Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee - Wednesday, 18th July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN

Contact: Neil Carr  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies for absence were submitted by Philip Houldsworth and Ian Pittock.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 June 2018.



The Committee considered the Minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2018.


Andy Croy referred to comments he made at the meeting relating to the need for greater focus and urgency on scrutiny of the Wokingham Town Centre Market Place refurbishment.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the inclusion of reference to Councillor Croy’s comments on the Market Place refurbishment.


Declarations 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


There were no public questions.


Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions.


There were no Member questions.


Leader and Chief Executive Updates pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider updates from the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive on challenges facing the Council and priorities for the year ahead. To question the Leader and Chief Executive using key lines of enquiry agreed by the Chairman.


Charlotte Haitham Taylor (Leader of the Council) and Manjeet Gill (Interim Chief Executive) attended the meeting to discuss the key issues facing the Council over the next year and the potential for the Overview and Scrutiny Committees to add value by providing challenge and support.


The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 11 to 17, which contained a set of key lines of enquiry. The key lines of enquiry provided a framework for the discussion and an indication of the areas of interest which the Committee wished to pursue.


Councillor Haitham Taylor and Mrs Gill gave an initial address to the Committee on progress made over the past year and priorities for 2018/19.


Mrs Gill referred to the headlines emerging from the recent Local Government Association (LGA) conference relating to the need for financial resilience. Members were aware of the additional funding provided for the NHS. This was welcomed. However, the provision of extra funding for social care was still not being addressed. All Councils, including WBC, were facing major challenges relating to their financial resilience and their capacity to deliver and/or commission key public services.


Councillor Haitham Taylor referred to the significant growth in demand for social care services – relating to both children and adults. She felt that innovation in local government was reducing somewhat as Councils were forced to focus more and more on the dealing with the challenges in social care.


One of the key messages from the LGA conference was the potential benefits of learning from best practice in other parts of the country. WBC was developing best practice itself through, for example, the development of its own companies such as Optalis and Wokingham Housing Ltd.


Councillor Haitham Taylor gave examples of other success stories over the past year, including:


·           The development of 140 affordable homes, the opening of Fosters and 55 Reading Road;


·           Progressing the leisure strategy to bring forward new facilities at the Carnival Pool and Bulmershe leisure centre;


·           Progress on a Business Rates pilot scheme with the other Berkshire Unitaries;


·           Support to the Letwin review into the gap between the number of planning permissions for new homes granted against the number of homes actually built in areas of high demand;


·           The development of the £100m investment portfolio aimed at generating new income streams for the Council;


Following the opening statements, Members asked questions using the framework provided by the Key Lines of Enquiry set out in the report.


Key Line of Enquiry 1 – Priorities


Lyndsay Ferris asked about proposals being developed to manage the growing pressures on social care budgets and the potential threat of negative Rate Support Grant (RSG).


Mrs Gill outlined some of the challenges around managing the increase in demand for statutory services for both children and adults. She commented that reviews undertaken as part of the 21st Century change programme had highlighted the fact that all available efficiency savings had already been taken. This meant that the search for more efficiencies ran the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Update reports from Chairmen or Nominated member of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees

For the Chairman or nominated Member of the Committee to report back on its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.



The relevant Chairmen provided updates on recent issues considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and future Agenda items.


RESOLVED: That the update reports be noted.