Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN
Contact: Neil Carr Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Lindsay Ferris, Kate Haines and Bill Soane.
Clive Jones attended the meeting as a substitute.
To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 September 2018.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 September 2018 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
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
In accordance with the agreed procedures the Chairman invited members of the public to submit questions.
Gillian Elward asked the Chairman the following question:
Most flexible plastic can be recycled. There are facilities in the UK for recycling polyethylene-based plastic (i.e. carrier bags, bread bags, cling film, bubble wrap, magazine wrappers etc. etc.).This makes up a significant proportion of consumer plastic packaging.
I. Can the re3 partnership consider collecting and recycling this type of plastic? (ref Oxford City Council);
II. Most large supermarkets collect carrier bags (so other PE-based plastics can be collected and recycled via this waste stream), but this is not widely known. Can re3/the Marketing and Communications Office include this information in their communications campaign?”
I. In February this year we significantly extended the amounts of plastic materials we collect from the kerbside which included pots, tubs and trays. The additions made in February were introduced, taking into account sustainable recycling markets and the practicalities and cost of sorting. The Oxford City scheme has been extended to include a number of non-rigid plastics and at some stage in the future, other materials could be added to WBC’s scheme if the criteria is met.
II. The Council currently promotes the fact that most large supermarkets collect carrier bags but will look at our current programme and re-evaluate if necessary.
A small quick win would be to educate the public more about the recycling of polyethylene-based plastics via local supermarkets. Can this be pursued?
Your suggestion is noted and will be investigated.
Member Question Time
To answer any Member questions.
In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited Members to submit questions to the appropriate Members.
Gary Cowan asked the Chairman the following question:
Can you ensure that Ward Members are informed as to the grass cutting schedule in their wards and the actual areas scheduled to be cut in advance of the actual scheduled cut?
The new Contract was not built around schedules but was based on outcomes in that designated frequent cut areas would never be longer than 125mm. Whilst there is no specific schedule, our contractors follow a set grass cutting route which enables us to tell how they are progressing within different wards. With this information, last year we started a weekly update for Ward Members, during the growing period, in which we gave them grass cutting activities across the borough so they could see how this was progressing and relate it to their particular area.
Whoever carries out the grass cutting has to develop a programme supported by a schedule to ensure that the work is carried out in the correct locations. Can that schedule be made available to Members? This would provide greater clarity and transparency and reduce the level of contact between Members and the Cleaner and Greener team. Can the circulation of this information be looked at?
The contractor does follow set routes. This information was made available on line last year and we will endeavour to do the same in 2019.
Peter Fry (Tivoli Area Manager) commented that the contractor was reviewing the routes, rounds and schedules for next year. The company was introducing a new electronic system into the Wokingham service which would provide updated information on the progress made by grass-cutting teams along their set routes. It was hoped to link this system with the Council’s IT system thereby making it possible to provide more accurate information which, in turn, would reduce the number of calls to the contractor and WBC seeking updates on progress.
Ian Pittock asked the Chairman the following question:
The Parliamentary Committee on local government scrutiny recommended, in December 2017, that the annual Council budget is scrutinised throughout its development. Why has scrutiny of the Council Budget 2019/20 not been included in the Forward Programme for O&SMC?
The Council’s Constitution already empowers the Overview and Scrutiny Committees to scrutinise the Council’s Budget. Paragraph 188.8.131.52 states that the Community and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee is responsible for scrutinising, reviewing and assisting with the policy development of the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework.
At its meeting on 1 October 2018 the Committee considered how it would carry out its Budget Scrutiny role. The Committee resolved (inter alia) as follows:
“The January 2019 Committee item on monitoring of the Council’s Revenue and Capital expenditure include a review of the quarterly revenue and capital monitoring reports, with a view to completing a review of the Budget setting process during the next municipal year”.
When you say “Budget setting process” do you mean the administrative process or the actual development of the Budget itself?
The Committee will decide on its work programme but my understanding is that it will be seeking to scrutinise the key issues, themes and Budget pressures facing the Council. This will be a more rigorous review looking backwards and forwards to the development of the Budget for 2020/21.
To continue the Committee’s review of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 11 to 16, which gave details of the Committee’s ongoing review of the Council’s Grounds Maintenance contract.
The report reminded Members that the review was considered at its 1 August and 19 September 2018 meetings. Following the Committee’s Call for Evidence a number of residents, community groups and Town and Parish Councils had submitted written feedback on the operation of the service. The report set out the key themes arising from the evidence submitted to date relating to consultation, frequency of grass cutting, flexibility in the contract, communication with stakeholders, long grass and wildflower areas.
The following witnesses attended the meeting to provide information and answer Member questions:
· Peter Baveystock – WBC Service Manager, Cleaner and Greener Services;
· Emma Pilgrim – WBC Performance Officer, Cleaner and Greener Services;
· Peter Fry – Area Manager, Tivoli Group Ltd.
During the ensuing discussion Members raised the following issues.
What steps were Tivoli taking to improve the quality of service provided and learn lessons from the 2018 grass cutting season.
