Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee
Wednesday, 18th September, 2019 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Neil Carr  Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist

Items
No. Item

38.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted from Jenny Cheng.

39.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 17 July 2019.

 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 17 July 2019 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

40.

Declaration of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

41.

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

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

42.

Member Question Time

To answer any Member questions.

Minutes:

In accordance with the agreed procedure the Chairman invited Members to submit questions.

 

42.1

Gary Cowan asked the Chairman the following question:

There is a general public perception that the Council’s planning service is not fit for purpose. Most Councillors have experienced residents’ disquiet on decision making, enforcement actions and the protection or lack of protection of trees especially those with TPO’s on them or where protective TPO’s are not considered when trees are at risk to development to have a community value. This perception is also evident by articles in the press.

 

Whether there is any truth in this or not  a review  would be beneficial as it would have two effects, one, it would be assure residents that the service functions correctly in a transparent manner and two, it might identify areas where the service could be improved for the benefit of all.  

 

Will the Committee agree to review the Planning service to address the points raised above and to ensure that the service is fit for purpose?

 

Minutes:

Gary Cowan asked the Chairman the following question:

 

Question

There is a general public perception that the Council’s Planning service is not fit for purpose. Most Councillors have experienced residents’ disquiet on decision making, enforcement actions and the protection or lack of protection of trees, especially those with TPO’s on them or where protective TPO’s are not considered when trees are at risk to development to have a community value. This perception is also evident by articles in the press.

 

Whether there is any truth in this or not, a review would be beneficial as it would have two effects, one, it would re-assure residents that the service functions correctly in a transparent manner and two, it might identify areas where the service could be improved for the benefit of all. 

 

Will the Committee agree to review the Planning service to address the points raised above and to ensure that the service is fit for purpose?

 

Answer

I am sorry to hear your view that there is a general perception among our residents and Councillors that the planning service is not fit for purpose. The Committee may wish to carry out a review of the service. However, in order to assist the Committee, it would be helpful to understand in more detail which specific service issues are causing concern. The Committee can then discuss your request as part of the consideration of its Work Programme at a later meeting.

 

In the meantime, you may also wish to discuss your concerns with the relevant Director and Executive Member as this is a large and complex service area.

 

Supplementary Question

Rather than take up the Committee’s time I will contact the Director for an initial discussion and will copy you in on progress.

 

Supplementary Answer

Thank you. I would also refer you to the work programme for the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Committee has agreed to undertake a review of the way the Planning process takes health issues into consideration.

43.

Declaring a Climate Emergency pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To consider a progress report following the Council’s decision to declare a Climate Emergency.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 15 to 20, which gave details of progress following the Council’s decision to declare a Climate Emergency.

 

Councillor Gregor Murray, Executive Member for Climate Emergency, attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions.

 

The report stated that the Climate Emergency Motion was approved by the full Council at its meeting on 18 July 2019. The Motion stated that the Council would play as full a role as possible – leading by example as well as by exhortation – in achieving a carbon neutral Wokingham by 2030 with a report back within six months on the actions required.

 

In order to develop the Council’s approach work was underway to produce a Climate Emergency Action Plan. This involved working with Council departments, residents, community groups, schools and the business community. The Action Plan would explore all potential methods to reduce carbon emissions, including ways to generate renewable energy, carbon offsetting through tree planting and the application of new and emerging technologies.

 

The Action Plan would seek to achieve some quick wins with a phased approach to initiatives which required longer term planning and implementation. The Council would be leading by example through the prioritisation of work on its own facilities and estate.

 

A cross-party Member steering group had also been established in order to monitor progress and support the development of the Action Plan, which would be submitted to the Council at its meeting in January 2020.

 

The report gave details of the work already being undertaken by the Council to reduce its carbon emissions, viz:

 

·                A 25% target for the procurement of green energy from renewable sources;

 

·                Installing solar panels on Council buildings (31 sites to date);

 

·                Investing in energy-efficient plant and equipment in Council buildings;

 

·                Enabling more sustainable travel through enhancements to pedestrian, cycle and bus routes;

 

·                Promotion of increased recycling and reduced levels of waste (including food waste) sent to landfill.

