Venue: Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Principal Democratic Services Officer
To receive any apologies for absence
An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor UllaKarin Clark.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 2November 2015.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 2 November 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
The Chairman highlighted the following matters arising from the minutes:
Minute 32 – Minutes of Previous Meeting – Performance Indicator on Apprenticeships. Julie Holland, Service Manager Business Improvement, confirmed that, in future, this indicator would be supported by objective data rather than word of mouth.
Minute 38 – Council Tax Single Person Discount Review – Neil Carr, Principal Democratic Services Officer, confirmed that a report would be submitted to the March 2016 meeting of the Committee covering the next review of Council Tax Single Person Discounts (SPD), the feasibility of introducing a signed declaration form and the implications for student households of SPD.
Minute 39 – Discussion with Councillor Pollock – Neil Carr confirmed that a report would be submitted to the March 2016 meeting of the Committee giving details of the ideas generated by the 2015 Budget Consultation process.
Minute 41 – Consideration of the Current Executive Forward Programme – Neil Carr confirmed that the Library Offer report would be submitted to the Executive on 28 January 2016 and would then be submitted to the March 2016 meeting of the Committee.
Minute 42 – Committee Work Programmes – the following updates were provided:
· Shared Services Task and Finish Group – Neil Carr reported that five Members had agreed to sit on the Shared Services Task and Finish Group with a first meeting to be arranged shortly.
· Oversight Role of the Committee – The Chairman confirmed that two Members had commented on the role of the Committee in overseeing the work of the three Scrutiny Committees. The consensus was that the current arrangements worked well and did not require any changes.
· Format of Committee Reports – The Chairman confirmed that a report would be submitted to the March 2016 meeting of the Committee with proposals to improve the current format of reports.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
To answer any public questions
A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for members of the public to ask questions submitted under notice.
The Council welcomes questions from members of the public about the work of this committee.
Subject to meeting certain timescales, questions can relate to general issues concerned with the work of the Committee or an item which is on the Agenda for this meeting. For full details of the procedure for submitting questions please contact the Democratic Services Section on the numbers given below or go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/publicquestions
There were no public questions.
Member Question Time
To answer any member questions
There were no Member questions.
To question Councillor Kaiser, Executive Member for Planning and Highways, on the operation of services within his portfolio and upcoming issues.
A list of the Executive Member for Planning and Highways’ specific portfolio responsibilities is attached.
The Chairman stated that as part of its role of holding the Executive to account for the delivery of Council services the Committee had invited Councillor Kaiser to discuss current issues relating to his portfolio and to take questions. Heather Thwaites, Director of Environment was also in attendance.
The Committee was referred to the list of Councillor Kaiser’s responsibilities, as set out on Pages 15/16 of the Agenda and the relevant Council Plan performance indicators.
Councillor Kaiser highlighted the following issues:
· Roads – lack of funding had meant that no new roads had been built in the Borough for many years. S106 and Community Infrastructure Levy monies linked to the SDL sites were funding six new roads over the next four years, four relief roads and two major distributor roads.
· Traffic congestion, particularly at peak times during the day was an ongoing challenge. The Council was implementing initiatives such as park and ride, improved facilities for cycling and better co-ordination of buses. However, the number of cars on the road continued to grow and this would remain a significant challenge for the future.
· Road Repairs – The Council was responsible for around 1,600 roads across the Borough and current resources meant that only around 50/60 roads were repaired each year. Emergency works also took away resources from planned maintenance.
· New Development – A more strategic approach to planning with the Local Plan and agreed SDL sites had resulted in a significant improvement in the Council’s available resources for infrastructure. However, there were restrictions on the use of these monies for road repairs.
Members then raised the following points:
· What measures were being implemented to manage traffic congestion at the morning and evening rush hours? It was confirmed that there was more joined up working in the Highways team to plan ahead for roadworks to ensure that congestion was managed. The Council’s approach to statutory undertakers also meant that roadworks were planned to avoid other works in the area. On a longer term basis it was likely that home/flexible working would become more commonplace in order to address the impact of traffic congestion on the working day.
· What progress was being made on the Wokingham Town Centre Parking Strategy and the implementation of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE)? It was confirmed that the Town Centre proposals included a 550 space multi-storey car park. Work was also ongoing to route more buses through the town centre in order to provide an alternative to the private car. In relation to CPE, the decision to go ahead had been taken in the Autumn of 2015. Work was now underway to address issues such as the revision of traffic orders and the application process to the Government. It was anticipated that CPE would be introduced in the spring/summer of 2017.
