To review the Committee’s work undertaken during the year 2021/22 and to seek the Committee’s approval to its draft programme of work for the 2022/23 year for recommendation to the Council meeting on 12 July 2022.
The Committee had before it a report of the Head of Democratic Services and Elections, which invited Members to consider a draft Work Programme for 2022/23 for recommendation to Council on 12 July 2022 and a review of the work that had been carried out in the Year 2021/22 in respect of Overview and Scrutiny.
The Committee was advised that, following Publication of the meeting’s agenda and reports, an email had been received from Cllr Davidson, in respect of potential Work Programme Items. This had been circulated at the meeting. Councillor Davidson wished to add the following items for consideration for Work Programme items in 2022/23:
· “Revisit home education. What progress has been made as to the governing and safeguarding?
· Revisit climate change and progress made.
· Revisit Monitoring child poverty, deprivation and child life expectancy. What progress and policies have been put into place?
· Tendring Homeless and the progress made.
· Housing stock/ social housing for larger families.”
The Committee was further provided with a draft Annual Report in respect of the scrutiny function in 2022/23. This was circulated to the Committee at the meeting. It had been prepared in conjunction with the Chairmen of the two Overview and Scrutiny Committees of the Council. The Committee was advised that this report was a reflection of the last year of Scrutiny within this Committee and the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Committee was invited to comment on what it wanted to see reflected in the Annual Report and that this report would go to Full Council on 12 July 2022 (with the Work Programme).
In respect of the Work Programme 2022/23, the Head of Democratic Services and Elections advised the Committee that it had before them comments and suggestions by the public and various other stakeholders on what they would like to enquire into. Some of those thoughts included focusing on measure to regenerate Clacton Town Centre and looking back at health and education enquiries.
The process of developing the Work Programme for 2022/23 had involved;
· Requests to all District Councillors for items – dated 3 May 2022
· Requests to Cabinet Members – dated 3 May 2022
· Requests to Parish Town Councils for items – dated 3 May 2022
· A press release and social media posts inviting ideas on 4 May 2022
· Council staff invited to suggest items on 13 May 2022
· A meeting between the Leader, Deputy Leader, Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive, Head of Democratic Services and Elections and the two Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen to explore ideas – held on 17 May 2022
· Training on 25 May 2022 for Councillors on using approaches such as Task and Finish Groups, briefing papers, enquiry days, standing panels , when undertaking Overview and Scrutiny enquiries and reflecting this in its Work Programme.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the requirements of the Council’s constitution in developing, and seeking approval for, its Work Programme proposals.
The Committee was directed to two suggestions for the work programme. The first picked up an enquiry that was set to be undertaken in 2021/22 in respect of the Jaywick Sands-holistic review. The Committee was reminded that this item was not pursued at the time because of the developing Jaywick Sands Place Plan. It was suggested by the Head of Democratic Services and Elections that now that the Place Plan for Jaywick Sands was underway and would be out for consultation, the Committee may wish to revisit this item. The other suggestion was an enquiry into the elements of the Tendring Colchester Border Garden Community. This picked up on concerns previously expressed that this should be scrutinised.
The Committee was advised to take notice to leave space within the Work Programme 2022/23 for any issues that arise during the year and (when setting its work programme) to consider the capacity to undertake a variety of areas for scrutiny in this year.
One option open to the Committee would be to submit to Council on 12 July 2022 initial the areas for scrutiny in 2022/23. Following that Council meeting the Committee could meet again (perhaps informally initially) in order to further identify areas for scrutiny taking into account of the suggestions submitted and others that may be made. The Head of Democratic Services and Elections suggested to the Committee that in order to review the suggestions that had been received there were discussions around creating a small working party in order to achieve this.
When the Committee does further prioritise enquiries for 2022/23, a member made reference to the acronym SWAM which meant that an enquiry should be specific, workable, achievable and meaningful.
The Committee considered the proposals for work programme items from stakeholders.
It was RESOLVED;
1. that an informal meeting of the Committee be arranged following the Council meeting on 12 July 2022 to further consider prioritisation of enquiries to be included in the 2022/23 Work Programme taking into account the suggestions of stakeholders including those from Councillor Davidson circulated at this meeting.
2. that the Head of Democratic Services and Elections be authorised, following consultation with the Chairman of this Committee and the Chairman of the Resources and Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to finalise the Annual Report on the scrutiny function (in time to submit it Full Council on 12 July 2022). Members of the Committee were invited to pass comments on the draft report to the Head of Democratic Services and Elections over the next few days.
It was RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND to FULL COUNCIL that:
1. The Work Programme set out at Appendix A to these Minutes be approved on the understanding that further enquiries would be added to these following further prioritisation by the Committee subsequent to the meeting of Council on 12 July 2022.
2. That the Annual Report 2021/22 on the scrutiny function, as finalised in accordance with the delegation from this Committee, be approved.