 

Councillor Murray stated that the Climate Emergency Action Plan would focus on four key areas:

 

Structure and Governance – establishment of a cross-party Climate Emergency Working Group which would meet for the first time on 14 October 2019. The working group would also include representatives from Town and Parish Councils and the Borough’s Youth MP. The Council was also seeking to recruit a Climate Emergency Strategy and Commissioning Officer to support the development of the Climate Emergency Action Plan.

 

Establishing the Borough’s carbon footprint – the most recent Government figures on emissions in the Borough (2017) indicated carbon dioxide emissions of 771 thousand tonnes (kt). Discussions were ongoing with scientists at Reading University and other local authorities to establish an up-to-date assessment of the Borough’s total carbon footprint. Similar calculations would be carried out for the Borough’s Town and Parish areas.

 

Climate Emergency Action Plan – work on the action plan was underway with over 200 potential points already under consideration. It was hoped that a wide range of residents, community groups, schools, Town and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Quarter 1 2019/20 Performance Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 230 KB

To consider proposed Key Performance Indicators for 2019/20 and the Quarter 1 Performance Report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 21 to 50, which set out proposed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for 2019/20.

 

Laura Callan (Strategy and Commissioning Support Manager) and Jim Leivers (Interim Assistant Director, Education) attended the meeting to present the report and answer Member questions.

 

The report stated that, for 2019/20, the Council’s KPI measures had been reviewed to focus on the current objectives for each service. The revised 36 KPIs were appended to the report together with a list of indicators that were no longer being measures. Some new indicators were also being developed to align with the Council’s key priorities over the coming year.

 

For Quarter 1 of 2019/20 22 KPIs were reported as Green (assigned targets achieved). One KPI was reported as Amber (marginally off target) and seven KPIs were reported as Red (assigned targets not achieved). The Red KPIs were:

 

·           New KPI – Safeguarding timeliness – concerns completed within two working days;

 

·           New KPI – Safeguarding timeliness – enquiries completed within 28 days;

 

·           New KPI – Proportion of people receiving long term care who were subject to a review in the last 12 months;

 

·           KPI VP1iii – Delayed transfers of Care (delayed days);

 

·           KPI VP9 – Number of initial care assessments completed;

 

·           New KPI – Percentage of Education, Health and Care Plan Assessments completed within 20 weeks of referral;

 

·           KPI CE10 – Percentage of Calls Answered.

 

The report gave details of measures being implemented in order to improve performance against the Red indicators.

 

The report stated that the new five year Council Plan was being developed with a target implementation date of March 2020. A new set of KPIs was being developed to support the Council Plan. The new indicators would be submitted to the Committee in March 2020 and would then be measured for reporting from April 2020 onwards.

 

In the ensuing discussion Members made the following points:

 

New KPI – Percentage of Education, Health and Care Plan assessments completed within 20 weeks of referral – what measures were being implemented to improve performance? It was confirmed that, following agreement to increase the budget for the service, the SEND Care Management Team was now fully staffed. Consequently, it was expected that this indicator would move to Green early in 2020. It was also confirmed that this service had previously been funded by a time-limited Government grant. There was a time-lag between the expiry of the grant and the delivery of additional in-house resources (£230k in 2019/20). There had also been a nationwide increase in the number of referrals for this service.

 

KPI EA9 (Supplementary Performance Indicator) – Percentage of children who received a 2-2.5 year review - this indicator had been reported as Red for some time. What progress was being made in improving the service? It was confirmed that further information on the performance of the service linked to this indicator would be circulated to the Committee.

 

New KPI – Overall satisfaction of people who use services with their care and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Executive-Overview & Scrutiny Protocol pdf icon PDF 137 KB

To approve the final text for the Executive-Overview and Scrutiny Protocol.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 51 to 58, which gave details of the final version of the Executive-Overview and Scrutiny Protocol.

 

The Protocol had been developed in line with best practice identified in the Government’s Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny. It set out the practical expectations of Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Members which helped to promote greater understanding and cooperation.

 

The Committee considered a draft Protocol at its meeting on 17 July 2019 and requested that the document be discussed with Executive Members, the Council’s Chief Executive and the Corporate Leadership Team. Following those discussions some minor amendments had been suggested which were highlighted in the report.