· What strategic work was taking place in relation to issues such as increasing capacity on the M4 and the potential extension of the A329M over the River Thames into Oxfordshire? It was confirmed that a strategic ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
To consider an update on the review of the Highways and Transport Service. This report follows the update provided at the last meeting.
The Committee considered a report, set out on Agenda pages 17-18, that provided an update on the ongoing review of delivery options for the Highways and Transport Service. This followed a similar update report to the Committee on 2 November 2015.
The report stated that the project group carrying out the review was currently assessing an outline business case from the Council’s current contractors (WSP and Balfour Beatty Living Places) relating to the potential extension of the existing contracts. This business case would then be compared to an outline business case developed for other options to determine the best fit with the Council’s aspirations for future service delivery.
The programme review was expected to be completed by Spring/Summer 2016.
1) progress on the review of delivery options for the Highways and Transport Service be noted;
2) the Committee receive a further report, once the service review process is completed, in the Summer of 2016.
To consider the latest report on Council performance management information.
The Committee considered a report and supporting Appendix, set out at Agenda pages 19-52, that provided performance management information in relation to the Council’s activities.
Julie Holland, Service Manager Business Improvement, introduced the report and stated that the majority of performance indicators were currently on track and were rated Green. A small number of indicators were currently rated Amber or Red as follows:
· % of Care Proceedings in 2015/16 completed within 26 weeks of application (Red).
· % of eligible population (aged 40-70) who received an NHS health check (Amber).
· Integration with Health (Better Care Fund) (Amber).
· Berkshire West Joint Commissioning Function (Amber).
· Assets Programme - Options for Council Land and Property (Amber).
· ICT transfer 2016 (Amber).
The Committee considered each section of the report in turn. Councillor Kaiser answered Members’ questions relating to the indicators covering his portfolio. Councillor Kaiser confirmed that the performance indicators were one of several tools used to manage service performance. Regular meetings were held with Officers to discuss performance issues and to identify emerging problems. There was a clear expectation that Officers would notify the Executive Member when indicators were starting to move off track.
Councillor Norman Jorgensen referred to the recently published Ofsted report on Children’s Services and asked how the Ofsted findings mapped against the relevant Council performance indicators, i.e. were the Ofsted findings consistent with the performance information provided to Members through the quarterly performance monitoring. It was confirmed that the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be considering the Ofsted report in detail at its meeting on 23 February 2016. Councillor Helliar-Symons would then report back to the next meeting of this Committee in March 2016.
Members raised a general concern about the timeliness of the data in the performance report. The report covered the second quarter i.e July – September 2015. This meant that the data was several months out of date. It was confirmed that the 2016-17 meetings calendar had been adjusted to ensure that the performance data reported to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees was more up to date.
Members raised the following comments and questions in respect of specific indicators.
· Agenda page 23 - % of Looked After Children living within 20 miles of their home. Quarter 2 performance of 64.3% was below the target of 70-75%. Consequently, Members queried why the performance indicator status was shown as Green.
· Agenda page 26 – HIV diagnosed prevalence per 1,000 people aged 15-59. Members queried why the BME community was identified as one of the high risk groups.
· Agenda page 27 - % of older people aged 65 and over discharged from hospital during 2015-16 back to their own home or extra care housing for rehabilitation who are at home or in extra care housing 91 days after the date of their discharge from hospital. Members queried the lack of a figure for Quarter 2 and the resulting Green status.
· Agenda page 30 – Integration with Health (Better Care Fund). Members noted the areas of slippage highlighted ... view the full minutes text for item 51.
To consider an update on Emergency Planning and Business Continuity, including ongoing reviews of plans for critical services and planning for severe winter weather.
The Committee considered a report, set out on Agenda pages 53-57, that gave an update on the operation of Emergency Planning and Business Continuity Planning at the Council.
Brett Dyson, Emergency Planning Officer, introduced the report and stated that the major emergency risks under active consideration related to flooding, storms, cold weather/snowfall and pandemic flu. The Council addressed these risks through a layered approach:
· Specific emergency plans linked to a risk, e.g. flooding.
· Consequence based emergency plans covering several risks.
· Multi-agency plans at a Berkshire or Thames Valley level.
In relation to Business Continuity Planning, the report stated that a recent audit had confirmed a positive direction of travel. The ongoing priority was to ensure that all critical services (outlined in Appendix 1 of the report) had an updated Business Continuity Plan in place.
The report also stated that a Community Resilience project was underway with the Borough’s towns and parishes to help the local councils develop their own targeted emergency plans.
The report set out three priority actions for the Emergency Planning and Business Continuity teams in 2016/17 as follows:
· Finalising a Business Continuity guidance document to support the development of departmental business continuity plans.
· Additional engagement and support to managers across the Council in the development of business continuity plans.
