Agenda item

The report provides the Committee with an update on its approved Work Programme for 2022/23 (including progress with enquiries set out in its Work Programme), feedback to the Committee on the decisions in respect of previous recommendations from the Committee in respects of enquiries undertaken and a list of forthcoming decisions for which notice has been given since publication of the agenda for the Committee’s last meeting.


The report also provides an update of the current position on the development of the work programme for 2023/24. This Committee is specifically invited to submit a proposed Work Programme to the meeting of Council on 11 July 2023 for consideration.



The Committee heard an update on the Work Programme item from the Head of Democratic Services and Elections (Keith Simmons).


The Work Programme


In considering the Work Programme of enquiries, the Committee regarded the Corporate Plan 2020-24 and the themes of that Corporate Plan were:


·         Delivering High Quality Services

·         Building Sustainable Communities

·         Strong Finances and Governance

·         A Growing and Inclusive Economy

·         Community Leadership through Partnerships


The Committee was made aware that the Corporate Plan for 2024-28 was currently being worked on and provisions would have to reviewed once the new Plan was adopted.


An invitation had been sent to Councillors on 16 May 2023 asking for their input into the development of both Overview and Scrutiny Committees Work Programmes.


Responses were received from Councillors that included the following suggestions in relation to this Committee:


·         Essex Highways – The state of roads and pavements

·         Essex Highways- Public right of ways

·         Education – SEND provision


A meeting with the Chairman of the Committee was held on Tuesday 20 June 2023 at which time suggestions set out in Appendix D.


A meeting of the Committees Chairman with the Chairman of the Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Councils Leader and their Deputy Leader was held on 20 June 2023 by virtue of the Cabinet-Scrutiny Protocol of the Council.


The Committee agreed upon the following items to be included in its draft Work Programme 2023/24 and submitted to Full Council for consideration (each item included the more detailed scope of the enquiries).


·         Active Essex/Sport England Local Delivery Pilot – Off agenda briefing note

·         Policy on Events on Council Land

·         Crime and Disorder

·         School Age Education provision – Task and Finish

·         NHS Dentistry

·         Mainstream and community transport provision -Task and Finish Group

·         Health Inequalities – Off Agenda Briefing Note

·         On Street Parking Arrangements in the District – January Committee


After a short debate the Committee RESOLVED that:


a)    the Committees Work Programme (as set out at Appendix D) to the report be approved and recommended to Council on 11 July 2023 for adoption.


b)    To authorise officers subject to the recommendation in a) above being appropriate, in consultation with the Committee Chairman, to formally constitute and appoint members to a Task and Finish Group to undertake the overview and scrutiny enquiry into ‘Council Enforcement Arrangements’.


The Committee discussed the value of inviting to each of the next meeting of the Committee, the Portfolio Holder for Partnerships to address it on the focus for their Portfolio. The suggestion gained broad agreement from the Members of the Committee. In the debate on this item the opportunity to obtain update on “County Lines” (and measures to disrupt them) as part of the Committees consideration of crime and disorder. The Committee members considered that the opportunity to visit the Police Station as part of the preparation for the Crime and Disorder enquiry should be pursued.


In respect of the enquiry into school aged education provision, there may be a need to consider interim reports around mental health and absenteeism ahead o the finalised report. The opportunity for this enquiry to look at the experience of the Great Bently School Mental Health Hub regulation in the area of home schooling and the position concerning “forgotten” children was commented upon.


The Chairman explained the importance for all enquires (including those from Task and Finish Groups) to identify strong evidence-based recommendations.


The Committee was reminded of the schooling of its meeting on 11 January 2024 consider financing is respect of Partnerships (including recovery and providing grants).  


The Committee NOTED the remainder of the report.


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