 

Members requested clarification on the implications of Paragraphs 16 and 17 of the Protocol in relation to the rights of Overview and Scrutiny Members to see information relating to private meetings of the Executive or its Committees. In order to provide clarification it was suggested that Paragraphs 16 and 17 be referred to the Constitution Review Working Group for consideration.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)     the Executive-Overview and Scrutiny Protocol be approved, subject to clarification on the implications of Paragraphs 16 and 17;

 

2)     Members use the Protocol as a framework to monitor the relationship between the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny;

 

3)     the impact of the Protocol be assessed as part of the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Reports to the Council in March 2020.

46.

Managing the Scrutiny Workload pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To give further consideration to measures aimed at managing the workload of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 59 to 62, which gave further consideration to potential options for managing the workload of the four Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

 

The report stated that, at its meeting in July 2019, the Committee had considered five options which could address the current heavy workload. The Options were:

 

Option 1 – establish an additional Overview and Scrutiny Committee. This may be achieved by splitting the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee back into its constituent parts, i.e. reverting back to a Community Partnerships and a Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Option 2 – maintain the current Overview and Scrutiny structure and set up more time-limited Task and Finish Groups to tackle specific issues. As an example, a Task and Finish Group has been established to look at the issues relating to the adoption of roads and open spaces following the completion of new housing development.

 

Option 3 – maintain the current Overview and Scrutiny structure and rigorously review the work programmes to ensure that the Committees focus on a smaller number of key priorities during the year and in future years.

 

Option 4 – linked to Option 3, maintain the current Overview and Scrutiny structure and hold additional meetings. As an example, the Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee has set up a number of extraordinary meetings to facilitate scrutiny of the Council’s Budget process.

 

Option 5 – amend the terms of reference of one or more of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in order to achieve a more reasonable, balanced workload for each Committee. For example, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee could take on additional issues such as housing, the voluntary sector and community safety.

 

Having considered the five options, the Committee concluded that a combination of options 3, 4 and 5 would be the most effective solution and that the matter should be reviewed again in 2020/21.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)      the options set out in the report to manage the Overview and Scrutiny workload for 2019/20 and future years be noted;

 

2)      a combination of Options 3, 4 and 5 be implemented in order to address the workload issues;

 

3)      the Overview and Scrutiny workload situation be reviewed again during the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

 

47.

Consideration of the Current Executive and Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programmes pdf icon PDF 303 KB

To consider the current published version of the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Executive Forward Programme and the Individual Executive Member Decision Forward Programme as set out on Agenda pages 63 to 72.

 

RESOLVED: That the Forward Programmes be noted.

 

48.

Committee Work Programmes pdf icon PDF 323 KB

To discuss the work programme of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered its forward work programme and that of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees as set out on Agenda pages 73 to 90.

 

Members considered a request from Councillor Frewin to include in the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee work programme a review of the Council’s policies relating to illegal traveller encampments. This followed a number of recent incidents on both private and public land across the Borough. It was suggested that Members receive a briefing on the relevant issues prior to considering this item at the meeting on 27 November 2019.

 

RESOLVED That:

 

1)    The Overview and Scrutiny Work Programmes be noted;

 

2)    An item on illegal traveller encampments be considered at the 27 November meeting (with an earlier update briefing open to all Members);

 

3)    Gregor Murray, Executive Member for Climate Emergency, be invited to attend the Committee’s meeting on 22 January 2019;

 

4)    emerging drafts of the Climate Emergency Action Plan be circulated to the Committee;

 

5)    reports to the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on GCSE and A Level results, include details relating to Edgebarrow School;

 

6)    the Community and Corporate Budget Scrutiny meeting on 24 September 2019 be noted;

 

7)    the Community and Corporate item relating to Flood Risk Management (30 October 2019) include an invitation to the Loddon Valley Residents Association;

 

8)    the long list of work programme items for each Committee be divided into current Scrutiny items, items completed/under review and procedural items.

49.

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 in its activities including any requests to undertake reviews.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered updates from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen.

 

RESOLVED: That the update reports be noted.