· Developing a Flood Response Plan to document the extent of historic flooding in the Borough and match the Council’s responses with the Environment Agency Flood Alert warning system.
Members raised the following points.
· The proposal for more detailed flood plans was supported as they were needed to ensure a swift response to any localised flooding in the Borough. It was confirmed that work to improve flood plans was ongoing with Towns and Parishes and local groups.
· Members asked about the Council’s plans in the event that the main Council offices were out of operation following an emergency. It was confirmed that the contingency plan was a mix of staff working at home and the use of other Council buildings.
· Councillor Norman Jorgensen reported that the next meeting of the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee (on 20 January 2016) would be considering a report on the Council’s response to local flooding issues. Member questions and comments about flooding were welcome.
· Councillor Firmager reported that the next meeting of the Borough-Parish Liaison Forum would be considering an item on Flood Action Groups.
1) the ongoing progress in Emergency Planning and Business Continuity Planning across the Council be noted;
2) the three priority action areas for 2016/17, as set out in the report, be supported.
To consider an update on the Broadmoor Schools Emergency Callout cascade, a swift alert system used in emergency situations at the Broadmoor hospital.
The Committee considered a report, set out on Agenda pages 59-67, that gave details of the annual review of the Broadmoor Schools Emergency Callout Cascade.
The report stated that a siren-based warning system was in place within local communities to alert residents of an escape from Broadmoor Hospital. In addition, a telephone cascade system was in place to alert local schools of an escape. All Councils in Berkshire had agreed on the same emergency response planning template for schools (the Rainbow Plan). The Rainbow Plan for Bracknell and Wokingham contained a section relating to Broadmoor escapes.
The report also stated that the existing sirens located within communities around the Broadmoor site were to be decommissioned in 2019, leaving one siren located within the hospital grounds. The intention was for the Schools Emergency Callout Cascade to remain in place after the siren changes were made.
The report gave details of an annual meeting between Broadmoor Hospital and local stakeholders. The Council was represented at this meeting by Bracknell Forest Borough Council. The next meeting was due to be held in July 2016.
The report highlighted three priority actions for the Emergency Planning Team in 2016/17:
· Updating the Broadmoor Cascade in early 2016 to include Out of Hours contact details for School Head Teachers.
· Updating the Schools Emergency Response Plan template (the Rainbow Plan) in early 2016.
· Providing Bracknell Forest Borough Council with feedback on specific issues two weeks before each Broadmoor meeting to ensure that the Council’s views were represented.
Members raised the following points.
· Following feedback from previous test exercises Members were keen to see robust testing of the schools emergency telephone cascade. It was confirmed that regular testing (fixed and random) of the schools cascade would continue to take place and that the feedback from the tests would be used to make further improvements as necessary.
· Councillor Helliar-Symons requested information on the Bracknell Forest schools emergency cascade. It was confirmed that this information was available and would be circulated to the Committee.
· Councillor Pauline Jorgensen stated that the Council should also be aware of the relevant emergency planning procedures and communications plan relating to the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston. It was confirmed that this information would be circulated to Members.
1) the updates on the Broadmoor Emergency Cascade and the Rainbow Plan be noted;
2) the three priority actions for 2016/17, as set out in the report, be supported;
3) information on the Bracknell Forest schools emergency cascade be circulated to the Committee;
4) information on the relevant AWE (Aldermaston) emergency planning procedures and communications plan be circulated to the Committee.
To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme
The Committee considered a copy of the Executive Forward Programme as set out on Agenda pages 69-76.
RESOLVED: That the Executive Forward Programme be noted.
To discuss the work programme of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committees
The Committee considered its forward work programme and that of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as set out on Agenda pages 77-91. During the discussion the following points were made:
· Due to the weight of business expected at the March 2016 meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, the Chairman suggested that Councillor Mirfin, Executive Member for Regeneration and Communities be invited to attend the first meeting of the Committee in the 2016-17 Municipal Year.
· The substantive Agenda items for the next Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee were: the Borough’s response to local flooding, the report of the Commuter Parking Task and Finish Group and Council Representation on Outside Bodies.
· The Better Care Funding Task and Finish Group was likely to report to the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in Spring/Summer 2016.
RESOLVED: That the revised Work Programmes of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees be noted.
For the Chairman or nominated Member of the Committee to report back in its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.
The Committee received an update report from the Chairman of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to the meeting held on 15 December 2015 as set out on Agenda pages 93-94.
Update reports from the Chairman of the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, relating to the meetings held on 23 and 30 November 2015 respectively, were circulated at the meeting.
RESOLVED: That the reports from the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees be noted.