard how the impact of social isolation and loneliness on an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing were well known. Social isolation had been recognised as a risk factor for suicide with an increased risk of depression, low self-esteem, reported sleep problems and increased stress response. Loneliness was considered to have an adverse impact on the condition of the heart and was a strong predictor of premature death, with people who were lonely more likely to be readmitted to hospital, had longer stays and more visits to GPs or A&E.

 

The Impact of COVID on social isolation and loneliness

 

The Committee also heard that the COVID pandemic had posed significant health risks to the District’s population; however, the risk to health outcomes extended beyond the clinical risk of COVID. The socio-economic and lifestyle factors that influenced health outcomes had also been adversely disrupted during the pandemic.

 

Members were informed that COVID had also amplified and increased the pace at which cohorts of people who would traditionally be at risk of social isolation were impacted, but also it had created a new group of people who had become increasingly anxious about the disease itself and the impact on their life. These included parents who had become increasingly isolated either due to financial impacts or the absence of informal connections through schools; people whose employment had changed through furlough, working at home or unemployment; and the recently bereaved who had been unable to have the normal in-person connections that would have supported them during that difficult time.

 

There would also be a generation of children and young people who had been adversely affected by the pandemic and that would likely have long term impacts for their emotional wellbeing, educational outcomes and longer-term economic wellbeing.

 

It was reported to the Committee that the Essex Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018 – 2022 identified social isolation and loneliness a key priority. A whole system approach had been mobilised in 2019 designed to connect resources across the system.

 

The key aims were:

 

·         Communities had a better understanding of the impact of loneliness and how to help each other.

·         There was a range of community led support to prevent and reduce loneliness and build capacity to support people to live well.

·         People who were lonely, or at risk of loneliness were recognised and could access local information and support to live well.

·         People with complex needs could access support to reduce loneliness and feel part of their local community.

 

This approach included:

 

·         Commissioned services addressing social isolation and loneliness as part of their wider response to improve independence. There were a range of ECC commissioned services that delivered specialist services to support people, promoted wellbeing and helped them to gain/regain independence, those included the Essex Children and Family Wellbeing Service, Alzheimer’s Society - Dementia, Carers First - carers, ECL - sensory, Summit – Learning Disabilities and Autism, Futures in Mind – mental health to name but a few. Beyond  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Report of the Assistant Director of Environment and Housing. - A.2 - Mitigation Measures for Impact of Public Firework Displays pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To provide an update on the current position in respect of Councillor Sue Honeywood’s motion to Council on 21st January 2020 in respect of public firework displays. Councillor Honeywood’s motion was considered at this Committee on 28 September 2020 and discussed at Full Council in November 2020 when a further review by this Committee was requested.

 

Minutes:

 

Further to both Minute 12 of the meeting of the Committee held on 28 September 2020 and Minute 24 of the meeting of the Full Council held on 24 November 2020 the Committee heard that in terms of the previous request to Council in Councillor Sue Honeywood’s motion on this matter the Council had no legal enforcement powers to undertake that work and so any request to organisers would be for them to comply with on a voluntary basis only.

 

-       Advertising Events - the Council had no powers to require organisers of public events to advertise their event prior to it occurring.  However, by their very nature public events were routinely advertised in order to ensure that they had a sufficient attendance and on that basis nearby residents were also likely to be aware.  In addition, where the organisers of an event attended the Safety Advisory Group and where potential disturbance to neighbours was likely to occur, for example through fireworks or the provision of music, then advice was given to the organisers to contact neighbours to make them aware However, that advice could not be enforced. 

 

-       Animal disturbance – It was reported that in the last year there had been a number of complaints in terms of fireworks potentially distressing animals (such as horses) and on that basis that an event should not take place.  Reference was made to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which, under section 4, made it an offence to cause an animal to suffer.   On the basis that any individual could set off fireworks at their property as a private individual and it was not regarded as an offence in terms of neighbours’ pets, the relative infrequency of major public events which tended to operate in early November or on significant dates, and the lack of specific legislation which banned public firework events it was not considered an offence by an event organiser to hold a firework event.

