Venue: David Hicks 1 - Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN. View directions
Contact: Callum Wernham Democratic & Electoral Services Specialist
To receive any apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was submitted from Councillor Ken Miall.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
A declaration of interest was submitted from Councillor Graham Howe on the grounds that he was the Deputy Executive Member for Children’s Services. Graham stated that he would not participate in any discussions or voting related to the Children’s Services bids.
Public Question Time
To answer any public questions related to items on this agenda.
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 items on this agenda.
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 relating to items on this agenda.
There were no Member questions.
To consider an update to the Council’s flood risk management strategy
The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 5 to 8, which gave an update on the progress made with the Lead Local Flood Authority’s (LLFA) duties under the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010 during 2018/19.
Parry Batth (Executive Member for Environment and Leisure) and Francesca Hobson (Flood Risk Manager) attended the meeting to answer Member queries and present the report.
The report focussed on 8 key areas of work for the LLFA, these being:
1. Completion of a surface water management plan for Shinfield;
2. Maintenance of the Section 21 asset register;
3. Delivery of capital drainage schemes;
4. Drainage revenue works;
5. Commenting on planning applications in relation to flooding and drainage;
6. Development of a natural flood risk management scheme for the Lower Loddon;
7. Collaboration with the University of Reading;
8. Designation of additional flood defence structures.
The report outlined that the primary responsibility of the LLFA was to manage the coordination of surface water and groundwater flood risk in order to protect residents from flooding. A successful grant funding application to DEFRA enabled the LLFA to complete a flood risk management scheme to the south of Church Lane in Shinfield. This work was being carried out on third party land and involved the creation of a 250m ditch and a 190m bund to protect properties on Church Lane from surface water flooding. In future, Officers would be carrying out surface water management plans for all Towns and Parishes at risk of surface water flooding within the Borough.
The Section 21 asset register had been updated during 2018/19, which provided a database of features or structures within the Borough that, in the opinion of the Authority, could affect flood risk. Officers across the Council had access to the register via a mapping system, and part of the information had been made publically available to allow residents to report faults with individual assets across the Borough.
Officers had delivered a number of capital drainage schemes in 2018/19, including at Wilderness Road, Kentons Lane and Gipsy Lane. During 2018/19, Officers were expecting to deliver capital drainage schemes for Pound Lane, Pepper Lane, Jouldings Lane and Barkham Ride.
Over 40,000 gullies had been emptied by Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC’s) contractor in 2018/19 as part of the annual gully cleansing programme. Silt levels had been recorded within the gullies to allow officers to develop a risk based approach to gully cleansing going forwards. In addition, 1,215 drainage problems had been responded to on the highways network after being reported by residents.
During 2018/19, the Flooding and Drainage Team had provided consultation responses to 460 planning applications, which had helped to ensure that the most appropriate drainage strategies were being implemented by developers. This had, in turn, contributed to a reduction of surface water flood risk across the Borough.
A preliminary design was being developed by officers to investigate the feasibility of delivering a natural flood risk management scheme to the south of the ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
To consider aspects of the draft 2020-23 MTFP, with a focus on growth and savings bids over £50k
Graham Howe declared an interest in this item, specifically the Children’s Services bids, by virtue of the fact that he was the Deputy Executive Member for Children’s Services. Graham stated that he would not take part in any discussions or voting related to the Children’s Services bids.
The Committee considered a report, set out in agenda pages 9 to 46, which detailed all revenue growth and savings bids over £50k for Children’s Services, Adult Social Care, Corporate Services and Customer and Localities Services. The Committee were advised to focus on the bids for Children’s Services and Adult Social Care, with a view to analyse the bids for other service areas at the Committee meeting scheduled for 25 November 2019.
UllaKarin Clark (Executive Member for Children’s Services), Carol Cammiss (Director of Children’s Services), Jim Leivers (Children’s Services Consultant), Charles Margetts (Executive Member for Adult Social Care), Matt Pope (Director of Adult Services), John Kaiser (Executive Member for Finance and Housing) and Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive – Director of Corporate Services) attended the meeting to answer Member queries.
Graham Ebers stated that around 80% of the revenue budget went towards care services, with around 10% – 12% of the budget going towards waste services. This left a small amount of the budget to provide discretionary services which were much valued within the community, for example park and countryside services. Graham added that the format for this years’ budget scrutiny would provide a new level of transparency around the budget and the budget setting process, with all growth and savings bids over £50k being publically provided.
During the ensuing discussion Members raised the following points and queries:
· What impact would the delay of national budget have on Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC’s) budget? Officer response – This would create a certain level of uncertainty within WBC’s budget, however there was always fluidity within any budget setting process in order to deal with emerging pressures. It was not yet clear what this would mean for the Local Authority settlement, and WBC would continue to make representations to Central Government for a fair settlement.
· When would equality impact assessments (EQIAs) be carried out for specific proposals? Officer response – All EQIAs would be carried out at the appropriate time in the process, before implementation and after major considerations had been made. There was little point in carrying out the EQIAs at this stage in the process as proposals were subject to constant change and awaiting consultation responses. Where required, all EQIAs would be completed prior to the Budget Council in February 2020.
· Relating to agenda page 16, what would the £245k growth bid be used for in relation to increased capacity to deliver Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) services? Officer response – This growth would enable an increase in staffing, including 2 educational psychologists and 3 case managers. This struck a sensible balance between service need and budgetary pressure.
· Relating to agenda page 19, how would the savings of £330k be realised within Children’s ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
To consider the work programme for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year
The Committee considered a report about its work programme, set out in agenda pages 47 to 54, which outlined the proposed forward programme for the Committee for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.
The Committee were advised that the property investment group item, originally scheduled for the 25 November meeting, would be better placed on the agenda for 6 January. The final months of the calendar year were a busy time in the investment cycle and a delay of just over a month would allow for a more complete report to be submitted. In addition, adding this item to the January agenda would tie in well with the scheduled capital and special items figures to be provided as part of the Committee’s budget scrutiny work at the January meeting.
1) The proposed forward plan for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year be agreed;
2) The item related to the property investment group be moved to the meeting on 6 January 2020.