Peter Fry stated that a number of improvements had been implemented to improve standards and tackle issues arising earlier in the year. As an example, Tivoli would not be reducing staffing levels during the winter which meant that the service would be fully resourced in terms of personnel and skill sets for the start of the 2019 grass cutting season in March/April. Tivoli were also looking at the routes used by grass cutting teams and the machinery available as well as measures to improve supervision and productivity.
Would Tivoli be addressing issues relating to grass/weed growth in road gutters and drains?
Peter Baveystock confirmed that this issue was covered by the street cleansing contract. Specific issues could be addressed if Members provided location details.
Tivoli had taken over the grounds maintenance contract from ISS. What added skills/resources/investment would Tivoli be able to deliver?
Peter Fry stated that Tivoli was a new business and would bring a more local focus than ISS which was a large multinational organisation. This meant that Tivoli would be more responsive and agile and able to make investment decisions more effectively.
Tivoli was introducing new mobile systems for staff. Was there any resistance from staff in using these new systems and hand-held devices?
Peter Fry gave examples of the new systems in relation to staff bulletins, electronic forms and payslips. Staff were supportive of the new systems as they reduced the time previously spent on paperwork.
How did the Tivoli contract differ between Wokingham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM)?
Peter Fry commented that the Wokingham contract allowed more flexibility as it was more output focussed. RBWM officers spent more time on inspection and contract management activities. The Wokingham contract allowed more room for innovation and flexible solutions. Peter Baveystock commented that the new Localities team would be involved in the monitoring of the service and would be involved in quarterly contract meetings from 2109.
Were there ... view the full minutes text for item 51.
To consider an update on the Council’s Waste and Recycling service and the recently adopted re3 Waste Strategy 2018/20.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 17 to 54, which gave details of the Council’s plans to achieve the 50% waste and reuse target included in the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive. The 50% target had been introduced into UK law and would remain in place following Brexit. The report stated that, at its meeting on 23 May 2018, the Committee had set out a number of questions relating to the corporate waste and recycling indicators and requested a more in-depth report on waste and recycling.
Peter Baveystock (Service Manager, Cleaner and Greener Services) and Irum Gulzar (Waste Reduction Officer) gave a presentation with responses to the earlier questions from the Committee. The report also included the re3 Strategy for 2018/20 which had been approved by the Council’s Executive at its meeting on 27 September 2018.
In relation to the earlier questions raised by the Committee the following points were raised.
What was the breakdown between residual waste sent to landfill and waste to energy?
Peter Baveystock provided the following performance data:
What were the cost implications of the measures proposed to move the Council to the 50% recycling target by 2020?
Peter Baveystock confirmed that the introduction of food waste recycling (April 2019) would add approximately 7% to WBC’s overall recycling figure (currently around 40%). In addition, the collection of pots, tubs, trays, foil and cartons (from February 2018) was expected to add 1.5% to 2%. It was also estimated that 0.5% to 1% would be generated by increasing the number of glass banks to 50 across the Borough by 2020. Finally, a further 1.5% to 2% would be generated by reducing the level of contamination in our kerbside recycling.
In terms of the financial implications of these measures, the increased revenue costs to cover an extra crew member and new vehicles would be £500k. This would be offset by the savings from diverting approximately 5,000 tonnes from landfill/energy from waste to anaerobic digestion.
Was there a net cost for the green waste service or did the service break even?
Peter Baveystock confirmed that the chargeable green waste service was a break-even service taking into account collection costs, administration costs, containers and container distribution.
Some Welsh Councils achieved recycling levels of 70%. Was this due to a more innovative approach or a different reporting system?
Irum Gulzar gave details of the strategic approach to waste and recycling adopted by the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government’s 2010 document Towards Zero Waste (TZW) was the overarching waste strategy document for Wales. Wales was the only administration in the UK to have introduced statutory local authority recovery targets for waste recycling. The Welsh Government adopted a “carrot and stick approach” with a combination of Capital funding support and penalties for non-achievement of statutory targets. It was also noted that, of the 22 Welsh local ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
To discuss the work programmes 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 55 to 66.
In relation to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee meeting on 21 November 2018 – it was proposed that the item on 21st Century Council be deferred to the 17 January 2019 meeting due to the significant items which had to be considered at the November meeting. It was suggested that the Chairman give further consideration to the items to be considered at the 21 November meeting.
In relation to the Community and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 5 November 2018 – it was confirmed that the Chairman had decided to defer the item on Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration to the 14 January 2019 meeting. This was due to the fact that key reports relating to lessons learnt from the Market Place project and the final safety audit would not be available until December 2018. It was felt that the public availability of these reports would be essential in order to facilitate an effective Scrutiny discussion. It was suggested that an update report on the Market Place Regeneration project be submitted to the 5 November meeting with a further detailed Scrutiny session to be held on Town Centre Regeneration at the 14 January 2019 meeting.
1) the Overview and Scrutiny Committee future work programmes be noted;
2) the Chairman review the number and priority of items to be considered at the next meeting of the Management Committee;
3) the Community and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee consider an update report on the Market Place Regeneration Project at its meeting on 5 November 2018 followed by a detailed Scrutiny session on Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration at its meeting on 14 January 2019.