 

Other Actions

 

The Committee also heard that as per the motion as previously approved by Full Council, the Council could determine whether it wished to run a publicity campaign in relation to fireworks. Both the timing of the campaign and content would need to be considered to ensure an effective message was provided at the correct time.

 

An event proposed within Tendring in November 2020 had been subsequently cancelled due to a social media campaign, originally in terms of distress to animals, which had then developed and resulted in personal threats to the event organiser and potential threats to anyone who attended the event.  Therefore any message provided needed to be balanced, highlighted what was permitted but also encouraged achievement of high standards. Within that campaign the benefits of quieter fireworks could also be identified.  However, that would only be on a voluntary basis by event organisers.

 

The Council had a presence on social media sites for disseminating advice and information which had been found to be effective in reaching significant numbers of people in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Report of the Leader of the Council. - A.3 - Priority for 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:

Minutes:

The Committee heard how the Council had previously approved a Corporate Plan for 2020/24 and that it had established Council’s strategic direction for those four years.  That strategic direction itself sought to reflect the issues that mattered most to local people, the national requirements from Government and the challenges that faced the District over that time period.  The Corporate Plan had been adopted unanimously at the Council meeting held on 21 January 2020 (Minute 78 referred). 

 

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

 

Members were informed that Cabinet established each year its priority actions to deliver against the Corporate Plan and thereby ensured that the ambition of that Plan remained central to its work. The priority actions did 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 it was right to focus on in that year.

 

Members also heard that 2020 had been an exceptional year not only nationally but globally. The Council’s Community Leadership role had never been more important.  The Council had taken on additional responsibilities and supported its residents and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whilst Tendring District Council had not formally reported on its performance against its priorities during 2020, much had been 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 supported businesses to survive but prepared to help them flourish.

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

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

·         Business continuity arrangements had immediately been 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 had been found sound by the Planning Inspectorate thereby 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 had ensured democratic decision making continued throughout.

·         Council had adopted a Corporate Housing Strategy in order 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 had been introduced to assist in reducing homelessness and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Report of the Corporate Finance & Governance Portfolio Holder. - A.4 - Protocol for Cabinet and Overview & Scrutiny Roles pdf icon PDF 239 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:

Minutes:

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

 

Section 2 of the Government’s Statutory Guidance referred to Culture and expressly stated that:-

 

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 heard that the Guidance recommended an ‘executive-scrutiny protocol’ which helped define the relationship between the two arms of the organisation, dealt with the practical expectations of scrutiny committee members and the Executive, as well as the cultural dynamics.  Councils should have considered adopting a protocol, e.g. through formal agreement at both scrutiny committees and Cabinet, then a formal integration into the Council’s constitution.

 

The Committee also heard that the Council already had strong measures in place to demonstrate the openness of Cabinet being held to account and had introduced some time ago that Group Leaders of all political groups would have the right to attend Cabinet meetings and speak on agenda items although they were not able to vote.  The Terms of Reference of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee stated that the position of its Chairman and Vice-Chairman would normally be a Member of a political group not represented on the Cabinet.  Informal Group Leaders meeting were also held at which the Leader or Deputy Leader could share information on matters in advance of their going to Cabinet or other topics, which had proved particularly useful during the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Chief Executive also held regular All Member Briefings, at which Portfolio Holders had presented ideas on early strategies and policies for discussion. Furthermore the Deputy Leader chaired a Constitution Review Working Group, whose  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Scrutiny of Proposed Decisions pdf icon PDF 157 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.

Minutes:

The Committee NOTED the comments of the report.

21.

Recommendations Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 165 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.

Minutes:

The Committee NOTED the contents of the report.

22.

Review of the Work Programme pdf icon PDF 164 KB

 

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

Minutes:

The Committee NOTED the contents of the report.